Strike a pose. In the Red Chair – the unofficial portrait.
Wordstock 2012: Recap
Jeff and HugoSF head to Portland
Oct 13, 2012
Hugo Storm and I took a trip to Portlandia last weekend for Wordstock, Portland's annual book festival. As one of 218 authors and speakers, I was thrilled to be invited.
In addition to reading from HugoSF, I was sat on a panel discussing digital publishing. Portland is a very tangible book-loving town – think of the stacks and stacks at Powell's Books, Broadway Books, et. al. – and also a very progressive place, so it was a double treat to be part of that digital breakout session on Saturday morning.
Dystopic Sexlandia (Not to be confused with Myopic Sexlandia)
Two dominant themes this year were Sex and Dystopia. I missed the original memo but discovered it just in time: I picked up a copy of the Portland Mercury on Friday and – upon seeing the declaration that it was time to sex up the annual book fest – scrapped my sentimental G-rated reading for a more R-minus rated version, replete with a literarily respectable dose of back seat sex and body fluids.
Please check out these Authors
It has been said that writers are insecure, back-stabbing, jealous guardians of their own self-anointed delusions of superiority – however. I assure you this isn't a universal truth. I met some talented and very interesting, affable, welcoming authors at Wordstock 2012.
As you refresh your reading queue, please consider:
- Jen Violi - First I was drawn to the writer herself: smart, sociable, intelligent, caring and entertaining. Then I was drawn to her writing. Her novel Putting Makeup on Dead People is a coming of age story about one teen girl who learns to grieve and let go by applying lipstick to corpses. Young Adult (YA) is not my usual go-to fare - my favorite YA book is The Exorcist - but I have a copy of Jen's book and it's top on my reading list at the moment. I'm about 30 pages in and have to admit: this is what writing is: it removes you from your present-state frame of mind and transports you into another person's life. Effortlessly. Brava, Jen.
- Peter Heller is a man's man. His first novel (he's written several non-fiction, outdoor adventure narratives, such as Hell or High Water) is called The Dog Stars. It'll make you want to chop some wood, light a fire, and sit inside as the bears claw at your door.
- James S Kunen - James and I were paired for an hour-long reading session. In the green room before our breakout session, we talked a bit and weren't quite sure how we got paired up. Then we discovered that we were two points of view of the same coin. A prize-winning journalist, James was unceremoniously kicked out of corporate servitude a few years ago and went on a search to find meaningful work. The result is Diary of a Company Man. Contrast that with Hugo, who gets kicked out on his ass as well, though in his early 20's, and you've got a pair of cautionary tales of truth, work and economics. Life suddenly made sense: fiction mirrored reality. Or vice versa. Sort of.