Blake More was wearing
a red hat she had knitted. She said this was the first time she had tried
knitting and took her hat off to show a flaw. But one had the feeling
that the flaw didn't trouble her. She was pleased with her accomplishment.
She had decided to knit a hat and that is what she had done.
This was merely another in a long list of her creative accomplishments,
big and small. A life full of creative adventures requires deep self-confidence
and Blake seems to be one of those rare people whose self confidence "goes
to the bone."
We are at The Record. It is a chilly day and the tables are crowded with
people who have come in to get something warm to drink. Talking (and listening)
over the din of surrounding chatter requires focused attention, especially
as Blake talks fast. Keeping up with her is not easy.
The hat is not the only created item Blake has brought with her. The thermos
from which she drinks her tea has been decorated with a ceramic exterior
she has made. Two people have stopped at the table to admire it. She has
been asked how she came to live in Point Arena and her response is to
provide a brief life history. It is as though she cannot answer the question
without going through all of the connections and acknowledging the serendipitous
happenings that have led her from place to place and have now brought
her to Point Arena.
Blake grew up in the Los Angles suburb of San Gabriel Valley, attended
UCLA where she majored in economics and got involved in party politics
as a Young Republican. "I spent a semester working on the hill for
Senator Pete Wilson. That was my first formative training in politics."
She didn't see herself as a potential politician, but was interested in
the behind the scenes world of politics where the policy making occurred.
Soon, however, she came to realize that politiciansÕ work is about
compromises. "They have far less power than I thought. And I learned
how hard it is to keep your idealism."
She added "When I worked for Pete Wilson, that was the end for me.
I saw too much."
She grins. "I'm not a rebublican any more."
After her disillusionment with politics Blake began to travel. She spent
time in London, but it was her travels through the Mid-East that were
the most significant for her. She felt a strong affinity for the Arabian
people, whom she described as "warm, curious, open, kind and aware.
"She added that she thought her greatest influence as a poet was
When she returned to the U. S. she got engaged to her college sweetheart,
who lived in Marin. But soon she realized that she was not ready for marriage
and broke it off.
She began to write---journaling and poetry at first, but soon free-lance
writing was helping to pay the bills. She continued her travels, this
time in the far east, then settled for awhile in Japan. Here she found
a very good market for her free-lance articles. But she realized that
"I was never going to be Japanese" and began to think about
where home might be.
"When I left Japan I decided that I didn't want to be urban anymore.
I needed the country." It took a few more years of living in San
Francisco before everything fell into place for a country move. She moved
to Sebastopol which became her base while she worked with her publisher
to promote her first book about how to heal a headache naturally.
But how did she get to Point Arena?
"Only through a series of what I consider magical circumstances.
I had actually dreamed about Point Arena before I came here. I dreamed
about Main Street. I had not come through Point Arena in traveling through
"I was looking for a more grounded reality. Here, everyone knows
each other---the good and the bad. I've enjoyed learning what kind of
weight I have here. When you're as flamboyant as I am and you are in the
City there's room for you. But in a small town you have more of an impact.
You have to make sure you don't take too much space." A friend of
hers used the analogy of big fish swimming around in a thimble.
"You have to be tuned in to those around you
or you can really get in each others' way." She added that Point
Arena is a very intimate environment for this reason. "But I love
it. It's a really special place."
The question always arises. How can one make a living in Point Arena?
Her answer is one that coastal residents are familiar with. You live cheap
and have a lot of part time jobs. At this time Blake's jobs include teacher/artist/technician
at the Arena Technology Center, teaching occasional classes at Pacific
Community Charter School and working with the Mendocino County Poets in
the Schools project. Some of her jobs are the result of grants she has
As for living cheap---she lives in a converted school bus (which still
runs). It has everything she needs, including a sewing machine so that
she can make her own clothes. And for transportation there is Eartha Karr---her
1978 Mercedes which runs on bio diesel, a non-toxic biodegradable, carbon
neutral fuel made from recycled vegetable oil. Eartha Karr makes a statement
in more than one way. It is art in motion, decorated with colorful designs
Blake wants her footprint on the earth to be a small one. That doesn't
mean it won't be colorful.