All the World’s a Stage… you just have to listen

I’ve neglected my poor blog the last few weeks as I threw caution to the wind and accepted a road trip proposal from a good friend of mine who was turning a task into an eleven-day adventure. Once on the road, ensconced in her big black truck, the world of computers took a back seat and had to be content to my, maybe, once a day facebook/twitter updates! I was busy absorbing the world passing by, and, stepping on new grounds.

Our route took us from Vancouver through Washington to the Oregon Coast to the California Coast into Nevada back up through California and eventually back to Vancouver, with stops in Seaside, Grants Pass, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Death Valley & Lone Pine, Alturas, & Crater Lake, with our last night in Portland, Oregon.

I saw fields & fields of olive trees, orange trees, lemon trees, and mysterious unknown trees. I saw steep rocky cliffs, snake & ladder roads, breathtaking ocean vistas, miles & miles of white beaches, rain forests, barren lands, mountains of all shapes & sizes, hills of varying qualities.

I saw the most incredible valley of desert, and felt the intense heat of the environs. I saw many funny looking cactus type trees that turned out to be the famous “Joshua Tree”. Some of these trees sneaked in the photos I was obsessively taking in order to hold onto the “now” that was slipping rapidly into the “then”.

Palm Tree in Death Valley!
Palm Tree in Death Valley

I also saw villages of various colours: seaside places, myriad of crab shacks & clam chowder shanties, funny little towns, posh expensive towns (Carmel, Malibu CA) and that “out of the blue” Victorian Tea Shop (where I bought my glass ring for 7$) in Tillamook. “Where is the best coffee in town?” we asked what looked like a local gentleman on the street. “I don’t know! They’re all the best!” he exclaimed. That’s when we discovered our first café kiosk where you can drive up and get your latte or plain old coffee. Happily we found them everywhere!

Our Favourite Coffee stops!
Our Favourite Coffee stops!

I experienced the energy of the cities such as: San Francisco – the Golden Gate Bridge (even right under it!!), the stylish San Fran houses, Fisherman’s Wharf, a view of creepy Alcatraz Island, eating crab & more clam chowder outside, watching the crazy “BushMan” scare innocent passerbys on the street, witnessing the old streetcars billowing with tourists hanging on, tasting (&, okay, buying) fabulous Ghiradelli chocolate, and Boudin’s famous Sourdough bread (yum)…

…cities such as: Los Angeles – crazy busy freeways, apartment sized pancakes on our first morning, regal palm trees lining the streets, warmth, extraordinary bright sunlight, touristy strolls on Sunset Blvd, Hollywood Blvd, Rodeo Drive, driving through Beverly Hills, on Mulholland Drive, down to Santa Monica & Venice, seeing the massive beaches, the festive pier (I adamantly refused to go on the ferris wheel because I didn’t want to get sick – guess what happened later anyway? Hmm… Murphy’s law?), meeting with new twitter actor friends at that neat “Urth Café”, meandering around the Venice Canals, marveling at the foliage & the charming houses, seeing the little house where my Dad spent a winter in 1958 (still the original one), celebrating “Cinco de Mayo” at a little Mexican restaurant (no swine flu!)…

Typical tourist! :)
Typical tourist!

…cities such as: Las Vegas where the luminosity boldly greeted us when we arrived in the evening, the “main drag” noises of people, cars, outside shows, the “volcano” exploding, pirates climbing their masts, gigantic electronic billboards announcing shows & ads, perfumed air, mountains of hotels impersonating Paris, Venice, New York, promises of luxury, excitement of possible fortune (nope I didn’t win), the slapping of peep show promo cards on the street sales peoples’ hands, the friendly service, those tasty Margaritas to top our walk off, and the strange daylight sensation of Vegas the day after.

Arriving Las Vegas
Arriving Las Vegas

The last city we visited was Portland. A city that felt creative, certainly abit chillier, but inspiring especially with that crazy gargantuan book store, Powells, and the weekend market where many artisans got our own creative juices flowing, as did the food! Loved that homemade ice cream! (did I mention it did get a bit warmer?)

On the road, we had surprises such as Lone Pine, and “The Beverly & Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History” revealing a super collection of memorabilia from the Western films shot in the area (perfect for two gals who work in the film industry – and for a couple of  horse nuts!), Crater Lake to where we detoured spontaneously, the road over to Vegas taking us through a fruit belt (those strawberries & grapefruit were so delicious), and the thousands of sea lions on that Oregon beach.

Death Valley
Death Valley

As I write this I confirm my original thought that these 11 days were very theatrical in their movements, in their silences, in their surprises, in their suspense, in their joy, in their noise, in their different colours, temperatures, lighting, in their textures, in their excitement, in their histories, and in their thought provoking moments. Isn’t that good theatre?

We can turn to our everyday rhythms and experiences to inspire our creative ventures whether they be writing, painting, acting, performing, composing. We just need to listen to our own reactions and translate that graph to our work. Ha… easier said than done, but definitely doable.

The vastness & strength of the desert, and the busyness & overabundance of the bold “sin city” are contrasts I find compelling. Hopefully these elements will show up in some form in my creative writing.

What sounds, smells, sights, and tastes in your day informs your work?

Near StovePipe Wells
Near StovePipe Wells