I studied English literature and art in college; I graduated and worked in Europe awhile before moving to California for graduate school. I drove my powder-blue Volkswagen Beetle cross country with my best friend and landed on the Pacific Coast with stars in my eyes.
I was all about color and beads and poetry and long walks on the beach. I wanted to fall in love, but, not until I’d established my identity and had my private adventures. Places of natural beauty seduced me. I wanted to embrace them all, so, I moved a lot . . . from the West Coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, to the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, to the rocky shore and White Mountains of New Hampshire, to the river towns of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to the desolate prairie of New Mexico. And many other pauses along the way. Enough to earn me the hippie name: Gypsy.
I wanted every experience that I’d not had as a child. Having grown up in the bondage of suburbia just waiting for life to happen, I tossed myself into rural life with abandon . . . lots of organic gardening, cooking, baking, sheep shearing, yarn spinning, hand weaving, designing/sewing/embroidering clothes, tree felling, wood chopping, antique furniture collecting and refinishing, motorcycle riding, mountain hiking, yoga, T’ai Chi, spirituality, reading, writing, making music and art. My life opened like the lotus flower unfurling. I was alive for the first time in my life.
Work took me into the realm of social change, but, always, my creative spirit was what kept me awake and vibrant. Eventually its calling was so powerful that I made it my full-time work. I formed a business called, Wisteria, in honor of my favorite flower. It’s wistful name matched my vintage design sense, so, we made for good companions.
After years of exploration, I finally married and expanded my business. I introduced more color and more whimsy into my art as I aged. There’s something about bold, saturated, flamboyant color that makes me feel happy and at home. So I indulged in textile/bead art. Wearables and wallables.
The years went by, we bought a house, built a shop/studio, followed a spiritual path and crashed into divorce at the 18-year mark. This trauma led me to seek quietude in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere where I’d never be tempted to fall in love again. I found the perfect hermitage and began my new career: Waitress. First at a tiny sandwich shop on Main Street and then at a raunchier roadhouse on the northern end of town.
In a land of cowboys and ranchers, I was quite an oddity. Lots of peripheral stares didn’t sway me though; I stayed true to my sense of capriciousness. And eventually I was accepted as one of the charmingly eccentric villagers.
During this time of healing, I wrote a lot and I remodeled a house and I did some modeling for a local photographer. I kept my creative soul animated, but, more than anything, I fell deeper in love with miniature towns and their gatherings in coffee shops. The whole culture was so stimulating and cozy that I rarely wanted to leave. I could, literally, have set up camp in a coffee shop and sold my house.
But hard times hit the town and little businesses closed. Isolation and fear set in. Many people left. One family even burned their house to the ground in the middle of the night before fleeing in the good old Western tradition. Others foreclosed. I eventually remarried and moved to a land of no commerce and no gathering.
And I’ve missed that coffee shop life so deeply that I’ve decided to reinvent it online.
So, here is Mocha Muse . . . the vision of many colors of grace . . . and the wild and whimsical waitress who continues to dream in Prismacolor.
Oblige a whimsical waitress. Just one more thing . . . if you’re interested in exploring real-time coffee shop life from behind-the-counter, I’d recommend investigating this book: