Another Post About Why No Posts from the Artnest, which keeps changing location. Without your permission! So we left our Manhattan box in the sky (close to a Tree and a Streetlamp) to head northwards in October. Specifically, Portland. The Maine version. Number one question since we placed the rental deposit in August?
“Dude. Why Maine?”
There are two answers to this: Before and After.
Let’s call this Intent, or seeds of intent. Such as how we got to the rental deposit, but mostly, what happened Earlier. In film, this occurs as a flashback.
(Crap. I just realized just how much visual aids would help here. No time, so we’re going have to get the job done with sentences. Bear with me.)
Drunken ruckus, Frosh week 1991. Some dude introduces himself, mentions he’s from Maine. Maybe I tilted my head, looked quizzical, some gesture that provoked further explanation. “It’s the North Carolina of New England,” he says. I’m from Virginia, so that means bacon and even cheaper cigarettes.
A few years later, my friend Tara sets off with her boyfriend towards a life of Mystery and High-Stakes Adventure. She returns once to report on the veggie-friendly amazingness that is Portland. I’m not a vegetarian, but many of my friends are; vegetarian-friendly often goes hand-in-hand with other values I espouse, so this was interesting news.
A brief romance with a scintillating Blacksburg baker; he grew up in Portland. We’re still friends; he gave me location tips when I was up here in August scouting rentals with Mom. He was the one who clued me in for sure, just by virtue of his existence, that something strange and jaunty thrived in the city reservoir.
When I lived in Brooklyn, Cerberus Shoal performed three times in 2004. I was there with bells on. A quick trawl around the internet gave me their label (Northeast Indie, sadly extinct) and their origin (Portland, duh!). Part of them became Fire on Fire and signed with M. Gira’s Young God Records. They purportedly live around here somewhere, but there’s no evidence of public performance past 2008. There is definitely something in the water.
It’s a seemingly-sudden result of slow-brew dreams. There’s the before story built on theory, speculations, pipe-dreams, hunches, real estate longing, staring at pictures, knowledge of cheaper rents, escape routes, first visits…. Then there’s the after story, which mainly consists of “Why NOT Portland/Maine/here? Why didn’t we try this sooner?” (Answer: we weren’t ready yet). Portland because it’s a baby step of sorts (for a giant baby, mind you). Scott was ready to buy a blueberry farm sight-unseen in the wild forests near Canada. Since he worked 90hr weeks, and I kept myself at a pretty brisk pace, I didn’t see how either of us were wired for that much down-time. I anticipated The Shining, or something even weirder. I said, “how about we rent in this small city, and see what’s nearby.” And he’s all, “ok, but I’m swamped w/work now; not sure when I’ll be free to househunt.” (I rest my case.) So my mom & I went on a scouting mission in August, found a place, put down a deposit, and brought back the lease for him to sign & mail.
Movers came in the 2nd week of October, packed us, moved us. We drove up via Massachusetts stopover with the cat. We officially moved in October 15.
And that is Before.
Because it is awesome, and it has been a month now, and even though the sun sets at 4:15pm, it’s more than ever a case of “why NOT?” Because of the Victorian architecture that simply couldn’t *not* exist, and the unique jigsaw embellishment on each of thousands of porches. Because of the hills, and how it’s cloudy twilight over one street, but if you turn around, the sun waves goodnight with a fantastical cold brightness. Because I went to Longfellow Books yesterday to browse, and ended up buying Catherynne Valente’s latest and China Miéville’s The City & The City. And this tall blond woman with a lip piercing rings me up. She looks familiar. Really familiar. Only I thought she lived in Oakland. “Is your name Imogen?” I asked. She smiled “I thought you looked familiar.” And just like that, she negotiated 5 minutes away from the register to walk out front with me. Oh, by the way, Imogen is my former roommate. From Brooklyn. She moved to Oakland in about 2006, so I was certainly not expecting to see her in Maine. She and her partner had arrived a month before we did. So, like I said, something in the water. Today is going to be an outstanding day. Tomorrow? Same. I’m off to sand the walls and brave a whimsical winter.