Where to start the love story.


Let’s start with the temple, where I last left off. We call it “the temple” because it’s not like any of us artists, nor the town of Marquette, nor the Art Farm for that matter, has any other temples. The temple has and will be the site of many  magical events. The temple is where this poet’s hand dealt these tarot cards around midnight in a tent, and her deal enabled me to select the exact right one that describes what I’m about and where I’m at and energy got echoed and double-backed.

But the temple is not where this love started. The temple is one of the joints in our skeleton blue prints, a joint in the lovehouse we built. But the temple is not the origin story.

I guess it started with my whimsy. That feeling where I decide I have a deep abiding desire to understand something like French omelets or whole and half carcass butchery, or western al-Shabaab terrorist converts, or how lobsters piss on each other to determine social hierarchy (chemicals in their urine tell them which lobster has won the most fights. It’s so cool.) And I when whimsy strikes, I need to pursue it immediately. Case in point: raised an atheist, I first came across the notion of the holy grail when reading DaVinci Code. I finished the book, and decided I needed to crack that nut right then and there, and spent the next 72 hours in a caffeinated, self-styled online crash course in Christian lore.

This love story starts on Facebook when I posted: “Does anyone know any deep sea divers?”

Oh. Wait. Maybe it does start with the temple. Rewind to August 2012.
holes loren

Dehydrated and overheated after a morning of digging holes for the columns of the temple, I tried to write in my sticky, fly-infested writing studio at the Art Farm artist residency.

When the going gets rough, Ms. Barker gets into her trusty Civic steed and finds the town bar. In this case, I headed to Marquette’s own Don’t Care Bar and Grill, where I parked me and my MacBook in air-conditioned comfort. This is where I met a guy who introduced himself as a former deep sea diver who had returned home to central Nebraska to live. A former what?


That night, I lay in my bed, and I pictured things like this (above), combined with things like this (below)

giant squid

Giant octopus attacking a sailing ship in medieval timesAnd a little of this (right). He was sort of vague on the equipment, but the fact that he dove upwards of 100 feet underwater off the coast of Africa to inspect and repair oil platforms painted enough of a picture of fantasy, strength and adventure to send me back to the Art Farm with visions of amphibious, helmeted men tinkering with intricate machinery many legions under the sea. Um, hot.

leagues under the seaI think he asked if I’d like to watch him box or punch a bag or teach me to kick a punching bag—or some combination of those—back at his shop/studio that night, where he said he needed to check on his cats (blecch). Though he was easy on the eyes, nothing about that sounded appealing to me, and when he asked how he could reach me, I told him to have a great night and I was sure he’d see me again.

IMG_3689I didn’t see that guy again—in fact, I didn’t return to the Don’t Care that summer before I left Nebraska and drove westward to Nancy Drew’s house.

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