I don’t know how many more 100-year storms we can take this year.
Eastern Point Lit House & Press (my new literary project with partner Jenn Monroe) is co-hosting this very special event with the Gloucester Writers Center. Look for more fun literary events soon!
This will be another simple post. It’s about the wind turbines now gracing our skyline. For the most part the people of Gloucester seem to really dig our new turbines. They’ve been an absolute blast watching them go up. And it’s great news that they will supposedly power all of the municipal buildings around town. That, my friends, is a win. But it goes deeper than that, and so if you are still on the fence about the giant wind turbines, all visible from the windows of my home, I’d like to put it this way:
Would you rather have this?
Or would you rather this happen?
For me it’s not even a question. Welcome, wind turbines! So glad to see you!
Now can we talk about that antiquated coal burning plant down in Salem that burps black, greasy smoke our way on a daily basis?
He was quite the attraction.
Recently a fin whale washed up on shore in Rockport. The whale had originally washed up in Boston, but they pushed it back out to sea while it was still fresh and hoped for the best. Cut to a month later: Stinky lands on Cape Ann.
What makes this funky fresh is the opportunity it presents for a little education. So we packed the kids into the car and went to see the whale.
We learned a lot, but mostly how stinky really dead whales can be. Still, this was a real once in a lifetime opportunity, one that makes me love Cape Ann even more for all its funkiness. Speaking of, this also happened:
The whale is now gone. After Sandy toyed with it, sending to an adjacent beach, brave–very brave–volunteers came and dismantled the whale, taking its skeleton to its new home in a museum. Goodbye, whale. We’ll never forget you!
As mentioned earlier, I’m at a place where I have options. I have a part time gig teaching creative writing in Manchester, NH., but it’s a commute I don’t love, and besides being set free has forced me to weigh what is available. Living in today’s plugged-in world I believe anything could happen. Not long ago I heard the economist Robert Reich say that while it has never been harder to find a job in America, it has also never been easier to create a job in America. So I’ve become obsessed with re-imagining the ways I could work here in the town I love, rather than to drive to Manch-Vegas all the time. Work that would not only help me out, but also help the literary scene in Gloucester.
The first plank of this new path actually began six months ago when I launched a web based literary project with my business partner, poet Jenn Monroe. Extract(s) Daily Dose of Lit (dailydoseoflit.com) is a unique literary website featuring bite-sized literature on a daily basis. One aspect of our project is a video series called In Place, where we have writers read in locations related to the work. And so far things have gone pretty well–we’ve been able to film incredible writers like William Giraldi, Barbara Ungar, Justin Taylor, and Mike Young. But now it’s time to take it up a notch. This is why we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/47247522″>Kickstarter</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/inplace”>In Place</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
(Note the location of our video!)
We’ve got some really exciting authors lined up for season 2. Several episodes will be filmed around Cape Ann. We just need to put together a little cash.
Again, this is the first plank of a larger entity I want to create here in Gloucester. Extract(s) was once housed in Chester, New Hampshire, however it now resides here in Gloucester. From here I plan to build something that will expand the literary scene in Gloucester, accentuating what already exists (The Gloucester Writer’s Center, for example), and moving into new territories. I’m still in the early, brainstorming stage of this new endeavor, though things are taking shape. I hope to share some of my plans with you soon. But for now, check out our Kickstarter and please consider donating to the cause. We even have some tasty gifts for you. If you like what you see, share with your friends. Sharing is what we’re all about.
PS. Here are a few more you may enjoy:
So a few years ago I had an opportunity to attend a house show in Beverly. The feature musician was David Bazan of Pedro the Lion fame (indie rock, yo). He was touring with his acoustic guitar, playing living rooms across the country. It looked a lot like this:
I’ve been thinking of this night ever since. It was magic. And because I have a history with music, I decided to explore hosting my own show.
The New York Times recently said this was a new age of the traveling troubadour. I believe this to be true. Never has it been easier, and more necessary, for musicians to connect directly with their fans. The internet has destroyed the music business as it once was, and maybe this is a good thing.
A friend suggested I check out her friend’s band, Essential Machine. I gave them a listen, and even liked them on Facebook. A few months ago I saw a post asking for help with a northeast tour. I suggested a few of the clubs around town, and then I suggested they play in my living room. They chose my living room.
How could they not? A free place to stay, homegrown food, and a better audience than most bands see their first time through town. And the location? What traveling musician wouldn’t enjoy a day on an island paradise? We invited friends and neighbors, and it happened. We told everyone to bring a picnic, their drink of choice, and anything else they needed. And we told them to bring their kids. This was a house show. It would be early and family friendly. The cost? Feel free to fill the tip jar. And they did, of course. Gloucester folks are generous, always.
Essential Machine were touring with Tim Krupar, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Both acts made for magic.
And here’s the thing: From my experience playing music professionally for several years, and from the friendships formed, and can honestly say that musicians are generally beautiful people. These folks certainly were.
I promise you, if you think that hosting an amazing band in your home is unrealistic, you’re wrong. You can do this. You should do this. Musicians need the love. So do you and your friends. A perfect match.
Now go friend a band or two. Invite them to your home. Then invite a few friends and neighbors, especially the ones with kids who have a hard time making it to shows. Trust me: No one leaves without a huge grin on their face. Mission accomplished.
We are constantly amazed by the ever changing face of Cape Ann. It seems like a place you walk by every day can appear as a revelation–like you are arriving at a new place, seeing it for the first time. Two favorites are Good Harbor Beach and Niles Beach. Here are a few recent glimpses at the magic show happening every day right here in the neighborhood.
We have some gorgeous cloud formations, something that I would guess is a result of the coastal air and water currents.
Niles is also ever changing. Look through our archives. I always take my camera to Niles. You should, too.
And finally, this shot from Michelle. The only effect is the digital zoom on our g-11. But it’s actually what the light across the water does sometimes. It’s Boston from Niles.
Cape Ann, especially Gloucester, is always fresh.
All photographs copyright 2012 Funky Fresh Gloucester