In The Writer's World

State of the state

The Newsletter is late this month because a great deal has happened.

In early July, started a new job as Portland area brand representative for Dragonfly Nutrition LLC. So far, in the greater Portland area, their nutrition bars are available in New Seasons markets, with more locations to be added soon. I am enjoying the work, meeting a lot of people, and increasing awareness of a wonderful, healthful product.

Astoria Column lists the historic events of Astoria from early days onward. And yes, you can climb to the top.

August 3-6 found me and three of my nearest and dearest friends in Astoria, Oregon for our fourth annual getaway. It also was the celebration of a Significant Birthday for three of us, complete with a party (thank you, Cheryl!). Our first night in town, we went to a brewpub restaurant and men hit on us! We were thrilled and amazed, but did not hit back.

Astoria has a special place in my heart, thanks to Chris Coleman’s amazing play on the subject, Astoria, Part 1, and the book by Peter Stark on which the plays  Astoria, Part 1 and Astoria, Part 2 are based. We visited Fort Clatsop National Historic Park, where the Lewis & Clark Expedition endured the miseries of Winter 1805-06; the Flavel House, built in 1885 by Columbia Bar pilot George Flavel for his family; Astoria Column; and the incredible Maritime Museum.

Generations of plucky Astorians from its original settlement date forward have revived Astoria several times. The fur trade boomed and went bust, logging boomed and then busted, fishing boomed and busted, and today the city has redefined itself as an attractive, interesting, and historic destination with a lot of energy and good food. Most small Oregon towns have not been so lucky. Part of it, no doubt, is its location at the mouth of the Columbia where huge ships pass through every day.

Rebecca, Cheryl, me and Marg on our wise women getaway.

The state of the novel

This summer has been good for writing. Currently I’m at 45,000 words, 134 pages. Sage is slogging through the aftermath of her brother’s death. A few pieces are falling together. She is increasingly frustrated and not one bit happy with what she is learning. Of course I know who dunnit–and you will too in the goodness of time!

Earlier this month, my friend Jessie and I visited the scene of the crime, or at least as close to it as one can get in the real world. On the Washington side of the Columbia, in a resort that will remain unnamed, we had long, gorgeous, cast-iron tub soaks in steaming sulfurous waters, had ourselves wrapped in flannel sheets, sweated like pigs on ancient chaise lounges, and were massaged. We ate fish and chips in Stevenson and marveled at how things have changed since 1985. The spa, fortunately for my research, has not changed one iota!

Theatre, books, and other passions

While the summer theatre scene is a bit subdued, things are happening. I attended two staged readings of excellent new plays. Astoria, Part 2 by Chris Coleman is every bit as riveting, high energy, politically and historically intriguing as its predecessor. It will be onstage at Portland Center Stage in January, 2018. Testmatch by British playwright Kate Atwell previewed at the JAW Festival in late July. It is about cricket, or so we think. As the play gets deeper into the conflict between two female cricket teams, it works its way into much more complicated subjects indeed. I would love to see this one in full production, the sooner the better!

Two great summer reads have taken me into the Balkan Wars of the late 1980s and 1990s and their aftermath. Testimony by Scott Turow, is a brilliant story about a retired U.S. Attorney who goes to The Hague to work on a case regarding the alleged mass murder of 400 Gypsies in an abandoned mine. It is a truly wild ride that involves insane travel, lying lovers, and an abduction of our hero and his sidekick. Memorable read! Scots crime writer Val McDermid takes us on an equally wild ride in The Skeleton Road. From the discovery of a skeleton in a tower in Edinburgh, to Oxford, to Croatia during the Siege of Dubrovnik and its aftermath, this is one you won’t put down until you’re finished.

Finally, tomato season is upon us. Thanking my stars that Wynne and I planted the garden. Making sauce on Monday!



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  • Jennifer says:

    This was such a pleasure to read this morning. What a rich life you have! Jennifer

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