Maison d’Evangeline is a make-believe bookshop where readers, writers, & armchair philosophers gather to explore the topics around meaning, contentment, & care of the soul.
Here's how to get there.
Take the streetcar, tram, trolley (or Charlie, in the case of my nephew at 4-years-old)—whatever you like to call it, past the loud and sensational newsstands, beyond the doomsday criers and old lady gossips, and on past the social media influencers and scroll-away-the-day feeds. You'll have to be deliberate and pay attention, because it's easy to miss if you get distracted at all along the way. So remain mindful. You're on a mission.
You'll recognize the place with its cheerful exterior in, what I've come to call, Maison d'Evangeline red, with its pale blueish-gray door. It's situated on the corner of a neighborly street with lots of activity and passersby.
Inside, you'll find a cozy and welcoming home away from home for all its patrons—readers and writers and armchair philosophers. They're a quirky bunch, but everyone's friendly and quick to embrace newcomers.
So find yourself a comfy nook and settle in with your favorite beverage for some reading or writing. Or you can join in with the regulars for some deep conversation.
What's it all about?
Three quotes explain Maison d'Evangeline ...
What story would you choose to live by? The answer offers a clue to your soul, your deepest self.
— Catherine Ann Jones
I read this quote in a book called The Way of Story. It's about writing fiction, but when I came across it, I knew it had implications far beyond storytelling. It's amazing to think we have the ability to influence our own stories, as well as those of others and even the world. We make choices and things happen. Sometimes the outcomes of those decisions reflect the exact ones we had in mind. Other times, not so much. Either way, it's empowering to know we have that agency. If we want it. And even if we don't, the act of not making a choice carries outcomes all its own. So why wouldn't we choose something interesting and fun and that leaves the world a little better than we found it?
Drinking tea and mining problems of the soul.
— Donald Miller
When I read that phrase in Hero on a Mission, I thought, "That's exactly what I want to do at Maison d'Evangeline, drink tea and mine problems of the soul." It's similar to the one by the late Thich Nhat Hanh: "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves." Seems that's Buddhism and mindfulness in a nutshell (or a tea cup).
A house extends skyward. Like a tiny but proud cathedral, it wishes to generate the highest and the best in its inhabitants.
— John Truby
This quote is most representative of Maison d'Evangeline, or at least what it represents to me. The point of this place is to help its patrons leave a little better than they came, whether in mood, the way they feel, or even in their behaviors and how they show up in the world. I built Maison d'Evangeline for me first, but eventually decided to open it to others. Hopefully it helps some of us, in small ways, but maybe in bigger ones as well.