Friday, August 16, 2013

Location, Location, Location

Many thanks to all of you who have adventurously walked under the red awning and stepped across the threshold into The Safety Pin Cafe. In a few short weeks more than 1,000 visitors, and nearly 200 readers have sampled the medicine story of Pale the Border Witch. The cafe located in a town so familiar, yet without an address, might be found in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places? The story of wandering between what passes as reality in the everyday and what could be just as real in the borders has a gift for any of us who has been faceless, homeless, or otherwise without. Tucked in the folds of a cozy yet mythic story of 6,000 words layers of common magic has been planted in the community imagination. The wave that is Drewslist: what a place! Most of the visitors and readers discovered The Safety Pin Cafe because of the ongoing enticements I've posted on Drew Kampion's email list.

Many thanks also to Annie Horton Zeller and Gwen Samelson from WhidbeyAIR for creating the space to share The Safety Pin Cafe and the Hawaiian traditional practice Makua O'o. The air waves, and the comfortable recording studio of WhidbeyAIR in Coopeville is a perfect location for spreading a medicine story. Mahalo nui loa a pau. LISTEN to that program here.

Simple and sometimes silly, the journey between here and there can dwither (I made that up) a person who is set in the way things ought to be. Mythic arts editor, author and blogger Terri Windling has long been a source of courage and inspiration to me. On her blog Myth and Moor Windling wrote this about "Foolishness" 

"While our intellect chases its bright and lofty visions, our  most original, powerful ideas tend to rise from muddy, murky depths below: from the clouded waters of the subconscious; from the baffling landscape of nightmare and dream; from the odd obssessions, weird fixations, and uncanny flashes of intuition that rise up from those strange parts of ourselves that we know and approve of least; from those places most likely to make us feel ridiculous, and exposed. The muse, if we follow her far enough, and honestly enough, demands that we bare it all: our angel wings and our asses' ears. It doesn't matter if we're writing genre fiction and not memoir; it doesn't matter if we're painting fairy tales and not self-portraits. "All art is autobiographical," said Federico Fellini; "the pearl is the oyster's autobiography."

Q & A

Where does The Safety Pin Cafe pitch its tent?

The Safety Pin Cafe pitches its tent in a chemical and fragrance free setting. That is not an easy place to find, as we have learned through years of first-hand experience.

Why does The Safety Pin Cafe need a chemical and fragrance free setting?

A chemical and fragrance free setting is the environment that allows me the writer and storyteller, and my husband, to flourish. In times and places again and again on this planet, I have been injured by chemical exposures. After years of diaspora we have begun to root in a place of safety. From this place of safety on Whidbey Island in the Salish Sea the medicine of The Safety Pin Cafe wrote itself through me.

The medicine story that has become The Safety Pin Cafe looking for locations to pitch its tent and its magic will, as a consequence of living my real life, be done in a place free of chemicals and fragrance.

Is that really possible? A chemical and fragrance free setting?

Yes, it is possible but not easy. That is one of the main reasons this cafe is moveable and pinned together metaphorically and physically with safety pins. The efficacy of that simple pin is magic and practical. The story of The Safety Pin Cafe tells of the many ways the pin shows up to take the characters from here .... to there; it is mythic telling and includes truth-telling at so many different levels. The story is my memoir, my life woven with myth so there is room for bigger truths (maybe that includes your truth). We have learned so much about how to live "safely" and with those lessons in mind we dare to pitch a tent with our story of living on the edges, crossing borders and pinning what really matters.

As I write this post, my husband Pete and I prepare for discussions with people in our community about pitching the first tent for the Grand Opening of The Safety Pin Cafe. A possible hurdle to the opening has popped up. We will have to talk through the hurdle and see where it leads.

UPDATE: We have successfully negotiated a time and date for The Grand Opening of The Safety Pin Cafe: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6th at the SOUTH WHIDBEY TILTH Farmer's Market. 11AM -1PM. Seating begins at 11 AM. Opening Ceremony starts at 11:15AM. Thanks to Prescott, Rumi Keast, and Pete Little for joining me over a platter of Safety Pin Cafe cinnamon toast for a mutually respectful collaboration; and a bit of silliness and Beattles' music!

Could The Safety Pin Cafe pitch its tent inside, or outside?

Yes, our tent could be pitched under the sky or under a roof.

What other necessities does The Safety Pin Cafe require?

  • The cafe needs to be set up in a place where stories can be told and listened to with respect. 
  • A space of quiet is good. 
  • A place with great acoustics would be awesome. 
  • If we are pitched in an outdoor setting, a tent with sides would help make it cozy. We can not be with wood smoke, so we will make the tent "yurt-like" and warm with wall coverings and creative space heat.
  • People who come will find a place to sit, drink something hot/cold and nibble on cinnamon toast (a specialty of the cafe).
  • The Safety Pin Cafe needs approximately two hours to spin its magic, involve their guests and pin the story(ies) together.
Is there anything else?

Yes, one last thing. The Safety Pin Cafe is a moveable space, much like a voyaging canoe or a Vardo (Gypsy's wagon). It does not own the land upon which it pitches its tent. So it is the collaboration with amenable people -- people who like us, and we them, who share their space that is most valuable.

Based on the experiences my family and I have lived, moving to find the community who benefits from our presence in mutual fashion, we bless the intention to set up The Safety Pin Cafe with communities who fit that vision.

If someone reading this has a space or place for The Safety Pin Cafe, how can they contact you?

Email is best.


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