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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Strayed to Houston and Happy to Be There

L: Pam Houston   R:  Cheryl Strayed
After a few months on the fringes, if not off the radar, I have crawled out to see the populated world more and more.  And oh what treasures there are to be uncovered in out tiny hamlet!

Tonight, Cheryl Strayed introduced us to her new missive, an adventure story about her walking impulsively and ill prepared the Pacific Coast Trail at age 26.  She knows how to suck a reader in by the first paragraph:  we watch in horror her boot tumble down a mountain, catapulted by Monster, her initially evil then beloved backpack companion.  38 days out; the remaining  boot is a orphan and a burden now, just like she is, and gets an unceremonious (or perhaps pissy is a better descriptor) toss off the same mountain.
pam houston charms the buyers
Cheryl read about finding herself by getting lost, dirty, blistered and tried and tired..  I bet you can guess which side of the whale she emerged from.  She's a delightful speaker, full of smiles and Good Story and tips on doing what scares you.  Get her book at your local independent seller.

She was joined by Pam Houston, who earned my literal loyalty years ago with her collection of short stories "Cowboys Have Always Been my Weakness."  It hold well with time.  Now Pam's got a new collection of vignettes--a gross of prose--titled "Contents May Have Shifted", an allusion to the slipperiness of reality as filtered though time, memory, and a language that won't stand politely still.  It works, and it's worth the ride.  In lecture, she is relaxed, accessible, full of wisdom on the process, and also funny as hell.

Corvallis is becoming the diminutive Prague of the left bank.  There were several art openings this week, and last week Joyce Carol Oates flirted her way through a very informative Q and A about her prolific oeuvre to a big crowd at OSU. 

Writing is a path to personal truth, a way to process the complicated and persevere the ephemeral.  Our stories are so important.  And if we think we can't write well we can find authors like Strayed and Houston who approach our truths in such as way as to get us access. Maker's Space at the Majestic is a place to watch for upcoming writing workshops.  Check bulletin boards, ArtSpace newsletter, the library and other gathering spots to see who's coming up to encourage your story out of the body and onto the paper.

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