High as an Octopus Kite
Every June and October Lincoln City, OR hosts a kite festival. Suddenly the air is filled with giant bears and other creatures, plus kites of every shape, color and size. And the sand is filled with people, even on a windy day like this one in June. Lacking inspiration for a lead story this month, I'll just offer one of my favorite recent photos. Enjoy.
No news is good news. Fred is doing well at Timberwood Court Memory Care Center in Albany, but he does get anxious sometimes and appreciates calls, cards and visits. (541/791-9682, 2878 SE 14th Ave., Albany, OR 97322). I get lonely, too, so if you ever have an extra minute...
Mama's got a brand new gig, writing for SeaPort Magazine, which is the airline magazine for SeaPort Airlines, which flies between Newport, Astoria, Portland, Seattle and Pendleton. My articles on whale watching and the Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay lighthouses appear in the first issue, which came out late last month. Copies can be obtained locally from the Newport Airport, the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce or at the News-Times office. In the other cities, check the chamber of commerce or the airport. Publisher Jeremy Burke is accepting article queries for future issues. Think "visitor's guide." E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of my music is happening at church these days. Following the death of our music director, Catherine Ryan, the music department at Sacred Heart Church in Newport is being reorganized. Mary Lee Scoville and I will both serve as the parish's music ministers, but we're still working out how the choirs will function. If you belong to the church and have a desire to sing or play an instrument with us, now is a good time to get in. We're meeting Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. to talk about our plans. E-mail me for more information.
Coast writer events
The Oregon Coast chapter of Willamette Writers will host an open mic on Tuesday, Aug. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring their work to read for 5-10 minutes. Dorothy Mack is the moderator. No reservations needed. Just show up at the Newport Library between 6:30 and 7 to sign up. We are not meeting in September, but will reconvene in October with poet Marianne Klekacz. Meanwhile, the Willamette Writers Conference is coming right up. Events begin Thursday, Aug. 6 and end Sunday, Aug. 9 at the Portland Airport Sheraton. There's still time to sign up at the web site. The conference offers lots of speakers, workshops, good food and chances to pitch your work to agents and editors. You may also meet some new friends. Writers on the Edge will host poets David Lee and Dori Appel at their Nye Beach Writers Series event Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Newport Visual Arts Center. Admission is $5, free for students. An open mic follows the featured speakers. Members are also selling their books at the Newport Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come on over to meet the authors and buy a book or two. In addition, WOE president Matt Love will present a rare showing of the movie "Sometimes a Great Notion," along with a discussion of his upcoming book on the production of that movie in Oregon, Aug. 8. See the WOE site for details.
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama, recorded by Random House audio, narrated by Obama, from the book by Crown Publishers, 1995, updated 2004. If his political career ever falters, our president could get a job doing voiceovers. His reading of this book is wonderful. He nails the various accents and emotions. Dreams from my Father tells the story of Obama's youth and the beginning of his career, but it also tells of his search for identity. Born to a white mother and a Kenyan father who left when he was only two years old, he spent his growing-up years mostly in Hawaii and Indonesia, home of his stepfather. As a young adult, he tried to merge into the young black culture, but he always knew he was different. One visit from his father made a permanent impression. The man for whom he was named was educated, slick, and seemed powerful. He wanted to be like him. Eventually he takes a trip to Kenya to search out his roots and finds a vast family there. His numerous half-siblings, aunts and grandparents take him in like a long-lost son. It's a fascinating story, but it ends too soon, with Obama about to enter Harvard Law School. Now, with so much that has happened in between, I want to know the rest of the story. I'll never think about our president in the same way again.
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, Crown Publishers, 2006. President Obama is definitely a talented writer. When his political run is over, I can see him making a career as an author. However, this book does not have nearly the appeal of his earlier book, Dreams from My Father. The main difference is that Dreams is a story, a memoir, and Audacity is much more a political treatise. Although personal moments are interspersed, I could see him presenting these chapters as political speeches or university lectures. They are thoughtful and well-researched, and they stand up in spite of all that has happened since he wrote the book. But this is slow reading. The recorded version is abridged, but the most enjoyable parts seem to be the bits they left out, so I opted to read the book instead.
My Abandonment by Peter Rock, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. This is a great novel based on something that really happened. When we meet Caroline and her Father, they are living together in a hideaway in the woods somewhere near Portland, Oregon. They have worked out a self-sufficient life where they grow their own food, shower under a bag hung overhead, and walk without leaving footprints. When they must go into town, they have a system so no one realizes they are together or that they are different from any other city-dwellers. It seems an idyllic life full of love and nature, but very soon something happens to explode that life. It's a long and complicated journey with a surprising ending. This is a fantastic book.
Death Interrupted by Jose Saramago, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Harcourt, Inc. 2008. One day, in one particular unnamed country, people stop dying. For months, nobody dies. Although it sounds like a blessing, it really messes things up. The undertakers, lacking work, resort to burying dogs, cats and birds. The hospitals and nursing homes overflow with people who are terminally ill, but will not die. Soon the world will be overflowing with the undead. The natural balance is completely disturbed. People start sneaking their elderly ill across the boarder, where they can die and be buried. Is this murder or mercy? The surrounding countries aren't too happy about the intrusion of all those dead bodies and threaten war. So death, personified as the skeleton of a 36-year-old woman, comes up with another plan that may be even more upsetting. This is a fascinating book, a little slow at first, but with a fabulous ending. Saramago, a Nobel Prize winner, is a master, but his style is not for everyone. He writes without benefit of capital letters or any punctuation beyond commas and the rare period. Now and then, he jumps into talk about how he's telling the story. But the book, like all of his novels, speeds along and is wonderfully different from the works of other authors.
Happy August birthday to William, Fred, Stephanie and Mike from my family, Pat, Georgia and Ann from the church choir and everybody else celebrating a special day this month.
Let us all pray or at least send good thoughts to those who are having a difficult time right now.
Last month I asked for prayers for Catherine, Teresa and David. Although we lost Catherine, we can be grateful she is at rest with God and reunited with her husband Jim. I'm happy to report that Teresa and David are both doing much better.
It's the last full month of summer. Don't waste it.
All contents copyright 2009, Sue Fagalde Lick
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