We connected through the interwebs via my former baby—a sustainability and lifestyle blog that I had reluctantly put to rest a few days prior. I was fascinated to learn about what she was up to so I invited her into my online coffee world and, as it turns out, we both live in Los Angeles. Quite quickly we were arranging to meet in person. She let me pick the place and I suggested one of my favorite spots in town.
We met at Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City. The shop was somewhat busy with people escaping the heat but I quickly spotted her glowing brightness. Billimarie is not a coffee fanatic like me, but, as she proclaimed, more of a tea drinker—which was evidence by the pearly whiteness of her teeth. Nonetheless, I ordered a cappuccino, she a latte, and we sat with the intention of learning more about each other, you know, all those things that can not be understood through an online interface.
Our conversation meandered through many different landscapes. I learned a little about her philosophies, her current challenges and aspirations and I shared some of mine. Though they had different flavors our stories were astoundingly similar. I will choose to leave out the details because, as it turns out, in our age of full online disclosure, some things must be kept sacred.
We finished sipping and left the shop to wander around the Culver City Arts District. And, then it happened, she asked if I'd like her to write me a poem. "Yes please," I said, not sure if I was really indicating to her how excited I was. You see, free poetry is what Billimarie does. She, as her tag line says, types free poems for strangers on her typewriter. It's almost sacrilegious that I have waited this long to tell you this fact about her.
We strolled slowly through the neighborhood, explored a little bit and then headed toward her car. She popped open the trunk—in it, a case housing a 1950's Royal, quiet deluxe. This thing is beautiful—not quite as stunning as the person Billimarie—but as far as an object goes, it has an undeniable appeal. Relatively small and Pepto Bismal pink, it's mechanics are a glorious departure from a laptop as the beginning and end of it's processing happens right before your eyes. No complicated coding, no connection to an invisible cloud, just a little machine with one specific function.
We picked a spot to sit between her car and a tattered white picket fence. "So I am going to stare at you for 2 minutes," she said, "this might feel a little awkward." I asked her if I could take photos while she wrote. She obliged. Hiding behind the lens was a little bit more comfortable for me than just embracing the nakedness of sitting still under someone's full attention. Besides, the scene was too beautiful not to capture.
She followed me intently with her eyes as I circled around her trying to get some shots and it was not too long before her fingers were embracing the keys. And, there we were, both in our process, in the present, one being inspired to create by the other. Of course, photographs not nearly as complex or deep as the written word.
As we wrapped up our encounter she carefully tore the eight and a half by eleven piece of paper to a more digestible size and handed me the poem she had written. Being a sucker for aesthetics, I was immediately captivated by it's two rough edges, accentuated punctuation marks, x'ed out 'mistakes' and the typewritten letters upon their wavering baseline. And then, there were the words…