A Stormy Night at Gabriella Cafe


IMG_1556IMG_2760The small restaurant glowed; it was candlelit and full of many fine people. There was that hum of conversation that always reminds me of a crowd of honey-happy bees. The hive we found ourselves abuzz at? Well, that was the nectar of imagination, for we’d gathered to chat about just that. Santa Cruz Sentinel Entertainment Editor Wallace Baine and I had been invited to lead a discussion on imagination. Tandy Beal quoted Emily Dickinson; Robert Sward remembered being run over by a car and how his imagination got triggered anew by that jolt; painter Jan McGeorge talked about loss and the power of walking on imagination; poet Stephen Kessler quoted poet Robert Duncan; Kenny Hill talked about the guitars he makes and the wisdom of his 21 year-old son. Musicians Kimball Hurd and Alisa Fineman were there. Wallace discussed the power of the conscious mind; I discussed the power of the unconscious one. There was more, much, much more. When imagination in everyday life was mentioned a lot of heads begin to nod in recognition of its power in their lives.

Here’s my takeaway: though I live in Monterey now, Santa Cruz was my home for 30 years. What I had last evening was the privilege of being in the presence of artists, teachers, students, friends, people I have long loved—some close-up, some from afar. Sometimes I feel my greatest community is experienced when I’m alone walking in the woods, communing with the trees. Last night I felt the camaraderie of imagination and community in the presence of a packed house, the crowd gathered to dwell for an evening together in the hive of imagination. Such honey there was!

Thank you to Paul Cocking of Gabriella’s for inviting us; thank you to Julia Chiapella for the photographs.