As the sun went down on Wordstock, Portland's sprawling annual book festival, none of the event-goers were slowing down. If anything, the readers, writers and teachers who attended all four days seemed even more intent on living better lives of letters as time went on. It's heartening to witness hundreds of people milling around so jazzed about, well, words.
The giant cast of visiting writers and other idea purveyors and the full schedule of stimulating workshops have grown each of the three years the festival's been held.
Larry Colton, Portland's tireless organizer (a talented writer in his own right) started this baby, and it benefits Community of Writers (COW in t-shirt parlance), which supports writing/literacy efforts in Oregon schools.
On this last day, I checked out a workshop by Lauren Kessler, award-winning writer and director of the University of Oregon's graduate literary nonfiction program.
Kessler offered up her time-tested ideas on ways writers can quit sabotaging their own productivity. It was well worth 40 bucks to hear this accomplished, prolific author admit her own struggles with procrastination: "I have many, many ways of not writingÃ¢'ê¬Â¦and only one way of writing."
There were several presses with booths in the exhibition space warranting a return visit before Wordstock shut down for another year:
Seeing all the current offerings of Oregon State University Press artfully arranged together emphasized the breadth of the list, and the great cover designs that are its hallmark.
Winner of the Best Title has to go to Snohomish-based Pilchuck Publishing's release, Satan's Scat by Shawna Ryan.
A new discovery for me was Bear Deluxe Magazine from Orlo, a Portland not-for-profit that uses art to examine environmental issues. Bear Deluxe is provocative and passionate, as well as graphically fresh.
Signing out from Wordstock 2007.
(That sound you hear throughout the region tonight is a few hundred thousand pages turning as we empty our shopping bags.)