Enjoying The Greenery

<p style="margin-left: .5in;">Noah Perkins, aspiring writer, eternal optimist, helpless romantic, maker of merriment, hip-hop groover, late night crooner, blues junkie, bulls' fanatic, matzo soup slurper, proponent of the dance like everyone's watching lifestyle, and student of the everything is going to be alright philosophy.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">Noah has been funded by a Summer Undergraduate Research Grant by Northwestern's Office of Undergraduate Research.</p>

One More for the Books

I really need to stop being surprised at this point. I keep thinking that my weird and wild stories have come to an end. That I can’t possibly have another interesting tidbit for this blog. Every trip has a finite amount of excitement and I have severely overdrawn this excursion’s account. But, time and time again, Seattle manages to crank out another one.

My Airbnb host was kind enough to allow me to interview her for this project. She grew up in the 60s and was a part of the hippie counter culture. I thought that it would be a nice addition to my small archive, a sweet old lady that has seen cannabis culture grow and change over the years.

I was not expecting anything too out of the ordinary. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that, back in the 80s, this cozy little bungalow used to be a grow house. And a damned good one too. These intrepid growers shipped product all over the pacific northwest and even down to California.

Of course, it was. What else could this place have been? An antique store would have simply been too mundane. Even my accommodations apparently required a backstory with a little gravitas.

Oh, but the ride wasn’t over yet.

“Did you happen to notice those holes in the walls of your room?”

“Yeah”

“Well, those were made for the ventilation system.”

A loud thud reverberated throughout the house as my jaw hit the floor. The place where I had been living for the last two and a half weeks, my humble little writer’s abode, my attic sanctuary, used to be a happy little cannabis nursery. Call it fate, call it serendipitous, call it whatever you will.

I’m done. You win Seattle.

Your bemused playwright,

Noah

A Short Recess to Island Time

“Huh”, I thought to myself, “so that’s Canada”.

I sat and watched the submerging sun begin to streak the sky in dim yellows, burnt oranges, fading into cool turquoises, and calm violets. It reminded me of so many of the beautiful, transcendent paintings that I often would gaze upon in art museums. I always wondered how the artist managed to capture that elusive, natural beauty. It seems quite obvious now. They must have been looking at this. While I was enraptured in my own swirling thoughts, my more marine minded compatriots scurried over the nearby rocks looking for all manner of biodiversity that might be nestled between the shoreline’s stones.

Early that morning, I had begun my excursion by climbing aboard a litany of buses that carried me through northern Seattle to Mt. Vernon, followed by Skagit station, until finally depositing me at Anacortes to await my aquatic transport to my final destination: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.

I have been “working” very “hard” over the last two weeks and thought it was high time that I saw a little more of the Evergreen State. And what better way to do so than go to a remote island that is close enough to Canada to smell the poutine. A friend of mine, working at the Friday Harbor marine biology lab, invited me to come up for an island getaway. How could I possibly refuse?

The morning slowly drifted past, fir tree after fir passing by my window as if on an endless conveyor belt. The burden of travel was easily lifted by my phone’s music library and some special caramel chews I picked up specifically for the trip. Before I knew it, I was waiting at the ferry dock in the Cheesecake Cafe which, lo and behold, sold cheesecake.

One short inhalation of cheesecake later, I found myself on a metal behemoth chugging its way towards my intended destination. Small craggy island coastlines blended into one another as I absentmindedly gazed out the window. Before I knew it, the PA system was announcing our impending arrival at the harbor. I joined the rest of the throng heading towards the vehicle deck, waiting to disembark. As I stood among that mass of people, I suddenly thought back to my ancestors arriving at Ellis Island. Heading to a new world, with little understanding of what awaited them on the other side of the voyage, a single familiar face waiting for them at the dock. I felt at one with my roots. But, hey, maybe that was the weed talking.

The gangway was lowered and, as one, we surged forward onto new land. Before I had time to begin searching, I heard my name cried out over the crowd. I turned and saw my friend moving against the tidal wave of bodies towards me. On a trip where I spend most of my time alone or talking with strangers, seeing a familiar face is quite the happy sight. As we walked towards the labs, I got a quick tour of the town of Friday Harbor. I’ll describe it to you as it was described to me: a place that cannot decide if it is a small town or a tourist local.

The rest of my evening was spent wandering around Friday Harbor Labs. I was introduced to “The Squad” and their various marine projects. Within the span of a single hour, I saw more species of aquatic life than I knew existed. I was a theatre major out of water, which, I have to admit, was quite refreshing. The rest of the evening was absorbed by the sunset hike, observing the social behavior of college marine biologists, swapping of stories, and the spinning of yarns.

The next morning, I was left to my own devices as my friend has some egg sacks that needed to be counted. Being a Northwestern student, I am very unaccustomed to this thing called “unstructured free time”. But, here I was, with several hours of it. I used this very rare and valuable time to have my own private dance party on the shore of San Juan and to start reading a book…for pleasure. What a wild concept. The rest of the afternoon was absorbed by a free tasting at a cider and gin distillery. Lavender and Rose Liqueur=a slice of heaven.

We returned to Friday Harbor and meandered around, awaiting my ferry to dock. We perused some used book stores and I somehow managed to restrain myself from taking half their play sections along with me. Once the ferry arrived, we said our goodbyes, parted ways, and I headed for the mainland.

Disembarking the ferry, I hastened to my bus stop for I knew that, due to circumstances completely out of my control, I was lagging behind schedule. Upon arriving at the station, I discovered that the bus had left without me. The final Saturday bus. Actually, the final bus for the entire weekend. Fighting the feeling of panic beginning to well up inside me, I examined my plan to get home. If I could just find my way to Skagit station, I could resume my intended route. Whipping out my phone, I tried using Lyft. “There is no service in your area”. Well, shit.

I was going to have to go old school. I dialed up the nearest taxi service, Mert’s Taxi. A frazzled dispatcher took down my ride request and said that they would have to call me back. I found the most comfortable bench that I could and began to ponder what I would do if I ended up being stranded in northern Washington for the rest of the weekend.

Thankfully, I did not have to ponder for too long. Dispatch called me back, informing me that a cab was on its way. Shortly thereafter, a car with Mert’s Taxi emblazoned across the side pulled up with none other than Mert himself behind the wheel. A father and his two young children approached the car with me, for they had also called Mert for a ride. Although the car was for me, I didn’t want the little ones to have to wait around so I offered to share.

That was how I met Briton, father of two, returning to his car bound for, you guessed it, Seattle. Instead of my hodgepodge assortment of buses and trains, my generosity landed me a free, and expedient, ride back to my homely attic.

This trip has been primarily comprised of me stumbling into adventures. What’s one more.

Your well-rested playwright,

Noah

 

Into The Sticks

It was a sunny, blue skied Thursday afternoon. Having some time to kill, I smoked a joint as I meandered down the street towards the D Line. I had a long drive ahead of me and I wanted to make it as relaxing as possible, for I knew that the rest of my day would not be as chill. I made my way to a small cafe in Fremont. I was rendezvousing with an old friend. They had set up the meeting. Also, they had the car.

The highway took us south out of Seattle. The cement and steel edifices quickly gave way to towering pines and rolling hills. Every mile seemed to solidify the anxious feeling that had started to well up in my stomach earlier that morning. We soon reached REDACTED and the roads started to become smaller, more winding, and the trees began to press in on us. I began to wonder if this pot inquiry had taken me too far, if this was the step that would take me into the deep end. Fairy tales as old as dust always warn you: “don’t stray off the beaten path”. It wasn’t until we turned off a small side road that it hit me. We were going off the grid.

I had been warned about NAME REDACTED. I had heard a few stories about what they were like, more cautionary tales than anything else. My contact had agreed to the meeting on the condition that they would receive complete anonymity. No names would be used. No personal details released. The conversation would not be recorded.

I couldn’t even call what we were driving on a road. It was a tunnel through the forest, with branches only an arm’s reach above the car. It was as if I was slowly rolling down the wood’s gullet and was waiting for the moment that I would be swallowed whole. We reached a gate with a very bold NO TRESPASSING sign prominently displayed. My compatriot said that she thought this looked right and began to drive through. I didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances but before I could speak up we were already on the property.

Mountain man, as I’ve begun to call him, welcomed us into his home, offering us some water before leading us into his office on the second floor. He pulled a black curtain across the windows before sitting down behind his desk. He asked some questions about the purpose behind my project and what I hoped to get out of it. Before we began, he asked us “Are you guys weed-heads?”.

As many of you know, I am a truthful man and, unless I have a good reason, I do not stray into the realm of falsehoods. Upon my response, mountain man procured a small glass bong, along with a couple nugs, and offered it to me. Not wanting to offend my host, I graciously accepted. After the smoke dissipated into the surrounding air, the interview began.

Perhaps, interview is the wrong word. Rambling lecture with unusual tangents occasionally punctuated by one of my questions would be a more apt description. You see, mountain man has been in the weed business for a long time. Long before the 502 recreational ballot had passed. Long before medical cannabis has been legal in Washington State. They’ve been growing for a long time and they had some strong opinions on the matter. I was talking with a cannabis outlaw.

Mountain man described himself as a soldier in the war on drugs, except he was fighting on the right side, the just side. He sacrificed a lot over the years but his faith in the cause always remained strong. He knew that one day the world would recognize all that he had done. He played a necessary role. For, without his efforts, we would not be where we are today. Weed was going to be a great boon for our society and mountain man helped get us there.

Mountain man started growing when he was young. In trying to get me to understand, he asked if I had ever seen the movie Goodfellas. The growers of his day were like that, minus the violence. They had money, they had power. They were gangsters.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up by talks of The Man and cannabis’ future. The phrase “hypocrisy of the police” came up quite a few times. I left the remote location with a bag of free weed, mountain man’s self published novel, and a lot to think about. While I would love to enumerate the topics we discussed and delve into their details, I unfortunately cannot. I have my promises to keep.

In other, completely unrelated news, I know what my play is going to be about.

Your inspired playwright,

Noah

Kid in a Fucking Candy Store

After a roller coaster of a week, I decided that it was high time for a break. Sunday glorious Sunday. My day of rest. There are few things in this life that can beat the feeling of waking up, checking your clock, and nuzzling back into your pillow, having nothing to do and nowhere to be. After an extended morning exclusively spent in the comfort of my bed, I ventured forth from my cozy attic to the neighborhood of Queen Anne. An old friend had recently moved out there and it was high time that we caught up. We leisurely strolled up and down the hills of Seattle, eating local ice cream, and talking the afternoon away. It was exactly what I needed. And, to top it all off, I had been invited to a Sunday night family dinner. Eating delicious food that I did not have to prepare myself. Perfection.

On Monday, I traveled to the creatively named south of downtown neighborhood SODO in order to meet up with my next interviewee: Alex Cooley of Solstice Grown, a cannabis grow house. The hairs on the back of my neck began to ripple as the front door came in sight. I was walking on holy ground.

While I waited for Alex, I meandered around the lobby and stumbled upon Solstice’s self of achievements. Highest CBD content, Activist of the Year, High Times Magazine award, and People’s Choice at the 2015 Cannabis Cup. Oh shit. This place means business.

Alex was far and away the best interview I’ve had so far. For nearly an hour, we talked about the process of legalization within the state, Solstice’s own practices, and his thoughts about the future. I was blown away by Alex’s knowledge and involvement with Seattle’s regulatory board. I could have listened to him talk for hours on end. As if he hadn’t impressed me enough already, I found out that he recently went before the United Nations to speak about drug policy. He earned that Activist of the Year award.

After the interview was over, Alex turned to me and said “Ready for the tour?”

Calmly, I responded, “Absolutely, that sounds lovely”. Internally, I was bouncing off the fucking walls. The weed nerd inside me was weeping for joy. Christmas, Hannukah, and my birthday had all come early this year. I had just received my golden ticket. I was on my way into my own personal chocolate factory.

As Alex opened the door to the rest of the facility, the sweet, pungent odor blasted into my face like a freight train going 95 mph. The dankest of the dank. The ickiest of the icky. I was overwhelmed by the skunky, delectable smell that I have grown to love with every fiber of my being. I began to vibrate in anticipation.

A row of lockers next to a rack of lab coats, with Solstice emblazoned on the front. We washed up and I donned by sparkling white uniform, my key to the magic kingdom.

We arrived at the final door. My heart was pounding out a drum solo the likes of which no mortal man has ever heard. I tried to place aside all expectations, not wanting to be disappointed by my high hopes of what was beyond that door. But this was futile. All of the joints I’ve ever smoked, every bong hit, every bowl, every blunt, they all had led up to this one moment.

Over the last three years, I have developed a reverence for this plant. An admiration for all that it offers. And Mecca lay before me. My holy temple. The origins of all the bud I’ve ever smoked. And the only thing that separated me from paradise was this final door. Alex’s hand was stretching, stretching towards the knob. These were my final moments before enlightenment, before I gazed inside the tabernacle. Tiny beads of sweat began to form on my brow. After what felt like an eternity, Alex finally put his hand on the knob and turned. The cloud gates of heaven opened, celestial light spilling forth. A choir of angels belted out seraphic harmonies as my eyes adjusted to the blinding light of the florescent bulbs. I had forgotten to put on my special sunglasses.

Green. Bright, brilliant, piercing Green. Green as far as I could see. My eyes began to water. I. Was. So. Happy.

Dozens upon dozens of tiny little potted pot plants dotted the floor stretching towards the back wall, each one a cutting of a fully developed cannabis plant, waiting their turn to blossom.

In every room, I listened intently to what Alex had to say. He was detailing every step of the process, from planting to cultivation to harvesting to curing to packaging and shipment. I nodded and took in all that he had to say as best I could. But every time he turned his back to lead me to the next room, the dopey, shit-eating grin would return to my face as I marveled at where I was. I was in a grow house that shipped out one metric ton of cannabis per year. I was in what forever will be my happy place. I was home.

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It was a pretty good day.

Your enlightened playwright,

Noah

 

They put the Lit in Litigation

Saturday Morning. A sleepy start to the day. Which I liked to think I earned. Talking to people about cannabis is hard, grueling work. Brunch seems to be a big thing in Seattle, or at least it is among the few friends I have out here. I ventured forth from my attic into Ballard to Hattie’s Hat, a quaint place full of dark wood and looping cat videos. A strange combination.

I like to meander. It’s my preferred method of transportation while I’m here. So far, it has yet to disappoint. Bop Street Records. Named one of the five best record stores in America. Wall to wall records, stretching from the floor to the ceiling, covering every inch of space and containing every genre you could possibly imagine. I spent longer than I care to admit perusing the “Sample” section in which every record details who has sampled what songs for what albums. I had to restrain myself from piling them all up and rolling around in them. My inner record collector was screaming at me to buy everything in sight. They have a funk/soul section? Hip Hop!? I forced my traveling companion to wheel me out of the store before I made some regrettable decisions.

Shortly afterwards, we parted ways and I journeyed to Gasworks park. For the wedding. As I got off the bus and started my mile hike towards the park, a thought crossed my mind: “What the fuck am I doing?” I am going to the wedding of a man I met three days ago in a coffee shop. I know almost no one at this wedding and I am not even entirely sure what the bride’s name is. What force is compelling me to place one foot in front of the other? I could turn around, go home, and enjoy the rest of my afternoon instead of subjecting myself to this potentially cringe-worthy awkward situation.

There were two things that made me keep going. One: I like to think I’m a man of my word. I said I’d be there. I made that verbal contract and I’ll be damned if I reneged on that simply because of my own hesitancy. Two: I am always in pursuit of a good story. I am a teller of stories. It’s what I do. It’s my shtick. Not going to this wedding would be a huge missed opportunity. It was too good to pass up. And, I could never disappoint all of you, my faithful audience. One too many of you asked for this. So, I pressed onward.

Gasworks park is a strange place. At the center of a few grassy knolls, amidst winding gravel paths, stands a monolith of rusted iron.

This former coal plant was transformed into a lush center for the community. A little beauty pulled out from an industrial wasteland.

Time was running short, the wedding was supposed to start soon. I craned my neck, looking over and around the hills, trying to find the nuptial celebration. As I round the structure, I saw an arrangement of white chairs nestled next to some of the rocks on the south shore of the park. I had arrived. As I stepped over and around goose shit, the wind carried a phrase to my ears “holy shit, he’s here”. I look up and I see the groom along with one of his best men walking towards me. My two interviewees. It would be an understatement to say that they were surprised to see me. After a few vigorous handshakes and shocked statements, I took my seat and waited for the ceremony to begin. A small boombox trumpeted the wedding procession as the groomsmen and bridesmaids pair off, walking down the makeshift aisle. The final bridesmaid dragged a King Charles Spaniel in a bow-tie down to the front. His name is Winston and he’s adorable.

The first notes of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus lilt over the hustle and bustle of the park, causing everyone present to rise and turn towards the smiling bride. Aside from the occasional pause to allow an airplane to pass overhead or to let the honking and cheers of passing boats die down, the wedding went off without a hitch. Prayers were said to spirits of each of the four elements and, as is customary in the Jewish tradition, glass was crushed underfoot.

There are not many things of which I am certain. That being said, I can say with full certainty that the bride and groom deeply care about each other. I’ve always had an admiration for wedding vows. There are not many instances where people indulge in a moment of appreciation: to look deeply into someone’s eyes and eloquently articulate how they make you feel. Its one of the few moments where words are sent straight from the speaker’s heart into that of the listeners. Listening to Neil and Sam, in front of all their friends and family, and me, confess their love for one another made my heart full. In its own way, Gasworks park was a perfect location for a wedding. Amidst all of the grime and scrap metal, a beautiful park was created. And, in the chaos and turmoil of the world we live in, two souls found each other, binding their futures, and created one life to live together.

Following the wedding was the reception in downtown Seattle. We ate, we drank, and I managed to keep the “Oh, how do you know Neil? Well, I met him in a coffee shop three days ago” conversation down to a minimum. Several toasts later, I left the festivities because I had an appointment to keep.

Around the corner, on 1st Ave, on the 4th floor, room 20, was the launch party for NWMJ Law, the first law firm dedicated to assisting cannabis businesses. One of my contacts, who turned out to be a partner at said firm, invited me to this party to meet some people. Within 15 minutes, I knew I was out of my depth. These were serious business types and here I was, the playwright with my little notebook, trying to insert myself into conversations in the hopes of grabbing a business card. At the 30 minute mark, I had convinced myself that this was a failed venture. I had given it the ol’ college try but I wasn’t going anywhere. My inability to deal with larges groups of people that I don’t know got the best of me.

I was halfway down the stairs, on my way out the door, before I stopped myself. Quitting at this stage of the game was an old Noah move. The shy, insecure middle-schooler was peaking his head out from the box I stuffed him in long ago. I refused to let a little nervousness and social anxiety get the better of me. So, I turned around and headed back up the stairs, determined. New year, new me. And I was ready to get some contacts, damn it. I started playing to my strengths. One on one conversation. I began to engage with the loners, the people just off to the sides of the large groups. That’s how I met Dan, one of the firm’s lawyers, my homeboy from Skokie, who moved out west several decades ago. I started to feel more comfortable, more in my element. And that’s when I started to hear rumblings about LL. Dan urged me to go take a look.

Down into the elevator I went. I began exploring on the lower level and around a corner I found it. A small, open air courtyard containing a glass table and a few chairs. On that table were the free samples. Weed and joints galore, for our testing. Shortly after I had arrived, a few other guests came in and we started to pass around the joints. I had found my people. I was lighting up with middle aged lawyers and business men in well fitted suits. It was surreal. Soon, more and more people came flooding in, until there were at least 15 people chatting and smoking weed.

My entire life, cannabis has been a part of a small counterculture. It’s rebellious. It’s secretive. It’s “illegal”. We have our own rules, our own way of life. In Seattle, all that was in the shadows was brought out into the light. People were openly talking about their weed businesses and consumption. They were making deals over a bowl. I saw parents and grandparents discussing their favorite strains and comparing notes. I was acutely aware that I had arrived in the future.

It was here that I made my contacts and truly began to enjoy myself. In our little smoking circle, one of the lawyer’s wives was concerned that I was going to smoke myself into a coma. To which I replied “I go to college, I’ll be fine”.

Seattle’s a wild ride.

Your stoned playwright,

Noah

 

Roses and Wedding Bells

I did not anticipate posting this frequently but sometimes life compels you to adjust your plans.

One of the unexpected benefits of doing a project like this is that you make your own hours. I am in complete control of when and where I work which is at times both exhilarating and terrifying. Not being known for my organizational skills, I must admit that I had some doubts about my own ability to raise myself out of bed and put myself to task. However, it is day three and I must say, things are going surprisingly well.

One of the added benefits of creating your own hours is that you get to be a little impulsive. Having noticed that I had sequestered myself in a single coffee shop for four hours, along with the realization that my work had magically turned to reading about the Chicago Bulls’ newest acquisitions, I decided that I needed a break. Armed with my Colby Jack and salami sandwich, I ventured forth from my self-imposed coffee prison and trekked north. Utilizing my superior internet search engine skills, I had discovered that a park resided only a few blocks north. A nice respite from the dingy coffee hut and smell of burnt coffee grounds. I thought some fresh air and a few green trees would lighten my mood and make my meager sandwich taste a little more robust. Little did I realize that this was no ordinary park. I had chanced upon the Seattle Civic Rose Garden.

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There is nothing quite like stumbling upon exceptional beauty in the places that you least expect. I had never seen anything quite like it. Nature ordered into symmetry. Human will exerting itself over the wild to create a unique aesthetic experience for any denizen who happened to stroll past. Row upon row of different genuses of roses, juxtaposing their vibrant hues against the winding, pasture-green paths. Cream, blood red, fusica, tangerine, magenta, coral, lavender, and lemon. A sea of bright, brilliantly colored plants be-speckling the landscape. I later learned that this garden holds over 260 types of roses and was named Most Outstanding Rose Garden in the US in 1999. What a find.

Scattered among the delicate flowers, tall imposing carved shrubbery, towered over all that passed.

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I couldn’t help put feel tranquil in such a place. I often find myself lost in the hustle and bustle of life, my focus trained in on the man-made monoliths and tiny technology that consumes my day to day. But, every once in a while, I get lost in the beauty of nature. Marveling at the universe, wondering how through chaos and randomness, I arrived at this place and time, in order to see this.

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Though I am a writer, I occasionally find myself at a loss for words. In these instances, no grand sweeping statement can accurately capture my thoughts. No arrangement of words cobbled together from my lexicon can relay to you, my audience, what I saw. So, I will use the only word that can: beauty. It was simply put: beautiful.

Returning from my magical excursion in the park, I stopped in a nearby dispensary, leaving my information in the hopes that an employee might find my pitch interesting enough to give me a ring. Seeing no other alternative, I returned to the coffee shop to continue my work. A few more hours of typing before traveling back to my humble abode and resuming my long postponed consumption of Game of Thrones. My afternoon had peaked, the events of the day had ended, and I resigned myself to a lackluster evening. Oh how wrong I was.

Just as I was thinking about packing up, a patron of the coffee shop sat down next to me and inquired as to what I was working on. I started my spiel, recounting my project and detailing my work so far, meager as it is. That is where I expected this conversation to end. But, as we’ve already established, this day was not going as expected. This man mentioned that this friends were waiting outside and that several of them were cannabis consumers. He invited me to join them and offered to be interviewed. I jumped at the chance. I couldn’t believe it. My first interview fell into my lap. I was not entirely prepared. I had planned on writing my questions today but there was no time to think about that. I had some people to interview.

Thirty minutes later, the interview had concluded and I found that I had a few new friends. As it turns out, this motley crew were in town for a wedding, my interviewee’s wedding, which is on Saturday. Inspired by finding a kindred spirit, my interviewee did something that I was not expecting. He invited me to the wedding. Well, invited is maybe not the right word. He stated as a fact that I was coming. How could I turn down an offer like that? So, this Saturday, I will be going to Gaslight park to watch him and his fiancee be wed in holy matrimony. My official invitation, written in one of my notebooks, reads as follows:

Come to wedding

Get drunk

Random vaginas + weed

Seattle is turning into quite the adventure.

Oh, and this morning I awoke to an invitation from one of my contacts to the launch party of a new marijuana law firm.

It’s been a bit of a day.

 

Your bemused playwright,

Noah

 

Living the Fever Dream

Low sloping ceiling. Powder blue walls. And the heat that only comes by residing at the apex of a building. My humble abode for the next three weeks. Perched at the top of an unnaturally steep flight of stairs, this tiny attic room will serve as my quiet sanctuary, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.

Leaping to life out of a starving artist’s fever dream, the room has its own…shall we say charm. It’s got character. And all characters have their blemishes which accounts for the hole, approximately the size of a baseball, in the floor…and the wall. The surrounding structure that houses the attic is quaint. Halfway up a hill on the northern side of Seattle, in the neighborhood of Greenwood, I keep tricking myself into thinking that I can see the ocean just over the tops of the nearby houses. A small round glass table with two chairs graces the backyard, nestled up to the house at the corner of the garden, perfect for any after-hours *recreational* activity. Two chickens strut their way across a small, straw strewn coup. I’m sure the birds have names but I’ve decided to dub them Chekov and Albee. It seemed appropriate. The house’s tabby cat invaded my quarters last night, becoming a most vocal roommate, demanding my full attention, and resisting all efforts to shoo her out so that I might get some rest.

Day Two finds me only adding to the stereotype that I find myself living. Reading and writing about plays in a local Seattle coffee shop. I was lured in by the promise of free Wi-Fi and fresh brews. This lifelong tea drinker must admit that this pacific concoction does not taste as bitter as the drinks back home. Though it will never unseat the king that sits atop the throne of my heart: a milky sweet chai.

The work truly begins today. The flurries of emails and the drafting of questionnaires. Though I came to this city with only a few contacts, I am quite hopeful of finding more. Just yesterday, a friend, seeing the announcement of my arrival on social media, reached out, offering to be my first interviewee. What good people I keep company with.

I won’t know for many weeks what this project will turn into but I am excited to see where it leads me.

Enjoying the trees out here, in all forms.

 

Your wandering playwright,

Noah

This is what dreams are made of

This is what dreams are made of. This thought keeps running through my mind as I replay what my summer holds in store for me. Northwestern has given me a grant to write a play. As a fledgling playwright, this alone is enough to send me into a fit of hysterical giggles, rolling on the floor while babbling incoherently about art, marveling at the fortuitous circumstances that landed me here. I’ve been essentially commissioned to write a play, as an undergraduate, which in and of itself is incredible. This commission, this grant, is taking me to Seattle for three weeks in order to gather content, to conduct some interviews for my play. Seattle, nestled in the mountains of the pacific northwest, is a place that has held my intrigue for some time now. Being an Evanston boy, the west coast has always had its allure: a mystical place where beaches lie upon salty oceans. How strange. But we finally get to the meat of it: the content of this grant. I will be looking into cannabis culture, specifically stereotypes of marijuana consumers. Now, I would never call myself a stoner for that might elicit your imagination into painting me as a drug rug wearing, hippy basement dweller that constantly marvels at the universe, and drinks only from the holy bong water chalice. However, I would go as far to say that I’m a cannabis enthusiast (though I am the son of a hippy and do on occasion marvel at the universe). So, to summarize, I am going to Seattle for three weeks to interview people in the cannabis industry about stereotypes of consumers in order to write a play about it. This is what dreams are made of.