I 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.