I stood with feet
at the high-water mark
of a crumbling
brown boat ramp
its wreckage indistinct
from the barnacles
and looked out
upon the very tip
Low, wet clouds
spat bits of ice
the size of a
grain of sand
that stung my face,
and the wind
seagull down the beach
I love this poem by my great friend Terrence, who I met a few years back while he was working in town, before he left for New York and Paris. I’ve never been a reader of poetry, but when I read this poem, which Terry texted to me on a cold evening, it read so true to me, as though he were standing with me in Provincetown in the freezing air. He’s good fun, smart and adorable and very funny. I can say anything to him, and he to me. Mainly we just laugh together. But he’s also a deep, interesting character, as his creativity and imagination are unbounded by barriers others feel but Terrence doesn’t. He’ll write, or paint, or make collages, or…and he does them all regularly with spontaneity and guts. Recently, he became and editor and writer for America’s Test Kitchen. As I’ve only ever eaten pizza with him, but for the occasional dinner I’ve cooked, I’m curious to see what this keen and clever fellow has to say about food. Here’s to Doyle!
What’s your first memory of Provincetown?
My first memory of PTown dates back to the mid 90’s. I was ten, maybe eleven, and I’d taken the ferry down from Boston with my parents and my older brother. We’d just gotten to the end of the pier when I saw my first drag queen. My mother saw the looks on my face and started cracking up. “She looks better in that dress than I do,” she said. It was one of those great moments, you know, when the world opens up to you for the first time. Everyone is different and that’s okay.
You’ve been near and far since living here full time… where does Provincetown live in your imagination? Or?
PTown is this mythical place in my head, as if I never actually lived there but rather dreamt it all. And I think it’s like that because it’s the only place I’ve lived that didn’t continually and consistently disappoint me. New York? Too fast, too vast, too much vice. Paris? Too wet, too conservative, too many Parisians. Boston? The north shore of MA? Too many small-minded racist clowns, not enough good food, too close to NH. I dunno, PTown is just this place where you can be whatever you are without anyone hassling you (and I know that sounds cliché but it’s fucking TRUE), and where the majority of people have at least some version of a decent outlook on life. It’s where I lived with a drag queen, where I taught myself how to paint, where I went nearly mad one winter, where I was when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, where I met some of my best friends. It’s the one dream I regret waking up from.
You write, draw, paint – where do you suppose these related but different impulses come from in you?
I get anxious when I’m idle. I also suppose that nasty little word ‘legacy’ creeps into the equation, too. And since I don’t envision myself ever having children, I suppose I feel compelled to leave SOMETHING behind. I want to be a cut rate DaVinci, the world’s most mediocre polymath.
Tell me a bit about Hip Hopper?
Hip Hopper was an idea that came about rather serendipitously. I was moving into my flat in Paris back in 2012, and while searching through a box of books I came upon a few on Edward Hopper and a few on hip hop. They were stacked in such a manner that the ‘Edward’ of one of them and the ‘hop’ of another were obscured, and so all I saw was ‘Hip Hopper.’ I started laughing at the possibility of seeing famous hip hop artists popping up in various Hopper paintings, but didn’t think much of it initially. It was not until I discussed the curious stacking of books with a close friend, who also happens to be a PHd candidate in American studies, that I knew I had the opportunity to make a relatively powerful statement. Then came the collages.
What do you love about Loveland?
I love those adorable little pillow-dolls in the likenesses of historic figures. The logo font on the windows, too, is wonderful. What font IS that, by the way? I also like drinking beers there before and after hours.