Tag Archives: Gloucester

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Proud to Bring Two Killer Writers to Gloucester!

Proud to Bring Two Killer Writers to Gloucester!

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!

The Funky, Not So Fresh Whale

He was quite the attraction.

The Rockport Fin Whale

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.
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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.
Atticus Meets 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:

Aaaarrrrggghh!

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!

Building Something New

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&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/inplace”>In Place</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

In Place Kickstarter

(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.

Cheers!

Chris

PS. Here are a few more you may enjoy:

House Shows

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.

Tim Krupar warmed the crowd up.

Audience

Essential Machine were touring with Tim Krupar, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Both acts made for magic.

Essential Machine blew us all away.

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.

The following morning we showed our guests the sights.

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.

The Anderson Family Homestead

It seems a lot of people on Cape Ann are keeping chickens these days. I know we are. Meet our new chickens!

Atticus and the youngsters

Meadow Approved

It really is amazing how much you can homestead on a small piece of land. I guess this is the direction we’ve found ourselves heading in anyway. Now that we have bees, chickens, and a second garden bed this year, it only makes us want to grow more.

Can you see the little dinosaur in these ladies?

At first I had concerns about our new chickens and the neighbors. But everyone’s been extremely supportive–in fact they’d like us to let them roam even more so they can watch for a while. There seems to be something therapeutic about watching these birds.

Of course we have to keep an eye on predators. Coyotes and foxes are common to the neighborhood, as are large owls and red-tailed hawks. East Gloucester also supports a few fisher cats. It’s a good thing the bunny supply is so abundant. I think most predators have easier prey to go after. Our coop, tucked back in the knotweed jungle beside our house, would be a pretty tough nut to crack.

Merlin keeps an eye on the ladies.

Still no eggs, but they should be producing in another month or so. And we love us some eggs around our house, so it’ll be a real treat.

Mid-June Garden

We’ve been eating peas, broccoli, alpine strawberries, potatoes, kale, lettuce, chives,, basil, and chard from our garden. Ground cherries and tomatoes are starting to happen this week. This supplements a farm share out at Green Meadows, as well as the bounty we inevitably come home with every week from the farmer’s market. Seeing the dry conditions out west only makes you more appreciative of how lucky we are to live in this amazing place. Bon appetite!

It’s Been a While

I know, I know. You start a blog, then life gets busy, and boom. Nothing. But guess what? I’ve been laid off! Chester College of New England, where I taught creative writing for the past six years, has closed.

Closed? A college? Really? What the hell?

Yep. It happens. So here I am, piecing a new life together, trying to wrap my brain around how I can make a go of it right here in Gloucester. No more hour and a half commute. No more being stuck behind tourists on 133 as they stare at their GPS trying to figure out where they’re going.

Gloucester, baby.

I have ideas (like this project I’m working on: http://dailydoseoflit.com ). But ideas take some time to grow to fruition. For now, let’s talk about our hometown and how amazing it really is. Especially on days like this, where the temperature is soaring inland, while it’s pretty darn nice here by the ocean.

This boy just turned six!

One thing that happened here recently that was very cool is that we were able to capture our own honey bees. Capture? Yes, about a month ago, just before Father’s Day, a swarm arrived out back behind a friend’s house. A big one. And they stuck around on a low branch, trying to figure out their next move. But it seems they were having a hard time finding a home. So after a few days we (along with help from our friends) decided to spring into action.

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Swarming honey bees don’t want to swarm. They’re just looking for a nice, safe place to live. In fact, they’re incredibly docile while swarming. So what we did was grab a Rubbermaid tub, placed it beneath them, and then knocked/shook the branch until the bees simply fell into the tub. Here is Michelle, along with Geoff Deckebach and Ken Duckworth, nabbing some bees.

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After, we let them settle in overnight (a screen was placed on top, but slightly ajar so stragglers could join their family), and then hauled them over to our place for their new digs.

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This swarm was HUGE, so we were able to add a second super within a week. A month later they seem happy and safe. Gotta love some local honey, babies!

So there you go, the story of our new bees.

I’m going to try my best to keep this thing up to date. I have time on my hands (well, aside from raising two beautiful kids and putting the finishing touches on this memoir I’ve been working on). Let’s see what happens next!

Cheers!

Certified Funky Fresh: Lobster at $3.99 a Pound!

Okay, so we don’t eat lobster nearly enough. It comes in fits and starts, mostly because we don’t own a good lobster pot to cook ’em up in. Maybe Christmas this year. But I gotta tell you, everytime I drive by Captain Joe and Sons and see the sign out by East Main, well, I kick myself for not eating more lobster. Right now it’s $3.99 a pound, or the same price as bologna at Stop and Shop. What a choice!

Atticus gets his hands on a lobster at Captain Joe and Sons.

With Joey Ciaramitaro, blogger extraordinaire.*

We get these guys home, but Meadow wasn’t amused. Who let these big bugs into our house?

Meadow meets her first lobster. She wasn't sure what to think.

We borrowed a good pot from a friend. In the end, these guys were delicious! Really, why haven’t you dropped by the docks and picked up some lobstah? Kick yourself no more!

Along with corn from Green Meadows Farm, this is a fresh, local feast!

* I’m sure you already know Good Morning Gloucester. If not, get out from under that rock and click the link to the right.