In 2006, I went to Provincetown for the first time to take a workshop with Pam Houston at the Fine Arts Work Center. Each morning a twenty-minute walk to class took me parallel with the ocean on a cobblestone sidewalk, past art gallery after art gallery and shop owners sweeping away the night’s debris. I inhaled the sea air, the coffee brewing. The world was waking up, and I was out in it.
A painting/photograph kept catching my eye. One afternoon I went in to Angela Russo Photography to see it up close. It turns out it was a photograph printed on canvas, and it’s now hanging in front of me. The photograph is also the header on my website. I told Angela how I loved these houses, and she said they were just down the road, that I could see them for myself.
The next afternoon I rented a bike and pedaled the three miles to Truro and there they were.
Two years later, in September of 2008, after thinking about starting a blog for a while but thinking I should wait until my novel was published to start one, I was having lunch when a friend mentioned I should check out her writer friend’s blog. Did she have a book?
No, she didn’t. And that was the last drop, the one that filled the glass, and spilled over into my blog. I made a couple of calls, finally made my way from wordpress.org to wordpress.com, and by the next afternoon, my blog was online.
Usually it takes me forever to make a decision. Not this time.
I looked around my desk and saw the Annie Dillard quote taped to my printer, read it, and named the blog. I needed a photo for the header and immediately thought of the houses. I found one of the photos I’d taken in 2006 and clicked on it, having long forgotten, if I ever knew, the name of the cottages.
Last summer I went back to P-town and again rented a bike. Imagine my surprise as I came pedaling up to the cottages–the Days’ Cottages.
This only happens in writing, I thought, when your subconscious leads you to coincidences and metaphors you only realize later.
In 1931 Joseph A. Days built 9 cottages. Today there are 23–all exactly alike. It was Joe’s wife, Amelia, who thought to name each of the cottages for a flower. You can find them outside of Provincetown, as you approach Truro on 6A. One of these days, I’m going to stay in one.
Enjoyed reading about the history of your blog.
The cottages and beach front have such a fresh air feel to them, like I’m sinking my bare feet into sand just stopping by and visiting.
Thanks, Terresa. I wish I was sinking my bare feet into that sand.
There’s a touch of magic in this post … in your whole blog, actually. I always feel as if I’ve visited somewhere lovely when I come here. Thank you.
Linda, thank YOU. I appreciate your nice words.
I agree with Linda. This is a magical post and a magical blog. It’s amazing what sprouts forth when you listen to your instincts and follow Serendipity. I felt it the first time I laid eyes on the photograph of Days’ Cottages and read one of your posts.
Darrelyn, your words mean a lot to me. And thanks for highlighting listening to my instincts. When I was choosing the name of the blog and the header photo, I didn’t worry about “the big picture;” I just chose two things I already knew I liked. The result is a good reinforcement to me to do less thinking!
Love it! A beautiful post. Many’s the summer I’ve contemplated those same magical cottages. Thank you for bringing me back there with your usual spare, lyrical touch.
Thanks, Robin. There is something magical about those cottages.
I thought these were the ones!
Jodi, you were right!
Oh when things line up like that, whispering to you that your decisions are more than snap decisions, that there are reasons behind your reasons. It brings such a moment of peace and reassurance. Such a feeling of KNOWING when the unknowing often reigns supreme.
Sarah, it is reassuring to know my decisions have a little depth behind them. There’s also a sense of less-flailing-around and more-things coming-together. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I hope you’ll be back.
I just reread Dillard’s The Writing Life because of your blog. The quote you use for its name is so great, but of all the great lines in that book, I couldn’t remember that one—one of her best! So . . . thank you.
That is so much fun to know, Richard! I love that book. And thanks for leaving a comment. By the way, if you ever read a quote here and would like a page number, just leave a comment with the request.
Your photos are making me homesick for Provincetown. Can’t wait to be out at the Fine Arts Work Center again this summer!
Wish I was going to be there this summer. Thanks for your comment, Kim.
These things fascinate me…the way a personal journey unfolds…the signs along the way…the forks in the road…the process by which certain imagery or key pieces of the puzzle or critically important mentors truly seem to “find us” sometime. Its wonderful that we can share these things in bits and pieces over time, in a context like this, until a picture starts to emerge…the elements of a genuine and compelling story begin to cohere…
And yours is that, in spades, Cynthia! Thanks for bringing it to us in such an eloquent and engaging fashion. Its truly a pleasure.
Thanks, Walt. I always look forward to your comments. It is fascinating how we get from there to here. Writing has definitely made me more aware of signs along the way and images that I’m drawn to. By the way, did you notice the coming together of the cottages and the clothes line?
Cynthia, I have always wondered about that picture. It is my dream kind of place. So I loved hearing this story of how you found it, and how your blog really came together. Thank you!
Lauren, these cottages are my dream kind of place too! Thanks for your kind words.
I’m very glad you didn’t wait for the published novel to start blogging because I enjoy reading your posts now. I’ll be the first to order your novel when it is published.
I loved hearing the story of how it all started and the lovely coincidence of the cottages’ name. You must go stay there and blog about it. I love your photos too.
Sorry to be so late to visit; I’ve been in NYC.
Sarah, now I’m sorry to be so long in responding. Travel does seem to force the virtual life to take a back seat to real life. I hope you had a fun trip to NYC.
Thanks for your lovely words about the blog and this post. I hope you know how much I appreciate your interest and support–and your offer to order my novel!
I’ve dreamed of staying at those cottages for years & my someday is almost here! I’ll be at Day’s Cottages with my best friend, my daughter & one of her best friends for Memorial Day Weekend!
momomol, that it so exciting. thanks for sharing. hope you’ll come back and tell us which cottage and give us a few sandy tidbits from your stay. wishing you wonderful memorial days…
I know these cottages well, and have biked along them many times myself. Thanks for the story, and the lovely images.
Thank you for reading, Adam. I love it when someone who has actually been to the cottages leaves a comment to let me know.
Once again, Cynthia…well said, well written 🙂
The photos are lovely. I have been following you for about a year now, but compelled to write this time because I agree, the subconscious does lead us to coincidences and metaphors.
Donna, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It’s nice to know you’ve been out there reading. And now it’s nice to meet you.
More and more, my subconscious is delivering these little unexpected surprises, and it amazes me every time.