“Quick! The poetry section!” I said when we entered Annie Bloom’s Books. We were meeting our great niece for dinner and drinks but we were 20 minutes early so we stopped at a nearby independent bookstore. The clerk in Annie Bloom’s pointed to the nicely handwritten sign.
Below is a photo of what I grabbed during a less than 10 minute bookstore browse. Will go back as they have a nice PNW poetry collection. Both Le Guin and Chang are West coast authors. I grabbed The New Yorker because of the article about Salman Rushdie – an author known for resisting fundamentalism and authoritarianism. Here’s a video of Ursula Le Guin resisting capitalism and supporting the arts – and here’s another link about Le Guin’s pro-democracy efforts.
We met our niece at a 19th century style speakeasy called The Bible Club – such a club would be named like this back in the Prohibition era so as to fly under radar. The Prohibition era lasted to some degree until 1966 – and that year is not a typo. Oklahoma, where I lived till escaping 12 years ago, was a “dry” non-alcoholic state until 1959. Until the year 2018 there were still “dry” counties in Oklahoma.
In today’s era Portland Oregon this speakeasy, The Bible Club, only has a house number – no advertising sign – outside it but that’s not due to fears here in the PNW of fundamentalist authoritarians but because this club is also a history museum.
The ambiance, the drinks and food were some of the best we’ve had anywhere! Every element from architecture, furnishings, fabrics, glassware, the cash register- all reflect the 19th century! It was an amazing sensory experience. I forgot to photograph the food it was so remarkably attractive and delicious – I just ate and enjoyed as if the moralist “authorities” might come busting in the door any minute, which they aren’t because thankfully this is the PNW!
I finished a painting that I’ve titled “Peanut Boater” this week. You can see my sketchbook that lead to this painting in my email newsletter.
Here’s a doodlebug I’ve just finished using the Portland Rain ink. The rain and the local Pacific Northwest waterways were a blue-purple-grey color this week and that added to my play-with-ink fun.
This book came in the mail this week. It’s a publication produced by Humanities Washington a nonprofit. This book is as advertised- a gripping read that’ll keep you reading late into the night.
On another rainy day we visited Crooked House Books. Three friendly bookstore cats helped me with the book selection. We had more time to visit this eclectic store and I’m very glad we had the time! Even though the store is small there was so much to see and be amazed by!
We found one book written and illustrated by Edward Gorey and one book of Northwest poets that was illustrated by Gorey. Two additional books of poetry and one mystery novel also came home… our book haul is pictured below.
One of the books I found is a book of Irish poetry published in 1909! I’m becoming quite enchanted by storytelling in verse.
It our current day era of book bans, bans on blogs that mention Florida politicians, “don’t say gay” lawmaking and modern prohibitions on women’s healthcare or trans healthcare, bans on preferred pronoun use, plus renewed efforts to white-wash and rewrite history – I find myself interested in prohibition eras from the past. I find myself curious about how authoritarian regimes were/are resisted all over the world. I find myself interested in stories and how storytelling – and poetry – help us survive and thrive. The more I read and do my own creative efforts the more I think stories can and do make life more livable.
It’s related to this idea that’s thumbtacked to my studio wall.
Speaking of being glad…this coming Tuesday, for my paid subscribers, I’m releasing an ebook version of my 2016 sketchbook on my email newsletter.
Oh, and here’s another more in focus photo of the Crooked House bookstore cat and the wooden whiskey box shelves. Gosh that was such a fun bookstore visit!
Please keep the art, stories and poems with the playful, lighthearted silliness coming. I’ll do my best too! We all need more love and kindness!! As the variously attributed saying goes “a little nonsense is valued by the wisest”!
See you next Monday-ish.
P.S. here’s a resource and here’s another telling about some of the unpleasant political stuff I alluded to in this post.