Seriously some of the most fun I’ve had in ages was riding along with Officer Juli McConkey of the Bend PD on a night shift recently. Not only is she an awesome person, her job is kick ass (and fascinating).
Hiking in a Desert Paradise in Travel Oregon Magazine.
After our Steens and French Glen adventure, we looped back home via Hart Mountain, where we soaked in the natural hot springs with not a single soul around. Then we dropped off the back side and enjoyed freaking incredible views of the Warner Valley, Poker Jim Ridge, and a collection of lakes including Flagstaff and Campbell. I think this is one of the most gorgeous places in Oregon, and hardly anyone has seen it. Add it to your bucket list!
Don’t buy me jewelry. Nope. It’s very kind of you to think of me, but I’ll just lose it. Quickly. Then not notice I’ve lost it until much later, when I won’t have the first clue where to go looking for it.
I had one of those witching hour epiphanies last night in which I received a clear vision of this lovely little necklace only gifted to me on my last birthday, which I don’t recall seeing now for a good two months.
Where might that be, I mused upon rising, before frantically searching my bedroom like a spastic remorseful dumbhead for the darn thing. I really liked that necklace.
And yet, no luck, peanut.
Instead I found a whole lot of other crap. Which I now offer to you in the form of a little game I like to think of as “I Spy for Grownups.”
See how many of these items, found instead of my necklace this morning in my bedroom, you can locate in the photo:
A button that reads “I (heart) Oregon Beer”
A human tooth in a plastic Solo cup (Tooth Fairy – what the heck, lady? I thought the deal was you removed these things from the premises.)
A note, which reads: Dear Tooth Fairy, I want something different than money. Plese? Form Libby. (apparently her answer was no)
An origami frog made from a McMenamins table tent
A baby photo of myself, hitching my dress up (some things never change)
A circus performer (albeit, small and plastic)
Alaska Airlines wings
A piece of chewed gum (I wish I was kidding about this one)
A drawing and note, which reads: “This is me. This is my mom. I love my mom.” (love you too, baby)
The head of a small fox
Chinese balls that chime
A book called “Blessed Promises from Scripture” (This mysterious item is most definitely not mine)
A wooden boar, hand-sewn doll pants, a broken baby comb
A money clip depicting a sailing ship (anyone know the significance of the Lady Washington?)
An open, partially used pink lip gloss
A nail, a bobby pin, a birthday candle, a package of silica gel
A bracelet I hate and somehow still have after 12 years
This last bit especially is confounding. God, is there a meaning in this? Perhaps I could find it in your book of scripture? What, you say? I am careless with what I love and yet cling to what doesn’t serve me?
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Okay, y’all. Maybe do buy me jewelry, because I seem to need a constant supply. Just make it cheap, okay? And don’t ask me about it if you haven’t seen it on my person in awhile.
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One of the aspects of book touring I’ve enjoyed most is meeting other authors. Some of us are fascinating, humble, delightful individuals. Some of us are boring, self-congratulatory knuckleheads. Sort of like the general population, actually.
No, I’m not naming names. But I will say I’ve mostly met the former. And I’ll tell you some stories.
Three weeks ago in Portland at Homeword Bound, I sat between Bart King, utterly hilarious and charming author of The Book of Mischief and The Book of Fun, and author of The Varmits Ted Coonfield who bought me a drink and kept demurring to tell me stories about sex, drugs and rock and roll from his riotous youth until he saw “sex, drugs and camping” on the back of my book Chance of Sun. Then the gloves were off.
During the key note presentation by the very famous Oregon author Jean Auel, Bart borrowed my pen and then passed me a note. That alone was thrilling as I haven’t received a note in years. Then I found myself stifling a full-on guffaw at what Bart’s note read: “Have you read her stuff? My friend says its cave porn.”
I wrote back: “Apparently cave porn sells.”
Two weeks ago I sat with William Sullivan (author of seven books on hiking the Oregon outdoors), Laurie Notaro (NY Times bestselling author of hilarious books like I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)), and Ken Babbs (author and former member of Ken Kesey’s Band of Merry Pranksters) at the UO Duckstore.
It kind of went like this.
When Ken left for a minute, Bill leaned over and said, “Wow, you can really notice the impact of all the drugs that guy did.” Then Laurie told us a story about planting peas the day before and then scurrying around in the yard in her pajamas that morning trying to cover them up when the rain turned to hail turned to hurricane force winds. At which point Bill politely excused himself to go and pick up his grandchild’s turtle which had been sedated to have its toenails clipped. Luckily, the reigning Slug Queen Holly GoSlugly came by at that moment so I still had someone to talk to.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Last weekend at the Atkinson Church Book and Author Fair, I met Jon Bell, Oregon author of the book “On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon’s Perilous Peak“. We got to chatting about the stuff of writers: fame, fortune, our homes overflowing with fan mail and roses, so many six-digit book deals we have to turn some down.
Oh wait. That was a dream I had the night before.
Jon told me that when he first thought to write a book about Oregon’s most iconic peak, he was a furniture delivery man. When he finally got a contract to write said book years later, it was about two days after his second child was born and he had six months to write the book.
Now that’s a real writer’s life.
The anniversary of the publication of “Day Trips From Portland” is next week. This is what I know about the last year and book touring. I have become rich in stories, experience and new friends. And that’s worth a hell of a lot more than a room full of roses.