Our interview with May #CMCOMMITMENT speaker, Jonathan Blakeslee founder & owner of White Heron in Portsmouth NH.

Tell us one thing about commitment in your life?

By committing to things, we are able to move ourselves to places that we initially didn’t think we could get to.    

Is there anything new or exciting in your field?

With White Heron we are getting ready to open a retail tea and record shop attached to the cafe. Simultaneously I am finishing up a musical album under my own name and launching a tea blog. I would like to write a book about tea so this is a good way to get started. 

Where do you find your inspiration as a creative person?

I feel like I find inspiration in the everyday. 

We are surrounded by it if we want to be. It’s just good to be open and stay more present and stay more aware. Not be so addicted to our devices and our habits that we don’t experience the world around us. Everything has potential for inspiration.

If you could open a door to anywhere past, present, or future where and why?

My dad was born in Rio de Janeiro and my grandmother was from Rio de Janeiro and I never was never taught Portuguese but I almost wish I could have a glimpse into my father’s life but especially my grandmother’s life. She was such an amazing human being. She worked for the consulate, she spoke multiple languages, she was musical, she played guitar, piano, and sang. I can ask my dad about it but I really want to see it for myself. I have never been to Brazil, so I guess this is a past and a future thing.  

Any advice to anyone starting out in your field?

It can feel scary. 

Starting White Heron was a massive leap of faith. 

Did I have qualifications for any of it? Not particularly. I was always a really hard worker and had a lot of restaurant experience. If it’s something you’re passionate about, do the research, due diligence is important, don’t jump in blindly. However if it’s something that you really feel passionate about you have to use that to power yourself forward. This new you that you can see, others cannot. They are trying to be caring and protective. If I fall on my face I will only blame myself. If I don’t succeed that’s okay too. 

What speaker would you like to see at PKX?

Yoda would be cool but let me try to think of someone less green. Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams. That book had a huge influence on me. I remember the concept in there about potential futures.

Interview by Raya Al-Hashmi & Monte Bohanan for CreativeMornings PKX. Photography by Kate & Keith Photography.  Photographed at White Heron Coffee & Tea Cafe.