Monday, April 30, 2012

The Haunts of Hazel Hall, Part 2

Admittedly, I knew nothing of Hazel Hall. It was a sunny morning, last summer, I was on my way to Anna Banana's for coffee, when I first saw the house. It was a funny sunny day too. It was warm, nearing hot, and the sun felt more direct than usual. I noticed the plaque first. It got only a small part of my attention and then I looked up at the house. I did all this without breaking my stride. I suspect that many people do just this.

This stretch of NW 22nd Place is not all that attractive of a street. In fact, well, it's rather ugly. It runs the length of one block from Burnside to NW Everett St. This small street is like a canal at the bottom of a canyon and the canyon walls are tall apartment houses left over from olden times. The street is narrow and lined on both sides with the cars of the apartment house residents. Since this street ends on both sides the views at the end of the block are rather disappointing too. Looking south and up the slight acclivity, one sees the gas station and the towering St. Claire apartment building. Looking north and across NW Everett St one sees the parking lot and 1970's industrial looking medical offices. As I said, not particularly attractive. But for me, this was a great short cut of a walk to 22nd Ave and that was the route to Anna Banana's.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Haunts of Hazel Hall

NW 22nd Pl looking south

I waited for the sun. If not the the sun, then I waited for the rain to ease up a little. I'd been meaning to visit the poet's house for some days. Weeks. The only real holdup was the rain.

Here in Portland, Oregon, it rains. I walk everywhere I go. This time of year, I walk in the rain. In short, I don't know what the hangup was that made me wait to a break in the weather to walk the few blocks to see Hazel Hall's house at 106 NW 22nd Place.

The cherry tree right outside of our building on the corner of SW Vista Ave and Park was in full bloom yesterday, even if the branches or the flowers themselves were heavy with rain. I zipped up my jacket as I stood under the tree and waited to cross the street. Despite the lack of rain, it was cool enough out for me to see my breath.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Writer and The Blog

Why blog?
Honestly, who cares?  I doubt this entry will have a bunch of comments following.  It's questionable if anyone's really going to read it.  So, why blog?
Well, I was told that writing about writing is a good thing to do.
And, I was told that a working writer should have a web presence.
And, I was told that a working writer needs to build a platform.  A platform is more than your CV, resume or current job title.  A platform is everything you have done, are doing, and what you will do.
And, I was told that a blog is a cheap, easy (two of every writer's favorite things) way to do all of the above.

Well, I don't know about you, but I've now done this for two years.

So, why blog?
Well, I have discovered that I blog for my own benefit, and I hope that others may find what I say as useful, funny, enlightening, or entertaining.  Yet, when I say I do it for myself, I think that about sums it up.  Over the last 24 months, I have honed my ideas, explored books, and fleshed out curriculum for my former, present and future classes.  I feel like the blog has kept me on task on occasion, and it has entitled me to switch tasks on others.  And above all, it really has been a great deal of fun.  If the blog has not made me a better writer, it has at least aided in my development.
I recommend the blog for all writers.  If you have a blog, continue with it.  If you don't, think about starting.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sown and Sewn: Part VI Recovering a Lay-off

April is upon us. March came and went.  February, although an extra day long this year, went by super fast.  And still, here I am working on The Errors of Fabric.  And to be honest, I haven't done much work on it since my return from Denver circa February 20th.  One might say I've had a lay-off.
The last five or six weeks have not been without writing, thinking about writing or the act of doing what I do.  In fact, nothing can be further from the truth.  I completed a few short stories to make up The Perils of Reading collection.  I have no real reason for collecting up stories into a group like that, it's just fun.  A collection of short stories for me is the collection of common themes and the close proximity of when they were written in a 50,000 work size manuscript.  Additionally, I wrote another chapbook: "The Befuddled Seahorse." Its inspiration was a small book like a baseball annual or an opera libretto.  Whatever, it was 50 pages of story, and it was fun to write.  I've kept to my weekly posts here, and my schedule at Sophia Ballou.  I have been writing.  And The Errors of Fabric?  Well, it has been getting weekly additions, although small.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Denver Revisited, Part II: Famous Writers

Once we joked about the sunshine in Denver.  The supposition was that since it is sunny nearly every day of the year there is, never was, and never will be true literature from Denver.  The sunshine, maybe.  What's in the water too?  But I ask myself, is there, were there, and will there be good literature from Denver?  As many of you know, I found myself in the throes of the Beats last year.  For whatever reason this group of drug-addled hooligans suddenly appealed to me, I may never know.  That said, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg having been born elsewhere, all spent time in Denver. They all wrote heavily about Denver too.  The Beats saw the beauty of Denver mixed with the bars and sex of Larmier Street and wrote it all down.