This is not the story that I thought I would share with you today.
I sat down this morning, looked out the window, sipped my coffee and just ... sat. I have some writing prompts that I keep in a Google Doc. I opened those up. Scrolled. And then 3 words caught my eye, my breath catching in my throat. Wind. Rice. Fish.
It was a weekend decades ago, in a place that I will lovingly and always call 'the lake'. One of my best friends at the time, Jodie, and I had decided we needed to break free from our minimum wage jobs and hang out on a dock. My brother, Paul, joined. Supplies needed for the weekend? Hot dogs, beer. Life was simple then.
Late night. Long conversation. Not sure about what anymore. At one point, we 'borrowed' all Grandma's cigarettes but left her one in the pack. And in that night, under the northern lights, we sang and played music. We decided we would start a band. We all stated our favourite thing in the whole wide world. Me = wind. Jodie = rice. Paul = fish. And we sang on as 'Wind, Rice and Fish' until the sun came up.
The next day, Grandma wasn't mad that we took all her smokes. We felt a little tired. Evidence of our long night lay strewn around our still smoldering fire pit (oops). But we still liked our new band name. Wind, Rice and Fish.
We never cut an album, toured the world, even jammed together any other night. But man, we had a great time in that moment. And now, years and years later, I can't help but smile when I think about how everything is a good idea and achievable when you are 20. Because, in that moment, that night, we thought 'why not?'.
What does this story have to do with Ply?
I still carry a lot of that 'why not?' with me, even though I am now 47. I no longer sit up all night singin' 'til the sun hits my face (although I think I should try it again sometime). I can no longer feel well on a diet of hot dogs, beer and cigarettes (not that I ever could but it didn't feel that awful in my 20's).
But I still have a lot of ideas, which I now have the experience and (luckily, still) the energy to make them happen.
And telling you a personal story about me and the things that matter to me IS the story of Ply. Because Ply is a brand but it's also my story. It is a brand that is about creativity and inspiration, connection, making things by hand, being happy, living a more colourful and textural life. But more than a brand, it is my story and one that began in my youth when I realized the power of story to engage others.
And the power of 'why not?'.
Sitting around a campfire all night long, you tell stories. You come up with ideas. Some you act on, some you don't. But, at the lake we came up with a million good ideas because it was that kind of place. I came up with the idea for Ply years ago, perhaps around that campfire on one of those awesome, long nights. And now I'm making it happen.
Today, I write this story with a lump in my throat because that special place that was my home away from home my entire life is up for sale. I'm saying a slow goodbye to the place, but not the memories. I realize as I get older that I write in order to document and process my feelings but also (when I put it out there in the world) to share what makes me, me. Because THIS is my brand. It is the story of a lifetime (so far) of colour and beauty that I am mixing together into an experience that makes sense to me. It is layers upon layers of a life well lived and of joy found in the smallest of moments. It is missing the people that are no longer in my orbit on a daily basis so damn much. But it is knowing that they are still out there, loving me and cheering me on. And I, them.
My husband and I were talking the other day about opportunity. The opportunity of building businesses from the ground up. Of giving wings to ideas that others might think crazy. The 'why not's?'
So, whether it is starting a band or creating a place for making cool stuff, I say why not?
This story, my story, is the unfinished story of so many things. This whole line of thought has become a project, a weaving meditation if you will, on all that has come before. And all that is to come.
I'm glad you have joined me on this journey and hope you will stick around. YOU are part of my story.
- Carmen xo