Monday, October 29, 2007

Wordstock 07! (and robot pins, and knitting)

Hey you local yokels -- that is, Portland local yokels. Soon you will have a chance to come and hear me read choice passages from Blackbringer (and maybe from as-yet-unpublished works. . .) and. . . get a nifty "Not a Robot" pin! Never let it be said that I am above bribing people with 35-cent trinkets to come fill chairs at my events! They're cute though, no? Art, of course, by Jim. Oh, and even if you do NOT come to hear me read at Wordstock (Sunday, November 11, 2 pm on the kid's stage), you can still get a pin. Just keep a lookout for pink-haired chicks as you're out and about in Portland, and if you see one, approach and ask cautiously, "Excuse me, can I have a 'not a robot' pin?" If it's me, I'll give you one. If it's not, I'm not responsible for the looks you'll get. Oh, and it probably won't be me, since I rarely leave the house!

I did however, leave the house yesterday to meet a fabulous blog friend who had flown in from the extremely exotic location of. . . Ghor, Afghanistan. You all know her as "Frida" and I kept wanting to call her that, though (shhh...) it's not her real name. Here are Alexandra and I with Frida:

And here are Frida and Mel, a new blog (and local!) friend:

I've previously said Frida is kind of like Magpie's kindred spirit -- while the rest of us stay home snug in our houses and hometowns, she's out in Afghanistan (and previously Gaza), making the world better on a local level for people who really, really need help. I have plans to interview her at length. I want to know more more more. What's it like, that life? What's the world like? In the few hours we spent book-browsing and drinking hibiscus "mojitos" and eating "live fudge" I got in my share of naive questions, but I tried not to grill her. Let it just be said: smart, world-aware, compassionate, extraordinary, and beautiful woman. Find her words HERE and her photographs HERE.

(And, nerdily, I must share the exciting news that she knows kiwi celebs "Germaine and Brett" -- if you know who they are, {mwah}, kindred spirit. If not, nevermind. She knows them. They actually exist as real human beings outside of HBO (hint to you non-knowers) and are from Wellington NZ (further hint), just like Frida herself. I imagine (perhaps very wrongly, no idea) there must be some quality of "Portlandiness" to Wellington if all the cool creative people just know each other like that. MUST go there! Have loved every kiwi I've ever met while traveling. Time to go to NZ!)

And on into writing and knitting news--

Writing. Wrote an action scene today and it swept me away. They do that. It's funny that I've turned out to love writing action -- in my early snooty days as an English major I would never have guessed! But there's just something about it. Action scenes take on momentum. And it's in the language too. When I'm writing action, my syntax changes. My sentences get blunt. Fast. The prose hurtles. One things slams into the next. It's immediate. The words are short. Powerful. Things happen fast. And then. . .

A moment of clarity. Shock.

Shift. I catch my breath. That is, the book catches its breath. Stops to take in what shattering thing has just happened and changed everything. Dang, it's exciting. I do generally try to make the syntax relay the mood of the scene. Long languid sentences for long languid scenes [pardon me -- a child is apparently being murdered outside and while I type this, Jim is going to check what all the screaming is about. If he comes back and reports a child was indeed murdered I will, of course, delete this insensitive sentence. I doubt, however, that it is real murder --- No, it wasn't. Just screaming. Carry on.] and quick short sentences for action. Gosh, language is fun. Jeepers.

And now: knitting. At long last, my stripey scarf:
You can't really tell but it's really long. Here are my first stripes and my first ribs. Yay! Love it.

And, my alpaca blanket:

It is so soft. I love it. Of course, after months of knitting without any big mistakes (mind, I tore it out and started over three times, but this time), I got a hole on almost the last row. Can you believe it? It's like a loose tooth. I just want to stick my finger through it and scowl. Oh well.

I'm on to other things now, things that involve size 15 needles. Yum. Oh yeah, and they're turbo needles. Yes, you non-knitters, knitting needles come in regular and turbo. What kind of person are you, regular, or turbo?

P.S. Jim and I received an important contract in the mail today (Woo hoo!) and are celebrating. Cheers! Cin-cin! A votre sante! And all that stuff.


tiny noises said...

It was SO fun to meet you and Alexandra! Thanks for signing my Blackbringer and letting me tag along. I didn't make it down to Wellington when I went to NZ, but I also picture it to be a bizzaro Portland. I'll get my super cool robot button on the 11th unless I spot you around town before then. . .

Amber said...

Laini baby, I would totally come here you read if I were in Portland! Hey! Come here! We have a Borders... ;)

I like your knitting. I want to try it.

And how beautiful do you all look? Alexandra looks AMAZING. And Frida is beautiful on top of being a wonderful person? Great. That's not fair.


Anonymous said...

Everyone looks amazing, and I am so envious of all the lucky Portlanders (Portlandians? Portlandese?) who not only get to hear you read, they get a "Not for Robots" pin, too - how lucky can they get? They already get to live in Portland. Some people have all the luck...Sheesh! :)

Oh, great knitting, too - love both the long, stripey one and the soft, fuzzy one. You could always blame the hole on moths - are you sure moths didn't cause it? They're sneaky that way.

Heather said...

Loving the knitting and the writing news!

I've bene knitting like a psycho. If I ever have a functioning camera again, I'll post a picture.


jennifer said...


Wellington IS very cool and very Portland-esque! It is one of my favorite places, beautiful, friendly, yummy food, art, music.. All the good stuff!

P.S. Did you get my recent email? :)

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

I love the colors in your super-long scarf. Did you know? ... this is the "Year of the Scarf" ... Oh the blue blankie looks warm & yummy too.

Anonymous said...

Cin cin back at you on the contract. Great news!

It was fun to meet you, although that Alexandra is a bit of a piece of work. Where did you find her? (Until you start blogging again A, we get to say whatever we ant about you out here).

Wellington is like Portland. I think that is part of why I love Portland so much - reminds me of home. And Jermaine and Brett are very Wellington. Love them and I loooooove that they have found an audience in the big bad world of American TV!

Anyway - thanks for the Mojito - thanks to A for the fab book and please give Mel an extra button for me, she'll post it!


Alex S said...

I will be at Wordstock. I am preparing questions to ask you when you finish so prepare yourself mightily. These are going to be hard hitting, journalistically sound but insane and provocative questions so wear your writing belt and get ready.

It was so great meeting you Frita and Mel and hope to see you both again soon. Frita, your work is so inspiring and a reminder to help others and take risks and be brave. (And I did just put up a new post so now you can only say glowing, sparkly things. (: Take good care both of you...

and as for you Laizi, I'll see you tomorrow at the conclusion of my epic Halloween Odyssey. !