New on WritingtheNorthwest.com: my review of Tina Ontiveros’s rough house(Oregon State University Press, 2020), a difficult but moving memoir about growing up in the damp forests of the Pacific Northwest and the dry brown land around The Dalles, Oregon.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Contrary to popular belief, you can sometimes tell a lot about a book by its title. In addition to the double meaning of physical fun and difficult circumstances, it’s significant that rough house is printed in lower case. Ontiveros is shining a light on minor characters whose stories, though filled with poverty and violence, are worth telling—and worth reading—for what they reveal about the hardships many Americans face, as well as how those Americans—especially women, like Ontiveros—find a way forward despite the odds.”
My latest post on WritingtheNorthwest.com celebrates a unique and wonderful book about the history, customs and daily life of Native American tribes along the Columbia River. Click here to read: “When the River Ran Wild!–Excavating the Memories, Customs and Ways of the Mid-Columbia Tribes.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
My post is on a visit Rudyard Kipling made to Oregon in the 1890s, when he fished for salmon on the Clackamas River and visited a salmon cannery. You’ll find what he had to say about each of them by clicking here.
David Naimon’s post talks about the importance of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s connection to the Pacific Northwest (and especially Portland) to the writing of her science fiction classics. You can read that one here.
If you haven’t had a chance yet to check out my new website, WritingtheNorthwest.com, you might find the latest post interesting. It attempts to answer the question of where and what exactly is the “Pacific Northwest.”
The post offers a number of interesting links, including one to the area covered by the culture of the Coast Indian tribes and one to details about the 9.2 earthquake centered in SW Alaska in 1964 that set Seattle’s Space Needle swaying.