Month: November 2016

This week you hear from Gradylee Shapiro.  I’ve never met Gradylee, he’s the best friend of one my best friends.  But I feel like I know Gradylee because of the stories he tells on his blog, You Said You Would Pray for Me.  They’re funny, they’re tender, they’re raw, they’re so completely authentic that you almost wince when reading them.  And I knew when I was taking a hiatus from writing, that I’d like Gradylee to do a piece for the blog, so that you all could hear his voice, too. Gradylee is a storyteller in the Southern tradition.  You…

Read More The cold dark night edition

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This week you hear from Mel Wells.  I met Mel Wells through Literary Arts, the organization that administers the Oregon Book Awards.  Mel is smiley and tall and has an easy laugh. And because she comes from a Mormon background and has had to educate herself, probably knows more about gay history than me and my friends combined.  I think of Mel and her fiancée, Ashley Brittner, who you heard from earlier, as arts movers and shakers.  Mel at Literary Arts and with her graphic memoir in progress, My Underwear Will Save Me, and Ashley with her own writing and her reading…

Read More The cocoon edition

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The Authenticity Experiment, the everybody’s dead edition.  It’s strange: now that the cat is dead all I want to do is call my mother and tell her when I haven’t felt the urge to call her in months. Tell her that the last two nights I’ve come home to an empty house—no tortoise shell cat sitting imperiously on the back left cushion of the couch and cussing at me for being out too long, too late, for choosing busyness over sitting in the low light and holding her.  There is no tiny baby kitty curled into her brown and beige…

Read More The everybody’s dead edition

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This week you hear from Kate Gray.  I met Kate in a coffee shop on Hawthorne.  We were meeting to talk about riding bikes and writing books and she sat there in her kind, quiet, and unassuming manner.  I’d just gotten on my first AWP panel and I was stoked about it and so I went on and on about AWP, not realizing what a big wig Kate Gray really was.  Finalist for an Oregon Book Award in Poetry, winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize, novelist, college professor.  Kate just sat there in her contained way while I blathered…

Read More The hope for the future edition

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The Authenticity Experiment, the suddenly dead old friend special edition.  My father—consummate international business man—was never good with names.  His right ear ruined by rifles and high angle artillery on naval vessels meant that even when I was a teenager, he didn’t hear well.  So when I introduced him to Nita Kuhns, short for Juanita, I articulated the I dramatically. “Dad,” I said, “this is Neeeeeeta.  Can we drop her off on our way home?  Neeeeta lives just off Eucalyptus Road.” Rarely did my dad or mom pick me up after band rehearsal on Sunday or Monday nights.  Usually I…

Read More The suddenly old dead friend special edition

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This week you hear from the Alaskan Poet, Erin Coughlin Hollowell.  I met Erin at graduate school and I’ll be honest, at first she scared the shit out of me.  She’s super tall and, when I met her, she wore Frye boots that made her even taller.  And she’s extra super smart (and not just because she went to Cornell for undergrad).  Erin is one of the most well-read people I know, finishing well over 125 books each year. (Yeah, do the math on that, why don’t you?) She’s a deep and critical thinker—she’s also an amazing poet.  Her first book,…

Read More The beet goes on edition

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