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Archive for the ‘Daily Munge’ Category

Remembering and Recounting

In Artifacts, Daily Munge, Memoir on November 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm

“Life is not what one lives, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.”

~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Living to Tell the Tale

As I organize multiple pieces of Rosslyn’s renovation, our littoral Adirondack existence, and my still-young marriage into some sort of coherent storyline I wrestle consciously with occasional incongruities between my story and my life.

The narrative landscape is vast. Too vast, it often seems, to fit into a tidy memoir beginning with the crisp crack of a book spine opening for the first time, and the contented-sigh closure compelling stories demand.

Day after day, week after week I reread and rewrite, sort and distill and sort again, hunting for the essential story lurking amidst a mosaic of daily munge entries; four year’s worth of to-do lists; over fifteen thousand photographs; boxes of technical drawings and hasty sketches; hours of dictation; recorded meetings; and emails. Properly assembled, these miscellaneous artifacts form a multidimensional map of what took place between the spring of 2006 and the summer of 2012, but they fail to tell the story, they fail to recount the adventure lived.

19/03/2009 La Ministra de Cultuta de Colombia ...

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Image via Wikipedia)

In fact, I am startled to discover that these precise, unambiguous reference points frequently contradict my recollection. Dramatic events indelibly etched into my brain at the time have already blurred despite the brief lapse of time.

I curse my mischievous mind and then accept that 100% accuracy will inevitably elude me. My mind’s imperfect cataloging at once humbles and liberates me. Though an imperfect historian, I am a chronicler and curator of stories, not facts.

Even when my data is unequivocal, I inevitably distort history, omitting and abbreviating and emphasizing, distilling the vast landscape of data into vignettes. These accrete gradually, revealing the narrative design of my story.

I am unlike my father and my brother who posses iron vaulted minds where information is deposited, preserved and safeguarded for later use. When the time comes to retrieve the information, they withdraw it from their vaults unaltered, uncontaminated, reliable, accurate.

I believe that there are different kinds of accuracy. I am a storyteller, not an historian, and though I strive for verisimilitude, some truths are more effectively preserved and conveyed through stories than history or vaults.

Some days I toil like an archeologist amidst a midden heap of artifacts, rewinding time’s mysteries, deciphering the prior summer’s garden vegetables from this season’s rich, dark compost.

Other days I seduce and charm and coerce the artifacts to share longer forgotten truths. I plant French radishes and bush beans in the compost-enriched garden and several unlikely seedlings emerge among the radish and bean sprouts. I skip them while weeding, and soon enough I am rewarded with yellow cherry tomatoes, wart covered gourds and a curly garlic scape! Although I’ve grown yellow cherry tomatoes in the past, I’ve never grown gourds or garlic.

I remember that we were given several multicolored gourds to decorate my bride’s annual Halloween birthday party last year. But they were smooth skinned. Perhaps they were discarded in the compost, and a recessive wart gene found its way into the germination process resulting in the exotic adaptation growing amidst the fattening radishes.

And the garlic? We eat plenty from Full and By Farm, our local CSA, but to date I have never planted garlic. I vaguely remember several bulbs that we left out while traveling last winter. When we returned home, the kitchen was ripe with the pungent odor of rotten garlic. The bulbs were discolored, sitting in a pool of their own brown fluid. Several garlic cloves had begun to germinate, pale green shoots emerging from the cloves and arching upward.

I imagine planting them in a terra-cotta pot and placing it on a windowsill in my study. Each morning I inspect their progress. One shoot yellows and grows limp, then wrinkles across the moist soil. The other three grow taller quickly, changing from pale to dark green. Soon they will twist into elegant scapes which I can cut just above the soil level. I will chop them up and sauté them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I will serve them to my bride as a dinner side with mashed potatoes and swordfish, and she’ll smile ear-to-ear, marveling that something so succulent could have grown by accident.

According to Garcia Marquez life is not only the experiences, the moments lived. Life is also the rendering of those experiences into stories, the recollecting, the filtering, the imagining, the sharing. To fully live we must share our stories. That’s an interesting notion in a world that more often favors accuracy, facts, history.

Perhaps even with history we become overconfident that the facts are irrefutable. Only in recent decades have scholars we begun to look critically at history’s biases, often tainted by ideology, objectives or favoring the victors to the vanquished.

Absent an omnipresent video camera that documents my life as I bump along, capturing every minute detail precisely, permanently, Garcia Marquez’s perspective offers reassuring guidance. Though I frequently daydream about a collaborative memoir comprised of the recollections of everyone who participated in the rebirth of Rosslyn, my story is an eclectic nexus of personal experiences, filtered, aggregated and cobbled into narrative cohesion by me.

I write these affirmative lines now, and yet I struggle with it each time my bride asks if she can participate more actively in the revising and editing. Yes, I tell her; when I am done. Which is not to say that I have neglected her input. I have sought it again and again. But her story is different from my own, as are the still unwritten memoirs of many creative and hardworking people who invested their time and energy into renovating our home. I hope to showcase many of their impressions and memories on the Rosslyn Redux blog. And I am optimistic that my memoir will serve as an invitation to dig into their memories and to recount their own versions of Rosslyn Redux.

Thank you, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for your guidance.

Hickory Hill and Homeport

In Artifacts, Daily Munge, History & Heritage on October 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Hickory Hill in Essex, New York circa 1907 (photo by B. Benton Barker)

Hickory Hill in Essex, New York circa 1907 (photo by B. Benton Barker)

Rosslyn artifacts continue to emerge, and sometimes they’re not even even Rosslyn artifacts at all but Ross family artifacts. For example, I just discovered this antique postcard of the Ross Mansion (aka Hickory Hill) which was built in the early 1820s by the parents of W.D. Ross, the original owner of Rosslyn. Here’s the description provided by friend and Essex neighbor, Catherine DeWolff:

Mrs. Ross (detail from 1907 photograph of Hickory Hill above)

Mrs. Ross (detail from Hickory Hill photograph above)

Real photo postcard of the Ross Mansion in Essex, New York, on beautiful Lake Champlain – copyright 1907 by B. Benton Barker of Burlington, Vermont – faded card but details are still discernible such as Mrs. Ross sitting in her window (it is well known in the town history that that window was her favorite sitting spot and some say she still can be seen sitting there) – corners are lightly bumped and rubbed with a minor double crease at the bottom right corner – divided back is unused – rare barker card is comes in a rigid plastic display holder. (Catherine DeWolff)

Mrs. Ross’s lingering spirit was news to me. Looks like time for a little investigative work! It would be good indeed to collect a firsthand account from one who’s witnessed Mrs. Ross occupying her favorite window seat a century and change after this photograph was taken.

This past summer I was fortunate to meet Tilly Close for a tour of Hickory Hill which was built by her great grandfather, Henry Howard Ross. H.H. Ross (as local historians usually remember him) was William Daniel Ross’s brother. W.D. Ross (clearly historians and archivists had a vested interest in typographical efficiency) built Rosslyn in 1822, at the same time that his brother was building Hickory Hill. Although Mrs. Close shared plenty of anecdotes about Hickory Hill, there was no mention of ghosts. From what I can ascertain, both Daniel Ross and his bride Elizabeth Gilliland Ross Evertson died at Hickory Hill, but the latter passed away on August 3, 1847, well shy of B. Benton Barker’s  1907 photograph. Perhaps Mrs. Close can shed some light on the window sitting phantom. Her crisp sense of humor and encyclopedic recollection (including extensive genealogical research) have proven to be the single best guide in sorting out Ross family history. When I asked her to verify that Hickory Hill’s builder, H.H. Ross, had been her great grandfather she responded promptly as follows:

The family was lacking in imagination when naming their children. There were three Henry Howard Ross men, creating much confusion. H.H. Ross who built Hickory Hill was the son of Daniel Ross (who was married to Gilliland’s daughter Elizabeth). Henry’s brother, William D. Ross… built your home. His son, H.H. Ross was born 10/23/1827 – 6/15/1908. He married Mary Julia Nichols. Hickory Hill Henry Ross had 8 children. His son James Blanchard Ross who built the Camalier’s house, had a son named H.H. Ross, who married Anna Noble, and died early 1857-1882. (Tilly Close)

In a subsequent communication Mrs. Close explained further:

My Great Grandparents, Henry and Susannah had 8 biological children, plus one adopted girl, whose mother was Susannah’s sister, and had died. One of their sons is named William Daniel Ross II, born 10/5/1830 and died as a soldier in the Civil War, in Washington, DC 10/25/1861. I have his portrait by Horace Bundy. Rosslyn, which I think was called Hyde Gate at one point,  was built by my Gr. Grandfather’s brother, W.D. Ross… (Tilly Close)

An abundance of H.H. Rosses, a pair or W.D. Rosses and a fetching ghost by the name of Mrs. Ross. All the ingredients for a thriller!

And what of Rosslyn’s spiritual dimension? My bride claims psychic faculties and denies the presence of ghosts in our home. But it strikes me as unlikely that almost two centuries would fail to produce a ghost or two.

During Rosslyn’s renovation, several contractors mentioned signs of a ghost on the third floor. I’ll ask after any such recollections. For my part, I can not confirm any lingering spirits, but maybe the prolonged renovation process sent them scampering for more congenial circumstances. The endless whine of saws and the thwump-thwump of hammers may have driven Rosslyn’s ghosts up to Hickory Hill! But I’ll continue to poke around, and I promise to share any spooky discoveries.

A recent eBay find took me even further afield than Hickory Hill. In fact, it’s not really a Rosslyn artifact at all. I include it here because it pertains to another house which indirectly influence my compunction to purchase and renovate Rosslyn. Although my earliest childhood memories derive from The Farm, I spent far longer living in a subsequent home in Wadhams, New York.

Homeport in Wadhams, New York

Homeport in Wadhams, New York

By way of an eBay seller in Bonita Springs, Florida I was able to acquire a history of Wadhams entitled In the Beginning… Wadhams 1820-1970 which was compiled and published by Ethel L. Kozma. Nestled amid Wadhams history, genealogy and photographs, this image of the home where I lived during my elementary school years immediately triggered a flood of memories. Although I was too young to actually participate, my parents renovated this “once stately mansion” (cribbed from the original real estate listing) despite many decades of neglect and dilapidation. The left side of the porch in the image above had long since been removed, but the elegant home enchanted my parents. They undertook a renovation very nearly as ambitious as our own. And I grew up in the midst of it, obviously distorting my understanding of a “fixer upper” and my notion of a prudent investment.

Although I don’t recall any ghosts haunting our home in Wadhams, I did have an imaginary friend (two actually, if you count my imaginary friend’s imaginary friend) with whom I adventured and conspired. Those were enchanted years that might have proven even more so if I’d known the house’s history:

“Homeport” was the summer home of the late Albion V. Wadhams, a younger son of William Luman Wadhams, and a grandson of the General. Albion was graduated from U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. 1868. His cruise took him to China, an encounter with the Koreans; and later an instructor at the Naval Academy. He retired June 30, 1907 with the rank of Commodore after 43 years service. Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Wadhams had come to “Homeport” about 1896, which become the home of Mrs. Frances T. Ladd in Sept. 1926. This home was originally built by Levi H. Cross as indicated on the 1876 map. (In the Beginning… Wadhams 1820-1970)

I do vaguely recall that our home had belonged to one of the founding families of the town, but the abstraction of that was too much for my jittery mind. But the Navy?!?! Commodore Albion Wadhams… Who knew history held such invitations to daydream?

Gestation

In Artifacts, Daily Munge on September 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (Image via Wikipedia)

In Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “everything is gestation, then bringing forth”. My daily munge, what others might refer to as daily writing practice or a journal, is my place and process for gestation. It’s a place where I scribble and doodle and scrawl.

Sometimes it’s five hours’ worth of writing; sometimes it’s five minutes.

Anything is fair game for the daily munge, any quotidian artifact that even fleetingly piques my interest. There’s no referee, no editor, no judgment. Not at first.

Like a sculptor’s studio where I can explore an idea that may or may not evolve into a finished work, the daily munge let’s me experiment and carve away and mash the rejects only to pick them up again later to try again. Sometimes a poem or a story or an essay is born; more often I create, curate and then abandon my words.

Very little ever comes out of the daily munge in the short term, and yet most of my completed storytelling and writing had its inception there. Gestation is critical. As is patience and perseverance. I’ve learned these lessons many times, and yet I’m forced to relearn them each time I initiate and complete a new creative project.

Although renovating Rosslyn involved more woodwork and plaster and masonry and paint than the average poem or story, it too was gestation. It too demanded patience and perseverance, more sometimes than my bride and I could muster. Or so it seemed, until at last we were able to bring forth a home, a revitalized historic artifact, a font of memories and stories and lives.

A time capsule, the daily munge preserved the highs and lows of three, almost four years spent renovating Rosslyn. A mosaic of artifacts and memories. A sometimes euphoric, sometimes angry and frequently confused or frustrated tangle of interconnected narratives. This is the material I’ve been exploring and sculpting into Rosslyn Redux. This is the clunky, unedited avalanche of dreams and disappointments and triumphs and compromises that sometimes sweeps me up and plunges me—gasping for air, somersaulting blindly—downward.

Today has been one of those days. I’m trying to remind myself, “everything is gestation, then bringing forth”. I am so damned ready for the bringing forth! Patience. Perseverance. Thank you.

Recovering from Irene

In Boathouse, Champlain Valley, Daily Munge, Lake Champlain on September 25, 2011 at 10:32 am
Rosslyn boathouse after Hurricane Irene

Rosslyn boathouse after Hurricane Irene

Much of the North Country is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. Four weeks on, I return to the notes I jotted during and shortly after Irene passed through Essex, New York.

A sheet of water cascades in front of the parlor windows. I’ve sunk into an armchair to watch the white caps rolling into our stone seawall. Into the dock beneath Rosslyn boathouse. Wind surges, thrashing and straining the leafy limbs of the gnarled old maple tree on the front lawn, violently snapping the boathouse flag.

Hurricane Irene has been delivering a less devastating blow to the Northeast than originally anticipated, and yet our lawn is littered with branches, entire tree limbs and even the top half of an Aspen which snapped off next to the carriage barn. Lake Champlain‘s water level has risen dramatically, gobbling up the sand beach and lapping at the stone seawalls currently being rebuilt north of our boat dock.

I initiated this post during the worst of Irene’s wind and water, however I quickly abbreviated my commentary. My mind flashed back to Lake Champlain’s destructive spring flood. I grew superstitious, my premature relief that Irene had taken it easy on us replaced by dread that I was underestimating her impact.

The next day I continued my observations after a demoralizing round trip to Plattsburgh. My suspicions had been confirmed. We were lucky; others unlucky…

The day started well enough. Clearing skies. Sunshine. Only a light breeze, virtually imperceptible after yesterday’s 65mph gusts.

I checked the waterfront, noted the dramatic rise in water level then celebrated the absence of damage to the boat house. I walked the lawn and counted about a dozen broken limbs strewn over the grass. The top third of an aspen tree had snapped off and lay crushed to the south of the carriage barn. But no serious, unrecoverable damage.

My sunny disposition clouded briefly upon finding 27 bags of ready-mix concrete that had been left uncovered by the fellow rebuilding the stone seawall. All had been soaked and were now petrified, unusable.

Nevertheless, I departed for Plattsburgh relieved that we’d escaped virtually unharmed.

This is where my notes end. The day would force me to recalculate my earlier conclusions. Yes, Susan and I had been fortunate. Rosslyn had been virtually unscathed by Irene. But many of our neighbors in Whallonsburg, Willsboro and Wadhams and throughout the Champlain Valley were underwater.

Normally I’d drive through Willsboro, up and over Willsboro Mountain and then pick up “The Northway” (NYS Route 87) north to Plattsburgh. But I’d already heard that roads were closed beyond Willsboro, so I turned south toward the ferry dock to try another route. Our Town Supervisor was directing traffic at a road block, so I stopped and rolled down my window.

“What a mess. Roads are closed everywhere.”

“Can I get to Plattsburgh?”

“Route 12 is the only access to The Northway.”

“Toward Lewis? That’s fine.”

“Would you show those folks how to get to Meadowmount?” she asked, pointing at a car with out-of-state tags that was parked across from the Masonic Hall.

“Sure.”

“Good luck!”

I pulled in front of the car and parked. I introduced myself to the driver and explained that they could follow me to Meadowmount. They were grateful.

With 20/20 hindsight I should have realized that I would need to take Route 12 to the Lewis exit on the Northway and then cross over and lead them into Meadowmount from Betty Beavers Truck Stop. But there are a half dozen local routes between Essex and Lewis that would be quicker. It never occurred to me that all of them could be flooded.

They were. And over the next thirty minutes I tried every one only to be stopped at road blocks or unmarked, submerged roads. Staggering. But most heart breaking of all was Whallonsburg, a hamlet of Essex a couple of miles inland from Lake Champlain. The Boquet River flows directly through the middle of Whallonsburg and it had flooded so high that five or six houses along the river were totally inundated. A couple of homes had water up the the second story windows! Emergency services had been set up at The Whallonsburg Grange, and volunteers were directing traffic and assisting displaced residents.

I would revisit this heartbreaking scene the following day during a bicycle ride assessing the damage all along the Boquet River corridor. By then the water had retreated and residents were dragging furniture and carpets and clothing and books and appliances out onto their yards. Over the next couple of days enormous dumpsters were filled with the destroyed possessions. During my most recent conversation with a friend who lives in Whallonsburg I learned that at least one and maybe more of the homes were condemned. Despite the devastation, it’s been heartening to experience the community spirit and volunteerism that have resulted. The community has pulled together to help the residents effected by Irene with a fundraiser (Good Night, Irene) and countless hours of volunteerism.

Still trying to absorb the depressing situation in Whallonsburg I proceeded to attempt one road after another. And it seemed that with each “dead end” our entourage collected another vehicle. In due course our entire caravan made it out to The Northway, hopefully in time for one of the cars to make it to the airport without missing their flight. At Betty Beavers I got out and explained to the first car how to get to Meadowmount and offered them my card in case they got stuck. Only a few days later I received a gracious email from them explaining that they made it safely to the music school where their son had studied some years prior.

I mention this detail for the same reason I explained the community recovery efforts in Whallonsburg. Irene’s proverbial silver lining may be the humanizing influence. People connecting and helping one another. This was also the case last spring when Lake Champlain flooded its banks for weeks on end. In both natural disasters the disruption and destruction were catastrophic, but in both cases effected communities rallied and supported one another. This civic responsibility, this community spirit underpins the attractive North Country lifestyle that has embraced us since moving from New York City to Essex in 2006.

In closing, the photograph at the top of this post was taken after Lake Champlain’s water level rapidly rose due to the runoff from Irene. Although it pales in comparison to the water levels last spring, it was surreal to watch our beach disappear as water levels returned to typical spring levels.

Redacting Rosslyn v1.0

In Daily Munge, Monologues on September 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Hiatus Interruptus: Rosslyn 1822-2011

Hiatus Interruptus: Rosslyn 1822-2011

Redacting Rosslyn. A concept. An experiment. A risk. A plunge.

And then… an ellipsis.

Stillness. Silence. White space.

Not a pregnant pause. Not AWOL.

An interstice.

Carving out a space for stillness amidst the throng will open up the possibility of stillness. But there must also be room for chance, for stumbling accidentally upon these somewhat paradoxical interstices, and then honoring them… an invitation to wander into the unfamiliar. (“A Cadence of Choice”)

I accepted the invitation, and I wandered into the unfamiliar. For seven weeks I wandered and stumbled in search of stillness. But it eluded me.

I succumbed to the siren call of my sister’s wedding, the Depot Theatre Gala, a bountiful vegetable garden, windsurfing and water skiing and learning to wakesurf, a welcome parade of house guests, #ADK827 and an unforgettable TrekEast cycling excursion.

As the weeks tumbled past I gathered some of the feedback and artifacts into a digital scrapbook, and I dipped into the bucket of feedback cards I received from the audience after my August 3 Depot Theatre performance of Redacting Rosslyn. I discovered that almost universally the audience had loved the “Just Google It!” video, and that generally speaking the vignettes that wandered into storytelling and performance trumped those that were read. Long, read vignettes were the hands down least favorite.

I’ve been simultaneously honored and flabbergasted with how much feedback I’ve received. Thoughtful conversations and telephone calls, lengthy emails, and comment cards so filled with handwritten notes they’re difficult to decipher. As much enthusiasm for oral storytelling, digital storytelling and performance as for a written book. Interest in video and multi-modal narrative, more even than I’d anticipated.

Almost two months later, I’ve sequestered myself in Taos, New Mexico for a week of stillness. Comment cards are scattered over the horizontal surfaces of a small adobe pueblo style home at the tail end of a dead end road where I’m living, writing and revising.

Stillness and solitude.

I’m making inroads, adapting Redacting Rosslyn v1.0 according to audience feedback, culling material which failed to engage and adding new vignettes that answer questions left unanswered. I’m liberating stories from the page, and tightening the passages better suited to reading.

I’m typing in the back yard, seated beneath a viga and latilla porch, a coyote fence to my right and left reaching clear to a tan adobe wall at the back of the yard. Earlier I headed inside to pace and recount stories to a challenging audience: a kiva fireplace, crepe paper poppies, a collection of Native American pottery, an ancient wooden bowl.

There are siren calls aplenty: uninterrupted blue skies, sunlight that emanates from everywhere at once, the smell of roasting green chile, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, artistic and culinary temptations in all directions. But the stillness fortifies me.

Each new work is unique, and its creation may well require different routines, different methods and habits and rhythms than previous creations. This will to adapt the creative process per the needs of each new creation is not only more realistic than the systematic, procrustean assembly line model, it’s more exciting. Each new creative experience should be an adventure. A journey. An exploration. This is what makes creating and telling a story so damned interesting! (“The Need for Flexibility)

Renovating Rosslyn was an adventure. Writing and editing Rosslyn Redux is an adventure. Redacting Rosslyn is an interstitial adventure tucked into the folds of both, a wander into the unfamiliar. And it demands new methods and rhythms, new risks, new exploration. In storytelling and writing, silence and white space are as important as voice and words.

Thank you for enduring the ellipsis while I found my way. I’ll be back. Soon. To continue my story…

#ADK827 Update

In Daily Munge on August 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Dino Dogan will present at #ADK827 in Essex, New York on Saturday, August 27.

Dino Dogan will present at #ADK827 in Essex, New York on Saturday, August 27.

I have a surprise addition to the #ADK827 Adirondack Region Social Media Meetup taking place in Essex, New York tomorrow:

Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan), the founder of Triberr (@Triberr), will be presenting at 1:30 PM in the Essex Inn dining room following the luncheon. Whether you’re new to social media or a seasoned veteran, Dino will stretch your skills and inspire your dreams! Dino’s DIY Blogger NET is a favorite go-to blog for online marketing, creative technology applications, social media pointers, creative web design tips and cutting edge social media resources and commentary. Triberr is an innovative platform for dilating the breadth and impact of your social media message.

Triberr is a reach multiplier which tweets your blog posts to not only your twitter followers but to all of your Tribe’s twitter followers too. (deepinmummymatters.com)

In addition to social media wonk, Dino describes himself as a “lousy mixed martial artist and a recovering network engineer, a pretty good singer/songwriter, trainer of dogs, and a blogger of biz…” In short, Dino’s just a regular guy who happens to understand the value and tools of social media a whole lot better than most regular guys. This is part of what makes him a great teacher and an inspiring speaker.

If you’re hoping to supercharge your social media skillset or if you’re still confused but curious about blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Triberr, etc. you won’t want to miss Dino Dogan’s presentation. I look forward to seeing/meeting you tomorrow for the #ADK827 Adirondack Region Social Media Meetup taking place in Essex, New York. View the full schedule here.

#ADK827

In Daily Munge, What's the story? on August 13, 2011 at 9:55 am
Rosslyn Waterfront (photo by Betsy Bacot-Aigner)

Rosslyn Waterfront in Essex, NY (photo by Betsy Bacot-Aigner)

Are you social media savvy?

Are you social media confused?

On Saturday, August 27 social media stars from throughout the Adirondack region will gather in Essex, New York (@EssexNY) for an afternoon and evening of networking, learning, brainstorming and celebrating. It’s called #ADK827 and you’re invited!

Meet the real people behind the avatars you know and love while enjoying the Essex renaissance! If you’ve never attended a social meetup, this is a great opportunity to meet and learn from your peers while enjoying a relaxing and enjoyable mini-vacation.

Reserve your spot before it’s too late! Here’s a quick glimpse at Saturday’s events:

Panel Discussion: “At the crossroads of writing, publishing and social media”
11:00 AM, Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast (FREE; limit 18; RSVP to @EssexNY asap)
Panelists include:

  • Wanda Shapiro Adirondack-born, Los Angeles-based indie author of Sometimes That Happens With Chicken, Wanda Shapiro was recently called “the next avant-garde literary find” by The LA Independent. Since the debut of her first novel she has been compared to Hemingway, Salinger, Hitchcock, Burroughs, Marquez, and Calvino. The level of quality Shapiro is bringing to the literary fiction market combined with her indie business model has fans calling her a one-woman Random House.
  • John Warren A 25-year veteran media professional, John Warren (@adkalmanack) is a broadcast, print, and online journalist, author, and historian whose work has ranged from traditional to new media. He is the founder and editor of two popular online magazines, Adirondack Almanack and New York History, the author of two books of regional history and a weekly contributor to North County Public Radio.
  • Sarah Wilson Sarah Wilson (@swbizcom) collaborates with agencies, executives, and authors on how to navigate an increasingly fragmented media landscape with a targeted and effective approach. Current responsibilities include: Supervisor for Content, Public Relations & Social Media with AdWorkshop/Inphorm, New York’s award winning employee owned digital marketing agency; PR & Social Media Consultant with YouCast, a premiere NYC social media start up operating at the nexus of earned/owned/paid media campaigns; and Preferred Provider for marketing & PR for SheWrites.com, an online community of over 15,000 women writers.
  • Amy Guglielmo Amy Guglielmo (@amyguglielmo) is an artist, teacher, and co-author of the best-selling Touch the Art (@touchtheart) children’s series (Sterling 2006, 2009, 2010). After actively and successfully marketing Touch the Art with traditional techniques including: personal appearances, television, radio, and snail mail, she has adopted social media as her primary platform building strategy. Amy recently completed her first novel, and is using Twitter and Facebook to foster new connections in the changing world of publishing. Amy is one of the founders of the blog WhyNoKids.com. She lives in Plattsburgh, New York and Tamarindo, Costa Rica with her husband, a freelance writer.

Social Media Luncheon
12:30 PM, Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast, $20/person (RSVP to 518-963-4400 by 8/25; limit 43) Join panelists and other Adirondack region social media friends for a delicious lunch at the recently renovated and reopened Essex Inn. Menu options:

  1. Herb Rubbed Grilled Salmon Salad Fresh salmon over a local farm fresh garden salad with honey mustard dressing.
  2. Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwich Topped with fire roasted red bell peppers and melted provolone cheese on a brioche roll, with lettuce and tomato.
  3. Archer’s Salad with Grilled Chicken Pecans, sunflower seeds, wasabi peas and sesame sticks with farm fresh field greens and a southwest ranch dressing.
  4. Bavarian Beer Burger Grilled Angus burger served on a pretzel roll with beer simmered onions, Dijon mustard and melted cheddar.

Cookies and brownies tray included. All options include coffee, tea or lemonade. $20 per person Includes taxes and gratuities. Please call (518) 963-4400 to reserve your seat and submit your lunch option. Prepay reservations only; non-refundable. All reservations must be received by Thursday, August 25th.

Guest Speaker: Triberr Founder Discusses Social Media
1:30 PM, Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast, Whether you’re new to social media or a seasoned veteran, Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan), the founder of Triberr (@Triberr), will stretch your skills and inspire your dreams! Dino’s DIY Blogger NET is a favorite go-to blog for online marketing, creative technology applications, social media pointers, creative web design tips and cutting edge social media resources and commentary. Triberr is an innovative platform for dilating the breadth and impact of your social media message.

Triberr is a reach multiplier which tweets your blog posts to not only your twitter followers but to all of your Tribe’s twitter followers too. (deepinmummymatters.com)

Social Media Networking and Watersports
2:30-5:30 PM Rosslyn Waterfront (FREE; RSVP to @RosslynRedux with numbers, questions and interests) @virtualDavis invites you to experience the siren call of summer on Lake Champlain! Meet your Adirondack social media “neighbors” while experiencing the inspiration for Rosslyn Redux, a transmedia memoir of exurban flight, eco-historic rehab and marriage testing misadventure. Water skiing, wakeboarding, swimming, windsurfing, volleyball, bocce, volleyball, and house tour (4:30 PM). Beverages and snacks will be served throughout the afternoon.

Social Media Banquet
7:00-9:00 PM Rudder Club at the Essex Shipyard (RSVP to Rigel at 3zombies@gmail.com (preferred) or call The Rudder Club at 518.963.7700 by 8/25; limit 20) Get inspired by several Adirondack region social media leaders while enjoying a delicious meal (menu options below) at the Rudder Club at the Essex. Menu options:

  1. Pan Seared Salmon with Citrus Butter with a Summer Vegetable Medley and your choice of Jasmine Rice or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
  2. 12 oz. Grilled NY Strip Steak with a Mushroom and Brandy-Peppercorn Demi Glace with a Summer Vegetable Medley and your choice of Jasmine Rice or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
  3. Linguine Primavera with Summer Vegetables Sauteed Vegetables tossed with Linguine in Marinara or a White Cream Sauce.

Dinner includes Family-style Appetizers, a House Salad and Dessert. *Cash Bar. $30 per person Taxes and Gratuities NOT included. Please reserve your seat and submit your dinner option by emailing Rigel at 3zombies@gmail.com (preferred) or call The Rudder Club at 518.963.7700. Payment information can be given by email, or you may submit a contact number to pay-by-phone. Prepay reservations only; non-refundable. Due to the restaurant being open for public business, space is limited to a total of 20 people for the entire party. All reservations must be received by Thursday, August 25th.

#ADK827 Late Night
7:00 until the sand man gets you! The Old Dock Restaurant For the late-nighters, the #ADK827 fun continues with live music, cool cocktails and stunning views of the ferry, Lake Champlain and Vermont’s Green Mountains. This is the perfect bookend to a day in Essex!

See you at Depot Theatre Tommorrow

In Daily Munge, Monologues, What's the story? on August 2, 2011 at 8:52 am
Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Adirondack storyteller and writer, George Davis, needs you to help him kill a few stories on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. Prepare for a pell-mell parade of vignettes, monologues and readings ranging from a wader-wearing Amazon named Rosslyn to a perennially pickled bathtub yachtsman… This solo performance pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies (and absurdities) of renovation, marriage and North Country life while inviting the audience to participate in editing a memoir… “Along the way I collected too many stories to fit in one book. The audience will help me decide which stories live. And which stories die. Basically, I’m asking otherwise compassionate, peaceful people to commit story-cide… It’s quite a unique opportunity!” (Adirondack Almanack)

I’m almost ready to redact Rosslyn Redux tomorrow night in Westport. Still playing with timing, transitions, and trimming. Always room to cut it shorter, shorter, shorter. If you come, you can help by “gong” editing… What? I guess you’ll have to come to see what I mean…

When I step onto the boards at the Depot Theatre tomorrow night, it will mark the first time that I’ve shared any of the material from the Rosslyn Redux manuscript, much less asked my readers to help me figure out what direction the final draft should take. Of course, much of what I’m reading will not make it into the final draft, and some of the vignettes aren’t even in the manuscript, instead created specifically for the performance. Suffice to say, this is an experiment, inviting readers and audience into the creative process, into the revision and redaction process. It could get very messy… Or it could be wildly successful. I’m gambling on the latter. In either case, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

An exuberant Adirondack bear hug to the good folks at Adirondack Almanack for posting “Storyteller, Writer George Davis at Depot Theatre August 3“.

Update: I’ve just received some dapper Rosslyn Redux embroidered caps that will find their way onto the pates of some participants, and a stack of gift certificates to the finest dining establishments in Essex sit on my desk beside me. Participants will be entered into a drawing for caps, gift certificates and one-day-some-day books!

North Country Farm Stands

In Daily Munge, What's the story?, Where's Rosslyn? on July 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm


Farm Stand In Vermont

The good folks at Cooking Up a Story featured this slice of North Country summer living, and I couldn’t resist contacting them to find out where the farm stand is located. They responded quickly:

They are in Alburgh, VT – which is in the northwest corner of the state – nestled against NY and Canada, along Route 2. Drive up and check them out sometime. Really nice people!

Close enough for a visit, but not swing-by-and-grab-some-sweet-corn close. Too bad! Nevertheless, it’s an inspirational story. We used to have a similar farm stand near us in Essex, New York that was run by the Sayward family for many, many years, but it closed up a few summers ago. Still miss it!

We’ve belonged to two CSAs since moving full-time to Essex, Essex Farm and Full and By Farm, and we grow a large vegetable garden and quite a few types of fruit. So I’m not complaining, but I do love the experience of visiting a neighborhood farm stand. It’s nice to meet the growers, hear their stories, learn new ways to prepare the fresh produce.

 

Totally, unabashedly, irreversibly seduced

In Adirondacks, Boathouse, Carriage Barn, Daily Munge, Historic Essex, House, Ice House, Lake Champlain, Renovation & Rehabilitation on July 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Today’s question from Al Katkowsky‘s Question of the Day book was the perfect invitation to reflect on Rosslyn Redux, the “big picture”!

What should you definitely not have done that turned out okay anyway?

In the summer of 2006 I definitely should not have purchased a dilapidated, almost two hundred year old house in Essex, New York. Definitely not. Not if I wanted to stay sane, solvent or married. Not if I wanted to do anything else in my life except for renovating, babysitting contractors, and nurturing this handsome old house back to life…

But I was totally, unabashedly, irreversibly seduced by Rosslyn, a sagging-but-still-stately, almost two century year old property on the Adirondack shores of Lake Champlain. My new bride and I swapped Manhattan for North Country bliss.

Our plan? Renovate a home. Grow a garden. Plant an orchard. Raise a dog. Swim, sail, ski, hike, bike and live happily ever after.

Or not…

Over a hundred carpenters, tradesmen and artisans later; over four times our budget and planned timeline later; and over countless marriage-testing misadventures later we finally finished our renovation. In time for the biggest flood in over two centuries to swamp our boathouse and waterfront for two months…

We should definitely not have undertaken this wildly ambitious project. But we did. And it turned out okay anyway. So far!

Check out RosslynRedux.com for a vicarious plunge into the idiosyncrasies (and absurdities) of our renovation, marriage and North Country life.

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