Hard Rain Falling

Hail, Miltonians, from the rainy environs of Oregon, all the way out there in the northwest corner of America.  The above digital image was snapped just last week, from the literal top of Portland: Council Crest, 1,073 feet above sea level, inside a rain cloud.  We won’t lie to you: the winter has been mild, the grass remains green, there have been days and days of soft blue sky’d gentleness, under which we ride our bicycles, pedaling with determination towards our respective destinations.  But as is our fate, there has also been rain, and so we have withdrawn indoors, to tend to the hearth-fires, to master our cooking skills, to read novels, poems, newspapers, and magazines.  And to save Ferelden, once in for all, in Dragon Age.

We’ve got our readings coming up.  Here’s Matthew Korfhage’s press release for Literary Mixtape:

Remember when somebody you trusted, somebody who kind of scared you, leaned over that first time and said Hey have you heard, did you read, did you watch X, whatever X was, and whatever X was blew your 14-year-old mind? Yeah, us too. It was great. Meanwhile, we grew up and it turns out everyone’s  their own marketer now, so when they say hey kid listen to this, it’s their own band  they’re talking about, their own book, their own website or marketing concept, and you never really like it that much.

Well, pish.

The idea behind Literary Mixtape, a new semi-regular reading series presented by Fort St. Davids, is we’re inviting various prominent or well-read or stout-hearted people around town to get up and read literature of whatever stripe (poem, fiction, essay) that they’re genuinely, personally excited about, and that they think other people would be excited about, and maybe even mention why. That’s it. It’s “Psst, Hey Kid”, for the grown-up set,  for free, from people we’re sure we trust, in the warm, intimate, liquored environs of Valentine’s bar in downtown Portland.

The inaugural event on Thursday, February 11, will include as readers the event’s organizers, writers Matthew Korfhage (Willamette Week, Vice Magazine) and Erik Bader (Willamette Week, The Philadelphia Independent,  The Pilot and the Panda), along with the eminently well-read musician Pete Swanson (Yellow Swans), reading works by Leonard Michaels, Grace Paley, Barry Hannah, Mark Levine, and others. Musician Nathan Howdeshell (The Gossip) has also signed on for a future event.

Additional Literary Mixtape events will include, eventually, some, though not all of the following (and we have of course talked to none of these people, though we’re sure we know people who know these people’s people): Sam Adams, Richard Meltzer, Danny Glover, Carrie Brownstein, Stephen Malkmus, Zooey Deschanel, Danny Glover, Jonathan Raymond, Kevin Sampsell, Danny Glover, Isaac Brock, Danny Glover, Charles D’Ambrosio, Mark Woolley, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Danny Glover, Barry Sanders, Katherine Dunn, Ursula K. LeGuin, Danny Glover, Gus Van Sant, Storm Large, Todd Haynes, Chuck Palahniuk, Monica Drake, and Danny Glover. Etc., etc., etc.

So how’s your winter treating you?  Catch up on any serialized television shows you were behind on (for us, it was Mad Men)?  Start any new projects?  What is it: a band?  An epic poem?  A novel?  A series of “fictional” maps of your neighborhood describing it,  visually, how it “feels” to you rather than how it looks to you, eye-forward rather than birds eye (since you do not have the eyes of a bird, you’re just a resident of your neighborhood), a la the Poundian / Greek periplum?  As for us, we’re thinking of building a computer for gaming, partially because we like gaming, but also because we think how cool would that be to actually select the parts, have them delivered, then spend all day figuring out how to connect them, then press power and see it turn on and think oh wow look at that, we built a computer, just like the one that you’re reading this on right now.  (Care to game with Fort Saint Davids?  Gamertag: Pilotpandas.  SteamID: Goosehollow.)

In non-FSD Literary news, Lewis Hyde will be speaking at PNCA this Wednesday at 6:30pm.  His first book, The Gift, has been a longtime coffeetable denizen at the FSD Lodge/Offices.  The late and great David Foster Wallace once remarked  “No one who is invested in any kind of art can read The Gift and remain unchanged.”  We can attest.  We’re definitely not the same.

Also the Miltonian suggests checking out the current issue of the Believer, which contains an article entitled “Fridays at Enrico’s”,  primarily about the West Coast author Don Carpenter, whose 1966 novel, Hard Rain Falling, takes place here in Portland.  The link we provided is the Google Books digital copy in its entirety — by all means read it on a mobile device while waiting for the bus in the rain.  However, the Believer article about the man is thankfully not available on the internet — you’ll have to take that bus to your local magazine shop if you want to read it in its entirety.  If digital reading makes you ill, you could also just settle back in your seat with the recent two part episode of KCRW’s Bookworm with other 60’s forgotten lit-hero, Rudy Wurlitzer, who wrote the screenplay to our favorite movie of all time, Two-Lane Blacktop. When you get off the bus and walk to the bookstore in the rain, dry off in the magazine section before meeting us in the cafe in back.  We’ll be there, eager for conversation, two cups of coffee on a table, stack of books by our side, as ever and always, your pals:  Fort Saint Davids.


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