WILT #4, in which I go to Powell’s

*Note: I thought I had this scheduled to post yesterday (Tuesday), but apparently I told WordPress to post it on May 25th of 2011. Iiinteresting. Well, here we go! WILT on Wednesday!*

Driving from Minnesota to Oregon, Jesse and I took our separate cars and communicated via walkie-talkies. We listened to podcasts on our iPod FM transmitters and ate corn nuts. And during the quieter times, when I turned off the radio and our walkie-talkies were clipped silent to our visors, I thought about the liminal state in which I was driving. Between homes. I think a lot of resolutions are made on long drives.

We hit Montana and I was thinking about the creative writing I so fervently did back in high school. The bad poetry in middle school, the stories in fifth grade… and it hit me that though I’d done books-worth of academic writing in college, my time in Minnesota had largely been a big 7 year long period of writer’s block. I decided, somewhere in southwestern Montana, that I needed to reconnect with that former passion. We arrived in Portland on a Sunday (Easter, actually), and on Monday I was seeking out writing workshops. I found one with a miraculous opening thanks to a recent cancellation. I signed up to head to Powell’s Books every Tuesday night for a workshop called (prompt) facilitated by the wonderful people at Write Around Portland.

Getting to the big bookstore on W Burnside from our home in the boonies can be accomplished by car, or by car and MAX light rail. Last week, I was looking for a new experience so I chose the latter. I drove up to the MAX stop at Clackamas Town Center and hopped on the green line to downtown.

I stuck my headphones in my ears and caught up on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”

Purple seats!

After a quarter-mile walk, I made it to Powell’s. I like to get there early so I can spend my entire disposable income inside.

This is my favorite section these days. History of food! Food writing! I found this gem on the shelf:

Which contained this incredible recipe (click to embiggen):

Jesse and I did not enjoy this particular dish on our trek out to Oregon.

Walking among the tall shelves, time literally stops. Or at least you’d like it to.

I shuffled around with this book in my hands for a while, but set it down in favor of a used paperback Golden’s Birds of North America guide. I thought Jesse might find it more palatable.

And now you’ve learned something!

After browsing and page-turning (and spending), I headed up to the 4th floor to the back conference room. 12 of us and our facilitator write and share and give feedback there for two hours. We have to pick up “backstage passes” at the desk at the top of the stairs, as we head behind the scenes to get to our conference room. Big empty shelves, old desks with new computers, and rolling carts as far as the eye can see.

After the workshop, I stopped at the cafe on the first floor to get some licorice root tea before heading back to the MAX. I was tickled to notice that the romance section is planted right next to the very public, very window-ed cafe seating area.

Tea in hand and messenger bag slung over my shoulder, I headed back to the MAX, looking very much like a stereotypical Powell’s-goer. It doesn’t take too long to get comfortable here.

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2 responses to “WILT #4, in which I go to Powell’s

  1. I’ve always been meaning to drive up to Powell’s from our place in Bend. Thanks for the virtual tour!

  2. Brandi Henderson

    EEEEEEEEE!! Tell me how your workshop is going!

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