I woke up this morning to one of the most magnificent views I think I’ve ever witnessed. Snowcapped mountains and deep calm waters, washed in the morning’s hues of blue, drenching my bedroom in calm. It was at that moment I knew that my day with Karen would be filled with overwhelming beauty.
Now having completed her story together, I am filled with joy. Our surroundings made up only half of the beauty that contributed to our magnificent synergy. Karen’s own inner beauty really and truly made today the special experience it was. From her endearing smile to her home-cooked quiche at lunch and the care with which she hosted me; there is no denying that Karen is a gift to this world.
When I got word that Karen wanted to do a story, I toyed with the idea of reading one of her books ahead of our day together; I’m so glad I didn’t. Apart from my research into her life and our collective brainstorming of ideas, I wanted today to be spontaneous, collaborative and fresh. I wanted the questions I asked in her interview to come from a newcomer’s mind. I hope the stories she shares inspire you to adventure into her books with gusto. I know I’m excited to head off and read up a storm!!!
As I sit here, peering across the table at Karen writing her own journal entry (which will appear at the bottom of her story on this page), I am so grateful for our connection. I sincerely hope that the metaphoric, magical, masterful, light- and life-filled works we created make you feel as if you too are sharing a day with her. Karen’s depth is just as worthy of recognition as her two published books and I’m so honored to have captured her story for you to soak up here.
What's cooking in Karen's kitchen?
PASTA ALLO SCOGLIO
CLAMS 1 lb.
MUSSELS 1 lb
WHITE WINE 1 glass and a bit
POMODORINI (CHERRY TOMATOES) or alternatively a good tomato sauce HOME MADE
Step 1: clean the mussels of all impurities and put them along with the clams in cold water for half an hour to remove possible sand.
Step 2: Heat the olive oil with 1 clove of garlic in a saucepan, add the mussels and clams, white wine and cover for 5 minutes until all shells are open. With a fork, remove the clams and mussels from the shells and set aside. RETAIN THE BROTH, IT'S PRECIOUS! Also spare some mussels and clams shells on for final decoration.
Step 3: In a wok, heat olive oil and garlic and add the calamari cut in rounds. Add some salt and peperoncino (hot pepper flakes), half a glass of wine and let them cook for 30 minutes, until tender.
Add the cherry tomatoes, stir for a couple of minutes and then add the prawns, scallops, clams and mussels. Simmer for a few minutes
Step 4: Boil the linguine in SALTED water very AL DENTE. With a spider strainer remove the pasta and add it to the seafood sauce along with the clam broth previously saved. Cook for another couple of minutes to absorb all juices (please taste, do not overcook). Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Decorate the seafood pasta with mussels and clams shells on top.
Original recipe courtesy of Anna Axerio
A frequent stomping ground for Karen's characters, TROPEA, ITALY holds a special place in her heart. Karen was kind enough to share photos with us from her most recent research trip; GORGEOUS!
Q: Why did you choose to live in your state/city/town?
A: We used to drive past this little village of Lions Bay on our way up to Whistler to ski, but we’d never actually stopped in. One day we did, and we were hooked; Lions Bay has everything we desired: the sea and the mountains, the close-knit community, and an incredible connection to the arts.
Q: What is your favorite brunch spot nearby?
A: The Taphouse in Park Royal. It’s like a big neighborhood pub. The food, the staff and the energy are amazing. We’re there virtually every weekend!
Q: Best cup of coffee in the neighborhood?
A: The Lions Bay Café here is pretty damned good, but one of my favorite spots is Galileo Coffee just up the Sea-to-Sky highway a few miles north. I love that they roast their own coffee there, so you can buy it to take home.
Q: Is there one morning ritual you can’t live without?
A: Glen brings me a latte in bed every single morning. I can count on one hand the times he hasn’t. If we’ve had a disagreement and he doesn’t bring me coffee, I know it’s really bad! Thank goodness that rarely happens.
Q: What’s your favorite ‘80s or ’90s jam?
A: Right now, I’m totally hooked on Tracy Chapman and Eric Clapton’s live performance of Give Me One Reason; I could play it on an endless loop! I love everything by the late Canadian legend, Leonard Cohen. And I still cry through Sarah Brightman’s Nesum Dorma, the aria from the final act of Puccini’s opera, Turandot.
Q: Where was the last place you traveled to? What’s one not-to-miss activity there?
A: Memphis! Ten women and I (we called ourselves The Memphis Eleven) went there to celebrate a girlfriend’s milestone birthday. Besides Graceland, Sun Studio and the like, I highly recommend seeing the Museum of Civil Rights. We were in the exact spot that Martin Luther King was assassinated—I was moved to tears.
Q: Do you prefer traveling by train or car? If in the car, are you a driver, a passenger or a backseat driver?
A: I love trains but unfortunately, here we have to drive everywhere and I am the WORST passenger. I definitely prefer being the driver.
For a deeper dive, listen to Karen's full interview below!
Karen's journal entry transcribed:
Today was my Silhouette Day with the legendarily talented and authentic Eli. It was a strange but great feeling to have the focus on me! It was strange because I’m used to asking others about themselves and finding out how and why they’re successful. At the same time, it was amazing because sharing our Slice of Paradise with someone I instantly trusted the way I did with Eli left me free to focus on the things that are really important — the real stuff, the life changing things I have created: A wonderful, fulfilling personal life with my husband Glen and the passion I’ve discovered that I didn’t realize was my gift. My magic.
Eli’s infinite wisdom and patience helped me uncover these things. I forgot to tell him that I only recently realized how I found my purpose thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Soul Sunday’s talk about discovering your purpose by knowing what you’re curious about. If it weren't for my innate curiosity, I wouldn’t write, I wouldn't research. And I truly want to know what my readers feel when they read my books.
Focusing on the things Eli coached from me helped me whittle my life’s purpose down to two things: One, to continue to live my life fully and passionately, and two, to keep transporting my readers to worlds they can see, feel, smell and imagine.
I was surprised how difficult it was to articulate answers to questions that I could’ve written so easily and with emotion.
After this Silhouette I feel stronger and more on purpose. I forgot to tell Eli that if I had started earlier in life, I don’t think I would’ve had enough life experience to have something significant to say.
CONNECT FURTHER WITH KAREN DODD
Eli Dagostino’s zest for life has been celebrated on the stages of SNL, on the pages of Vanity Fair, in the seats of Carnegie Hall and by the MET museum and Squarespace.