Blog

Memento Mori

Illustration by Charlotte Ager (from Notre Dame Magazine)

I hope you’ll take a moment to read this honest and moving piece by Robin Bartlett, a writer I worked with last year at Collegeville: Memento Mori.

Here’s what Robin wrote when she posted it on Facebook today:

I am a preacher and not a writer, but today my writing is published in a magazine. The writing teacher that I worked with at Collegeville Institute, Michael N. McGregor, really pushed me to stop sermonating and start sharing more of myself. As a result, this essay is much more personal than what I typically preach, so it feels a little bit like “bleeding in public.” But here it is, in public anyway. Thanks, Notre Dame magazine, for giving me this forum. And thanks, Michael, for believing in me.

Feeling Wild and Lyrical: Jack Kerouac Spends a Night in Seattle

Jack Kerouac by Tom Palumbo circa 1956 
(image from Wikipedia)

There’s a new post on my WritingtheNorthwest.com site: “Feeling Wild and Lyrical: Jack Kerouac Spends a Night in Seattle.” It’s focused on Kerouac’s still-fresh description of Seattle in the summer of 1956, when he passed through on his way to working as a lookout on Desolation Peak in the N. Cascades.

Kerouac, of course, was a friend of Robert Lax, the subject of my book Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax. You’ll find a post here about a letter from him to Lax in which he laid out his thoughts about Christianity and Buddhism.

There are many pages about Kerouac and his friendship with Lax in Pure Act.

 

New Posts Explore the Role of Writers in Creating the Myth of a New Eden and a Gateway to Riches

Image from aype.com

Two new posts on my WritingtheNorthwest.com site look at the role of writers in creating the myths that brought the Pacific Northwest attention and population growth in the 19th century.

The first one, called “How Writers Helped Shape the Myth of a New Eden,” explores the mythologizing of the Oregon Trail and the Eden at the other end of it, leading to growing settlements in what was called the Oregon Country.

Image from nps.gov

The second one, called “How One Man Made Seattle by Selling It to the World,” examines the role of a man named Erastus Brainerd in marketing Seattle as the Gateway to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. His before-their-time efforts led to 70,000 of the approximately 100,000 men who traveled to Yukon passing through Seattle, changing the city overnight.

 

Celebrating Black Newspapers in the Pacific Northwest

(image from Wikipedia)

There’s a new post up on my WritingtheNorthwest.com site. It looks at the history and vitality of Black newspapers in the Northwest and includes links to the actual pages of some of the oldest ones.

Although there were few African Americans in Seattle in the 1890s, that decade produced 7 new Black newspapers, and while there were almost no African Americans in Portland in 1896, an enterprising young man named Adolphus D. Griffin started a weekly called The New Age for the Black community there that year.

You can read more here.

Writing About Northwest Wine

Image courtesy of pxfuel.com

The latest post on WritingtheNorthwest.com focuses on writing about the history and incredible growth of the wine industry in the Pacific Northwest. It offers a wealth of links to sites that give fascinating facts about NW wines, interviews with wine makers, and books that take a deeper dive into the lives of those who make wine in this rich region.

Click here to check it out.

A New Essay of Mine Is Online: How an Oregon Basketball Coach Taught Me to Pay Attention to the Little Things in Coaching, Teaching and Life

(photo from Oregon Quarterly)

I have a new essay up online–in Oregon Quarterly, the University of Oregon alumni magazine. It’s about the Oregon Ducks and going to college and coaching basketball and teaching and learning to focus on the little things in life that make success possible. You can read it here.