Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine
Part 1 of 3
Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine. We made quick stops to see the homes on our way from Bangor to Deer Isle, Maine.
After my first steps out of Bangor International Airport, I instantly felt far. Far from humidity that drenches my face and ruffles my naturally curly hair. Far from the figs and starfruits my husband picks each morning from our tropical garden. Far from a place where the glass kilns in our studio always leave our home over 80 degrees and where oil on canvas paintings take months to cure outside.
Hunters from Louisiana holler across the sidewalks with their oversized black plastic bins, each awaiting their rides that will shuffle them around to hunt for trophy black bear heads or new fur rugs. Season just opened and there is an air of confusion between the end of summer and fall. I am cold and wrap a turquoise scarf around my head and neck, which clashes with the understated fashion of Maine.
Our cabbie pulls up and I am all too aware of his abrupt manner of throwing our luggage in the van. He assumes we are OK to wait another two hours for the art student arriving from Ireland. This is when we learn our journey to Deer Isle is an additional hour and a half north, through small villages along the coast and over bridges connecting parcels of land and rock. One might find lobster for $3 a pound while en route.
He senses by my indifference that we are tired, hungry and anxious to begin our adventures and offers to show us downtown Bangor, where Stephen King's two Victorian homes are.
|Stephen King's second house in Bangor. It is directly across from the red brick house. Rumor has it that an underground tunnel connects the two houses.|
I sit up from my slouch and suddenly feel interested in what he has to say and show us. I encourage the cabbie to take us to King's homes and smile back at my husband, who is shaking his head at me.
We pull right up to the red brick historic mansion. Across the street is a white historic mansion that he bought for his son. Our cabbie tells us an underground tunnel connects the two residences. He also tells us that when King is in town all the lights in the house are left on while they sleep. I learn that the line of people leading up to his home on Halloween runs through the downtown for miles, as the author greets trick-or-treaters at his door.
I step out of the van and observe the homes, each lined in heavy wrought iron gates, and iron macabre creature are crawling out. My mind wanders to his book, "Pet Sematary."
It occurred to me that Stephen King also lives where we do in Florida. I never hear of him entertaining the masses there. But then again, I doubt he owns a Victorian in Sarasota or writes books about a cemetery where the dead come back to life a little different.
I climbed back into the van with my husband and turned fully around to watch King's homes fade into a far distance as we headed down the hill toward downtown Bangor.
I can't help but think it's a sign to be in the town where Stephen King produced many of his books and to visit his homes, not to mention that the whole area feels like a haven for writers seeking to position themselves in a place where everything felt off-kilter.
There are 120 steps down to the water at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. Boardwalk paths under the pines lead to the art studios and residences for visiting artists at Haystack.
Months before, my husband, a glass and mixed-media artist, and I applied to Haystack after learning about its exclusive art workshops for professional artists. Each workshop selects 15 to 20 artists from around the world, and hopefuls are placed on a waiting list.
We had 48 hours to gather up our professional vitaes and portfolios, then overnight the material to upstate Maine.
A month later, we received notice that we'd both been accepted into our workshops scheduled for the end of August. I would be writing non-fiction with Meredith Hall, a New York Times best-selling author for her memoir "Without a Map." My husband would be participating in Marc Petrovic's hot glass studio workshop. Petrovic is an accomplished glass artist who has an expanded list of selected exhibitions that run since 1993 to the present.
As I read the acceptance letters and my eyes scanned the pages that followed, a deep sense of excitement overwhelmed me.
The concept of fully immersing ourselves with our art for nine days was foreign, as we both juggled multiple roles in our every day life and having the time to strictly work on just our passion was indeed bound to incite great change.
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