Countdown to Portland

"Women & Women First" is based on a real store called "In Other Words"

“Women & Women First” is based on a real store called “In Other Words” (via)

Two weeks from now, I’ll be in Portland, OR, drinking too much coffee, eating too many gourmet baked goods, and hopefully getting lots and lots of writing done — same laptop, different desk.

I fly out after work on Oct. 1. I’m staying at a woman’s house in Northwest Portland through airbnb, and I’ll be renting a bike to get to downtown and all the different shops and restaurants I want to see. These include, but are not limited to, the bookstore from Portlandia, Powell’s, several brunch places, and Voodoo Donuts. I’m going to wear dresses and tights and boots — new boots that I will buy for Portland but also because it will be fall — and I will talk to strangers and relish knowing nobody in the entire city.

Well, almost nobody — In a strange twist of fate, it turns out two Chicago friends of mine will be in Portland at the same time. Stef and I went to hear our friend Andy read at Essay Fiesta on Monday night, and afterward he invited us to get a drink with him and Sarah, his fiance and our good friend. We got to talking about airbnb and I said something about how I’ll be using it for the first time when I go to Portland.

They blinked at me.

“When are you going to Portland?” Sarah asked.

“Next month,” I said, and they looked at each other.

“We are, too. When next month?”

“October first…?”

October first is a Wednesday. The three of us all decided that would be a great day to go to Portland. To be fair, they have an Oregon wedding to attend, so I can’t really argue that no one I know from Chicago or anywhere else is allowed to be in Portland because I need to take up the entire city with my feelings of independence and weird need for temporary anonymity.

Plus, Stef, who sometimes knows me better than I know myself, pointed out that after a day or two on my own, a socially active person like myself just might feel a little lonesome in a different city all alone.

So we’re going to at least get dinner one night while we’re all out there.

Portland. Oh, Portland. I’ve been dreaming about this trip for weeks now. Every kind of crappy occurrence since July has been lessened by the knowledge that Portland is there and it’s coming. My google calendar has little notes to myself that say things like, “Only 22 days until Portland!” and, the Saturday before my trip, “Do laundry — Portland laundry!

I’ve been resisting the urge to watch “Portlandia” episodes knowing I’ll appreciate them all the more if I wait until just one week from my trip so I can get really excited about going.

What I won’t be doing is watching “Portlandia” while I’m actually there, because I’m not flying to the other side of the country to watch TV on my laptop. I’m documenting this statement now so I can properly shame myself should I be tempted, since the entire series of “Gilmore Girls” drops on the same day I fly out — a show I already own all seven seasons of on DVD.

Anyway, I can’t wait. Also, if any Chicago folks have something they’d like hand-delivered to Evan in Seattle, you’re on notice: You’ve got until Sept. 30.

I’ll be packing my Portland laundry that night.

Live Lit At Last

Me reading an essay at Story Club

Photo taken by Stef (Thanks!)

I can finally cross “read an essay at a live lit event” off of my bucket list (and I guess my 2013 list of New Year’s Resolutions). I got the chance to read at Story Club Thursday night, and even though I thought I might tremble off the stage during the entire first page, I am so glad I did it.

I read a more polished version of a blog post I wrote the morning I moved, while waiting for the movers to show up.

Thanks to Stefanie who encouraged me from the start (Sarah too, who was with us at Holiday Club in spirit, all the way from Salt Lake City!). Stef gave me  a couple last-minute detail suggestions that really added to my piece, and she also gave me a giant hug the moment I got off stage. Thanks also to Christina, who came out to see me and who helped me revise my essay in our writers group. They were among the very few people I told, so I apologize to those of you who wanted to see me finally make this happen. If I get another chance, I’ll let more people know with the hopes that I’ll be less nervous in the future.

The live lit community in Chicago is so overwhelmingly supportive. I met a lot of great people that night and was glad to see the folks I already knew who are a part of that crowd. I felt lifted up by them all. I hope I get the chance to read again soon.

Poem: Craft Fair/T-Shirt, Draft One

I went to a craft fair today
And I bought you another goddamned
Skinny gray T-shirt

It has a bear on it
When I saw it I knew you’d like it

I see lots of things like that
Little gifts I know you’d like
And I wish to unknow

I think about erasing you
From my memory

How nice it would be
If I never knew we’d ever met
If I never knew we never work

I’d erase it all if I could

I lost myself and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

Tiny Blue Record Player

The record player

The record player

I mentioned a couple times this year that I was bummed I no longer owned a record player.

Now I own a record player again. It’s tiny and blue and all my own.

It was pretty low on the list of priorities (somewhere below a bed and mixing bowls) which means I am getting down to the bottom of that list like a bad ass.

I own six records, three of which I don’t care to listen to right now since they are from a past life.

I see some record store shopping in my future.