Tag: bookstores

Portland, I’m in you. To stay.

yay oregonI despise “update” blog entries, but I set myself up for that every time I take such huge breaks from blogging. A lot has happened in the last several months, and I owe it to my fans (all those faithful comment-spam bots that lovingly message every day), to update what’s been going on. I’m sure if John Scalzi ever took a break from blogging for a month or 9, he’d update, yeah? Well, I promise I will try to keep this brief and just the highlights….

So, a few months ago my family and I, and a very close couple, jointly decided to sell most everything we own and move from the midwest to Portland, Oregon. How did it go? Well, we’re here, we have a town house (aka glorified 3-floor apartment), my wife has a job she likes (yay!) and I have been fielding a slew of “1st interviews” with promises of 2nd interviews that tend to not come. These are interviews for places doing jobs in the world of Web development — the field that has been earning my family money since 1998. It’s a field that I enjoy, have enjoyed, but I’m desperately sick of. But, it’s the only thing I know how to do that earns a modicum of money, and it’s money that we have to trade for shelter and food and entertainment, so….

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to write as much as I can. Frequenting coffee shops until I find The Comfortable One and writing a chapter or two of the sequel to Singularity Deferred. My goal is to have it completed and edited by the end of 2014. Then, come 2015, I can go gangbusters on marketing and selling parts 1 and 2 and earn a bit of monies from that. (I have hope. I’ve done virtually no marketing and promotion of book 1, and I still get a small royalty “check” from Amazon and Smashwords each month. Well, enough to buy a couple of my iced mochas at least. But that makes me curious what can be done with some real marketing.) By the way, it kills me that I sell copies every month, but get virtually no reviews, good, bad, or otherwise.

Okay, that last couple paragraphs felt like some self-pitying kvetching. So, let’s move along….

Portland! Why? Because of “Portlandia” maybe? Heh, no. I lived a brief time, as a kid, in Washington, and I knew ever since then I would come back. I loved the weather, I loved the mountains, the ocean, the…”vibe” for lack of a less squishy word. And the art and culture and “vibe” I have kept an eye on coming from Portland and Eugene ever since has always been in the back of my mind as a land I must pilgrimage to. The idea of moving to Oregon, Portland even, never formed much more than a fleeting thought, but the seed was planted back in 1980, ready to be watered.

It’s been 4 weeks here, and despite the rough and troubles and bit of chaos in areas of work, family, household, etc…. I know as certainly as I knew after the first week and a half: I’m home.

I grew up in Colorado, mainly, and I will always consider it my foundational home. My place of origin, the place that will always be in my heart. And when my family moved me to Missouri as a teen, I knew despite all the other moves in my youth, that one was going to stick for a while — and I did not like it one bit. Never have. Sure, the Ozarks have some beauty to them. And I’ve met all my current friends, and my wife, and the things and people that are important to me, in Missouri. But I have never, once ever, felt like Missouri was home. It was my place of exile. I’ve only been in Oregon a month, I have experienced a tiny swath of the land and the insane variety of the landscapes and terrain it holds, a tiny sampling of the city and the people and the culture, visited the ocean once and walked among the trees a smidge… and  I know I’m here to stay.

A couple of days ago while visiting a park (that was more like a national forest situated in the middle of a city), my friend and I spoke with a native with adorable dogs, and she has observed, dealing with many people in her career, that Portland seems to draw in a lot of people, but then spit back out a lot of people “who don’t belong.” I don’t know what Portland, or Oregon, feel are the belonging people (wry grin), but I feel I belong. So this place is going to have to spit me out while kicking and screaming.

Some points of interest being here: Red and Black Cafe, will need to visit more often. Powell’s Bookstore, wow! I will be seeing William Gibson there next month! *swoon* Guardian Games, which is huge and fascinating! And loud and annoying. I’m making Rainy Day Games my gaming home. They also have a huge selection of disc golf equipment, which I’ve wanted to get into for some time.


Related Posts:

Rothfuss coolness

The last couple of days has hit me with a couple of instances of coolness regarding a writer I like… whom I’ve not actually read yet! Patrick Rothfuss, author of the fantasy bestseller, The Name of the Wind, and its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. These are his only two published novels so far, and I’ve not actually read either yet — although, The Name of the Wind happens to be sitting atop my stack of books-to-read. (Link to my other blog I’m still migrating posts over from.)

If I haven’t read any of his fiction, how can I like him? Well, for nearly two years now, I’ve been reading about him, and especially lately, have been hearing him on a lot of podcasts and reading his interviews. I like the guy. I’m looking forward to liking his writing, as well, soon.

Anyway, one of those podcasts, I listened to this last week: Adventures in SciFi Publishing, number 118. As the interview guest, he spoke a lot about various topics, about writing and getting published, and his trials and tribulations with editing — very inspiring. But one thing he said that really got my attention, was his revelation that he didn’t know a simile from a metaphor, and has to think about the difference between an adjective and an adverb. This was shocking to me because, well, personally, I love grammar. 🙂 But apart from that, it seems to me that every writer I’m familiar with appears to know more about grammar than I do. How is it this acclaimed, best-selling, beloved writer by intelligent and educated fantasy readers, could possibly not know 5th-grade grammar concepts? Me knee-jerk reaction was of shock and disappointment.

But, after a moment, I realized: Who flippin’ cares if he doesn’t know the mechanics. He can obviously write extremely well from instinct, from natural talent, from the experience of reading other peoples’ writing, from (as he described) listening to his own words and how they feel, if they simply sound well put together. In a way, I envy that.

Though, he also teaches creative writing. And I have to wonder, surely he has to know basic “stuff” in order to at least help teach basic skills and what to avoid. I mean, how can you teach new writers to avoid adverbs, especially “-ly” adverbs, if you have a hard time remembering what an adverb is? For example. And I wonder, was he being intentionality overly self-deprecating in the interview? Oh well, not really important.

The second piece of interesting coolness was his latest blog posting describing his experience trying to book a last-minute book signing in Iowa City. It’s an amusing tale just in general. But what amused me more, was that the store that finally booked him, and quite happily, was The Haunted Bookshop — a primarily used book store. I lived in Iowa City for a year, about a decade ago, and I used to shop at that store all the time. I remember going in there right before each of my twice-a-month 8-hour drives to Missouri to pick up a new audiobook.

Really, it’s kind of silly, but the fact that he talked about this store, and posted a very familiar picture of the place, made me smile and chuckle for a couple of days. Ah, nostalgia-from-serendipity!


Related Posts:

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén