Surprise! Greetings from Newport
“Learn to recognize omens and follow them.”
– From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
If it’s okay with you, I think I will return to blogging weekly on this road trip. Not only is the scenery spectacular, I dare say some interesting stories also seem to be emerging 🙂
After leaving Cannon Beach (I was a bit sad to leave our sweet little Sunflower Cottage), this was our first pit stop:
Then a couple of miles down the road, we had to stop again because THIS was the view:
A couple of hours later, we came to one of my all-time favourite places on the planet (which I visited a few years ago but was grappling with nasty cluster migraines at the time…ugh):
When I got back in the car, I remembered a comment from a WWOW reader (from last week’s blog) who suggested that I stop at the Tidal Raves Restaurant in Depot Bay for the world’s best crab cakes. I’m in!
So I google the address and low and behold, it was five minutes down the road. So I pull into the parking lot, belly up to the bar and order myself a round of crab cakes. All was calm while waiting for said crab cakes. I just sat there, minding my own business, watching the waves and sipping a coffee. And then the crab cakes arrived:
Yum! But it was what happened right after the crab cakes arrived (and I promptly began devouring them) that something interesting happened. The two older men who had been sitting beside me the entire time suddenly decided I was rather fascinating. They asked me where I was from, what I was doing, where I was going, etc.
They were in Depot Bay for a tennis tournament and were just waiting for the rest of their party to arrive for dinner. I asked where they were from.
“Ashland,” said one man.
Perhaps noticing my blank look, the other man asked me if I’d ever heard of Ashland, Oregon.
“No.” I said.
Then I was treated to an extensive description of where Ashland is (near the California border), why it’s so great (it has the world’s largest not-for-profit Shakespeare festival that runs for 9 months of the year and stages half Shakespeare plays and half everything else), which celebrities have homes there (Johnny Depp, Neil Donald Walsch and Bill Gates) and why I have to go (because of the vibe…it’s very special).
Now, here’s the odd thing: I didn’t tell them I was a writer, or that I was in the middle of writing a play or that I loved theatre. They just seemed to think that Ashland was very much a place I needed to check out.
After my crab cakes were devoured, the rest of their party arrived so they said good-bye and went to sit at the table. But a moment later, one of them raced back over to me, leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I am independently wealthy. I could live ANYWHERE in the world and I choose Ashland. You have to go!”
“Okay,” I said with a smile.
Then off he went to join his buddies. And I, stuffed with crab cakes, waddled back to the car and headed to my VRBO digs for the next week in Newport, a.k.a “Crab Cottage”:
The lovely and spacious Crab Cottage is owned by a commercial fishing family. After the 300 square foot Sunflower Cottage in Cannon Beach, Sadie and I are losing each other in 1000 square feet.
As with most of my writing projects, the Bungalow by the Sea play script is turning out to be a valuable (but rather uncomfortable at times) learning experience about life. As I try to make sense of my seven noisy years in Sidney, BC (albeit through the character of “Josie”), I thought this passage from The Alchemist to be rather apt:
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that we learned along the way…so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved towards that dream.”
– Paulo Coelho
In hindsight, it’s almost as if the seven years I spent trying to write in the world’s noisiest bungalow by the sea was instrumental in me mastering the lessons I needed to learn for the next leg of my journey…which is now.
“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”
– From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I’m not sure if I’ll be adding Ashland to my trip itinerary or not – but I’m definitely looking into it 🙂
That’s it from the peanut gallery…take care, thanks for reading & see you next week!
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.