02/19/13

As the World Turns…

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Roaming By Design and there’s a reason for my absence. My writing life has changed since I began this effort four years ago next month, and rather than letting this blog, which once thrilled me as a place for a means of expression, languish without explanation I thought I’d let you know what I’m up to now and to direct you to the place where I feel I’ve finally created my online writing home. When I launched RBD, as I have come to call this virtual spot on the web, I was coming away from nearly two decades of writing for shelter publications, a career that had sincerely satisfied me while I was involved in the research of and writing about design and architecture, covering everything from Art Basel to Cleto Munari and Dale Chihuly to Droog. But I had begun to see the writing on the wall: the publishing industry was in disarray, especially magazines devoted to these two subjects in which I had become heavily invested.

Publications containing my monthly columns shuttered, the features I’d been assigned regularly came into my inbox with much less frequency, and the newspapers whose home design sections my name frequently appeared within evaporated. I was fortunate to have an architecture book, Four Florida Moderns, published during that time, and I felt very lucky to have found travel writing as a sustaining foundation to journalism because it allowed me to continue publishing articles in print and online as I transitioned to a work life that included content creation and editorial calendar management for clients through Improvateur, and social media platform development and management through adroyt.

It is only recently I have deepened my virtual focus, so to speak, and I feel excited I have finally found my bearings. I also celebrate that my point of view, if I may say so myself, has matured. The subjects I tackle are a bit more complex for the audience I targeted here so I have moved my attention to my blog at Improvateur.com. I usually post on #WriterWednesday but it depends upon the subject. I hope you will stop in and see me there; all you have to do is knock!

Here are a few links to my most recent posts in case there is a particular subject you’d prefer to explore first:

Julian Fellowes: A Sustained Narrative As Legacy

Dispatch From Amherst: Emily Dickinson Masters Love

Let’s Do Some Wilde Writing on This #WriterWednesday!

A Plumb Line Into Literary History

The Architecture of Tango

Of Salt Spray and Canvas: Weatherbeaten Maine

Melancholia: Depression as One Perspective

I’d like to take this moment to express deep gratitude to everyone who has supported me in my writing career over the years, both in print and in the virtual world. I truly enjoyed all the subjects and cities I covered here for the four years I posted. I had the privilege of staying in some of the world’s most incredible hotels, including the Hotel Principe di Savoia (right in the midst of the area that would soon host the World Expo 2015 when I was there), the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Le Meurice (covering their coveted Le Meurice Prize), a number of W Hotels and The Betsy Hotel. I’ve experienced wine tastings in Buenos Aires and interviewed Chef Gordon Ramsay in Tuscany. I walked through the Centre Pompidou with hot French designer Patrick Jouin and saw original Gibson Girl drawings by Charles Dana Gibson at the Bethel Inn in Bethel, Maine (though I still have yet to hear a loon in person)! Thanks to the Dorchester Collection during a trip to London, I had the great privilege to see the Paul Gauguin show at the Tate Modern. I had a profound moment standing alone in the study of Honore de Balzac and walked the same streets as Madame de Pompadour while in Paris!

It was the rare moment when I didn’t have my writer’s notebook with me (and it travels with me always so I feel there are many more adventures to come)! If you are inclined to let me know how you feel about my new effort of deepening my writing, I’d love to hear from you, either here or on Improvateur.

07/10/12

The Room by the Sea

The view from my terrace at The Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine.

I’m in Maine, enjoying the hospitality of The Cliff House in Ogunquit, perched above the sea on a wildly gorgeous stretch of rocky coast. Being able to drink in the surroundings has been one blessing from my opportunity to stay; having access to the same stretch of shoreline that wooed May Sarton when she lived a few miles from here is another. Having her words has brought my experiences greater depth and has intensified this writer’s pleasure beyond words.

As I’ve watched flotillas of waterfowl bobbing in the tiny coves created by the jagged outcropping below my terrace, I imagined Sarton at Wild Knoll. She wrote about living there in a journal she kept during 1974. It was published in 1976 as The House by the Sea. She described her first taste of the landscape in the book: “…once I had stood on the wide flagstone terrace and looked out over that immensely gentle field to a shining, still, blue expanse, the decision [to move there] was taken out of my hands.” She describes this part of Maine as a place “creating the atmosphere of a fairy tale, something open yet mysterious that every single person who comes here is led to explore.”

The waning light paints a resplendent portrait of the end of this day.

The blue expanse Sarton wrote about has a powerful presence that infuses every part of the day with altering moods. While having a glass of wine as the sun slid away to the west, I studied the view from the terrace from an al fresco table holding a bright red umbrella like summer’s promise of glee. The scene revealed a swath of water turned the color of liquid mercury, crimped in spots where the wind touched its surface. The sky, palest blue and powdery pink except at its meeting point with the water, seemed to want to emulate the blue notes from the strip of darkest hues where the ocean met the horizon. A boat cut a wake, marring the serenity and leaving an indelible blue line drawn in the liquid sheen. The mark became ruffled as the rising tide nudged it to shore. Caught in the movement, it splashed above boulders and slabs of striated moss-laden rock until it was picked up by the breeze and dashed heavenward. Puddles of water formed erratically shaped mirrors reflecting the waning daylight, mercurial in contrast to the wet darkness of the seaweed-draped stones.

Sarton wrote, “I have slipped into these wide spaces, this atmosphere of salt and amplitude, this amazing piece of natural Heaven and haven, like a ship slipping into her berth.” Like Sarton, I came here seeking a place to write, and I have found it. The staff here has been attentive but respectful of my desire for solitude as I scribbled in notebooks and slashed pieces of writing long needing my attention while “real life” made it impossible for me to give them the concentration they deserved. I had a wonderful massage yesterday and as Julie gently rocked me from side to side, causing tears to spring to my eyes from the gratitude of having someone create such a lovely experience just for me, I thought about how the theme of this stay is about being touched. Not just by her knowing hands, which helped to relieve the tensions brought on by the world; but by Christian’s carefully selected wines; by a staff eager to please; and most gloriously by a powerful landscape.

Christian Bahre shared with me a delightful Moscato D'Asti from Italy.

Thirty-eight years ago to this day, Sarton intended to take an afternoon nap; she found herself caught up in the surrounding natural activity instead: “…unable to fall asleep, I amused myself listening to all the summer sounds—the leaves stirring like the rustling of taffeta; beyond it the gentle steady roar of the sea, tide rising; but what surprised me was how many birds were singing at that hour, two in the afternoon…I lay there for a half hour, listening, and got up refreshed.” I am being given the same opportunity for refreshment as I let the magic of this place wash over me. Thanks to Patrick, Matt, Brenda, Cheryl, Courtney, Christian, Birget and Julie for making my stay so peaceful. You have helped me to achieve what Sarton sought when she wrote, “I mean every encounter here to be more than superficial…”

[This post was written on July 10, 2012, in Ogunquit, Maine. I have been given comped stay and services by this property but the generosity has in no way swayed my opinions expressed here.]

04/5/11
Foundational Exuberance

Grassroots Run Deep: Green Provocateur in Milan


Foundational Exuberance

The world is heading to Milan for Salone Internazionale del Mobile forthwith and it’s likely that everyone in the design world is going to be met with an entirely different landscape than they’ve encountered in central Milan in the past, especially the Porta Nuova and Republica neighborhoods. I snapped this shot from my hotel room in the Principe Di Savoia last October as the city began to prepare for the World Expo 2015, which will carry the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” It reminded me of Miami once upon a time when the joke circulated that the construction crane had become the city’s official “bird”!

Our inbox is rocking and rolling with new launches at iSaloni as furniture manufacturers prepare for the show with great anticipation (and likely a bit of trepidation considering the global economy). Instead of covering these here, we ask that you check in on the Design Commotion Facebook page for news or click on over to Modenus where V and Tim are going to be doing previews of new products debuting at the fair and Tim will be reporting live), I’m taking a rather #TravelTuesday tack today to shed some light on an initiative that I believe bears watching. It’s an effort by Paul Clemence and Jade Dressler called Green Provocateur (here’s the blog), which will launch on April 10 just as iSaloni gets underway.  They are calling their guerilla installations a “global urban art intervention” and the one in Milan is being sponsored by AMAZElab.

I’ve collaborated with Clemence on articles for Aishti magazine and celebrate his eye for an emotionally-charged architecture so I can only imagine the exhibitions they produce will be powerfully magnetic. “I find architecture’s poetry wherever I go,” says the photographer. Take the time to watch the video and you’ll understand more of the thrust of their vision. You can also follow their guest posts on Metropolis Magazine’s online site Metropolis P/O/V. I can’t wait to see how Clemence’s and Dressler’s point of view ripples across the globe! You can like the Green Provocateur Facebook page here. And visit them on indiegogo here.

03/2/11
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Of the Paris Persuasion

Was it just two weeks ago I was flitting around Paris with Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva? Uh-huh, and what a blast we had combing the Marche aux Puces and sifting through floor-upon-floor of goodies at Bazaar Hotel de Ville (She even cooked a sumptuous Parisian-inspired meal!) One of my favorite souvenirs from Paris is the tote bag she had made for me. Get a load of the close-up below and you’ll understand why!

About to Embark on a Diva-fied Day of Shopping (note the tote)!

This is the second year I’ve had the delight of touring Paris flea markets with Toma and I thought I’d pass along news about one of her newest offerings, customized Diva City Tours. I asked her to explains to RBD readers what inspired her to create seven-day gallivants chock full of more fun than the faint at heart could endure! She has a great group of Divas lined up for her Paris tour from March 7 through 13 and she will be posting news on her blog so be sure to stop in for a bit of voyeuristic pleasure Diva style! The Diva Dishes on Her New Explorations: The concept behind The Antiques Diva® & Co European Shopping Tours is simple: we combine the jet-setting lifestyle of a diva with antique shopping in favorite European cities, including Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and beyond. Our one-day tours have been wildly successful due to this formula of carrying a shopping sack in one hand and a champagne glass in the other! What differentiates us from most antique shopping tour companies is that we do not arrange group tours, shoving a bunch of strangers together for an inflexible, pre-set period of days. Instead, we cater to our clients travel dates, taking them by the hand on one-day tours that maximize their time with a private, one-on-one customized shopping experience.

While we do offer a variety of services for antique dealers and interior designers, we also offer shopping tours to mere mortals…letting our clients source European antiques and vintage pieces at addresses usually only known to the trade. We recognize that most clients don’t antique shop in a vacuum: while they want to shop les puce they are also visiting these cities to tour the destinations. All our Diva Guides are well versed on what’s hot in their city and thus we’re always making recommendations to clients on where to eat, drink, shop and tour; our Diva Guides are your best friend abroad. With our new multi-day Diva City Tours, we’re taking those tips a step further and offering clients a chance to see Europe through our mascara-laden eyes.

Frames at the Marche aux Puces

These Diva City Tours are usually four-day packaged trips whereby the Diva Guide takes the clients to a variety of must-see addresses in the city. In our popular Paris Diva City Tour we do cooking classes at the Ritz, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and tucked-away bistros a tourist hasn’t touched. We shop both vintage and haute couture, see where Coco became Chanel, but then turn around and surprise clients by hitting the local grocery store where they can load up on innovative European products they’d never find in America or the UK. We visit out-of-the-way museums and when the day is done, we pop over to a friend’s apartment to have champagne and macaroons in a grand salon. The multi-day Diva City Tours are designed to show clients what their lives might look like if they lived in one of these international cities, as the next best thing to living in Paris, Antwerp, Berlin or Amsterdam is touring with someone who does! This tour comes with a WARNING, though: 3 of our last 10 clients decided to move abroad after doing the Diva City Tours!

Some of My Loot from BHV

Insiders Tip: Tourists traveling in Paris might be surprised to know that some of the best souvenirs in Paris come from the local hardware store. The department store BHV, or Bazaar Hotel de Ville, has a basement level bricolage store that serves up everything from those charming blue & white Parisian house numbers to gorgeous fleur-de-lys picture hooks to upscale Parisian tea towels, copper pots and a variety of accessories for the home.

02/8/11
The Tomb of Heloise & Abelard

Make It Personal!

The Tomb of Heloise & Abelard

I’ve been blazing around Paris soaking in a schizophrenic mix of historically significant writerly inspiration and modern-day Parisian glitz: it’s quite a paradoxical melange! Even the eye candy cuts its own broad swath, from beautifully dressed men and women to a luscious piece of iconic architecture at every turn (I will admit to being a sucker for the Neoclassical French style–the ubiquitous mansard roofs alone are enough to make me swoon)! I generally shy away from overtly touristy experiences when I travel but I’ve put them in the mix during this pilgrimage to the City of Light. They’ve been important points of inspiration sprinkled amongst the hours spent journaling in the cafes that once drew some of the most dedicated writers of all time. What I’ve done with each exploit is to dig deeper; to make each overtly obvious tourist escapade my own in some way.

Oscar Wilde’s Tomb

At the Pere Lachaise cemetery, seeing the tomb of Heloise & Abelard was as exciting as I thought it would be. I’ve been inspired by their story for ages. But seeing Oscar Wilde’s tomb was a surprise, as it taught me something important as an avid reader. Words in a book, regardless how well crafted they are, do not always do the thing they are describing justice if there is significant emotionality attached. I’d read in a number of books, including one of my favorites that I recommend to anyone before they travel to Paris, Metrostop Paris, that Wilde’s grave was one of the most popular in the massive cemetery, and that it had to be cleaned regularly because fans of his literature could not help but write on or kiss the slabs surrounding the writer’s remains. It was a sight to behold and one of the most moving outpourings of emotion I’ve ever seen–in as many different languages as you can imagine.

Kisses Gone Wilde

This limitation of description was brought home to me again as I stood in the study of La Maison de Balzac, the museum dedicated to the famous French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac. His petite writing table and roomy upholstered chair were placed in the center of the intimately-scaled room where the writer spent hours creating his novels and plays, nearly 100 of which make up La Comedie Humaine. He retreated to the tiny home that was an outbuilding of a larger residence, or a folly, to escape creditors during a low point in his life. He lived in the one-story dwelling nestled into a lush garden between 1840 to 1847. “Working means getting up at midnight every evening, writing until eight o’clock, having lunch in a quarter of an hour, working till five o’clock, having dinner, going to bed, and starting all over again the next day,” Balzac wrote. The writing table, which remains exactly where he had placed it, is where he proofread the entire La Comedie. He said that the desk was “the witness of my worries, my miseries, my distress, my joys, everything. My arm has almost worn it out with rubbing as I write.”

As I stood trying to imagine the mammoth creative energy that must have been unleashed in that room (before I had read this quote, mind you), the thing that struck me was how the table top had been worn down to the point that it had a significant indention in it where the writer had repeatedly run his arms over the wood as he drew wildly flailing lines to the margins of the pages he edited then scribbled in the updated text he wanted to include in the pages he had written. He had done so time and time again as the exhaustive display of edited pages proved. I stood in awe of this tiny table with sturdy turned legs, which had acted as the foundation of such great literary works. It is a memory I will treasure forever.

The door to Honore de Balzac’s study in Passy

Forgive me if I seem overly sentimental in this post: I really do dig this type of exploration so much! It’s like manna from heaven for this writer, who has been making a living as a journalist and author for the past 15 years, to let some of the chaos go and drop down into a deeper place. I hope that if you are roaming somewhere soon, you’ll be sure to find a way to make your experiences heartfelt. There’s nothing like it no matter where you are in the world! And, it just so happens to be #TravelTuesday so we should all be roaming where we want to!

02/1/11
The Tomb of Heloise and Abelard

Love and #LetsBlogOff

The Tomb of Heloise and Abelard

I’m in Paris at last and I’m heading to Pere Lechaise, the famed cemetery, in a few minutes to visit the tomb of Heloise and Abelard, the doomed lovers whose story has stood the test of time because nothing could stop them from their longing to be together, even though they spent years apart and lonely in that vast devastation. What signifies love more than two people who never give up on their feelings for each other, even when everything in the physical realm is conspiring against them? I give you a poem today by my poetry professor at Vermont College, Tom Absher. It’s from his book Forms of Praise, which holds a series of poems written in their voices–missives to and about each other–that meld into one heartbreaking litany of unrequited passion.

II Living Alone

Abelard

After working all day in the fields

helping prepare the earth for seed,

I return to my room and wait for sleep.

I have almost given up on reading.

Watching the fading light soften the edges of things

I begin to let go of my loneliness.

A chair sends forth its thin shadow

like a thinker thinking of himself.

The sky runs through its last hues

and miraculously the chair, the room,

we vanish together.

Gradually I hear the monks talking in sleep—

they speak of their fathers, of women, of miracles.

I make the cross in the darkness

and may God forgive me I think only of you.

                             Tom Absher (from Forms of Praise)
01/12/11
Wood's Fish Market, Town Wharf, Plymouth, Mass

Eric Engstrom’s Roadside Distractions

Wood's Fish Market, Town Wharf, Plymouth, Mass

The divine Ms. JoAnn Locktov turned me on to Eric Engstrom’s art, which I’m featuring here today. (If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, she’s the center of the connectivity universe!) I thought he’d be the perfect post for this #TravelTuesday because he’s the ultimate gadabout when it comes to his art, which is now on view at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station, California, until January 16th. His works reflect his interests in history, vernacular architecture, and the character of “the places in-between” along the back roads of America. One of his “bibles,” William Least Heat Moon’s book Blue Highways, remains one of my all-time favorites. I asked Eric to share a bit about his inspiration and what he is up to in 2011. Happy roaming everyone!

In his own words… I’m a great admirer of barns—those utilitarian structures that manage to define their regions and uses so perfectly, ones mainly without architects as their creators. I am also fascinated by old industrial buildings that no longer produce the goods that sparked America’s growth in the 19th and 20th centuries. All of my art is based on my original photographs taken on several cross-country trips along old secondary roads. By creating digital photographic collages and then over-painting them with acrylics, I’ve tried to enhance the mundane and to create compelling visual comments about our built environment. Recently, I’ve added three-dimensional assemblage elements to the images, bringing forward the character of the structures even more clearly.

My inspiration spans all the way back to my early childhood. My dad, also an artist, used to pack the family in the car and take us for long drives through the back roads of New England, where I became fascinated with barns and abandoned commercial buildings from the back seat. While in high school I read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and dreamed of just getting in the car and driving, with camera, sketchbook, and journal to record what I’d experienced. After finishing the Rhode Island School of Design, I worked for Plimoth Plantation Museum in Massachusetts as a graphic and exhibits designer. One of my early assignments was to visit museums and tool collections on the East Coast, driving between small towns on secondary roads. Visiting places like the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, among others was a delightful part of my job. Studying in detail the barn illustrations of Eric Sloane gave me a real appreciation for American agricultural outbuildings.

Later on, I read the classic journal Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, and William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways. I have continued my readings with Vanishing America by Michael Eastman, Roadside America by John Margolies, and am currently enjoying Long Way Home by Bill Barich. I’ve driven across America many times, always preferring the old numbered “US” routes to the Interstates. My most recent cross country journey in the fall of 2007 totaled over 11,000 miles, less than 400 of them were on the Interstates.

I began digitally enhancing my photographs in the late 1990s, and when I retired from the interior design field, I began creating individual digital photo-collages, each one using the same image. A couple of years ago, I began pasting the collages to canvas or hardboard (Masonite), and enhancing the images with acrylic and pencil. In this way I began to create imagined landscapes around the buildings I had rendered. By manipulating the buildings and landscapes visually, they became more interesting—the intent was that the mundane could be converted into intriguing and somewhat mysterious images. Last summer, in response to a group show requirements, I began working in the third dimension, using skills I developed years ago as an architectural model builder. The extra dimension not only adds layers to the image, it also allows the viewer to participate more fully in enjoying the work. My intent in 2011 is to explore the medium further and push toward more complex and edgy works.

12/21/10
Inn by the Sea

#LetsBlogOff, the Cha-Ching Edition

Inn by the Sea

This week’s #LetsBlogOff topic is “if money were no object…” This past weekend, I spent two delicious nights at a beautiful resort on the coast in Down East Maine, soaking in the scenic beauty of the surroundings and being pampered in so many ways that make me grateful to be a journalist who happens to write about amazing travel experiences that take place in spots just like Inn by the Sea, nestled into Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth. So you might think this post is going to go the way of bragging rights that I snag such experiences, right? Wrong, darlings: this is about something that took place at the Inn that I believe is at the true spirit of “if money were no object.”

Not only is Inn by the Sea one of the “greenest,” meaning environmentally-conscious, places I’ve stayed in a very long time, the property has its heart in the right place with its holiday philanthropy program called “The Giving Tree.” The afternoon I arrived, Rauni Kew, the publicist for Inn by the Sea, was hosting area school children who had visited to see the ornaments they’d made, each of which had been hung with care on a brightly lit tree in a corner of the lounge by a blazing fireplace. These local students had joined members of Thatcher Brook Center to make the ornaments, which are intended to entice the hotel staff, inn guests and community members to make generous donations of warm mittens, scarves, hats and/or Chap Stick, which will be given to the less fortunate people in the area.

The thing that caught my attention, a part of the program which is new to The Giving Tree this year, is that bookmarks decorated by Skillin School students were being sold for $10 each, the money from which will be used to purchase books for at-risk boys who have not had the opportunity to learn to read well. They gather to learn to read as part of a book club to which these books are donated. As a writer and someone who makes her living putting words on a page, I can think of no better way to spend money during this or any time of the year. Yep: I ponied up what I could afford and if anyone out there is looking for a good cause for their holiday giving, I’d say this is one.

My Spa Suite at Inn by the Sea

If money were no object, I’d make sure that every child the world over would have the best education possible so that the playing field was leveled and talent could really shine. When my ship comes in (and believe me, it will), I will be doing what I can to make sure this will happen! So in 2011, as I was roaming to my heart’s content along this beautiful slip of coastline in Maine, I gave the gift of a few books: it’s a start. I’m grateful for the program and the awareness it brought as I move through my own holiday celebrations with dear friends because it has reminded me to never take for granted that I have the good fortune of spending my time each and every day fumbling around with the written word. I would like to give this same gift to everyone who desires it from as young an age as possible.

Kudos to you, Inn by the Sea; I hope this call to action will inspire others to give as well and that your program will be a smashing success. If you want to donate funds to The Giving Tree, send them to Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Rd, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107, c/o Rauni Kew (and tell her Roaming by Design sent you)! And, as I am want to do on Let’s Blog Off days, I leave you with a poem (today a Haiku): LUMINOSITY Dark harbinger sings. I halt his coaxing; turning to ravage the light. Saxon Henry Happy roaming on this #TravelTuesday, everyone! A full list of Lets Blog Off posts, and trust me, they are worth reading, can be found here.

12/15/10
Cecconi's Restaurant at Soho Beach House

Grit and Glamour in South Beach


Cecconi's Restaurant at Soho Beach House

When Soho Beach House owner Nick Jones asked Martin Brudnizki to create an oasis nestled into Miami Beach’s sand-strewn shores for the inimitable members of Soho House, the designer knew without hesitation what he wanted to achieve. “I set out to create a place that would exude both grit and glamour,” said the Brit during an interview in the club’s courtyard restaurant Cecconi’s, casually chic in a tee shirt and cotton shorts. “Nick’s vision for the Soho Beach House was relaxing and informal, and I wanted there to be a timeless appeal to the design so I looked to the colonial roots of the club for the underpinning of my plan.”

Jones has a knack for creating retreats that bring everything to a member’s fingertips, which means once on the premises, there’s no reason to leave them unless an escape is desired. “Because this is one of those special places in the world where someone might want to check in and not leave until their stay in Miami is over, I paid special attention to materials and to comfort,” Brudnizki said. In order to achieve a calming backdrop, he considered every detail, down to the pavers in the courtyard, which are new but look like stone salvaged from a hip resort in Tuscany–think Gio Ponti in turquoise and beige. The region of Italy was foremost on Brudnizki’s mind when he designed the deliciously serene spot that segues to sparkling sand and glittering waters, as he wanted the delectable Italian fare of Cecconi’s to feel at home in its setting.

As I feasted on wild mushroom risotto, I couldn’t help but notice how well he’d succeeded! Where are you heading on this #TravelTuesday? Hope it’s as fun as this Soho House outpost on the beach. It’s a celeb hotspot: A-Rod sauntered by while we were dining. Wonder what he ordered for lunch?

12/7/10
The stony coastline of Brighton, England

No Woman Is An Island

The stony coastline of Brighton, England

Today’s Let’s Blog Off topic is “You’ve just been given an island” and the charge for those of us who get into this madcap game of throwing up posts “on topic” every couple of weeks (see my creative compatriots here) is “The only thing to consider is once you move there, you can’t leave. Who and what would you bring? What are the rules?”

If I had an island, I’d turn it into an amazing writer’s retreat and only creatively-driven people would be invited to visit. We’d all write poetry and plays, essays and novels, and be as curmudgeonly as our deepest writerly selves desired. There wouldn’t be very many rules beyond living authentically creative lives. I’d be writing poems rather than writing articles, though I am having a good day by journalism standards, as I’m writing a piece about the exuberant Chef Gordon Ramsay, who I interviewed in Tuscany this past fall, and I’m interviewing John Lennon’s son, Julian, this morning, wishing tomorrow wasn’t a sadly significant day for that family as it’s the anniversary of John’s death. So, it’s back to work. Oh, and you’re all invited to come and be creative if that deed for an island shows up in my mailbox or my inbox!