Continuing in the fine Portland tradition, the reading with Lisa and STS was quite eclectic, ranging from audio recordings of naturalist excursions to alien pornography.
My contribution was an expanded version of this piece, edited for mature audiences.
The audience laughed at all the funny bits, gasped at the shocking bits, and shed a tear or several: quite the achievement in a room full of Brits.
After the event I hid behind my literary agent, distracting her from requests for a new book with reprobate tales, misleading promises, fragments of manuscripts. The presence of so many characters and stories from the past might have overwhelmed me with nostalgia for the life I abandoned in Portland, but I adore my agent, and she reminded me of all the reasons why I want to stay here.
It is hard to live so far from home, wrenching to be separated from friends and family. But I have never belonged anywhere, never wanted to be part of anything. The people I love the most are like me: scattered, wandering, wanting. I see them more as we travel than I would if we all still lived near the intersection of Alberta and Albina.
STLS departed for more tour dates on the continent, but Anna Ruby remained for the week, and we walked around this old city in the rain, remembering, talking. I told her the most shocking story from the recent round of cancer surgeries, and she laughed, because it is funny, and because there is nothing else to do.
Anna Ruby in the Non-Conformist cemetery: