Thursday, June 26, 2014

In The News


In a rush of much important stuff and things and deadlines and events it is easy to lose sight of the larger picture. It is easy, to stay focused in our own worlds and tiny tanks, feeling every ounce of our own import, the bigness of our fish selves. But there is a larger world out there, one that we play a de facto role in shaping. And so I emerge, and take in these things:

Alaska had wildfires in May.

There were tornadoes in Glasgow.

The starfish are dying.

The White House has a program to help the bees.

Americans, apparently, have finally decided they like soccer. And gay marriage. And marijuana.

Win some, lose some.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Notes On A Recital


From a list of things to do pinned to my dance bag:

cut hair ribbons (46)
iron skirts (24)
move buttons
playlist (with notes)
bloomers and booty shorts
1 blue boa
schedule extra rehearsal
dolls finale
prep dance camp
staff list
get sets from storage
find other shoe
take aspirin
eat food

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's A Jungle Out There


This year the the Wilderness Act turns fifty years old. Created in 1964 by Congress the act established massive tracts of wild areas across the country as protected lands. The Wilderness act was designed to preserve the nations wild areas for recreation and habitat, rather than for resource extraction, an important distinction between public lands today.  Across the country more than 100 million acres of land are protected under the act. In Oregon, less than four percent of our roadless areas are included in this protection. In fact, Oregon ranks behind both Washington and Idaho in the designation of wilderness lands, a fact that stands in stark contrast to our "green" image and con only bring trouble for a state betting it's economy on a newly minted ecotourism industry. 

Now, in the good weather, as we all step outside, is as good a time as any to reevaluate our commitment to the conscious preservation of wild areas. What is your favorite unprotected wilderness area? Why should it be a part of the wilderness act?

Photograph of the Eagle Cap wilderness area, Oregon courtesy of the National Forest Service 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

West of Most Things- Part 2


Things I learned from Jonathon Evison at last weeks Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest workshop. In no particular order, and with the caveat, from Jonathon himself, that he holds no claims of being a writing instructor, nor of being particularly cogent. Still,

Write everyday.
Expect rejection.
Deleting can be just as useful as writing.
Change perspective, yours, and the narrator's.
Find your own voice.
Never forget your reader, never leave them behind, never stop think about their experience.
Beer is good.

Jonathon Evison's website:

Monday, June 2, 2014

West of Most Things -Part 1


Last week I attended the annual Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest reading and writers workshop with Jonathon Evison, author of the award winning novels About Lulu and West of Here. Oregon Quarterly, the alumni magazine for the University of Oregon hosts this annual event and this is my second year in attendance. The reading is always held in an old and opulent lounge on campus with dark wood paneling and massive portraits of University luminaries. The winners read their essays, which are often sad, and always well written. It is a lovely event.

However, much to the dismay of this years judge, because it is on campus, it is also alcohol free. If you know anything at all about Jonathon Evison, it's probably that the man likes beer. Most of his branding is beer related, so much so that it is rare for him to attend an event without beer already set out. And here he was, in Oregon, land of the microbrew and Eugene, home of Ninkasi. And we wouldn't serve the guy a beer. He managed the event anyway, and did a gracious job of introducing the essays. It was wonderful to meet him and hear him talk about his craft, but after being trapped in a hot room with all of us for three hours, you could tell he was ready for a more relaxed scene. 

You can read the winning essays from this and previous years here: