Ten Wonderful Things About Waterville, ME

Okay, I only have one. It’s Waterville House of Pizza, proudly wearing the WHOP acronym on their polo shirts. Best Greek pizza. (Well, only Greek pizza.) And the way they didn’t raise an eyebrow when I ordered my pepperoni and broccoli pie last night. It helps an improv [pizza] artist to have that kind of support.

It’s funny. I haven’t written because I haven’t known much about joy. Probably all the more reason to write. Or at least actively explore. My body is sore. I’m alone today and planning to take my first bath in my new apartment. I *wish* I could cue up my song “Moving Day” and put it up here, because this is how I’m feeling. Granted I have moved, but it’s more how I’m feeling in my life than anything about this new apartment.

I made a special point of taking a walk today
I found an auto parts store and a copy place…”

It’s about what’s here, in my life, when I stop the mad press to create the right livelihood that has eluded me all these years. I feel like Oedipus trying to escape his fate. My feet, are, in fact, sore. Which is what oedi-pus means in Greek.

“Tried to memorize the names of these new streets
I like the feeling of a new world under my feet.”

Well, at least I used to. Now, I just get tired and want to go home. I have a tendency to wrench things away so that I don’t become attached to false securities and things of the past (ten minutes ago), and then suffer more loss of identity than I thought I would.

“First it all comes apart, then the insides come out,
then you can’t find a place to sit down, and then, Moving Day…”

At least for a while, I’m no longer striving for anything. Until I don’t want to improve anything, including myself. Apparently it isn’t enough to eschew self-help books to rid one of the desire to improve.

(Add an e to improv and what do you get??)

One thing I have never been good at is life just as it is. Even when it’s just a-okay. The thing that used to scare me the most is having a humdrum life with nothing special or noteworthy in it, and now the thing that scares me the most is never learning the art of thinking more about others than myself.

Is there a practice out there for that? I suspect it’s up to me to create it.

Okay, the other nine wonder things about Waterville, ME are the next 9 people I see who are, like me, just perfectly awesomely okay just the way they are.

But that’s a cop-out. Here goes —

Wonderful thing Number 2: Today I saw a bald eagle on my walk with the dog, by the high school, on the other side of Messalonskee Stream.

Number 3: Colby College, especially the January Program, which is free.

Number 4: The other great downtown places to eat, Jorgensen’s, a real coffee shop with Wifi, Thai Bistro with rocking crab maki, and Soup To Nuts, which has huge muffins and uses compostable to-go containers.

Number 5: It’s walkable. The other day I locked my car keys and my apartment keys inside, as I was rushing to get to my frame drum class. I walked. How cool is that.

Number 6: It has three privately owned bookstores and zero big box corporate bookstores.

Number 7: Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping create nurturing communities for girls, instead of identifying a few problem girls and trying to fix them.

Number 8: The Public Library.

Number 9: Easy voting. This is actually true for all of Maine. Register and vote on the same day. The way democracy should be.

Number 10: Tons of gorgeous, huge, ancient trees, all of which are turning shades of gold right now. You can walk down the street and shuffle ankle-deep in Fall leaves, just like the town where I grew up.

Honorable Mention: The house on Gilman St. that has the fabulous Hallowe’en decorations.

“I like to sing so I sang as I walked today
It’s like a calling card that helps to unfreeze my face.
Tried to memorize the steps that brought me here
It’s been an all-around-the-world kind of year…”

0 thoughts on “Ten Wonderful Things About Waterville, ME

  1. Another Honorable Mention to the Kennebec River which is the bald eagles’ favorite downtown place to eat! The new Goodwill store is pretty great too… :]

  2. When I miss you, and your singing, then i remember i can google you and then i can go to your joyreport and get some…..

    The best thing about waterville, in addition to your top 10, and the number one for me, is YOU!!

    Waterville rejoice! Ms Capanna is here!

  3. hey phyllis, i’m just reading this and it’s february 2009! thanks for the top 10. sometimes i forget that there are some wonderful things about being here. definately one of them is whop and thai bistro, but you were so right in all the others. and i emphatically agree with deb, one of the best is you! i’m really glad you are my friend.

  4. I listened to this song just last night. It’s something I do once or twice a year: wait till the house is quiet, pull out Phyllis’s demo tape, and cry. I rewind and listen to “The Way That We Are” over and over. It reminds me of a special time in my life and a special group of friends, a songwriting group called Songos. I heard Moving Day and The Way That We Are and a lot of other great songs there when they were raw and unpolished. I loved them then, and now, 15 years later, they make me cry. Perhaps it’s just Phyllis’s angel voice taking me back… but I fear there’s more to it than that. And yet, I never go any deeper than that. Pull out the tape. Cry. Put it away till next time. It’s a touchstone. Something I can count on to melt the armor that accumulates from too much bad news, too much death and destruction, too many crooked politicians and phony gurus. As a recovering songwriter, I always liked hearing that my music touched people. So Phyllis, I wanted to let you know that your music always did and still does touch me. I’m not sure what the crying’s about… maybe it’s for all the other things I should be crying about and can’t. You know how a tent is waterproof and sheds rain until you touch the roof with your finger and it leaks like hell? That’s what your music is… that fingertip. Thanks for being you and best of luck in everything. We should catch up sometime.


    1. Rick! Tarquinio! What a nice surprise. You have inspired me to get the hardware and post the tune here… any day now. So good to hear your voice, sort of. Thanks for visiting and for the email address.

  5. Waterville is apparently a great place for reading — a great coffeeshop, three privately-owned bookstores and a good library. I’ll be right over — Order me a latte!

  6. hey phyllis,
    izzat really u? how u been? long long time i googling you and found a blog here (phyllomania) and a song there(macjams) but an almost virtual you isn’t quite the same as a real virtual you…so iff’n you read this, howdy. e-me if you wanta… hope u b well

  7. Thanks for sharing your musings and sorry I haven’t tuned in sooner. You say “…and now the thing that scares me the most is never learning the art of thinking more about others than myself.
    Is there a practice out there for that? I suspect it’s up to me to create it.”

    This too was my revelation and challenge over these past 7 years. Buddhist teachings and any number of practices and meditations therein held the breath of fresh area and insight I’ve long been seeking and have helped me untangle that knot in a profound way!

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