The Vehicle of Expression: Week Three

Weekend three of reading at the Art Shanties Project and I think I'm having more fun each week.  With temperatures rising into the high 50s, I found that most of the shanties had been pulled up on the beach.  Despite knowing the ice itself is still about 14" thick, I was just as glad not to be in a 12,000 pound bus sitting on slushy top layers with the temperature almost at 60! 

Valerie, the owner of the Vehicle of Expression, told me about watching the 'green room' hauled off the lake.  I hadn't really thought about how the shanties got on and off.  They're hauled by trucks.  For the green room, a hexagonal hut on a platform, the bump up onto the beach was pretty rough.  The truck that pulled it picked up speed and roared up onto the beach to get the momentum it needed to get up over that ridge.  It got shaken up pretty badly, and as a result, no food for the starving artists today!

Luckily, I decided to look at some of the shanties again and went into the Chef Shanty.  There, Jeremy Bue and a helper had an array of spices and herbs, rather than the potato stamps they had two weeks ago.  Visitors were invited to choose any combination of spices and herbs, which they then ground up with mortar and pestle, and added melted butter, put in a cup with a lid to take home.  Okay, so butter isn't lunch or a hot drink, but just seeing the wide variety of ingredients and creating my own butter was fun and I'm excited to try it when I get home.

By the way, when I talked to Jeremy, he waved off the idea that he's a chef.  He just cooks food, he said.  When I saw his site, I thought he seriously under-sells himself.  Take a look at his Eat on the Loose site.

I read twice again today, at 11 am and again at 1 pm.  On the first reading, I read scenes of Shawn trying to 'work' in medieval Carlisle--using his gift, as the Bruce ordered him to, to get military information.  However, he keeps getting interrupted in his pursuit of women by Niall, dressed as a monk, and the boy Red who hangs around, offering to help him 'get a lass.'  Shawn, of course, is incensed and informs Red he can get a lass just fine on his own.  Red shrugs, pointing out that apparently he can't because he's talking to a different one all the time.

In my second reading, I read about Shawn's revelry in the wake of 'marrying' Allene, telling Niall's mother, who thinks she's talking to her son, to make sure to tell him--that is, the real Niall--next time she sees him--that is, the real Niall--that she likes him best--the him she likes being Shawn--as he was at his wedding.  Allene is not amused.

Most of my readings have been of the more humorous scenes in The Blue Bells Chronicles, but in my afternoon reading, I also read the scenes in which Shawn grumbles about his life--and is soon silenced as he witnesses a mother's grief at having to send her young son's to war.

I enjoyed talking to Valerie Borey, the owner of the bus, again today, and learning a little more about her and how she came to have this Vehicle of Expression.  "I write all sorts of things," she said.  "Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays."  She didn't elaborate.  Like Jeremy, she under-sells herself!  Valerie has a number of published pieces in all these areas, has had a number of her plays produced, and keeps busy in addition with artwork, teaching Norwegian, and a number of roles--onstage and off--in theater.

The shanties are all somehow interactive experiences.  On the Vehicle of Expression, there are notebooks on every seat, each labeled with a different genre or style of writing--romance, mystery, poetry, plays, sci-fi.  Visitors are invited to write.  They may take the writing with them, or leave it, either anonymously or with their name on it.  It's a great inspiration and chance to just sit and let the words come.

I'm hoping Valerie will have time to stop by with a post about her Vehicle of Expression.  For now, I'll just say it's been a really fun experience meeting the artists and visitors both.  Pictures to come.  You can also find pictures at her facebook page.

  • February 19 and 26: I'll be reading on the Vehicle of Expression, part of the Art Shanty Project
  • February 25, 2017: I will co-host Food Freedom on AM 950 with Laura Hedlund and Karen Olson Johnson.  Guests: Michael Agnew, craft beer expert and Ross Fishman on Russian literature.  We'll taste Russian beer: listen to the whole program from last month.

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