I'm currently sitting on the Amtrak Train to Portland, Oregon from Vancouver, B.C. It's shockingly early, so with about 8 hours to kill I thought I'd stab at this keyboard for a spell.
On the very PLUS side...I'm having Deja Vu.
I'd read a beautiful description of Deja Vu a few years ago. I was seeking out some "meaning to it" - because while I've often experienced that strange, unsettling feeling that I'd "been here before" or "I've dreamt this exact moment" - the summer that my father passed away I began having Deja Vu on a daily basis. It was quite unnerving. Sometimes, I would have it two or three times a day. It would often last for minutes at a time, even after I'd voiced aloud that, "I'm having Deja Vu, you guys!!". The feeling would roll on.
It's happened less frequently lately, but whenever it does, I am reminded of this lovely explanation of it (paraphrased, of course):
Do not think of your life as a straight line. Think of it more as a piece of thread with the ability and capacity to curve and bend and flex and expand, occupying both TIME and SPACE. Conscious and unconscious, the mass of your life-thread is ever moving. In those moments where your thread bends, flexes, or curves back to touch upon itself, the Universe reminds you that you are exactly where you should be.
That is the feeling of Deja Vu.
I've been invited to Portland by some friends from the Fringe Circuit, which is how I happen to find myself on this train today returning to Portland, Oregon after almost 4 1/2 years.
Stacey Hallal and Chase Padgett put the bug in my ear back in September about spending some time at their place, and it didn't take much in the way of convincing. First of all - they're two fantastic people. Second... well.. it's Portland. I've been itching to get back there for a while now.
I'd make some reference to "the dream of the 90's", but that just seems obvious.
As a bonus, my dear friends Mr. Sean Bowie, Mary Rose and their remarkable son, Phoenix are also there. And who knows who else might pop out of the woodwork.
"Charlotte's Web" closed in Calgary on New Year's Eve. Hard to believe that was over a week ago. (Time, eh? It flies like a banana...or something to that effect.)
There's nothing like going back to Calgary and working at Alberta Theatre Projects. I adore that company and they have been extremely good to me over the years. In fact, they gave me my first job out of high school! I was a Junior Apprentice there for a full year before I decided to get my Diploma at Mount Royal College. That was over half my life ago....
My year as a Junior Apprentice was an incredible time, really - and the apprenticeship program is one that I think the world of. It always brings a smile to my face to go back to A.T.P. and see the young people who are filling that role now, and remember my time there. One of the current apprentices is a kid I've known for years, which is such a delight! Ok.. he's not a kid any more - but I have a vivid memory of driving with his Mom to Edmonton and he was in his carseat in the back... he must have been 3 or 4 years old at the time....
It is a small world....and time flows, don't it?
For someone who has been on the road and living with No Fixed Address for so long, A.T.P. feels like "home".
I'm so happy to get to go back there next year to remount "Legend Has It" as their Family/Holiday show. It will be a completely different ball of wax from Charlotte's Web, that's for sure.
I had some time open up after the show closed and I spent it mostly relaxing. The run drained me more than I thought it would, so a bit of time off just chilling out (and keeping warm) was much-needed. I kept my easel out and had a chance to finish up a couple of paintings I had started over the course of December.
Also, with a bit of free time I managed to get together with my old pal, Rich Panteluk and head down to the Crossroads Market in Inglewood and do some busking. Rich and I have been singing together since we were in High School, if you can believe it. We used to go down to 8th ave in Calgary and hit the Lunch Crowds - make enough money to do stuff on the weekend. I think, over the years, we've amassed quite a repertoire of tunes - mostly because Rich is an audiophile and has one of the most impressive collections of music I have ever seen. He's a wicked resource for new, good music. Also, Richie was a Junior Apprentice with me at A.T.P. back in the day.
Jeez - small world. And, time flows...
Winter hit hard in early January, and I was quite happy to get on a plane and head to Vancouver. I'll miss the sunshine of Calgary, but the cold was a big deterrent for heading out of doors (even with my parka).
I arrived in Vancouver on Monday, and the week flew by. I did manage to have a walk in Stanley Park - which is always good for my soul. In fact, I would say Nature Nurtures me in a way that is both humbling and comforting.
I'm anxious to get back to painting. I feel like I haven't been at it nearly enough - but with the show in Calgary, my energy and focus were tapped right out. I've decided to take the next while in Portland to simply put the brush to the canvass. I'm going to challenge myself to treat it like a job. When I rented the Green Fools' Studio space in Calgary back in 2011 I treated painting like a job and I was at my most productive.
I had a routine: get up, take the bus, get a coffee, unlock the space, clean my palettes, set up the paints, put tea on - wait for my first model. Etc...
Since then (which was the start of this whole crazy journey, really) every time I've been able to lay out a space and time and resources and get myself into the right headspace - I've found my productivity and the whole practice increases and improves. A room of one's own... very helpful as well.
I'm also closing in on my 500th portrait. Landscape painting has definitely taken over but I may have the opportunity to sit with some folks in Portland and close the gap between me and the elusive 500.
The train has just crossed the border into the USA. I picked up a bagel and cream cheese from the dining car - and it seems that my friend Matthew was correct: "America is just... different. Even their Cheese is different".
I was in Portland in September of 2010 with "This is CANCER". It was a very brief stint, but I sure enjoyed the time I had there. And... well... with an invite and the opportunity, it seems too good to turn down, really.
There were some odd coincidences which popped up when I was last there, mostly around names.
Mary ROSE arranged the shows. We were at the Alberta ROSE Theatre, on Alberta Street, and just about everyone involved in the show was from Alberta. It may just have been the old "I bought a blue car and now I'm seeing blue cars everywhere" kinda thing. Still - it was pretty fun to play at the time. I'll keep you posted if I see any more while I'm down there.
Maybe I'll get another dose or two of Deja Vu to really tie things up in a cosmic knot.
I'm making no plans for the next while. I have just about everything I'll need to get started painting. I'll be seeing Chase and Stacey as soon as I get to town, and the Bowie Rose family shortly thereafter, I'm sure. I'm hoping to settle in quick and hit the canvass. Other than that....here's to the adventure!