Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lifestyles of the Rich and Gaymous

The New York Times has a nice article about Mark Doty & Paul Lisicky and their new place on Fire Island, and why they left Provincetown. Mostly the article is about their fabulous home though.

I understand why they left Provincetown. I find myself wishing I'd discovered that place, started going there (...been able to afford to go there...), years before I did -- back when it was still more of a funky artist town and not quite so gentrified. At the same time, I think I got there when I needed to.

I first went there, actually, in 1982 for the annual women's martial arts camp I used to attend every summer; it was held in a different location every year, and the first year I went, it was in P-town. (We had our big mass opening & closing workouts in Town Hall, which was just too much fun.) I didn't go back until 2001 though, a few months after finishing library school, just exactly when I was ready to start writing again -- though I didn't realize that until I found myself sitting on the beach scribbling madly in my journal. I spent a week there, staying by myself in the lovely Fairbanks Inn, whale-watching and shopping and beach-bumming and generally happy as a clam. (Happier, probably, than the clams I ate that week. Hm.)

I found out about the Fine Arts Work Center sometime after that trip, and decided I wanted to go there someday. In 2003 I couldn't afford a week-long workshop, but I found a good airfare that just happened to coincide with a few days in which both Mark Doty and Stanley Kunitz were scheduled to read. Lucky me! I remember the moment I walked onto the grounds of FAWC, I felt right at home for some reason, even though I didn't know a soul there. It was kind of like -- oh, here's where my people have been hiding!

I registered for a workshop in 2004, but had to cancel in order to spend time with my mom when she had knee replacement surgery that summer. But when I finally showed up for workshops in 2005 and 2006 -- well, those of you who've been reading this blog for a while know how much fun I had and how hard I worked, those weeks. Going back there feels like going home, now -- and by "there" I mean both FAWC and the town itself: the harbor fog, the dunes, the gloriously queer parade along Commercial Street at night.

Provincetown feels so much like home. Even though I'll never, never be able to afford to live there -- and completely understand why someone who has loved it would leave it now.

Then again, I'm the one who actually likes living in the Midwest. So what do I know. *grin*


Anonymous said...

:) Glad you got to go to P'town. I plan on taking a class someday.

What martial art do you do? I'm starting up something when my shoulder problem goes away.

KATE EVANS said...

Cool article. Thanks for pointing me to it. I love Doty--worked with him at a workshop in California one summer and found him to be as brilliant a teacher as he is a poet.

Anne said...

Jilly, you totally should! You'd love it. I studied Oyama Kyokushin Karate, which is a Japanese hard style similar to Shotokan. I liked the emphasis on realism (generally full-contact to the body, light-contact to the face -- as opposed to some other styles where you pull your punches like a foot away from the opponent) and the fact that they didn't emphasize flashy stuff like high kicks to the head, which as a short person I can't do anyway. ;)

Kate, glad you enjoyed! I hope to get a chance to work with him someday; it's good to hear you had such a positive experience with him.

jenni said...

cool article. i have yet to make it to Ptown. Maybe someday!