Of all the things we do, building our skills in some direction is the point. Baking is about feeding ourselves and our people, but also about the nerdy scientific elements of structure and rising, and the political aspirations of building new economies based on local food sovereignty. Gardening and orcharding is also about food guilds and getting into a conversation with the natural elements around us – getting to know our fellow creatures. Writing is about finding communication and relation between all of these things.
Somedays we want to live different lives. Many of you may not know that J started out as a poet, an art bookmaker, a musician and spent the majority of his teen/young adult years either building post and beam constructions, or working in ski mountain restaurant kitchens. We both went to Goddard College in Vermont (no, that’s not where we met!) where he was in process of a MFA in Writing. Meanwhile he was a machine operations manager at the Burlington Free Press (a Gannett paper) for a couple of years supervised by a stunning gentleman – old school Reggae musician Cleon Douglas where J was in discussion of writing Douglas’ biography. We lived in north and south Vermont, north and south New Mexico, did a 3 year internment in Boston, and then a few years in Portland Maine and now almost the same amount of time here in rural Maine. In Portland, J found a nice home in the solar industry and taught music theory and guitar in the state prison system before embarking on his own baking project. Though sometimes now he wants to live somewhere he can surf and cook meat over large fires.
I was never anything of note – slowly pursuing an art practice I didn’t know I wanted and a writing practice that is too idiosyncratic for most. I worked in a comic book store, a nursing home, and as Santa’s helper and eventual manager. I managed a chocolate store, worked as a supervisor/trainer in a bookstore, sold arty pewter goods, worked a 36-head hydraulic silk screen press (and a manual 4-head) and embroidery machines, and was a college admin/registrar for a couple of years. We both worked as professional testing proctors in Boston. Then I came to Maine and practiced as a holistic health coach for almost 6 years before going back to school for more arty/writing goodness. For a long time I wanted on the lecture circuit but mostly now I just want to write in peace, make art when I want to, and grow herbs for teas.
All these skills were gradually built with our attentions in our life – our attention to growth and self integrity (I’ve been growing herbs for teas since I was 19, I started in Staten Island making my little brother be my taste tester – ha!). Our beautiful child is learning skills of discernment, critical thinking, compassion and self-regulation. May we all be so open to learning from each other and the things we pursue. Thank you for being on this journey with us.