Monday, June 12, 2006

Where Land Meets Sea

Tiny coastal Provincetown lies at the very tip of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts boot, home to 3500 year round residents and 20,000 summer tourists. Affectionately called Ptown, it's inhabitants tend to be artists, Portuguese families with long relationships with the sea, small business owners, and gay and lesbian folks who arrive and live as finally themselves.

jb and I went back to Ptown this weekend. We lived there for two years in our little 3 room condo one block from the bay. It was the best and the worse: it might be the incredible light that bounces off the ocean peninsula, or the fact that the winters are hauntingly isolated, or maybe those of us who find our way to Provincetown tend to come from extremes--we can be uniquely creative, or surprisingly dysfunctional, sometimes with little daylight in between. In any case, during my two years as a "townie", I started a little consulting business, worked on my first book, and developed both an Artisan Cooperative and an independent movie theatre. But I also had the worse work assignment and the worse colleagues of my life.

Our place is now rented and this weekend we arrive as visitors. It is a drenching wet Saturday, and yet the two mile stretch of Commercial Street is busier than it should have been. We are thrilled to see our good friends, we visit the cooperative, breath the ocean air, notice the new landscaping and businesses in town. We pass Miss Ellie singing her familiar songs in front of the Crown and Anchor. She/he is 74 years old with killer legs and a shaky voice. We order a lobster roll on the ride down cape and reunite with Fanizzi's solid Sunday brunch. There is creativity everywhere we turn. This is Provincetown, like no other place. I can feel the flow of creative energy dancing in my head. I am inspired, motivated, eager to notice, ready to participate.

I'm not sure jb and I will ever return to Provincetown for more than vacations. Real estate is high and the drive off Cape Cod is endless. But it's in my blood forever. I've met dozens and dozens of people who salivate when I've told them I live there. When I worked for the movie theatre, it was all-too-easy to get directors and actors and playwrights to accept a summer engagement there. The place is magical. It changes, it bickers, it is downright petty sometimes. But it is always magical.

If you come to Provincetown, you may find an unfamiliar artistry within yourself. Or you may find a simple peace that comes from the sea. You might even relax alittle about who you are and the outrageous quirks that makeyou unique. It's a place not to be missed if you can help it.


  1. Lovely, kj! I've never spent much time in Ptown, but I do adore the Cape. There's a magic in the air and a calming peace about the towns.

  2. I love this, KJ. I've been to the cape, but never to P-town...

  3. I miss the East Coast!
    I can hardly wait to go back and visit this summer. I will have a little time in NH, and an overnight in ME, but I don't have enough time for Ptown or the rest of the Cape. One of these days I will journey back there, and to the Vinyard and Nantucket, too!(I think I had better start playing the lottery regularly!)

    Thank you so much for sharing this... You are dead on about the magic! =)

  4. I've been to Ptown once, and just strolling the streets I could feel my forge fires go from sputter to flame! It was our honeymoon and we went on a whale watch -- awesome. I love this line:

    "we can be uniquely creative, or surprisingly dysfunctional, sometimes with little daylight in between"

    Great post, KJ (the lovely KJ)!

  5. Oh the light and the ocean in P-Town. I miss it so!