“We pulled our rig (a U-Haul with all our worldly possessions and 25 foot Mako) out of our driveway in Port Coquitlam on a typically grey, cold, damp B.C. morning. Pat & Joyce rose early to see us off. With a pounding head and a heavy heart I watched our little cul-de-sac, and Pat waving goodbye, grow small and disappear. This was it; years of dreaming and planning and now we would really be on our way.”
~ May 17, 2003, Kristene Perron’s journal
Fifteen years ago Hubs and I walked away from everything—job, friends, family, house, security. It’s easy to look back and see all the mistakes we made. We would return a year later, broke, jobless, homeless, and directionless. Mistakes seem to be our forte. But something happened in that first chaotic year that changed me forever: I re-discovered my love of writing. And here we are.
I’d planned on closing out the Coconut Chronicles permanently on May 17th, the day we left Canada fifteen years ago, for the symmetry and symbolism. That was my plan. I am good at mistakes and bad at plans. The problem was that I couldn’t decide how to end this…this…whatever this is. Iterations of this final Chronicle have been funny, melancholy, bitter, literary (too literary), sentimental, absurd, etc, etc. In the end, it was a quote from Harvey, uttered by a writer friend at the Creative Ink Festival last weekend, that cast the final vote.
“In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
I have tried, for fifteen years, to be oh so smart in these Chronicles. I will never run out of subjects I want to talk about but it’s time to channel my ideas and opinions into my work. It’s time to close this door and I want to do so by being oh so pleasant. Why? Because you did me the honour of reading and responding to my words all these years. Because you spoke honestly and respectfully in your public comments and private messages about my words. Because, whether you knew it or not, you helped me hone my craft and develop my voice. Because life is hard and unforgiving and the least I can do is act with grace and kindness.
My next plan is to slowly step away from much of my online life—not forever, but for now. I have spent three years struggling through grief and depression (and menopause hell), desperately hoping and searching and waiting for the old “spark” to return. Well, the old spark is dead. Losing my dad and my sister and moving away from my wonderful Nelson community and friends killed that spark. I can say that now. But a spark is not a singular phenomenon. I feel a new spark flickering and I’m going to fuel the hell out of that tiny flame and see if I can’t start a proper bonfire.
To everyone who has read The Coconut Chronicles over the years, thank you. There is no greater gift to a writer than an engaged reader and you have been that and so much more. Thank you to everyone who ever took a leap and contacted me privately to share a piece of your secret world, your fears, your hopes, your dreams—you are courageous and beautiful and I hope I was worthy of your trust. Thank you to the critics who challenged me and kept me honest. In a world that grows ever more divisive, it is heartening to know we can still respectfully disagree. Thank you to those who let me know when I offended or hurt them. Words are powerful tools (weapons) and writers must learn to wield them responsibly. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for showing up and reminding me that community matters and we are not alone.
I will check in here for a short while to respond to any comments that may come in but that’s it.
And now I have to pack up my rig and drive away.
Fifteen years. It’s been one hell of a ride.