Thursday, October 11, 2012

Portland and Wordstock...

Headed out first thing in the morning for Portland, Oregon, a city I once knew quite well. Because I grew up in southern Idaho, when I was younger, driving to Portland or Seattle or Salt Lake City was what we did for fun so we did it often. A real difference between living in the west and living in the east, in fact: westerners don't think a thing about getting in the car and driving for 8 hours to hang out somewhere for the weekend. Now doing something like that would seem arduous and even slightly ridiculous. Plus, I don't have a car...

quirky portland
I am going to Portland to see some events at wordstock, an interesting Festival that does all kinds of compelling stuff without big huge stars or major headliners. I like that approach. Or I should say, it's nice to be able to balance headliners with simply interesting, challenging, entertaining literary events.

I've always had a soft spot for Portland: its people, its weather, its architecture.  But it's literally been probably 20 years since I was there last or close to that. A lot has changed I imagine. Things I know about Portland:
  • Large chunks of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot is set there.
  • Esmeralda Spalding is from there.
  • Never seen Portlandia but I love Fred Armisen so will be on the lookout for him at all times!
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is set there I believe.
At the Festival, I am hoping to catch Peter Zuckerman who published a book this summer about Sherpa trekkers on Mt. Everest that looked interesting a la Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Also want hear adventure writer Peter Heller talk.

Their highlight this year, though, has to be Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus which has been getting a ton of buzz.

Doesn't look like much but it's a kind of paradise...
Also looking forward to being in a fun, vibrant city that I used to know fairly well.

And, of course, there's Powell's. That place is worth a trip to the west coast alone!

The downside is that going out west means I have to miss the Brattleboro Literary Festival this year, one of last year's highlights for me. What an amazing little Festival: great authors, amazing audiences, cool venues and in this adorable little town where beer is easy to find and people love to talk about writers (there has to be the highest concentration of book stores there compared with just about anywhere I've ever been). I was there last year with Monique Proulx and Kathleen Winter. What a fun weekend!

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