Jamie Davis Writes



A Walking Tour of Miner’s Delight / Hamilton City – WY

Bannack State Park – Dillon, MT

A short tour of one of the most well-preserved ghost towns in America: Bannack. We will start with two of the most fascinating buildings on site, the Masonic Lodge (still active, mind you) and School House, and the Hotel Meade.

Mason Lodge/School House

Jerome, AZ – October 2020

Are these Halloween spooks in Jerome, or permanent fixtures in Jerome? The Skeleton driving the one way taxi seems familiar, but I can’t be too sure.

Scenes from the shops and the street. Holy Family Church. Note the skeleton miner in the window of the church.

Black and white scenes. Views from the bottom of the hill.

We walked the streets and visited Jerome again. But this was as close as we got to the haunted hotel on the hill and the clubhouse.

Notes From a Reading Journal: The Paris Hours, by Alex George

Notes from a Reading Journal: “The Paris Hours,” by Alex George.

Notes from a Reading Journal: This was my BOTM April selection. This is a novel of four characters in 1927 Paris. Nostalgic creatives who show up: Marcel Proust, Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Guillaume (the Painter). The most compelling story line for me was that of Marcel Proust and Camille. The character of Camille was inspired by Proust’s real maid, Celeste Albaret, who was directed to (and allegedly did) burn all of his notebooks. Except… what if she didn’t? This is the story line of Marcel and Camille. I loved it.

What I needed most right now was to step into another place and travel using my mind. I needed an escape. What more appealing and picturesque place than The City of Light in 1927? Let me pretend for a moment that I am drinking cafe au lait in the Latin Quarter and indulging in story. Just let me dream. They haven’t taken that away from us yet. Story.

Collected quotes:

“You and I will never get too comfortable here, my friend. We’ll always be from somewhere else, won’t we?” P. 65 “

She knew the fragility of happiness, and for this reason he trusted her.” P. 80

“She breathes in the comforting smell of old books, and wonders how many lifetimes of stories are held here.” P. 83

“Worse still, he was yet to taste a single bite of cheese. But he could not turn back now.” P 88

“I see still waters running deep within you.” P. 133

“He likes to walk through the Latin Quarter. It is the oldest part of the city, a labryinth that meanders and intersects with itself without apparent design or purpose. The pace of life feels a little slower here. People linger a little longer at cafe tables as they watch the rest of the world amble by. One more sip of coffee, one more story in the newspaper. Generations of stories inhabit every brick in every wall. He can almost see the ghosts.” P. 145

“This is what war does, mon ami. The whole world is holding its breath, waiting for life to begin again.” P. 181

I hold my breath.

The 1886 Crescent Hotel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

It has been 6.5 years since my first visit. The Crescent remains a timeless and charged place, but not the same to me. I guess I am changed, and there is no going back. Whatever I was looking for passing through this time, it was gone. I am gone. It’s funny the perceptions we hold of the past. We go back to a place, looking to recapture a moment. To capture something that can never be caught. What? It’s a special place, but ultimately it’s just another place along the road of my life. It’s just another stop. Have I seen too much? Have I stayed out too long?

The Crescent is fun, and every bit as crowded as The Stanley. It is best appreciated in retrospect, it seems, as while I was in it all I could hear were the other tourists. But it is fun. To explore the museum on the 4th Floor, and pass others as you roam the hallways. Exchanging smiles of camaraderie and perhaps a bit of embarrassment. Yes, we are all tourists snapping photos in a “haunted” hotel, trying to capture a moment. All looking for something we can’t place, but can almost feel in the air as we go up and down the back staircase.

What is here? I am digging into the corners of my mind trying to remember. But not too much. I don’t really want to know, after all. I just want to tread lightly here on the surface, never getting in too deep. Stay in the shallow end, where the water is warmed by the sun, and your feet can reach the bottom. People can and do drown in the shallow water, but I know how to swim. I am safe swimming here if I stay in my lane. Now, I hear what I want to hear. I see who I want to see. I will mostly just go quietly.

I couldn’t properly process the place until I had many hundreds of miles between us. There is place memory here. It could be the history and all of the death. It could be the geology. Or all of the above, most likely.

I wish I could’ve seen it after the Baker Hospital was cleared out. I wish I could feel it empty, pre-renovation. I wish I could time travel and see it during different periods of the past.

The sheets were fantastic in 401 and dinner in the Crystal Dining Room was great as well. The shower was not great. The foot traffic from the ghost tours might disturb some.

Hotel Alex Johnson – Rapid City, SD

The closest hotel that I have ever stayed in that has invoked the “American Horror Story: Hotel” feel.

Have you seen this Man? Colonel Eldridge and Hotel Eldridge of Lawrence, Kansas

Just a few souvenir photos from a short stay at the Hotel Eldridge in Lawrence, Kansas. While I did not pick up on any “energy” per se, there was something that fascinated me about the back left corner table area of the main lobby. Just a feeling. A fleeting impression of days gone by.

A Short Walking Tour of New York (Binghamton) Inebriate Asylum

Just passing through. Nothing to see here, folks.

Morning Pages or Meditation? 

It turns out I have been writing morning pages longer than I have been aware that they had a name for that! Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages were made news to me last December when I picked up Tim Ferriss’s “Tools of Titans.” Before then, I just referred to my writing practice as journaling, and the practice would occur sporadically throughout the day; according to my mood; or in the evening while I tried to play catch up from the day’s events. To be fair, although I have always kept a journal, I never followed a strict, first things first policy until I heard about Cameron’s morning pages practice and decided to give her way a try.    

I still keep notes or journal throughout the day as the mood strikes me, but I do the morning pages work first as an active meditation, and to start my day off on the pattern and practice of taking care of myself first before engaging in work for others. This is me securing my own safety mask before I render help to others!

I have not done a ton of research yet into morning pages, but I am not surprised by the volume of testaments to the practice that I have read so far. Some people have gone as far as saying it is a religious experience for them – that they have found God speaking to them through their writing.

I can see that. The inner guidance and insight that comes from the morning pages practice certainly feels like it could be God, or the universe, trying to get through to me. I think that’s the big answer. Only through the quiet turning of looking inward can we get in tune and start to hear. What will a searching soul find? Will you be strong enough and wise enough to recognize what you need to change after your problems and issues are staring you in the face? Because  after two weeks of the morning pages practice I was forced to to take some accountability and action for my own life’s choices and happiness because there was no getting around the fact that I had been writing about the same whine and agonizing over the same issue. It was a powerful moment. A life changing moment (and one for the better).

I don’t do traditional passive meditation. I can sit on the back porch on a chair and listen to the wind for a few minutes, and I guess that counts, but I haven’t incorporated it into my daily habits yet. Right now, writing my morning pages is where I put my time investment and from doing that I am able to start my day completely at peace and feeling strong. I feel that for my personality type, active meditations give me the best benefit, and writing by far is the most obvious fit. There are also plenty of active meditation moments throughout the day when I try to breathe and quiet my mind, such as exercising; preparing a meal; or when grooming.    

Julia Cameron on Morning Pages in “The Miracle of Morning Pages”:

“Morning Pages are about action. Unlike conventional meditation, which may lull you out of taking action, the pages magnify our discontent, pointing out actions we could take. The pages tend to point out our many choice points. We are egged on to increase honesty and candor. Our lives become our own. We no longer sell ourselves out, giving our time and energy to others’ agenda. We have a choice whether to invest in others or ourselves. Investing in ourselves is novel for many of us.”

Because writing is an active exercise, I am more likely to become aware of changes to make or actions to take to move forward when I do the morning pages work. I agree with Cameron’s assessment of traditional meditation alone, in that I have found it to be true that it lulls me into what I feel is a dangerous spiritual complacency in the sense that yes, I am feeling good or peaceful, but in reality what that means is I’ve just taken the lazy man’s way out and adapted a coping mechanism to a problem so that I have made myself be “okay” with problems instead of making any real changes. I hate it when people don’t deal with problems, and I hate it when I’m guilty of avoidance too. I really strive to be accountable when I realize that action must be taken.

When I was transitioning out of the law firm, I used to say: “I don’t need a glass of wine. I need to change my life.” For me, coping mechanisms are dangerous because they let me get myself stuck in less than prime situations. Coping mechanisms are only to be used in the event of tragedy or other dire circumstances; or if I am just absolutely burning out, and that is how I view passive meditation. If meditation works for you, that’s great. I’m just telling you that meditation alone isn’t for me. I’ve tried it, and I get better benefits from active meditation through writing the morning pages daily.

That being said, now that I have successfully developed the sticky habit of doing the morning pages daily, I will try to combine that habit by stacking on five minutes after work in the late afternoon or early evening and see if I can make traditional meditation stick.

It will be interesting to see if I notice any changes after thirty days of stacking these habits! I have made a new habit tracker to begin tomorrow. The game is afoot. 

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