I just returned from western Oregon, where green unfolds in shades unlike any where in the world. They’d had a wet September but the first weekend of October was perfect. Sunny, crisp. Lovely. Unless you’re scheduled to be inside.
Portland – tripping back in time.
I hadn’t been to Portland Oregon for many, many years.
Eons, really. Oh, I’ve driven through in a car or on a train but never stopped. Truth be told, I was trying not to dwell on who I was back then, a bit of dandelion fluff shedding all over the world, trying on each new place and, if not finding a fit, packing up and leaving town. I was looking for something I couldn’t and wouldn’t find but try telling that to a romantic nineteen year old.
The eclectic-ness of Portland has been totally outed by the TV show Portlandia, so I won’t try to describe its unique ambience, however, I am pleased to report that they haven’t started the “see the wierdo” bus tours they have in San Francisco.
Witness the depravities of the hippies in Haight Ashbury or the homosexuals in The Castro from the comfort and security of an air-conditioned, double-decker bus!
But I’m sure that time is coming. Soon air-conditioned buses will roam the kinkier neighborhoods, pointing out the many hipper than thou restaurants, cafes and bookstores and what will the young hipsters of Portland be called I wonder? The Porties?
Getting around the downtown is easy. Streetcars run the numbered streets while the Max “trains” run on certain named streets, however, the downtown area is easily walkable, unlike San Francisco with it’s many vertical hills.
One word of caution:
Beware the cycling hordes… especially on a bridge at rush hour. Whiz, boom, bang – they do not share the walkway. Fiendishly and with a single mind towards the evening’s hyper-caffeinated hip activity, they do not yield or even warn with a bell.
The Wordstock Convention
This two day celebration of the written word was the reason for our trip North. I’d heard about it from my editor and decided, what the heck. A chance to mingle with other writers, see what other publishers are doing and meet my editor in person. I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t alone. No booth was quite alike, some folks hawked their products and services; others just smiled at passer-bys, many of whom were students at either Reed of PSU. Authors attempted to speak at three large stages, often drowned out by avante garde musical performances.
I talked to many other writers – some shy about “admitting” they wrote, others anxious to talk your ear off. I especially enjoyed Karen, an strong, vibrant woman whose husband had recently passed. I hope she keeps on writing. I hope someday she’ll share what she writes with the world. I know she has something special to say.
But the best thing about the conference was getting to know my editor, Cynthia White of Cyntactics, and her compatriot Julie Klein of A+ Editing, two ladies who have the greatest respect for aspiring writers no matter what the genre and style.