The trouble with the fringe is, it does tend to unravel. By the time you read this, small parts of it will already be obsolete. People don’t live forever. Even places disappear.
…Any book is just a collection of short stories, and writing this book, I listened to so many people as they revealed their three lives. Mail carrier – anarchist – minister. Dancer – writer – political organizer. Writer – father – elephant keeper. As Katherine Dunn says, every corner does have a story.
…The most I can ever do is to write things down. To remember them. The details. To honor them in some way. This book is not Portland, Oregon. At best, it’s a series of moments with interesting people. This year will take me to England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Spain, plus forty American and Canadian cities, but I always come home to Portland.
If this is love or inertia, I don’t know, but my friends are here. All my stuff is here. I moved to Portland in 1980 because it rains a lot. I moved from a desert town called Burbank, Washington, where my grandparents had a small farm. I moved to Portland because it’s dark and wet, and all my friends from high school moved to Seattle. Because I wanted to meet new people. To hear new stories. That’s my job now, to assemble and reassemble the stories I hear until I can call them mine.
I got my wish. What I traded my tonsils for.