The Pearl, vol. 79: Dispatch from the multi-green magic forest

Dear Oysters, 

Last weekend I spent three wonderful days in Portland, Oregon. I was visiting my friend Anna Schaum to explore how I might be able to support, and be part of, a growing initiative of hers called the Center for Sound Relationships. We had a fantastic time, and many coffees, and exciting brainstorming meetings with multi-colored Post-it notes and a-ha moments. 

I confess, in many ways this is the life I have dreamed of: to travel to beautiful places with a mission; to be welcomed as a guest by fascinating artists and human beings with whom I share a common dream, calling, or aspiration. I love the sense of expanded community and increased potential that comes from long-distance collaborations. My brain craves that feeling of wide-open sky and limitless possibility.

As an added bonus, while blasting through the air at 30,000 feet, my creative impulse is often stimulated in a way that it isn't on the ground. On the way to Portland, I scribbled in my notebook for pages and pages; eventually, physical pain forced me to stop. I felt I finally had enough distance—literally—to start writing about some of the transformative events that took place in my later years in Chicago.

This is the third major collaboration I've undertaken with a Portland friend: the first was a touring show with a the amazing Holcombe Waller; the second was a Moby Dick-inspired show I co-wrote with Doug Detrick for his AnyWhen Ensemble. Portland keeps drawing me back into its green, misty, magical web, and I don't mind one bit.

I also had the chance to:

  • hear some great jazz with Doug at one of Portland's precious (endangered) live music clubs, Turn! Turn! Turn! (It's also right next door to In Other Words, the famous feminist bookstore that launched the famous Portlandia sketch, although now the bookstore and Portlandia aren't talking anymore, and that's a story worth checking out.)
  • catch up with my friend Leander Star, who—in addition to being a world-class horn player—is doing amazing work supporting the queer and trans community in Memphis, Tennessee. Thank you, Leander.
  • meet the amazing coach, mystic, and all-around badass Krayna Castlebaum. (Happy birthday, you fabulous wild woman!)
  • took 3 fabulous walks in Tryon Creek State Park. Happy place.

Stay salty, dear Oysters, and may your travels always remind you of who you are and what you love.

xo,
Ellen  

 

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