Having hauled my overstuffed bags up three flights I settled into my suite. Literally a 10 foot by 15 foot room. Cozy. I love it unsarcastically. If I sit on the extreme corner of the bed, I have a WiFi connection. I took an hour long power nap and then hauled said bags BACK down the stairs and walked over to the venue at Winter Gardens,
Winter Gardens reminds me somewhat of ‘Boardwalk Empire’. It’s a strange combo of modern world and carnival style architecture. Grand, sweeping ceilings and old, musty carpeting. Hundreds of lights and vanity style arches. Fun. After some searching I found my little vendors table and unpacked. There’s a few familiar faces and we exchanged some initial hellos with promises to dine later on the weekend and catch up.
On a recommendation from Garrett Thomas a few of us went to a nearby Thai restaurant: Wannee Wah Wah’s. (Due to a pernicious spellcheck it took me four tries to write that name down) According to veterans the food in Blackbook is hit and miss, but this was delightful. Extra spicy Chicken Pad Thai with curry and fresh vegetable spring rolls. The gourmet (glutton) is happy.
Jon Allen introduced a new prop, and it’s quite simply incredible. We hashed around a few ideas and a kind of impromptu jam session started up. Being full and at once overtaken by the length of the day and travel, I excused myself and wandered out to find my way back to my room. Apparently I took a wrong turn, because I found myself at the beach. The streetlights reflecting off the clouds and the moon made the surf appear glittery. Each wave pulling back on the sand left a sparkling wash, like diamonds on black velvet. Reminds me of you … somehow.
I turned around and walked back to where I thought I started, but came to realize I was totally lost. It was dark and of course I had no way to call anyone so I just wandered, seeing what I could see. I looked into shop windows and restaurants, bars and bakeries. I watched the people. Playing children under a statue. The families, the lovers and the loners. It was kind of like a play, set in 1970s England a few days before Christmas. I kept anticipating a musical number. I almost got one: I passed by a very narrow Irish bar. Very vintage looking but featuring karaoke. Ultra surreal.
My journey through the streets solidified in me the feeling that we all have our own place, our own path to follow. I have a purpose and a gift and all of my loneliness and self doubt does not diminish the gift or the responsibility that comes with it. Not one little bit. I’m me. I’m being me and living my life. Even getting lost in Blackbook was a good thing. And if you know me, entirely predictable.
I stopped under a blue streetlight. Not kidding. A for real as it gets BLUE streetlight. I daydreamed there for a little while, groggy and oddly not at all anxious for my lost state. I remembered a Dylan quote Dawn once painted on a jacket of mine. “Some of our greatest discoveries come from a state of being lost.” They certainly do, and I certainly was. When I realized I was in danger of falling asleep on my feet, I moved on. I decided not to long after that the best course of action would be to swallow my pride and hail a taxi.
I stepped off the curb and looked up and down the street … and there was my hotel. Just three or four buildings down. Just perfect. I came in, shook off the cold, spoke with the owner for a few pleasant minutes and came up. Took the time to write the first part of this missive, then took a sleep (for about 7 hours, off and on) and finished. Now … here we are.
I’m going down for the English breakfast I’ve conjured in my mind, then off for a day full of magic stuff. I’m on a new road and I kind of know where I’m going, but I’m more excited for the journey than the destination.