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WORD

A Cinematic Event: “Sometimes a Great Movie: Paul Newman, Ken Kesey and the Filming of the Great Oregon Novel.” Author Matt Love in Astoria • July 28

For the past three months, author Matt Love has been making the rounds of bookstores all over Oregon, talking about his new book, “Sometimes a Great Movie: Paul Newman, Ken Kesey and the Filming of the Great Oregon Novel.” Now, Love’s Northwest book tour comes to Astoria, for a screening/signing/storytelling event at KALA@HIPFiSHmonthly, at 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria.  Doors open at 6:30pm on Saturday, July 28, the show begins at 7pm. Admission is $5, with a no-host beer and wine bar, plus trivia questions, prizes, a Q & A with the author, perusal of Love’s movie memorabilia, movie trailers, home movies of the filming production and screening of the movie.

In June 1970, the biggest movie star in the world traveled to the Oregon Coast to film an epic novel about a defiant family of loggers written by a home-grown counterculture hero. The star was Paul Newman. The author was Ken Kesey. The story was “Sometimes a Great Notion” and it has a fanatical following in the Pacific Northwest.

What ensued was a wild working vacation between Hollywood and Oregonians involving beer, sex, scotch, loggers, beaches, and perhaps, a spectacularly vandalized pool table. In “Sometimes a Great Movie,” Love documents the legend of that magical summer and presents over a 125 never-before-seen photographs, including many in color. It’s the third installment in his Newport trilogy.

Love is the author/editor of eight books about Oregon, including, the best selling “Far Out Story of Vortex I,” “Citadel of the Spirit: Oregon’s Sesquicentennial Anthology,” and “Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker.” He writes the “One Man’s Beach” column for Oregon Coast TODAY and the “On Oregon” blog for Powells, is a featured writer in the Coast Weekend, and for 8 years was a contributing columnist to HIPFiSHmonthly. In 2009, Love won the Oregon Literary Arts’ Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature. He lives in South Beach and teaches English and journalism at Newport High School. He’s currently working on a novel about teaching in a public high school.


BOOK EXCERPT

Paul Newman’s Double: The Dean Fillmore Story

Dean Fillmore was a logger hired to play Newman’s body double in the film. In this excerpt from the book, Fillmore recounts his unlikely brush with stardom and his relationship to Newman.

We were logging east of Taft, near Lincoln City, and here came these big stretch vans up the road. There must have been fifteen or twenty people, a bunch of college kids. They were shooting a movie and asked if I would like to be Paul Newman’s double. I said I didn’t know if I could do it, take the time. The production people just shut down part of Jepson Logging, the outfit I was working for, and paid them what they would have made during the summer. They hired the whole logging crew and the equipment.

I was thirty-eight years old and a pretty big fan of Newman. I’d been working in the woods since nineteen fifty-two.

I had to train the guys how to use a chainsaw because they didn’t know squat about chainsaws and falling trees. I got the impression that Paul had handled a saw before. He picked it up pretty good. I told him to keep a good grip on it, because those damn things, a log, can really hit the bar…it’ll kick back at you.

The highest Paul ever got in a tree was six feet.  I remember they cut about an eight-foot chunk off the top of a tree, a pole I guess, and put it on a platform. And Paul sat on top of the tree, and they had it on a dolly where they could make it swing a little bit. It was right on the edge of a canyon so it looked like he’s way up in the air. They used that shot when he was on top of the tree, which was me from far off in the picture.

One time he climbed up the pole and they filmed a bunch of outtakes, funny things, that they would show later at parties and stuff. He would climb up there and act like he fell out of the tree and the grips would catch him.

In the mornings, I’d show up at the Dunes Motel to head out to location. About ninety percent of the crew were staying there and we’d go get a load of them and go out to the set. We’d always be waiting around and there would be these women coming out of the guys’ rooms. The Hollywood guys. They had a lot of women.

They had two filming units and I did all the long shots in the second unit. All the face shots, naturally, that’s Paul, but all the long shots when you don’t see his face, that’s me. I wasn’t part of the beach scenes. I was the logging guy, the tree faller. I remember one time Paul asked me if I could drop a tree to an exact spot or something like that. I tossed my tin hat to the ground not far away and cut a tree that came right down next to it. He was pretty impressed.

Newman was just an ordinary kind of guy. I was surprised he didn’t act like a big star. He just sat there and would talk to you about whatever. I called him Paul and he called me Dean. I took my family out to the sets a couple of time and took some pictures. Nobody said a thing.

Paul asked a lot of questions about logging. He wanted to make it as realistic as he could. He asked me about rigging that tree up, where Henry Fonda got smashed up in his shoulder. He wanted to know if I could make that happen, because some trees, they do what’s called barber-chairing. That’s when the tree slabs up and it looks like a kind of barber chair. What happens is, you don’t cut a big enough piece and it can come back and whack you. It’s killed people. I tried to do it naturally, but it wouldn’t work. The spruce trees were the worst for barber-chair, so I finally took my saw and split that sucker just as high as I could reach, then they got a four-wheeler hooked on it and they pulled it to where it would start slabbing, like in the movie. It looked pretty realistic.

There was lot of partying going on with the actors and the crew, mostly beer. Paul liked Coors. Oregon didn’t have Coors at the time so they brought him a load over from Idaho. I laughed at that.

The wrap party was pretty good. It was at a supper club and bar, in Newport years ago, Jake’s High Tide. Newman was there, the whole cast. They were just partying and getting down. There was kind of a pop band if I remember right. Newman was laughing and joking and having a good time. I was partying too.

I got a regular salary, probably about fifty dollars a day for falling, and every time I climbed a tree, that was another twenty-five. I came out pretty good, but there was a lot of waiting around and I told them ‘Well, I’m getting kind of bored sitting around waiting for you. I’m about to go back to work.’ And they said, ‘How about we give you another four hundred a week?’  I didn’t really expect to get any money but I did.

When the filming was over, they gave me two of the saws, the big one twenty-five and the eighty (horsepower). They gave me five pairs of cork boots and a check for a thousand dollars and said ‘thanks.’


Necessary poisons – Performer Mindy Dillard debuts her one-woman show in Astoria

mindyapplegreenhouseIt’s taken some doing, but Mindy Dillard has learned to get comfortable with diving deep.

These days, she often finds herself plumbing the depths of the human psyche as she searches for inspiration for her performance art.
It’s murky down there to be sure, and some strange and unexpected things are apt to bubble up, but for, Dillard, exploring those fathoms can also be a life-saving act.

Dillard’s latest theatrical venture, a one-woman show titled  “How to Survive a Poison Apple,” debuts in Astoria this July.

Part magic realist musical, part neo-feminist performance art and part fractured fairy tale, Poison Apple tells the tale of an abandoned princess struggling with anorexia. As her self image evolves, she cavorts with other princesses and wise dwarves, climbs aboard submarines, and faces down one very forbidden piece of fruit.

It’s a little bit funny, a little bit tragic, and it’s definitely the most personal thing Dillard has ever written or performed.

“I call it a storyscape because I’m telling stories in the form of narration and storytelling and also in the form of the song,” Dillard said. “I switch characters. I feel that I’m a form bender.”

Dillard started writing the songs and stories that would come to comprise “Poison Apple” three years ago. Bits would come to her in odd moments, often late at night, often in dreams.

She felt compelled to tease out the bits, to understand the messages that were bubbling up from her own depths.

Dillard was teaching children’s theater classes at the time, and she’d grown dismayed by her female students’ abiding obsession with pretty princesses. She was also making her way through her own failed fairy tale ending, having recently split with a boyfriend who turned out to be less than princely, and she found herself pondering the subconscious messages society was sending to girls and women.

She thought about Snow White, and the way a bite from an enchanted apple had sent her into a sleep befitting the dead.

She thought back to a time when, in the grips of her own struggle with anorexia, she could eat nothing but apples.

She also thought about alchemy, how seemingly incompatible elements can combine in unexpected ways, and how they can be transformed by that combining, even when the pressure seems too great to bear.

“I feel I’m kind of an alchemist because I try to expose things that are hard,” Dillard said. “They’re hard for me to say and sometimes I think they’re hard for people to hear, but before a diamond gets turned into a diamond, it’s a rock. It has to be compressed.”

Someday, Dillard would love to take “Poison Apple” on the road to high schools and colleges across the country.

In the meantime, her own self-conception is evolving along with her art. She’ll still blanch at insensitive comments people make about her appearance (a man at a recent show looked her up and down and said, “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder now.”) or cringe when she sees a young girl complimented solely for her looks, but she’s learning to speak up about how she’s feeling, to say the things that are difficult to say, to share her story, over and over. (Indeed, a happy ending for her own story looks rather promising: if you catch her show, don’t forget to look for her artistic and life-partner, Eric McEuen, accompanying her musically.)

In the end, it’s a longer journey of growth and discovery Dillard is committed to – and committed to sharing with others.

“Experience is really the only thing that can grow someone,” Dillard said. “Hard things are hard but sometimes they’re necessary for transformation … All the stuff I’ve experienced has been necessary poison … So I’m going to make it into the poison that turns into medicine.”

How To Survive a Poison Apple
an electric one-woman musical storyscape
Saturday, July 7 @ KALA
Doors open 8pm, show at 8:30pm
Tickets are $10 at the door. To retain a seat for the show, advised to arrive when doors open.
Refreshments available
• Audience Suggestion: This show is created for young and old to enjoy and experience. Suggested age 10 years and up please.
• Approx. 1 hour running time.
KALA is located at 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria
View a video clip of “Poison Apple”.

 


Coastal Independent Bookstores and the “Gods and Goddesses” Who Own and Run these Gems of Coastal Community Culture

Owner of Godfather’s Books in Astoria, Charlie Holboke has been in the bookstore business in Clatsop County since 1978.

Our local north coast booksellers are a little naïve; at least that’s what most of them told me when interviewing for this story. These bookstore owners all believe independent bookstores are a necessary aspect of any livable community. They believe inviting, local bookstores furnished with comfy chairs, a cat, and stacks of good books sustain a community. They have the notion if they host book events and author visits and customer conversations their store can both indicate and incite a community’s health and cohesion. They hope ereading devices, and big boxstores with their sterile book sections filled with the same twenty not-very-well-written books, and online booksellers won’t impact the book market too much. A little naïve indeed.

But, as the roots of the word mean “native” and its etymological origins link to words like nation, kind, and gentle, the fact that these bookstore owners are a little naïve may be their – and our coastal community’s – saving grace.

All our local booksellers also love books. And reading. And words. Karen Spicer, the beret-wearing, coffee-drinking owner of Rainy Day Books in Tillamook, sits in her comfy worn chair and sweeps her arm along the length of her main room where stacks of books rise inside shelves, on tables, and even in piles on the floor. “Think about it,” she says with a wistful voice, “Twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, and look what’s here. If you can read, you can access every thought ever thought.”

Franz Hasslacher, co-owner of Ekahni Books in Manzanita agrees. He and his wife, Sherry, bought the store in December of 2009 because they “believe in books and information,” particularly the kind of books not noted on the homogenized bestseller lists. However, the Hasslachers came into owning a bookstore right when the state of the publishing industry, with the advent of e-readers and tablets, registered its greatest shifts in how people get that information. In the second quarter of 2010, just after the launch of Apple’s first iPad, the online mogul Amazon.com hit the dubious milestone of selling more ebooks than print books. While Hasslacher acknowledges the advent of ereading devices has taken its toll, he still has hope. “Young people and old people come into the store and say they’ll never buy an ereader because they like the tactile feel of a book. Whether there’s enough of them, who knows?”

All our local independent booksellers have that question “who knows” hanging over their heads. They know the book world has changed. They know the economy has tanked. They know the future of the publishing and distribution industries is murky. Some of them, like Karen Emmerling of Beach Books in Seaside who recently implemented Google ebooks on her website and will be a first timer at the book expo in New York this year, are trying to keep up. Other sellers may give up, though not without a fight.

Spicer has been in the business for twenty-five and a half years. She knew what she wanted when she bought the bookstore and claims she “pretty much achieved that,” which was to make her livelihood by being a proprietor whose store has idyllic days where a dad is reading to his kid in the children’s room, and another person is reading on the couch, and a mom is nursing her baby in the comfy chair, and there’s cool music playing over the speakers. In other words, a place where community happens. But those kind of days at Rainy Day are getting fewer and farther between. “What I’m experiencing [now] is that books aren’t revered like they used to be,” Spicer says. “They’re a penny on Amazon, a dime a dozen. So if people can’t get them for cheap, they don’t want them.”

Jody Swanson of Cloud & Leaf Books in Manzanita can relate to Spicer’s experience. “Occasionally I have people come in here, take a picture with their phone of a book they want, and then go download it.” Swanson has been impacted by the changes in the economy and the book market, and she worries, too. But, she says she still sees a lot of people who have “awareness about supporting indie bookstores.” She also repeats a few times during our interview how thankful she feels to have a good location in Manzanita with a lot of foot and vacation home traffic where people arrive with leisure time to read.

All our local booksellers know the most important aspect of an independent bookstore is the human interaction and quality service they offer. It’s one asset all the technology or money in the world can’t beat or buy. These local sellers get to know their customers and help recommend books off the beaten path to satisfy their unique readers’ tastes. All of them will make special orders for their customers.

“More than ever, customer service is important,” says Emmerling. “Personal connection is what keeps people coming back.”

Patti Breidenbach, the new owner of Lucy’s Books in Astoria, argues customers “want that personal touch you just can’t get at the ‘A’ place, the online store that shall not be mentioned,”she says with a giggle. She also notes how someone once told her a bookstore in a town reflects the education of the people. “A town without a bookstore is a sad town,” she says.

If you’re reading this article and nodding your head in agreement, do more than peruse in the nice chairs these sellers have set out for you. Buy a book. Or two. Or tons. If you’re too financially strapped to buy a book, then ask if the seller might like a donation of your cool used books, so they could turn around and sell them, hopefully at a profit. One smart customer, when hearing how our local libraries are struggling to survive and fighting to pass levies to keep their doors open, walked into Rainy Day Books, bought a $500 gift certificate, and then gave it to the library to use for new purchases – that way, his purchase was doubly philanthropic.

On the side of their sales counter, Cloud & Leaf Book has a poster from IndieBound, a program launched in 2008 to help bring together independent businesses. The poster is the IndieBound Declaration, which reads in part: “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for individuals to denounce the corporate bands which threaten to homogenize our cities and our souls, we must celebrate the powers that make us unique and declare the causes which compel us to remain independent. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all stores are not created equal, that some are endowed by their owners, their staff, and their communities with certain incomparable heights, that among these are Personality, Purpose and Passion.” If you truly believe bookstores are a sign of a thriving community, resist the soul-sucking ease of online shopping or buying a book while you’re also buying groceries. Save your soul – and your community – by supporting your local independent bookstore.


beachbooks1

Oz the cat, takes a nap at Beach Books. Photo by Erin J Bernard.

Beach Books

Karen Emmerling, owner
3700 N. Edgewood
Seaside, OR 97138
www.beachbooks37.com

In 2005, Karen Emmerling, a former advertising executive and t.v. manager, had been working with her husband in Gearhart when she “decided it was time to do something for me.” She took a trip to Wordstock, the bookseller and author extravaganza held every year at the convention center in Portland, and “knew I should have always been in the bookworld.” So, she Googled “how to open a bookstore,” and launched Beach Books in November of that year. Noting the risky move opening a new business in November on the Oregon coast, Emmerling laughs and says, “my timing has never been good.” Despite the riskiness of the endeavor, Emmerling has not only survived but thrived; last year was her best yet and this year is off to a good start.

BeachBooks2Her vision for her store was a “warm, inviting place where people feel comfortable talking about books. I wanted to share my love of books.” Beach Books sells primarily new books, but has some used, and a lot of regional and local author books as well. Beyond the comfortable chairs and welcoming cat, named Oz, Emmerling is serious about the quality of her customer service. She and her staff of four, offer monthly author luncheons, have ties to Pacific University’s Seaside winter residency program, provide a detailed website, create recommendation cards, send out a monthly email newsletter, update their Facebook page, offer discounts to book groups, and even make deliveries to locals during the summer months. Beach Books is an organizer of the first annual Seaside author event, “Written in the Sand,” to be held on June 23rd when more than 20 authors will gather at Downing Park to sign copies and read from their books.


CloudandLeaf1

CloudandLeaf2

Jody Swanson (left) and customer at Cloud & Leaf. Photo by Erin J Bernard.

Cloud & Leaf Bookstore

Jody Swanson, owner
148 Laneda Ave.
P.O. Box 866
Manzanita, OR 97130
503.368.2665 (BOOK)
www.cloudandleaf.com

Eight years ago when Jody Swanson moved to Manzanita, she noticed there wasn’t a bookstore in town and she wanted to run a bookstore because she loves books. Her location and reputation as the local bookstore on Manzanita’s main Laneda Avenue has been a key component of her ability to expand her store after only two years and maintain one part-time and a few “on-call” employees. She specializes in new books, both fiction and non-fiction, and “more obscure things, whatever I find that I like,” she says. She’s also proud of her poetry selection. She’s an avid researcher, referencing several book guides before she orders, and she’s selective about what she chooses. Cloud & Leaf also sells cards, writing related gifts, small journals and magazines, and a few used books from Swanson’s own storage unit.

While Swanson acknowledges whatever she thinks is “good is subjective,” locals, tourists, and second home owners seem to trust her tastes and have come to rely on them. “I have a lot of people,” she says, “who are kind and complimentary about the store, and who appreciate our customer service, like the little recommended signs and reviews.”

Cloud & Leaf is a bookseller for the Manzanita Writers’ Series and offers periodic book events; she even once packed a rock band into her small store to help support a local writer.


cannonbeachbookco3Cannon Beach Book Company

Valerie Ryan, Owner
130 North Hemlock, Suite 2
Cannon Beach, Oregon 97110
503.436.1301
www.cannonbeachbooks.com

Cannon Beach Book Company owner, Valerie Ryan, bought the store in 1980 with a partner (John Buckley). They owned it together until late in 1983, when Ryan sold her half, and returned to Seattle. Twelve years later, she came back to the area, and bought the store, running it as the sole owner for the last 17 years. With the help of four employees year around and five in the summer, CBBC hosts frequent book signings,and co-sponsors off-site events with Cannon Beach Public Library, at Coaster Theatre, or “wherever we are asked to participate”. A recent event, “Get Lit at the Beach,” brought four bestselling authors to town for three days. This successful event will continue, to be held again on April 12, 13, and 14, 2013.

cannonbeachbookco2

Valerie Ryan chats with author Phil Margolin

Valerie majored in English in college. “When it became apparent that I was going to have to earn a living I realized that I could do what I loved best: surround myself with books; read them; write about them; talk about them; sell them.” She finds owning a bookstore to be “interesting, challenging, and always fun, a pleasure every day. “ Her daily interaction with colleagues, readers, and boxes of new books makes it “Christmas all the time.” She enjoys reading advance copies of what is coming up, as well as, the camaraderie with other booksellers in the Northwest and throughout the country. “I have learned a great deal about how people’s tastes change and evolve , but one thing is constant: a well-written book is easy to talk about and hand-sell. “ Selling hard-bound books is the obvious “backbone of the business”, but the advent of e-book formats poses an enormous challenge to retail booksellers. Valerie reflects, “It remains to be seen how that will play out. People tell us all the time that they love the feel, and look of a real book, but sometimes have succumbed to the electronic alternative for travel.”

As a small independent bookstore, Cannon Beach Book Company offers new and repeat customers an eclectic inventory from its extensive collection of literary fiction, to its carefully curated collection of sidelines. Customers frequently comment that in the CBBC library of fiction, children’s books, mysteries, and top regional and non-fiction titles, they find things they have never see anywhere else. Valerie and her employees are happy to fill special orders quickly and ship them anywhere. The inventory has recently expanded to include art supplies, along with their unique cards, Bookseats, Tokoloshe candles, lighted readers, book lights, and even a bumper sticker that says “Reading is Sexy.” “It is small and very discreet. We sell a lot of them to grandmothers…,” Ryan jokes, who, as is apparent, thrives to share the joy of reading with all coastal visitors and residents, young and old. -Edited by Lynn Hadley


Godfather3Godfather’s Books

Charlie Holboke, Owner
1108 Commercial St.
Astoria, OR 97103
503-325-8143
charlieholboke@netzero.com
godfathers.mosaicglobe.com

Charlie Holboke has been in the book business since 1978. He started with Turnaround Books in Seaside, which he ran from 1978-1999. Godfather’s Books in Astoria opened its doors in 1993, and is still serving customers from 9-8, Monday-Saturday (Most of the year), and on Sunday, 9-6.

Godfather2

Photo: Dinah Urell

Currently, with four part-time employees, including Michael McCusker, editor and publisher of the paper, Times Eagle, and host of KMUN’s “A Story Told”, Thursdays from 9:30-10:00am, this book store vibrates with life. Godfather’s Books offers up a great metaphysical book selection, incense, beverages, and a comfortable space for getting to know locals, as well as local and worldly books and art. Holboke is inspired by the love of books: the smell; the feel; the contents. “I love to have a book in my hands, and thought it would be a pretty good profession to put books into other people’s hands, and, so far, that has been a pretty good thing.” In the last ten years, internet sellers, e-reading formats, and bigbox discount stores have made it challenging for the small, independent bookseller to stay alive and well. Charlie has addressed this challenge with caffeine! He was the first purveyor of coffee and espresso in Seaside in 1986, and has clung to his mug ever since, serving up espresso and gourmet coffee beans.

Godfather’s Books is not just a bookstore with coffee, it is an Astoria Institution: a social hub; a place for one-of-a-kind gifts; an outstanding used book collection; a spot to listen to the employees play music; a special refuge sheltering real, hands-on books and magic, where Charlie is as excited about bringing his customers new and used books as he was initially in the late seventies. Godfather’s hosts book events. The most recent was with Ken Babbs (One of Ken Kesey’s “Merry Pranksters”), who wrote Who Shot the Water Buffalo. On the schedule for Sunday, June 24th at 2pm, is Kurt Nelson, who has recently published two Pacific Northwest historical books, Fighting for Paradise and Treaties and Treachery. – Lynn Hadley


Ekahni Books

Franz & Sherry Hasslacher, Owners
387 Laneda Avenue
P.O. Box 64
Manzanita, O 97130
503.368.6881
sales@ekahnibooks.com
www.ekahnibooks.com

Franz and Sherry purchased the store from the original owners in 2009 (the store was relocated from Wheeler to Manzanita only a few years prior), and run the store themselves. They bought a bookstore because they “believe in books and information and always wanted to live at the coast.” Franz says owning the store is “about supporting local authors and local businesses and keeping our money in our community, or at least in the state.” Coast Community Radio, KMUN, recently named Sherry Hasslacher their business member of the quarter.

Ekahni Books specializes in local authors and local history, including self-published and print on demand books, and they have a new expanded used-book section. Franz and Sherry particularly liked the used book idea, because “there are no batteries, no clogging up landfills.” Franz notes that personal service in a bookstore is what’s invaluable. “We can figure out what the customers’ reading appetites are and suggest books when they come into the store. They want to read something other than the twenty books on Amazon or what’s on Oprah or the New York Times bestseller lists. Our store is more about finding that hidden treasure.” Ekhani is in partnership with the Manzanita Writer’s Series and is a bookseller for their author events every other month. The Hasslachers bought the store with the belief they’d be able to support themselves, but Sherry has taken another job to aid their income and the store is currently for sale.


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Photo: Erin J Bernard

Jupiter’s Books

Jupiter’s Rare & Used Books
Watt Childress, Owner

244 North Spruce St.
Cannon Beach, OR 97110
503-436-0549
www.jupiterbooks.com
www.upperleftedge.com

Twenty-four years ago, Mary Lou McAuley was living in Washington State when she received a “sudden tip from the cosmos” that she should move to Cannon Beach, and open a bookshop. Since then, Jupiter’s Books has showcased secondhand books and other wares in a recycled garage across from the park in downtown Cannon Beach.

The name “Jupiter’s Rare & Used Books” was adopted in 1990 by John Taylor, a local house painter, who suddenly knew, like a bolt from the blue, he was going to be the next owner. As a boy, John’s mom gave him the nickname “Jupiter” for some unknown reason. Taylor installed the wooden shelving that enables, current owner,Watt Childress, to fit some 15,000 titles in the space of about 500 square feet. While John was still the shop owner, he hired a washboard-playing hippie named Billy Hults. Hults had just moved to the coast from Portland, where he had been working at the Goose Hollow Inn to promote live music, and to help elect Goose Hollow’s owner, Bud Clark, as Portland’s mayor.

In 1992, Billy began publishing “The Upper Left Edge” while working at the book shop. “Our beloved Reverend Billy Lloyd Hults”, as he became known to his readers, enticed his bosom buddy and fellow writer, Michael Burgess, to join him at the coast. Burgess came to Cannon Beach, and served as anchor columnist for the publication. After work on most evenings, the duo would join other local literati at Bill’s Tavern for “vespers.”

In the late 90s, Billy sold “Jupiter’s” to two of his “vesper” brethren, Bob and Suzanne Ragsdale. This couple had made enough dough, after retiring from Microsoft, to keep Billy on to work in the shop, along with several other characters. Watt began visiting the shop circa 1989, and soon fell in love with a Clatsop County girl. He and Jennifer moved to the coast to live full-time in 2001. Childress started working at the bookshop, then, and would scout for additional inventory, on the side. Together, Watt and Jennifer purchased Jupiter’s Books in 2004; recently, reviving “The Upper Left Edge”, as an online journal. Musician, Wes Wahrmund works in the shop at least one day a week, and is known to bring his guitar to play, but you can always catch him Friday and Saturday nights at The Bistro in Cannon Beach.

“When I travel I see fewer shops like Jupiter’s, fewer places to peruse the shelves, and explore a selection of out-of-print stories and offbeat ideas,” Watt comments. “Many secondhand booksellers have shut their doors during the past decade — cutting brick-and-mortar costs, and shifting solely to online marketing. That’s too bad, because you can’t get the same experience at a website. Secondhand bookshops can be seedbeds for enlightenment, in my humble experience. Time and again, I’ve watched how seemingly random bits of information converge in ways we don’t expect. Suddenly, we’re holding a book we’ve never seen before, on a topic we hadn’t considered. Then real magic is unleashed, when some word opens up a conversation.” His aim is to provide the fertile ground for that process to continue. “People call it ‘browsing’, which makes it sound like a safe, sane dalliance, but on good days it feels more like getting struck by lightning.”

Childress finds, “The most challenging thing about owning a bookstore now is competing with large online marketers, and e-book promoters in a ravaged economy. Some folks will come here to browse, find something they like, then leave figuring they can get it cheaper, elsewhere. Often, they’re wrong. I confess that I get a little high when they come back, and I’ve already sold it to someone else.” What does the future hold for Jupiter’s Books/Jupiter’s Rare & Used Books? Mythic fiction has captured Childress’ attention, of late, who recommends “Someplace to be Flying” by Charles de Lint; look for a review online in “The Upper Left Edge”. Where there is mythic fiction, mythic non-fiction is soon to follow, along with more cosmic connections between customers and the interplanetary exploration launched at Jupiter’s Books in Cannon Beach. Edited by Lynn Hadley


LucysBooksLucy’s Books

Patti Breidenbach, owner
348 12th St.
Astoria OR 97103
503.325.4210
patti@lucysbooks.net
www.lucysbooks.net

Patti Breidenbach, a career high school art teacher in Idaho, had visited Astoria and Lucy’s Books several times on while on vacation over the years, and she’d always enjoyed the look and feel of the town and store. Last year, when her “age of retirement” coincided with longtime owner Laura Snyder’s decision to sell, Breidenbach made the leap into owning a bookstore, something “she thought she’d like to do.” Breidenbach and many locals already liked what Lucy’s Books had in stock – a quality collection of new and used fiction, non-fiction, and regional books, so she didn’t make many changes to the inventory because she wanted to treat the local customers right. She did add a few chairs upstairs to encourage more perusing, and is expanding the children’s book section.

Breidenbach is still organizing book events for Lucy’s Books at least every other month, if not every month once she really gets “into the swing of the dynamics of them.” Most of the book events are or NW and local authors. She runs the website and has one part-time employee.


rainyday1Rainy Day Books

Karen Spicer, owner
2015 Second Street
Tillamook, OR 97141
503.842.7766
rdb@gorge.net

As one of the oldest bookstores on the Oregon Coast, Rainy Day Books is a downtown Tillamook icon. In 1987, Karen Spicer starting working at the store as “a friend who followed a friend to help a friend,” when the original owner, the late local poet and social worker, Jean Wollenweber, decided to sell her store (originally named “Cat’s Paws”).

rainyday2Spicer, who “loves books and reading,” bought her share of the store after a few years, and has been the sole proprietor ever since, employing only periodic part-time staff to help clean, organize, inventory, price, and move several rooms and stacks full of new and used books. Rainy Day specializes in rare editions, and whatever Spicer, a rigorous bargain hunter, “could find at garage sales.” Her store is one of the larger ones on the coast and is often the place where a reader can find a book hidden on her shelves he couldn’t find anywhere else. She also has a selection of greeting cards, often by local artists.

Spicer says her bookstore is a “transformative place” and that she found herself there. “Books get in your blood and you won’t love anything more,” she says. Her cat, Webster, is seventeen years old and gets depressed when there’s no customers in the store.


Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula Book Stores

Time Enough Books

157 Howerton Avenue
Harbour Village, Port of Ilwaco, WA
360-642-7667
www.facebook.com/pages/Time-Enough-Books

Overlooking the Ilwaco marina, Time Enough Books sits among the harbor shops offering up both new and used books. Of the many shops and restaurants along the harbor walk, Time Enough Books, which opened its doors in May 2000, has 80/20% new and used books, respectively, and, now, operates seven days a week, year-round. What started as the personal collection of Karla and Peter Nelson, Time Enough Books grew to become a comfortable little book shop with a strong maritime book selection, a regular book group meeting place, and the home of Harper Lee, a golden lab who greets all patrons at the store. With the Ilwaco Saturday market on-going from May through September, this shop is a fun destination spot for all literary shoppers.


Banana Books

114 3rd Street SW
Long Beach, WA
360-642-7005
www.facebook.com/sobebananabook

Located in the old town part of the Long Beach community, Banana Books features used titles. Banana Books’ owner Ed Gray, along with his American Staffordshire, Sobe, serves up a diverse book selection, an espresso bar, and handmade jewelry, fashioned by his wife, Mary Johnson. For over 20 years, he worked as a book scout and wholesaler of rare books, opening the book shop nine years ago. The book store, which provides many an entertaining read to the May through September Long Beach visitors, operates year-round. Ed enjoys winter reading on the peninsula, and finds it very relaxing, though his book selling schedule makes it hard for him to find time to read. Open Friday and Monday 12pm-5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 11am-6pm.

Catherine O’Toole Bookseller

1310 Bay Avenue
Ocean Park, WA
360-665-0004
www.biblio.com/bookstore/catherine-otoole-bookseller-ocean-park

Catherine O’Toole Bookseller, located in an historic 1880s Ocean Park building that was the former Methodist Church and Moose Lodge, houses an extensive book collection. She specializes in antiquarian, rare, and out-of-print books of over 68,000 titles. New local history and guidebooks are also available at her shop. Originally from Ireland, she has lived in the United States for over forty-five years. Catherine keeps her local book business viable by selling and shipping her wares all over the world. “I can’t resist books,” she says. “It’s very gratifying to be able to say to a customer, ‘Oh yes, I’ve got that.’”

Adelaide’s Books

1401 Bay Avenue
Ocean Park, WA
360-665-6050
www.adelaidesbooks.com

Cyndy Hayward opened Adelaide’s Books bookstore and coffeehouse in 2008. Cyndy, a Seattle attorney, moved to Oysterville, and bought the historic building across from Catherine O’Toole’s shop in Ocean Park. She named her shop after the former business owner and operator, Adelaide Taylor, who ran Taylor Hotel on this site from 1887 to the mid 1930s. She offers a variety of approximately 3,000 titles, ranging from children’s literature to poetry. Helping Hayward, her friendly, full-sized poodle, Miles, greets guests on game nights and for author’s reading events. Open Thursdays through Mondays, 8am-4pm.

(Thanks to Southwest Washington Zest, a wonderful blog site, for the resource of info on Peninsula bookstores. See www.southwestwashingtonzest.com)

 


Nancy Slavin’s Moorings: An Author’s Journey to Publishing

Nancy SlavinFOURTEEN YEARS ago, author Nancy Slavin brought characters to life in the wilds of post-Exxon Valdez Alaska, a landscape of awesome beauty and magnificent devastation.The lives of millions, human, fish, and fowl, were changed forever by an environmental disaster of unqualified proportion. Slavin’s self-published, e-book, Moorings, looks at these altered lives, and asks the question: How do you do you move forward, if you have not mended the wounds afflicted on your self and your environment? “If you don’t deal with the past, it never really goes away, and if you don’t deal with the sediment that settles at the bottom of the ocean (from an oil spill), it poisons things; that’s the overlying metaphor for the book.” Since the book’s origin for a screenwriting class in 1998, and, later, taking shape as an award-winning Master’s thesis, Moorings’ character names, events, point of view, and how the story is told have all changed, but the essential story has not, and now that story is final, and available for purchase on-line at www.smashwords.com.

“I sent my book to one-hundred agents and editors, and met a lot of people through conferences. Everybody was always really nice. I probably have a stack of the nicest rejections you’ve ever seen… Even though the rejection letters were really nice, it’s a lot more fun to have people (be able to) buy the book, and really like it.” When Nancy finished graduate school in 1999, self-publishing was still considered a “vanity thing”, but over time, after numerous re-writes, countless and exhausting efforts trying to sell her book in the traditional publishing industry, and characters that refused to sit in a drawer and be forgotten, she took it upon herself, in the footsteps of Virginia Woolf , to self-publish. “I just decided my book was good enough to be out there in the world.” With the support and encouragement of family and friends, Moorings was published in March 2012 under the fledgling book press, Feather Mountain Press, formed by Slavin and writer friend, Elia Seely. “If I had to do this self-publishing thing, I’d like to do it with someone. I thought it would be more fun.”

MooringsOpportunities to self-publish have changed greatly. The founder of Smashwords.com, Marc Stoker, utilizes his skills to globally communicate information about books, on-line, “like a www.youtube.com for authors”. Stoker has created a website that really makes it easy to publish for a minimal royalty fee. His system “meat grinds” books to be downloaded to all technological formats from iPads to laptops with a print-on-demand option. Nancy says, since e-publishing, people have already started asking about a hard bound version, too. Writing and publishing are only the start of what it takes to get a book read; book tours, facebook posts, tweeting,and other promotional tools must be continuously engaged to sell a book. Nancy’s thesis advisor at Portland State University, and award winning author, Diana Abu-Jaber has published her own writing through traditional avenues, but still enjoys the use of social media to connect with friends, family, and fans. She commented, “It’s always been very difficult to get published– especially by a mainstream publisher. I do think that there seem to be new avenues opening up to writers that appear to be much more democratic. But, as you mention, if someone decides to self-publish, they will also have to do their own promotion, which is an enormous amount of work. I really enjoy social media like Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t see them as promotional tools– I just use them because I think it’s fun.”

Working fifteen years in various capacities for Tillamook County Women’s Crisis Center, Nancy was exposed to the stories that humans generate to cope with different behaviors, and, ultimately, drew her to the theme of her book. “What the story was about was that people don’t want to deal with how they behave…and make decisions that then have long term effects, sometimes all the way through an entire next generation. To me, that’s the metaphor of the oil spill, you just spew your shit and leave it there, and it affects things; it affects an entire system.” The main character, Anne Holloway, represents the youthful innocence and naivete that one embodies when the world is their’s to explore and to change. It is only after being dwarfed by the Alaskan landscape and its experiences, that Anne realizes she is the only thing she can change.”Self-awareness needs to develop from within and then grow outward…imposing it on people doesn’t work.” Nancy likened this to trying to get published in the traditional publishing industry. “After spending years trying to tell them(publishers) what my book’s about and to pay attention…the best I can do is say, here’s my book see what you think, and hope for the best.”

The vast, natural grandeur of the Alaskan landscape factors heavily into the stories shared in Moorings. “Alaska, as a setting, is its own character.” As a wide-eyed, young woman from the Midwest, not heeding of the words of John Muir (who thought Alaska should be seen last, because nothing else compares), Slavin took on the “Last Frontier”, first. She worked five summers in Alaska as a nature guide, interpreter, and storyteller, and was left in its awe. “Alaska deserves to have it’s own place as a characterization, because it actively does things to you like the characters(in the book) do to each other.” Writing is an emotional and spiritual process; Nancy laments the end of her work the characters she created in Moorings , and wishes them well. She, now, has other stories to tell, different characters to develop, but Alaska’s “big weight on her psyche” will not change. Her next book, focusing on sustainability and community, will also be set in Alaska. More information and extracts of Nancy Slavin’s writing can be found at www.nancyslavin.com, and find Moorings for your e-reader at www.smashwords.com.


FisherPoets Gather for Poems, Stories and Songs

MORE at: clatsopcc.edu/community/fisherpoets-gathering.  Includes FPG “At A Glance.”

FisherPoets Gathering 2012 the 15th annual Gathering in Astoria OR, is expecting about 80 commercial fishing and maritime industry people from several states and British Columbia to bring their original poems, stories, songs and insights to Astoria.  Along with several local musicians who also have strong fishing-industry ties, they will present their readings and music at the weekend program, February 24 to 26.

The FisherPoets Gathering has been an annual event in Astoria in the last weekend of February since 1998.

“Fisher Poetry” comes from experiences living and working in the industry, and ranges in writing style from fast-moving rhyming couplets to crafted free verse or literary prose, and includes poems, songs, short stories, personal memoirs and essays, and art.  The mood can be funny, emotive, matter-of-fact or any combination.   The weekend also includes films and talks on fishing issues and culture.

Six downtown Astoria venues donate space for the Friday and Saturday evening programs of readings and music, along with a seventh hosting a later-evening open mike, so a good number of fans can comfortably join the lively ambiance of the event as audience, said Florence Sage of Astoria, a long-term FPG producer.   Audience comes from the local area, the northwest region, and points around the country to hear these original writings and oral accounts based on the hard-working vocation of commercial fishing and making a living at sea. Also, KMUN-FM broadcasts locally from Astoria Event Center at 91.9-FM, 6 to 10 p.m. both evenings, and streams live on the web at coastradio.org.

“Every venue will have a really program going on,” Sage said, “so you can move from place to place, or just take your pick and stay for the evening.  “We’re expecting more than 1,000 over the weekend, as usual, but we have lots of room.  People can get a weekend button ($15) from 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Gear Shack and at all doors to enjoy all events and all venues, or a $5 single-entry cover at doors to stay at any one event.

Reading and music venues Friday and Saturday evenings are: the Baked Alaska restaurant (foot of 12th Street), Astoria Event Center (9th & Commercial), Clemente’s (12th and Commercial), the VooDoo Room at the Columbian Theater (11th & Marine Dr.), the Wet Dog Cafe (foot of 11th St.) and the Fort George Brewery & Public House showroom 14th & Duane).

Clemente’s has a special program about Bristol Bay on Saturday evening, and hosts an early-arrivers’ Readers Mike Thursday Feb. 23 from 8 p.m., no button required.  A seventh venue hosts the popular Fishermen’s Open Mike for poems, stories and songs, with priority to commercial fishing people and to related topics.  This special mike is at KALA, the intimate performance room of fishing-friendly HIPFiSHmonthly at 1017 Marine Drive.  The VooDoo Room at Columbian Theater hosts late-night music.

Evening venues all have food and drink service.  Minors are permitted in Baked Alaska and KALA all evening, not in VooDoo Room, and other venues until 9 or 10 p.m., as noted on the FPG website.
Event headquarters is the FPG store, “the Gear Shack,” at the 14th Street Pilot station, foot of 14th St. The Gear Shack stocks FPG buttons, performers’ books, CDs, DVDs, and FPG gear for sale, acts as an information center, and also houses the Silent Auction.  Gear Shack hours are 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.  Auction viewing is from 1 p.m. Saturday, bidding hours Saturday 4 to 8 p.m.

Documentary films “Coming Home Was Easy” and “Red Gold” run both afternoons at the Columbian Theater, 4 to 5:30 p.m.  Four Saturday morning workshops on commercial fishing issues and history are at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, foot of 17th Street.  Two creative workshops are at Baked Alaska restaurant.  Workshops run 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They include a first-hand report on effects of Japan’s 2011 tidal wave on the Japanese fishing industry, photos and recollections from the sailboat days of the Bristol Bay fishery, a workshop on polishing stage performance, and three others.

The Gathering has been given substantial and sustaining support every year by Clatsop Community College, along with contributions of services, goods and panel members from local and regional organizations and businesses, as noted in the annual program and on the website.  Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce assists with national and regional media contact.  Fisherpoets come to the Gathering as volunteers.

More information is at: clatsopcc.edu/community/fisherpoets-gathering, or by calling Marti Wajc at 503-738-8256.

Please direct inquiries to: Florence Sage, 503-325-4972, fsage@clatsopcc.edu.

Clatsop Community College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.


In The Spirit: Word and Song

KALA proudly presents two independent Northwest women artists on Friday, January 27. Author Tricia Gates Brown and Singer-Songwriter Deb Montgomery.

Both women have recently produced new works, respectively, “Jesus Loves Women: A Memoir of Body and Spirit and a CD release “The Little Hymn Project.” Both women were raised in traditional fundamentalist Christian families, and both women have experienced and welcomed into their lives, the challenge of coming to grips with a spiritual identity, identity as woman, and personal transcendence through artistic medium, amidst the constricts of all that traditional western patriarchal Christianity has dictated to American women.   Neither artists have met (as of yet) but the North Coast has had the opportunity to know both of these women in recent times. Gates Brown a columnist for the coastal weeklies and  Hipfish, several illustrated children’s’ books, as a landscape gardener and doing recent rounds with her new book. Seattle-based Montgomery, has performed on the coast on several occasion, predominantly at LUSH Wine Bar in Cannon Beach.

It is a pleasure to bring a “woman focus” show together at KALA. (Men welcome, of course.) When I first returned to the region in the mid-nineties, I had the opportunity to host a “Women’s Nite” at the former Café Uniontown. What inspired me to do so was the awareness of such a strong woman presence on the coast; whether married, single, lesbian, bi, trans, straight, native or transplant. The coast of Oregon and Washington beckons fearless, creative women to its shore. The nights included a myriad of women musicians, poets, comedians and a drink menu with such titles as “Feminist Twist,” “Union Town Bitch,” and the like. And lets face it – whether you were/are a feminist, the Feminist Movement of late 60’s laid the groundwork, for what we now as women find in our everyday lives,  the means to face the challenges, the inalienable right to our intelligence, our natural trait to balance, and to choose who we want to be. A task neither easy, nor simple, but the path of self-empowerment lies ever stronger under our feet.  When women testify through art, the stories are strong and inspirational, such as Deb Montgomery and Tricia Gates Brown  . . . and I sing “Hallelujah Sisters!”

“Jesus Loves Women,” is a compelling title. TRICIA GATES BROWN, holds a PHD in Theology and in her 20’s found such a fascination with the bible, that it led her to investigate the nature of the scriptures and to eventually get to the source of “what” religion had bestowed upon her culturally as a woman. In her preface she states, “What I am drawn to . . . is the complex interplay of body and spirit, of the sensual and the spiritual, the sexual and the spiritual . . . . I choose to tell my story not only because I believe it is the truest accounting I can offer of my life, but because I believe it’s important we hear such stories. In my experience, they are hard to come by.”

Gates Brown commits a good portion of her memoir to the tribulations of puberty, to young womanhood, revealing those parts of self, the tender heart, the coming into sexuality, memories we are glad to leave behind but yet are so much a part of our whole. A back cover blurb from Susan Mark Landis, Minister of Peace and Justice says it well; “Like a late night talk with my best friend, Tricia’s book gave me intimate insights into her life, my life . . . by openly sharing secrets we typically hide.”

From the constricts of fundamentalism, to losing her self in a first marriage, an awakening to the grace of nature, a mystical friendship with a Trappist monk, a failed second marriage, a new communion with Mexican culture, and coming to a yearned place of wholeness, Gates Brown beautifully articulates in intimate detail her story; as an accomplished writer, story teller and human theorist. Her ultimate message, that the shame-bound morality on sexuality be set free, for humanity to progress to a more humane state. Whether raised in a Christian milieu or not, this book is for every woman and man, as the basic core of our culture resides within the bounds this morality.

DEB MONTGOMERY refers to herself as a vagabond, in the poetic sense of the word, not settling in any one thing or place comfortably. This she stated in email correspondence when inquiring on the “Little Hymn Project” and any personal religious background.  She then furthered, in very songwriterly response,  to grappling with a fundamental upbringing,  “At the same time, I’ve been captivated by my understanding of Jesus’ message to love one another, to love another as ourselves… the idea that love is costly, that it will perhaps ask you to go places you never imagined, that it will both break you and heal you at the same time.”

The basis for the Little Hymn Project was created in a time when Montgomery was dealing with a period of deep grief. In that process she had turned to several hymns that she had in her repertoire, “The only thing I did for a few weeks besides weep, call a friend or two, was visit some of these hymns, letting their mysteries penetrate and attempting to sing them back to the universe to sooth myself,” says Montgomery. In this space of grieving, a natural progression led to several original tunes, a series of hymns, (Psalm23, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, It is well with my Soul, Amazing Grace . . .) and cover tunes by Bruce Coburn and Coldplay. Originally recorded in her living room in Seattle, she eventually recorded the 11-track collection in Chicago, with Producer John Abbey at Kingsize Studio. But her desire was to keep the intimacy and a sense of presence that were so much a part of the process of coming to make the Little Hymn Project. The final product is Montgomery on piano and guitar, with added bass and drums. Her recording succeeds in a triumphant presence of voice, a powerful, and moving intimacy.

Montgomrey is a Canadian who lived in New York City many years, and now lives in Seattle, where she is completing a graduate degree.  Solo is not her main thing as she has mostly been a bandleader, playing with drummer Andy Stochansky (who was Ani Defranco’s tour drummer for 8 years), and drummer Sim Cain, shared band mate with Henry Rollins (the Rollins Band). Them’s good rock bones. She also played with a New York cellist and fellow Canadian artist Julia Kent for 8 years. As Montgomery’s credits reference comparison to PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley, the core connection she has in her voice resembles to this writer, the spirit of Patti Smith. An era before emo, somewhere between punk rock and Janis! There’s a strong conviction to rock music in Montgomery. While she isn’t well known in these parts, she is certainly a cool find.

Friday, Jan 27, doors open 7pm. $10, includes complimentary wine and snacks. KALA, 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria.


Get a Life!

Daniel Safford MemoirGET A LIFE, I

Well. Yes: of course!

But how?

It’s been said that most stories are personal, that writers work their craft as a way to understand the world, and through the crafting of story we come to understand ourselves.

When I was an undergraduate I studied History at Portland State University; Biography as History, taught by Professor Charles Le Guin, was one of my favorite classes. In those seminar hours I learned about the earliest form of life writing, known as hagiography. We learned about the panegyric, and the frequency with which the stars and heavens conspired, along with a checklist of specific physical traits, to signal auspicious births (think Plutarch’s Lives…). Even back in the hoary mists there were trends to writing lives.

The strongest trend of the 20th century employed sparkling bits of Freudianism, and it peaked for so long it appeared permanent. I won’t forget one heated class discussion about if Freud’s influence would, in my meekly delivered words, ‘withstand the test of time.’ For that assertion I received a most withering look (the guy is probably a senator now.); I recall Le Guin chuckled at my nerve. Of course the bloom on that framing device has long lost its luster. And now all that is mostly swamped by a rising tide of popular and literary memoir.

GET A LIFE, II

I became familiar with literary memoir during my graduate study. My conclusion? Don’t be persuaded that it’s a snap to write memoir. Why? Because the best memoirs have a focal point. But which one? what about? … Indeed!

I quickly determined I wasn’t ready to do my own memoir. Gulp! Casting about, I sensed my father’s story would be my ride into parsing the family history. Note: This became biography, me undertaking to write his life. Digging at his roots I was grateful to peer into unseen corners. Many of his stories had a good folksy flow, where I took what I knew, connected the dots. But before long, the only way to flesh fragments into narrative- was to embellish. I had to make stuff up. Now what did I have? Was this still my father’s story?

Biography is a narrative of a life fixed by facts. Memoir is a narrative that focuses on a pivotal event to describe or elucidate character. Autobiography is a chronological telling, some as simple as a list of dates, names. So what did I have, this mess of family stories and actual facts from the Kitsap County Historical Society archives? Important details, yes; but as far as my father’s life- and in crafting a readable story-I had a fiction. Oh boy.

GET A LIFE, III

Poet Mary Karr has published three memoirs: The Liar’s Club (which helped start the literary memoir tidal wave), Cherry, and Lit, her latest (a compelling story of recovery). I suspect Karr’s being a poet has much to do with this output; her life and her stories are not about a poet’s brevity, but diving in, finding the juicy parts, about word choice. That’s right: Karr knows what to put in, and what to leave out. Yes- you heard right. Memoir: where you choose what to include.

The work of memoir is not for the timid. You find censors and firewalls and gatekeepers everywhere in this practice. Often we have a story to tell but we don’t want to offend the living. Even a casual mention of an intention to write a family history or personal memoir may cause sideways glances. And these non-verbal cues can stop the process dead in its tracks. Honest: there’s nothing like pinning events to a timeline to reveal and blow apart long-held family secrets. But, writing personal stories can be highly therapeutic, and getting the stories on paper often de-sensitizes troublesome memories. And often, through gentle inquiry, healing can occur. Revision and editing play a big role in writing and comprehending a life, long before the final drafts. It’s tough work.

Here’s my view: We all get up, on either the right side or the left, we all have coffee or something in the morning, we all mutter some sort of prayer to the world, and most of us all leave the house sometime during the day. Or we don’t, for another reason. And something happens: You see any life is far from meaningless, and you begin to commit to this process of getting at your words. And when you are ready, you may share your story. You choose that part too.

In January 2010 I held a class in Astoria. To the surprise of us all we found an experience utterly and completely remarkable. In a group of about eight (ages ranging from 35 to 85), in addition to the stories we arrived with, we found we all had stories of Huguenot ancestors, families from Iowa, links to Montana, peculiar incidents with mules, and cherished childhood memories of pastoral settings – for a gathering of unrelated people these shared stories were well outside any law of averages. So: Get a Life

Class Offerings

Artist’s Way
On Tuesday nights, Rebecca Hart is offering an Artist’s Way class from 6:30 to 8:30, to facilitate artists of all stripes to get in touch with their inner art emperor. Using the well-known book by Julia Cameron, Hart will lead you through a series of pledges, exercises and sharing to awaken a stronger connect with your inner creative guru. Hart first trod the path of The Artist’s Way in 1996, and now has filled 40 notebooks; she paints and exhibits locally, and recently completed an MFA in creative writing.

The Slippery Fish that is Memoir
Many of us have a story we want to tell, in fact we often have many stories. Commit to learning the differences between memoir, autobiography, biography, and dragnet fiction. This is primarily a writing class; expect some self-directed reading, and voluntary sharing. A continuation of the class Hart taught winter term 2010, come if you are merely curious, if you have a project in mind, or if you need help putting structure to the stories you’ve been thinking about. This class utilizes frequent in-class cues and prompts- to get at the raw and rough material inside. From 1 – 4 PM, Wednesday. Both classes are held in Astoria, at the Josie Peper Center at the PAC on 16th- with ample access and parking. For more information and to register, go to www.clatsopcc.edu

For more information email hartrebeca74@gmail.com or call 503-739-1108.


At Cannon Beach Library

Native American Women – Three Who Changed History

Gloria Linkey, author, and Sally Steidel, illustrator, will talk about their book, “Native American Women – Three Who Changed History”  at  the Cannon Beach Library Club potluck lunch at Community Presbyterian Church. Visitors are  welcome. Wednesday Sept 7, 12:30pm at the CB Library.

Cannon Beach Reads! Sept 21, /wed, 7pm

The book discussion  group, meets at the Cannon Beach Library to talk about   “Finding Nouf” by Zoe Ferraris. A well-off Saudi family hires a desert guide to find their missing 16-year-old girl. The guide finds her body, it is determined she had drowned, but her family is not interested in solving the mystery. The book is praised both for its mystery plot and as a rare glimpse into Saudi life. Visitors welcome.

Annual HARVEST FESTIVAL at CB Library, Sat, Sept 4, 9am to 4pm

The Cannon Beach Library’s annual sale of used items and crafts will be held at the library, 131 N. Hemlock St., next to the U.S. Bank.The sale helps support the nonprofit, volunteer-run library.

Adult Summer Reading Club Comes to Close Sept 10

Driftwood Public Library wraps up its first Adult Summer Reading Club on Saturday, September 10th at 3pm with an appearance by multi-genre author Kris Rusch, with drawings for several prizes to follow.

Kris RuschKris Rusch is a long-time resident of the Oregon Coast and has written in several genres under several names, including science fiction and fantasy under the name Kristine Kathryn Rusch, mysteries under Kris Nelscott, paranormal and fantasy romances under Kristine Grayson and romantic thrillers under the name Kristine Dexter. Her novels have made bestseller lists worldwide and have been published in 14 countries and 13 different languages. Her awards range from the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award to the John W. Campbell Award. Recently she has been nominated for the Hugo, the Shamus, and the Anthony Award.  She is the only person in the history of the science fiction field to have won a Hugo award for editing and a Hugo award for fiction. Her short work has been reprinted in thirteen Year’s Best collections.

She is the former editor of the prestigious The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Before that, she and Dean Wesley Smith started and ran Pulphouse Publishing, a science fiction and mystery press in Eugene. Kris’ latest novels are Wickedly Charming written as Kristine Grayson, and City of Ruins, written as Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Following Kris’ talk, the library will hold drawings for prizes donated to the Adult Summer Reading Club. Even those who didn’t take part in this year’s Adult Summer Reading Club are welcome to attend Kris’ talk, though they won’t be eligible for prizes. Those who are participating are encouraged to continue to submit coupons for the drawings right up until 3:00 on September 10th. Sign-ups for Adult Summer Reading Club have ended.

FREE EVENT. FMI: Ken Hobson (541-996-1242) or via email at kenh@lincolncity.org.  The library is located at 801 SW Highway 101, on the 2nd floor of the City Hall building in Lincoln City.


Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen – FREE WORKSHOP

Paulann PetersonPAULANN PETERSEN, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, returns to Tillamook on Saturday, September 17, to present a poetry workshop and reading as part of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum’s Great Speaker Series. The workshop will be held from 10am to 4pm at the Tillamook Main Library.

A poetry reading by Ms. Petersen and workshop participants will be held at the Pioneer Museum at 7pm that evening. The reading is free and open to the public. Museum director Gary Albright said, “Thanks to our sponsors the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Tillamook Cultural Coalition, Oregon Humanities and the museum’s Daisy Fund, we are able to offer this poetry workshop at no charge to the public, but pre-registration is required.” Call the museum at 503-842-4553 to register before September 10.


Larry Colton, Author & Founder of WORDSTOCK at Seaside Library

No Ordinary JoesON THURSDAY September 15, the Friends of the Seaside Library will host Larry Colton, founder of Wordstock and author of “No Ordinary Joes”.  The event will take place in the Community Room and there will be book sales and signings presented by Beach Books.

“No Ordinary Joes” is the true story of four men who join the Navy during WWII and survive the loss of the submarine Grenadier, as well as two and a half years as POWs in Japanese camps.  Their experiences are heroic and terrifying and upon returning home they live out somewhat checkered lives, with as many failures as successes.  “This is the greatest generation but with warts, wives, wobbling, and all”.

Larry Colton is the author of three previous books, “Idol Time”, “Goat Brothers” and “Counting Coup”.  He is a former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and founder of the nationally known literary festival “Wordstock”.

Seaside Public Library is located at 1131 Broadway, across from the Youth Center and Swimming Pool.  For more information call (503)738-6742 or visit us at www.seasidelibrary.org and www.facebook.com/seasidepubliclibrary.


Lauren Kessler – Writers on the Edge • Sept 17

Lauren KesslerLAUREN KESSLER is the author of six works of narrative nonfiction, including her newest (summer 2010), “My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, A Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence”. She is also the author of Pacific Northwest Book Award winner “Dancing with Rose” (published in paperback as Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s), Washington Post bestseller “Clever Girl” and Los Angeles Times bestseller “The Happy Bottom Riding Club” – which David Letterman, in fierce competition with Oprah, chose as the first (and only) book for the Dave Letterman Book Club. Kessler appeared twice on his late-night show. She is also the author of Oregon Book Award winner Stubborn Twig, which was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state’s 2009 sesquicentennial.

Show begins at 7pm in the second floor meeting room of the Newport Visual Arts Center, located at 777 NW Beach Drive (across from the Nye Beach Turnaround).  General admission is $6 at the door, students always admitted free. Light refreshments will be available.


Cannon Beach Library Author Series – Brian Doyle

The Cannon Beach Library’s Northwest Authors Second Saturday Series begins a new season with  Portland author Brian Doyle. The award-winning author, essayist, and editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine and has a recent novel, “Mink River,” about loves and lives in a fictional Oregon coast town, published by the Oregon State University Press. The library is on Cannon Beach’s main street, next to the U.S. Bank. Free.

Saturday, September 10, 2pm at the Cannon Beach Library.


On Prescott Beach Where Lewis & Clark

& Their Companions Camped One Night
When the United States Was Just a Pup

Brian DoyleAnd there was no nuclear plant upstream a ways either,
Its cooling tower brooding like a barnacle on steroids,
And no beer cans in the sand, and no pet litter ordinance,
But there were Swans, Geese, white & Grey Brant Ducks
&c. emensely noumerous, and their noise horid, and rain,
Of course rain, all night and continues this morning, we
Were all wet cold and disagreeable, yet this is certainly
A fertill and a handsom valley, wrote Meriwether Lewis,
All of thirty-one years old that day, wandering the beach,
Not even four years left to go in his lovely muddled life,
In my walk of to Day I saw 17 Striped Snakes, he wrote
That night by the fire, sitting by his friend William Clark,
Clark roasting a grouse on a spit and advising his buddy
To mention the grouse too, which Lewis does, verry fat,
He notes carefully. We camped a little below the mouth
Of a creek, writes Lewis, and Clark laughs and says hey,
Did you scribble down that we were soaking wet all day,
That Sacagawea’s baby has cried ceaselessly for a week,
And that this grouse, fat as it is, isn’t big enough for you
To actually have any because I am about to gobble it all?
And Lewis smiles there on the bank of the Mighty River,
The first night in weeks they have not been accompanied
By curious residents annoyed & inquisitive & acquisitive,
The first night they are again just the Corps of Discovery,
Such a motley crew, by now shaggy and thin and sopping
Wet, bedding down above the tide line, two centuries ago,
The Shoshone girl with her baby just turned one year old,
The black man from Kentucky admired for his woodcraft,
The two captains from Virginia banking the fire laughing
As Lewis says a snake! and Clark says don’t even try that
On me, man, let’s get some sleep, we got a long way to go.

— Brian Doyle


Writing Workshop – Miriam Gershow Short Story Writing and Publishing, Sept. 17

Miriam GershowON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 11 to 1:30pm to learn how to write and publish short stories. Spend the first half of the workshop using writing prompts to generate short story ideas. The second half will focus on how and where to place your short fiction. The fee for the workshop is $25.

Miriam Gershow is a novelist, short story writer and teacher. Her stories appear in The Georgia Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Journal, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. Miriam’s stories have been listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories of The Best American Short Stories 2007 and appeared in the 2008 Robert Olen Butler Prize Stories.

Miriam is the recipient of a Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing , as well as an Oregon Literary Fellowship.

She received her MFA from the University of Oregon. She taught fiction writing at the University of Wisconsin as well as descriptive writing to gifted high school students through Johns Hopkins University. She currently lives in Eugene with her husband and son, where she writes and teaches writing at the University of Oregon.

Saturday evening, Gershow will read from her new novel, The Local News, at 7pm at the Manzanita Writers’ Series at the Hoffman Center.

To register for the workshop, download the registration form at hoffmanblog.org. At the Hoffman Center (across from Manzanita Library at 594 Laneda Avenue. FMI: online or contact Kathie Hightower, 503-739-1505; kathie@jumpintolife.net.


Oregon Writers Colony Founders Day Celebration at Rockaway Beach August 13-14

Dana Haynes

Longtime Portland area newpaperman Dana Haynes, author of the new techno-thriller Crashers, kicks-off the weekend.

CrashersReaders and writers will want to pack their bags for the coast Aug. 13-14 for the 2011 Oregon Writers Colony Founders Day celebration at Rockaway Beach. Saturday’s events include a free reading by Paulann Petersen, Oregon poet laureate, and Barbara Pope, author of Cezanne’s Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine, at the Rockaway Beach Library, followed by the dedication of a poetry pole and an open house at Colonyhouse, OWC’s writers retreat.

A full day of events will be held Sunday, Aug. 14, at Rockaway City Hall. Dana Haynes, humorist and author of Crashers, winner of the Spotted Owl Award, will kick off the celebration; an authors showcase and book fair will follow. Lunch will be catered by Beach Bite Restaurant of Rockaway Beach and feature keynote speaker R. Gregory Nokes, former reporter for The Oregonian and author of Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon. Afternoon round table discussions will cover everything from poetry and e-books to mystery and creative nonfiction. A reception and tour of Colonyhouse will be offered at 4:15. Cost for Sunday’s events is $40 per person or $55 per couple. For more information or to register for Sunday’s events, go to oregonwriterscolony.org or contact Marlene Howard, marlenehow@comcast.net.

Lynn Price, acquisitions editor for Behler Publications, will present Using the Writer’s Tackle Box, a writing workshop, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Cost of the workshop is $40; participants may sign up for one-on-one appointments with Price for $15. For more information on the workshop or to register, go to oregonwriterscolony.org or contact Shannon Young at siy@comcast.net.


Naseem Rakha – Manzanita Writers Series Aug 20

Naseem RakhaNASEEM RAKHA reads from her book The Crying Tree at the Manzanita Writers Series event at 7pm on Saturday, August 20.

Set in southern Illinois and central Oregon, The Crying Tree tells a story of a mother who must overcome the hate, grief, and secrets that surround the murder of her 15-year-old son, and defy church and family as she attempts to stop the execution of  his perpetrator. With the heart of a storyteller, Rahka explores the death penalty, and the act of forgiveness through the lens of the justice system as well as subsequent interviews with crime victims, inmates, corrections officials and exonerated death row prisoners.

The American Booksellers Association chose The Crying Tree for its TOP 10 Indie Next list for Reading Groups. The book has been published in six international editions. Naseem is an award-winning author and journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace Radio, Christian Science Monitor, and Living on Earth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and many animals.

Following the reading and Q&A, an Open Mic features up to nine local writers at 5 minute reading spots. The recommended theme for this month is “Forgiveness.”

Admission for the evening is $5. At the Hoffman Center (across from Manzanita Library at 594 Laneda Avenue). FMI: hoffmanblog.org.


TRUE CRIME MONTH At Seaside Public Library

Wanted: Gentleman Bank RobberSEASIDE LIBRARY will hosts Dane Batty author of WANTED: Gentleman Bank Robber, on Thursday,  Aug 4, 7pm. The event will take place in the Community Room and kicks off the first of authors for true crime month.

Author Dane Batty provides readers with a seldom seen look behind the scenes of the life of an expert bank robber.  He gives voice to his uncle, Leslie Rogge, who was once one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and featured on the television show America’s Most Wanted, robbing nearly 30 banks and stealing over $2 million dollars.  The chase lasted over 20 years, with three escapes, a sailing trip around the Caribbean, and adventures from Alaska to Antigua.  But it all came to a halt when a 14 year old in Guatemala forced him to turn himself in.

Author Dane Batty resides in Oregon and still finds time to visit his uncle who now lives out his prison sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Beaumont Texas.

Dancing with the DevilAuthor Neil Hirschfeld
Seaside Library will host Neil Hirschfeld, author of Dancing with the Devil, second in the true crime series, on Thursday, August 18, 7pm. “Dancing with the Devil” tells the story of Louis Diaz, a tough guy growing up in Brooklyn, who had a brute of a father and early exposure to mob violence and crime.  Diaz put his childhood skills to good use and instead of becoming a bad guy; he joined federal law enforcement and went to work catching them.  He made headlines with his takedown of drug kingpin Nicky Barnes, worked to bust members of the Medellin cartel, and ended up in Bolivia leading raids on cocaine labs.

Hirschfeld co-authors the book and is a former reporter from Portland, who is an experienced writer in the true crime genre.

Seaside Public Library is located at 1131 Broadway, across from the Youth Center and Swimming Pool. FMI: call (503)738-6742 or visit us at www.seasidelibrary.org.

ALSO at Seaside Library
Big Book Sale
Beginning Friday August 26, and running through Saturday September 10, the Friends of the Seaside Library will host their largest book sale in history.  The sale takes place in the Community Room and foyer and will be open during library hours.

The library have been collecting items, from generous patrons, over the past few months, and there will be well over 1000 titles.  Everything from Tom Clancy to Robin Cook, and Kitchen Makeovers to travel books about Acapulco will be available at unbelievable prices.


Cannon Beach Reads!

CB READS meets at 7pm, Wednesday, Aug. 17, to discuss “Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour” by Lynne Olson. The book is “the behind-the-scenes story” of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman and John Gilbert Winant.

Morrow, a famous CBS newsman, Harriman, the millionaire  diplomat who ran the Lend-Lease program, and Winant, a shy, idealistic ambassador to London, formed close ties to Winston Churchill and his advisers as they worked to save Britain from Hitler.

The book includes not only the ins and outs of  diplomacy, but  also the story of how all three men became romantically involved with Churchill women.
Cannon Beach Reads! is the monthly book discussion group which meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the library 12 months a year. Visitors are welcome. Library members may borrow a copy of the book as available. No library card is needed to join the discussion.


Poetry Workshop at Cape Lookout • Aug 11

Are you a poet at heart?  Join Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen for a poetry workshop at Cape Lookout State Park on Thursday, August 11th at 5:30pm.  This program is one of the August summer reading programs presented by Tillamook County Library.  Write poetry in an inspirational setting while enjoying the sound of the surf and crashing waves. Come and celebrate summer and poetry at the beach!

The program will be held in the gazebo at Cape Lookout State Park day use area.  All programs are free and open to the public. Hot dogs and s’mores will be provided.  Each program participant pays $5.00 Cape Lookout State Park day use fee at the entrance to the park. Registration is limited to 35 participants.  To sign up early, call the Tillamook County Library at (503) 842-4792.


FisherPoet Zine Queen Moe Bowstern – Writers on the Edge • July 16

Moe BowsternStar performer at the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria and FisherPoets On The Edge in Newport, Moe Bowstern got her first boat job cooking on a salmon tender in Kodiak, Alaska when she was 18. When her grumpy crewmates told her she’d never make it on a fishing boat, she swore she’d do it just to prove them wrong. Bowstern is a master of storytelling, letting out the kjeklj.

After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in English Literature, Bowstern spent the next nine springs and summers working as a deckhand and skiff operator in the salmon, herring, halibut and cod fisheries of Kodiak Island, Alaska. Her work has been published in the anthologies Salt In Our Veins, and Drive, and in the Alaska Fishermen’s Journal. She has also written for and published dozens of ‘zines and was nominated for a 2003 Independent Press Award.

At the Nye Beach Visual Arts Center. Show begins at 7pm in the second floor meeting room of the Newport Visual Arts Center, located at 777 NW Beach Drive (across from the Nye Beach Turnaround).  General admission is $6 at the door, students always admitted free. Light refreshments will be available.


Adam Mansbach reads Go the F•ck To Sleep

Go the F•ck to Sleep

Lunar Boy Gallery and Astoria Coffeehouse will be hosting an event of hilarity, and dramatic reading of the new literary sensation: Go The Fuck to Sleep. This rhyming bedtime book for grown-ups by Adam Mansbach is told from the (absolutely hysterical) perspective of the frustrated parent. Excerpt: “The cats nestle close to their kittens, The lambs have laid down with the sheep. You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear. Please go the fuck to sleep.”  And please be advised: as the title of this book suggests, this reading will be peppered with a significant dose of f-bombs.

Friday, July 15, 6pm @ Lunar Boy Gallery, 240 11th St, in Astoria.


Lunch with the Author Series at Beach Books

Beach Books continues its Lunch with the Author series on July 11 at 12 noon with Gloria Stiger Linkey and Sally Steidel.  Gloria will read from her new book Native American Women: Three Who Changed History and Sally will discuss the drawings she created for it.  This is the story of three  Native American women in the 1800, Sacagawea, Watkuese and Marie Dorian, whose lives intertwined.  Gloria has been telling their tales for the past four years, speaking to groups as varied as the American Association of University Women, elementary schools and tourists on a cruise ship. And now she has written about them in her book, beautifully illustrated by Cannon Beach artist, Sally Steidel.

Please contact Beach Books at 503-738-3500 to make reservations as space is limited.  Cost is $20 and includes a catered lunch and a copy of  Native American Women:  Three Who Changed History. FMI: Karen Emmerling, Beach Books, 503-738-3500.


Mountain Rescue Doctor, Christopher Van Tilberg At Seaside Library • July 14

Mountain Rescue DoctorCHRISTOPHER VAN TILBERG, author of “Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature” is hosted by the Seaside Library on Thursday, July 14, 7pm. The event will take place in the Community Room and there will be book sales and signings presented by Beach Books.

Christopher Van Tilberg is an emergency room physician and a member of Crag Rats (the first official volunteer mountain rescue group in the nation).  The book recounts rescues done on Mt. Hood by season.  In the winter, he explains the dangers of tree wells, and patches of loose snow that can snare skiers and cause serious injury.  On a hot day in July, Chris tells of engineering the tricky rescue of a cliff jumper with a back fracture.

When Christopher’s mountain rescue beeper goes off, the call may take him racing up a mountain peak, scaling down a rocky ledge to intubate a hiker, or fighting through a blizzard to the site of an airplane crash.

Seaside Public Library is located at 1131 Broadway, across from the Swimming Pool.  For more information call (503)738-6742 or visit us at www.seasidelibrary.org and www.facebook.com/seasidepubliclibrary.


John Daniel – Manzanita Writer Series • July 17

John DanielOREGON WRITER John Daniel, author of the award-winning memoir Rogue River Journal is the featured guest at the July Manzanita  Writer Series, on Saturday July 17, 7pm, at the Hoffman Center.

Daniel’s latest work The Far Corner: Northwestern Views on Land, Life, and Literature (Counterpoint, April 2009), is a collection of personal essays that explore various subjects in the human and more-than-human worlds, seeking to define his allegiances to his home places, his region, and the wholeness of life itself. Author of nine books of poetry, essays, and memoir, Daniel has won the 2006 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for Rogue River Journal—an account of a winter in solitude interwoven with memoirs of his father and his own coming of age—as well as two Oregon Book Awards and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and James Thurber Writer-in-Residence at Ohio State University—and a former logger, hod carrier, railroader, and rock climbing instructor—Daniel lives with his wife, Marilyn Daniel, in the Coast Range foothills west of Eugene, Oregon. He is now conducting a yearlong memoir workshop through Fishtrap, a community of writers and readers headquartered in Enterprise, Oregon.

The Hoffman Center, located at 594 Laneda Ave in Manzanita.  OPEN MIC: After the featured guest, sign up for a 5 minute reading.  FMI: hoffmanblog.org online or contact Kathie Hightower, 503-739-1505; kathie@jumpintolife.net .


@KALA – Book Release Celebration – Mama Baby Mama

Mindy StokesAuthor Mindy Stokes
Mama Baby Mama, Story of a Knocked-Up Lesbian

KALA@HIFiSHMONTHLY PROUDLY presents author Mindy Stokes, in a Book Release Celebration event, TUESDAY, JULY 26, at 7pm.  Mama Baby Mama, Story of a Knocked-Up Lesbian, is a heartwarming and saucy tale of two women on their way to motherhood. This is Stokes’ first book, a memoir born of desire between she and her lifelong partner Katie and their journey to bring daughter Soleil, into the world.

An Astoria resident, and no recluse writer is she; Stokes is a vibrant fixture at Clatsop Community College, at least since 2008, when she and her family moved across the US to Astoria, Oregon from Florida. A counselor and instructor in the Lives in Transition program, she also runs her own Wellness Education practice, and is involved in numerous community volunteer positions. And, if you saw the most recent staging of The Vagina Monologues at Clatsop Community College, it was a production driven by Stokes as part of Women’s History Month, and a performance “Herstory” project she has spearheaded for 3 years.

Mama Baby Mama is a culmination of 5 years of “writing and mothering,” and as Stokes admits, “They don’t go hand in hand. Finding the time to write was the most challenging aspect of completing the book.” Friends who own a writing studio in Oysterville, Washington (established writer’s retreat location), loaned out the place, “and that’s how I finished my book,” says Stokes.

Mama Baby Mama is Stokes first foray into narrative writing. Prior to that she had written predominantly for academia, with an M.A in Women’s Studies and B.S. in Dietetics.

But about 6 months into her pregnancy, Stokes refers to episodes in the middle of the night — she would wake up with paragraphs of the book stamped into her head. And she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until she got up and wrote.  Once she began the process, she knew she was destined to turn these vignettes into a book.

Mama Baby Mama is in three parts, and begins with the trials and tribulations of home insemination, (endearing episodes of a gay male friend who wasn’t destined to be a sperm donor after all and sperm shipped by UPS to remote mountain vacation spots), progresses to conception and the rigorous duties of pregnancy (being as big as a billboard and hating everyone with whom she comes in contact, including her entire pre-natal yoga class) and then eventually the falling in love with a newborn baby girl.

If you do have the pleasure of knowing Mindy Stokes, you know that humor is her arsenal; she’s straightforward as hell, and a passionate, outspoken feminist. In Mama Baby Mama, her voice is loud, clear, and true to heart.

Mama Baby MamaIn the beauty of her storytelling, Stokes doesn’t hold back, soften or sugar coat the details, as she busts on through to the next practical revelation in childbirth.  Be it finding sperm donors, sex while preggars, her fears ad infinitum on becoming a mother; she’ll have you in stitches, and in tears.  Mama Baby Mama also keenly observes the effects of discrimination and hate-filled laws on same-sex partners, as well gives us new concepts of family and friends, parenting, today’s changing values put into practice, and alternative lifestyles.

In February of 2007, just months after Soleil’s birth, Stokes submitted an abstract to the Assoc. for Research on Mothering (ARM) in, Toronto, Canada. They were planning a conference in Toronto and were looking for submissions on various topics relating to feminist mothering. Stokes was accepted and read her narrative pieces (the beginnings of Mama Baby Mama).

“The response was positive,” says Stokes, “Professors of Women’s Studies asked me to let them know when I was finished with my work so that they could use my book in their classrooms. “

Stokes has gone the indie author route. After querying publishers for two and half years she has joined onto an online eBook publishing vehicle, Smashwords, and has done a first print in hard copy through a self-publishing company.

Says Stokes, “Getting published these days is extremely difficult. Who you are and your platform is more important than your craft. When I did get rejection letters with feedback, they’d always tell me they liked my sardonic humor, sense of place, etc… but their company wasn’t doing my type of book. So I decided to do it myself. Decided I’d be the Ani Difranco of publishing. “

Of course today, indie publishing, be it music or literature is running a steady, viable course. The many online vehicles, from iPads, to laptops, iPhones and Kindles have readers going for easy access. An online publishing company like Smashwords directly links your book with online book companies and tutors you on how to reach and publicize to your potential audience.  Self-publishing can draw attention to mainstream publishers. But with the high quality and accessibility of indie publishing, a passionate author such as Stokes, can reach out to a target audience and begin the work of getting her book read.

When Stokes moved to the region, she met Jan Bono, an accomplished columnist, and writing coach from the Washington Peninsula.  Bono became her editor throughout the process of finishing the book. And now with the satisfaction of soon having a hard copy in her hands,  says Stokes, “It’s a dream come true.”

Every Tuesday Stokes sends out her blog, also titled STORY OF A KNOCKED-UP LESBIAN. With a title as brazen, this is a taste of Stokes’ refreshing and spicy lesbian feminist personae.  You can sample or buy her book at smashwords.com/books/view/61371, or look her up on her new website.

But you can also meet her, have her sign a copy of her book and help celebrate an exciting, local, independent author. Refreshments too. Tuesday, July 26, 7pm, KALA at 1017 Marine Dr. in Astoria. 503.338.4878