Because I can’t do ALL of it alone… and I need new tires… and I want to give you something back, as a thank you for all the love!!Read More
Wind gusts over the desert floor, through thorny brush and rock, a bully…it slams the bus to make a point…leaving another obnoxious coating of dust. The art supplies, the counter tops and bed, what food and dishes are exposed.
I walk barefoot, cringing at the impossible cleanliness that was washed away in New Mexico, with the apocalyptic sand storm…the one that claimed a solar panel and found its way into all my orifices, rocking the bus-not sweetly-but malevolently…persistent and violent.
That sun. It’s heat is growing more intense, though daily winds keep it in check. When the clouds roll over the blue sky, a relief is had, transient as it is. I’ve painted my skylight, my windshield, and double-layered curtains drape over the back windows. The roof is white, though none of this matters much, out here. Exposed. The bus is an ant under a magnifying glass.
I run a small fan. It helps the dog, Churro, who lazes on my bed…forgetting the afternoons….gifting them to the native creatures who scurry under mesquite bushes. Water is work, but must always be available. The well is a short walk from the bus, perhaps a third mile down the rutted dirt driveway. We make our daily pilgrimages to the well for drinking water, the dogs often trail behind, until a jackrabbit or lizard is spotted.
I hung a small wind chime from a mesquite tree in my garden. It sings like a hushed Italian aria, haunting a night-long dream, reminding me of my detached place in the universe, and hypnotizing, it lulls my mind to distant realities.
When it rains…it doesn’t really ever rain, but when it does… it falls like an exclamation point.
Sleep is fragmented. Coyotes yip in packs, and the dogs answer back.
Stars present grandiose exhibitions, and the moon… when the moon is full, it enters stage center…a spotlight in the spotlight, rising proud and loud over silhouettes of mountains.
I leave. Driving, driving, driving, driving. The road gives so much, a generous portion of eye candy, and social dance.
I think I may have forgotten to mention..Read More
Just a quick observation here.
First, let me preface with this——I’ve been living in New England for the past 12 years.
Yesterday evening, I was perched at the bar of Breakside Brewery nursing a rice lager, getting whiplash from a head-spinning parade of amber-colored beers being passed from the beertender to the server. I glanced at the draft list and wondered which of the non-IPA’s was such a rich honey-copper.
I asked the waitress what the beer was, and she replied, and I quote..”IPA, of course!!”.
I was like….holy shit, I’ve been drenched in the haze craze to the point of not even recognizing an OG beer-the classic West Coast IPA.
Look… I don’t have the biggest palate for either, but I can appreciate both, and this was incredibly refreshing…to see the original style still very alive and well out here!
an old writing, still relevant as a creative, inspired piece of artRead More
The bus, Fearless, turned her last mile nearly 6 weeks ago.
You can imagine how this may have put a bit of a kink in the travel portion of the 48 Beer Project.
Though the trip is sponsored, funds were burnt quickly, with a series of engine troubles through the winter. Stranded in southern Arizona, I deliberated a while on how to proceed. Crowdfunding was the most immediate means of securing funds needed to keep on the road, and with much gratitude to those who donated, I was able to purchase a new set of wheels.
The Honda CRV (named Sonni) I found on Craigslist certainly isn’t in new condition. It clearly had endured some front end damage, had its catalytic converter stripped, driver’s door can only be opened from the outside (which should prove a massive pain in the ass in any torrential downpour), and airbags have never been replaced. However, the price and timing was right, and all I really need is something to get me from point A-B and back to A.
Yes, this is NOT a great alternative to a bus, in that it has no toilet, comfy bed, kitchen, art studio. It is not a home on wheels. I’ll make it work.
I have a lengthy blog in the works, covering the story of the breakdown, my time in the desert, the plan from here on out. But for now, I wanted to just thank all my fabulous supporters and show some pics from today’s adventure. I am now JUST back on the road, after a nearly 6 week hiatus, and it feels FANTASTIC!
I am presently writing from Joshua Tree, California, having just spent the morning meandering through the state park. This afternoon I will head to the Pacific Coast, and hopefully get some artwork done, while soaking up some gorgeous ocean views!
Hoping to get some dialogue moving with you all!Read More
Here is a collection of older work…all poetry inspired by my past travels!Read More
The meaning of the term culture cannot be simplified into general categories such as art, religion, language, or tradition.
The culture of a group of people extends inward, to the very biological core of their being, and draws out the behavior, beliefs, communication, and creative expression…a strikingly unique community.
This is true of all people, in all groups, all around the globe.
It’s easy to forget, here in the United States, that hundreds, if not thousands of unique cultures exist under one ginormous roof. Sometimes we lose sight of the importance of each group, each individual, in all their beautiful differences, and all they have to teach us. It’s in the spectrum of the arts, intellect, spirituality, cuisine, ability, compassion, empathy, familial relationships, social relationships, language-that our grand community dynamic is given life.
We can’t know ourselves without knowing others, and vice versa.
To see the world with lovingly objective eyes is a great stride toward personal transendence and ultimately, acceptance. We certainly don’t have to be unrealistic in our perspective. Bad things happen, traumas and despair are quite real, but so is the human capacity for seeing the bigger picture, for forgiveness and processing. To maintain a positive relationship with the self offers us distance from anger, hatred, shame, regret…apathy.
Life is a journey…one of many perils, successes, falls, birth, excitement, sorrow, etc. This is how humanity is so fucking complex…within each culture-a shared language, and norms, all the creativity, and tradition-is a host of individuals, each even more unique, each with his/her own experience. Within each of these humans is a unique biological ancestry, that can be traced back to the beginning of time, as we know it.
Traveling is the greatest way to truly experience the diversity within this country, and you don’t have to drive through 48 or even 50 states over the course of a year to do it. I am, however, grateful as hell for this opportunity, spending more than a plane ride, or a solo bar hang talking and listening with strangers. I have only come to care more for my human family. Embracing the sharp differences of opinion, and opening up to other considerations is incredibly liberating. The longer I am out here, struggles very much included, the more empowered I feel, and better equipped to be an ear for others, to be a rock when needed, and hopefully a great teacher.
One thing that I have come to appreciate, is my true self, my body as it changes through seasons, my occasional loopiness, and even my regular garlic breath. My clothes are paint stained and ripped, stretched from weight gain and loss, and none of that matters. I am out here to learn, and to show, to share, and observe.
Time is effortless…ripping across itself with the most delicate precision. Time is acutely clear but also abstract and illusory. I am weaving a story of time-history of places and cultures, evolution of an industry, and the connection of our human family.
Arizona should be a sanctuary for writing my story of you, for you. I will be here, intermittently, throughout the next six months…hands up for the sun!!
Sometimes I don’t blog, because I feel like writing about myself on the regular can feel a bit self absorbed or whatever…especially when I should be keeping up with the stories of my collaborating breweries. It’s challenging to balance a sort of project diary here, without divulging all the details, that I’d prefer save for the book. After all, who wants to read the same book twice?
In all honestly, I feel a bit overwhelmed by this aspect of things-the writing and the vlogging….that never was. In the beginning, I wanted to share my experience after each brewery visit, but fell behind, and now, to go back and fill in the cracks… ayayay. Be patient with me, because this is something that I find to be absolutely necessary to the success of this trip, but they will be strung together, out of order and somewhat chaotically!
Presently, I’m sitting, laptop on my…lap…on the bed in Fearless, Churro napping by my side…windows down, in the Arizona desert. It is still early and the sun has yet to wake the earth with its scorching rays. For now, she is still sleepy and her gentle morning light has partnered with this slow spring breeze, to give me the ideal writing conditions. This land is my brother’s, eighty acres of mesquite brush and red earth, hugged by a 360 degree mountain view. We are in the southwest of Arizona, not far from the border, and the artsy little mining town of Bisbee.
Bisbee was a destination for our family back when I was a kid. We lived in Tucson, and liked to take the hour and a half drive down here to sup on Thanksgiving dinner, provided by the historic, and certainly haunted, Copper Queen Hotel. A hotspot for retired folks with a thirst for the slow life, artists, aging hippies and the hiking culture. It has, in recent years, become a bit of a tourist destination, but that hasn’t dulled the scene.
If you’ve never been to states like Arizona, or Nevada, you’ve probably never experienced the extreme contrast in nature versus village/city…in the way that each community is like an isolated island…which may be redundant, but to grasp the full scope. It isn’t for everyone. I happen to thrive in this landscape-to have the best of both worlds, right at your fingertips….endless options for outdoor exploration, while that rich culture of cuisine, nightlife, the arts….lies only a short drive away.
You can choose your own adventure out here.
My brother and his long time best friend and girlfriend (same person) are modern day pioneers. They have built a life from nothing, from the desert floor, with patience and pain, with love and passion. The homesteading life isn’t the easy one. There are no easily attainable creature comforts, nothing comes without a little extra work. But this is who we are…our family. The reward of seeing your garden begin to sprout in a dry, dusty land…sitting down for a meal, after having to walk a quarter mile to the well for water to boil, sitting by a juniper fire, in the full moon light, and still able to see the stars at night. The rewards are as plentiful as the work, if you are willing to see what it is to be human. Thats not to say there is only one respectable way to live in this world, or that many people these days would ever enjoy anything about this lifestyle.
It is in the balance of these things, however, that honest happiness springs.
Monday contemplations…Read More
I’ve been meaning to (for the past 6 months) introduce you all to my Portland, Maine fam. By “fam”, I refer to all my friends and connections back home. Portland is unique in this way, all it’s year-round residents are very connected, perhaps leaning toward incestuous at times, but mostly, it’s like having a massive network of extended family. Many of us intersect at creative ventures, whether it be playing music, writing, theater, visual art, etc., and most of us do or have worked in the local service industry. I may not be a “Mainer”, but I love these people!
One of my favorite, and much missed (because I’m on the road…they still exist :)) Portland haunts is Novare Res Bier Cafe. Novare has been nurturing the Maine beer scene for well over a decade now, and is known for their superior selection of beer from around the world. While the original focus was a bit more Belgian-forward, they have now become the hotspot for a wide array of styles in top craft beers from around our country.
Perhaps the most loved facet of the culture of this bar, is the aesthetics, the design and location of the physical space. Being tucked under a tall city building, accessible via an alley, it has the appeal of some amazing European club, known only to the locals. Tourism is not foreign to Novare Res, though…word has been out, and people flock to this beer bar all year long…whether we find this good, or annoying, doesn't change the awesome vibe inside. <3
Owner/Founder of Novare, Eric Michaud, brought to the scene a much different concept a few years back, brewery/distillery/restaurant/bar, Liquid Riot Bottling Company. Perched right over the waterfront on Portland’s Commercial Street, Liquid Riot is right in the thick of the cruise shippers and ocean-loving visitors. This place isn’t a “Jack of all trades”…everything they do, they do well. My first introduction to Liquid Riot (formerly named Infinity), was 5 or 6 years back, and has since become a favorite source for some of Maine’s best beer and spirits.
More notes from the road….8,ooo miles inwardRead More
NOLA. That’s N e w O r l e a n s L o u i s i a n a for you homebodies. Louisiana makes the 18th state visit for Fearless the limping, but amazing skoolie! Just so happens, too, that we will be here for Mardi Gras…full of King Cake, and adorned in beads.
I think we’re coming up on 7,000 miles on the bus already! It’s pretty nuts, how small the route traveled thus far looks, in comparison to what is ahead. It’s mind blowing to me to think it has been nearly a year since that fateful fast and hot bath led me to this concept for the 48 Beer Project. What has unfolded in this past year…all the hard work, the struggles and surviving a relationship with a psychopath. I’ve watched my oldest graduate high school. My mom endured and recovered from double knee replacements. I can’t help but feel like I’m at moving at full speed across that smelly rink, showing off all my best moves, faking confidence and crossing my fingers not to fall…and somehow continuing to, well, continue.
My partner in crime is jetting back to Maine next Wednesday, leaving me to my own shenanigans, back to babbling to myself (and Churro, the Mountain Cur) and abandoning the Chinese Checkers and Uno for Solitaire and possibly even reading….books.
Admittedly, I’m looking forward to getting a little more work done… hurtling into the project with all the momentum of a fat guy off the high dive. Parents, you know… the tug of war between work and entertaining the kids. I’ve enjoyed dedicating most of my time lately to playing games and marathoning the hit tv show “Supernatural”, eating way too much to keep that warm fat padding on…playing with the dog, and doing silly impromptu bus dance parties. Ashley has been incredibly welcomed company, and considering the circumstances in which she ended up coming along with me, I think things are pretty damned great.
I’ve skipped over so many stories and opportunities to share with you all my experiences with my collaborating breweries and beyond. But I will be circling back to all of this. The winter has hit with a heavy fist to the gut, and I’ve pretty much just been in a state of hibernation/survival these past two months. The light can be seen though… once I make it through MO, KS, and OK… should be relatively clear of the worst weather, and ready to spread my golden project love all over this country. (note, I said “spread”, not “spray” or “sprinkle”, which would infer a very different meaning).
For now, I will say this, of ALL my partners in this journey… They have all been nothing less than incredible hospitable, gracious, kind, and inspiring.
Last time I was in NOLA, was in 2010, five years post-Katrina, whose destruction was still very evident and quite haunting, in all the abandoned spaces that had been overtaken by the earth, marked with a BIG RED X and stapled notices. But you couldn’t see it on the faces of all the creative people who make up this one of a kind city.
I was with Justin, my boyfriend at the time, and we were on our way back to Maine after having driven across the northern part of the country, down into AZ and east. We were a musician and an artist, broke and trapped in the south with no gas money to return home. I can’t remember where we scrounged up the money to get back, but we first tried with a setup in Jackson Square…him on the accordion, me with a handful of mediocre paintings, busking.
As it turns out, street vendors are damned territorial, and we had encroached on the wrong corner.
Aside from that, I remember very little….starting with beignets and a gator po’boy, later a hurricane or hand grenade or both or more,….then it gets a bit hazy.
I do remember making eye contact with Jack White on Bourbon Street…which, while I’ve never been one to get starstruck, was kind of an amazing moment… not because it was Jack White.. but because it felt very supernatural.
I remember dipping our toes into the dirty Mississippi, and a man with a boa constrictor.
Bumpy, twisting roads, and, projectile vomiting suddenly and unexpectedly, while walking.
Wow. Detour. So, a week left with the teenager. I’m going to miss the hell out of her. I miss her sister too… they are so polar opposite each other, but each so fucking awesome and inspiring to me. Nothing like watching your kids become their own adults.. bittersweet.
Speaking of… I must get back to the next episode of Supernatural…
A short blurb, if ever there was one..Read More
Stream of consciousRead More
Stories from Maine…..Read More
I have a LOT of ground yet to cover…spanning multiple states and breweries… but this is the current state of the project… more in a bit.Read More
To those who have helped to support the project, and my incorporating my daughter, Ashley into the journey, your love is greatly appreciated, and will certainly be payed forward!
To those who have asked how to help or where to send money, read the note below. Follow this link to the button to donate toward the project!