Wordstock or Bust – The Festival Has Arrived!

Today is the big day!  Come visit the Analogy crew at Wordstock Literary Festival!

Drop by booth 902 at the Oregon Convention Center – all forms of Analogy awesomeness await you:

Purchase a copy of the magazine, meet some of the writers and artists featured in the magazine and on the blog, buy an official Analogy button or Scrabble necklace and help support the magazine.

Check out Triptych, a mini exhibition of book arts, featuring the works of Michelle Latham, Ruth Bryant, and Erin Mickelson.

Enter our analogy writing contest.

See what editorial board members Jenny Bates and Erin Mickelson are up to through No. 44, their brand-spanking-new and ever growing site for writers and creative-types of all shapes and sizes.

We hope to see you there!

A Matter of Taste: Some Web Musings

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What does a spider web taste like?

It is musty and shockingly acrid. Or it tastes different, depending on where the spider is from: Spinners from California have salty, sun-bleached webs. Florida webs are tangy.

Spider web soup is an aphrodisiac, if you can finish. The finest restaurants serve nitrogen-chilled webs and web gastrique on offal. Their spiders live a life of leisure, fed only a diet of sweet katydid juice and the luminescence of butterfly wings. And occasionally peonies.

What is it like to eat spider webs?

Will the web immediately cling to the first thing it touches – your tongue, the jut of your lip, the chisels of your teeth? Will you attempt to bite down, only to have the silken threads dissolve like cotton candy? Or, it might be like eating fine hair. It might be like using fine floss.

Or, will it gum up, resisting your saliva, nesting, sticky, into your cavities like toffee, balling and wadding as you smack and gnaw, trundling around your cheeks, resisting ingestion?

Some food for thought.

 

Bon appetit,

Michelle Latham

Book and Print Artist

To Name a Monster

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I have a tendency to wander.

It’s a desire that approaches unbidden, perhaps even unwanted. When I was a child, it manifested itself in a compulsion to stray through the woods, the marshes, and the suburban streets—gone for hours, but always back by nightfall. When I reached my teens, my feet had become dissatisfied with those tedious and long-ago memorized paths, and they inevitably found themselves treading new routes into darker roads and secret places. Some part of me was always pursuing that slight movement in my periphery—a sense of a shadow passing, beckoning, calling me further.

By the time I was sixteen, I was no longer simply wandering, I was searching for something, some experience all my own and no one else’s—some truth, some secret uncovered. I was bold. I enacted the fantasy of spinning a globe and blindly touching a fingertip to the surface, the friction and decisive force between finger and paper topography causing a shuttering halt, pinning down a continent. And where would I go? Australia.

I don’t remember how I found my way once I was there. I do remember being taxied from the Melbourne airport three hours north, past the glamour of the bay and the skyscrapers, into rough and barren terrain, wildly beautiful, orange groves, flattened earth, and the most enormous sky I’ve ever seen.

Something about that place humbled me. Maybe it was the largeness, the emptiness, or the brash contempt for anything outside itself. I lived with people who worked themselves raw, took pride in what they lacked, whose humor was as dry as the earth they claimed. We hatched chickens, collected rainwater to drink, and in our evening hours, watched the endless sky blaze red with the dying sun, then quiet into the deepest indigo as the black blanket of night descended.

I was humbled, but still I wandered.

I was fortunate to keep the company of kind, genuine, and good-hearted people. There were, however, exceptions.

Notably, Jack.

Jack had somehow fallen into favor with my friends. We worked together, ate together, and laughed together. I was sixteen, and though he was older, had authority at the hatchery, and was someone who could (and occasionally did) help navigate this strange land, I was never entirely at ease when he was around.

One summer weekend, when work at the hatchery was slow, seven of us followed the lazy, meandering shores of the nearby Murray River in a giddy caravan. After trekking untold miles, we chose a place to set up camp. It was a grand occasion. We hoisted tents, set fires ablaze, and toasted each other with boisterous and irreverent humor. As the night wore on, I, true to form, grew tired of the familiar crackle of the fire and quietly set off to explore the darker areas of the river.

After hours of carelessly ambling down narrow, twisting paths, I realized I was no longer wandering; I was lost. I tried unsuccessfully to wind my way back to camp and was on the verge of panic, when suddenly in the distance I heard voices calling my name and an engine softly revving. Relief. Grateful that my company would keep me from wandering too far, I rushed toward the sound of my searching friends and was playfully chided as they pulled me into the bed of the rusty blue pickup truck.

Jack was driving.

Rushing along the sandy, wooded trails, we did not turn toward the camp. Instead we penetrated a deeper area of the forest. There were four of us in the bed of the truck, the wind whipping our hair across our faces, blinding us. Suddenly the gum trees cleared, our speed slowed, and we were in a large meadow, moonlit and scattered with a herd of kangaroos. It was terribly beautiful—the soft night breeze, the star-littered sky, and these strange, lovely creatures all around. It was everything I’d hoped to find in that far land.

Suddenly we were moving faster. At the sound of the truck’s engine, the kangaroos loped together and began to head toward the tree line. From the bed of the truck, I tried to catch Jack’s eye through the rear window, but he was staring straight ahead. In the mirror, I could see a sickening grin smeared across his face.

“Don’t,” I whispered, knots tying themselves in my stomach.

“Let’s go,” Jack growled.

Faster now.

The kangaroos were rushing to the trees, but the truck was gaining speed. Jack was laughing as I began to scream.

It happened in an instant. A dull thud, the truck rose and fell over a crumpled form, and finally, we stopped. The kangaroo lay unmoving on the ground behind us.

Silence.

Welling up and bursting from inside me came aching sobs and hysterical wails. My whole body shuddered as I heard myself scream, “Who are you?” It was all I could say. Over and over again, as if naming a monster gives us power over it—as if by naming it, we could tame it back into the realm of reason.

Jack’s gaze was stone. He was smirking; his features, void of emotion, formed an unreadable, empty mask. His eyes were deepest indigo as he turned toward me, and in my frenzied grief, I understood that Jack had wandered too far—at some point in his life, too far—and was lost in an immutable emptiness.

 

Erin Mickelson

Editorial Board, Analogy

Book artist and designer

There Goes the Neighborhood

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My wife Cindy and I move to Portland in the fall of 1995. We find a cute little place on Southeast Main Street in the Mt. Tabor community. One late-October day a neighbor greets us – an important neighbor, known by many other neighbors as The Mayor of Main Street. Her name is Kathy and she brings us a welcome gift, a loaf of something she calls, in her cigarette-charred voice, “Friendship Bread.” We thank her and then she points across the street to her house. In the driveway, we see her husband washing a big orange sports utility vehicle, a Chevy Blazer. He’s polishing it — lovingly, intimately rubbing the intimidating SUV like it’s a genie bottle, as if at any moment Barbara Eden will materialize in a puff of smoke ready to grant wishes. He clearly loves his truck.

Kathy turns to us and in her raspy way says, “You know, we’re having a party Thursday night, a Blazer Party and I hope you can come join us.” It’s a warm and sincere gesture but all I can think is: A Blazer Party? Are they convening friends to celebrate that big-ass orange SUV monstrosity? Is that why Kathy’s hubby is waxing and polishing that god-awful road hog? Will we all gather before its shiny, elevated mag-wheels and sing praises to its gas-guzzling automotive masculinity? This is what I think about – in a very long moment.

Cindy looks at me and her eyes say this: “We will go, Steve, like it or not. We must; we’re new in town.” But she says, “That sounds like fun, Kathy. We’ll be there. What can we bring?”

I nod, look at the SUV and say, “Yeah … great … fun.”

So on the day of the party I buy a nice bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, with hints of grapefruit and lemongrass, and I make a batch of cilantro-hazelnut pesto as a gift for the Mayor of Main Street and her SUV-caressing husband. I don’t know what to bring as a gift for the all-mighty Blazer – frankincense and myrrh?

That evening, when we arrive at the party, we see that everyone is sitting around watching basketball on TV. Of course, it’s the start of the NBA season and this is a Blazer Party, a Portland Trail Blazer party! I should have known because I like basketball. We hand the Mayor of Main Street the wine and then the pesto, and she gives it a weird look. I quickly tell her what the pesto’s made of but stop short of recommending how to use it because – judging from the spread she’s laid out on the dining room table – she’ll never, ever, ever eat it. Call me a snob but I think I’ve been transported to America’s Midwest in the early 1960s because the appetizers include saltines topped with American cheese, some sort of brown-pinkish ham spread, chips and onion-cream-cheese dip and – I’m not making this up – pigs-in-a-blanket: Fucking weenies wrapped in fucking white dough. No, Kathy will never eat that cilantro-hazelnut pesto, and, you know, that’s OK.

Like the food, the conversation, what little there is, doesn’t really appeal to Cindy and me. Call us both snobs. But we stay the requisite 45 minutes (anything less is rude, anything more is unbearble). Through pre-designated hand signals, Cindy and I agree it’s time to go and she gets our coats. I hear Kathy’s husband talking to another guest. And just as Cindy hands me my coat, the guest asks Mr. Main Street this question: “So you’re a supervisor for the City of Portland, huh? Do you have any mi-nor-i-ties working for you? If you do, I pity you because they don’t learn too good.” (To his credit, Kathy’s husband deflects the question by saying something about his supervision of a diverse workforce.)

I stop putting on my coat and freeze. What do I do? Because I’m a writing instructor, my first instinct is to correct the moron’s English: They don’t learn too well. Not “good.” Well. More importantly, I then want to take this Blazer Party guest to task for his racist remark, as I’ve done several times in similar situations. Speaking up to people like him is one way my world view manifests. I want to launch into this bigot: No, sir, you are the one who doesn’t learn too well. You have failed to learn to judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character, as one famous mi-nor-i-ty once said.

I really want to say that and more. Much more. What do I do?

Now, Cindy and I exchange glances and we’re both thinking: Is it worth it? If Bigot Boy had made this comment in the middle of the party, I likely would’ve strategically called him out for his slur. But it’s really hard to tackle someone’s ignorance and intolerance – not to mention grammar – as you’re saying your goodbyes. It’s time to go. Just as your world view tells you when to act, it also tells you when not to act. We thank the Mayor and the First Gentleman and escape out the front door.

 

 

by Steven T. Taylor

Writer/Editor,

OCAC Professor,

Analogy Editorial Board Member,

staylor@ocac.edu

Beyond 1000 Words

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Make up a story . . . Tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.

– Toni Morrison

 

 

An image is worth the story it inspires in us.

I come from a family of trigger-happy folks, as I like to put it.  Worn boxes and old photo albums, and now hard drives, are filled with pictures from every imaginable gathering, travel, and experience, both shared and individual.  Of course, when I look at them, I can see the stories, conjure up the narrative surrounding each snapshot.  In one that hangs on the wall of my mom’s home office, a lamp with a dated, earth-toned shade glows beside me as I lean against my mammaw (that’s southern for grandma, for those of you who may not know), a picture book in her hand held between us as she reads.  Her voice was like the achingly sweet and smooth fudge she made every year at Christmas.

“Jenny-Ree,” she’d say, “What’re you fixin’ to do?”

“Read me a book, Mammaw!”

As a historical fiction writer, images are paramount to my writing process.  Though I may not have been present at the click of the shutter, though I may have no clue as to who is in the photo, why it was taken, or the context surrounding the moment captured, each image holds a story to be told.  My job as a writer isn’t necessarily to tell the story of the picture, but instead, to “make up a story,” to reveal “belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”  It is through this that I find the Truth of the image, everything it holds, “in the dark places and in the light.”

Many thanks to Meaghen Porte, Coordinator of Student Services at Oregon College of Art and Craft, for the above image and all the stories it has to tell.

 

Jenny Bates

Editor-in-Chief, Analogy

 

 

Image credit:

Meaghen Nan Porte

July Eighth’s Morning | 2011

Black and White,  LUMIX DMC-LX5

Wordstock or Bust!

We are thrilled to announce that one month from today, Analogy will be making its festival debut at Wordstock in Portland, Oregon!

A gathering for all things writing- and book-related, Wordstock provides the Portland and surrounding area a chance to revel in the presence of great authors, learn a thing or two in short workshops, and engage with the writing community through hundreds of booths such as ours.

Please drop by and say hello!

Wordstock Festival

Saturday & Sunday, October 13-14

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D

Purchase tickets

The Stories We Live

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.

– Philip Pullman

 

It’s a perfect fall day in Portland, the kind I remember from childhood, crackly, cool air and long shadows cast by a motherly sun.  It’s the kind of day that smacks of some unknown new beginning, some yet to be discovered possibilities, so many stories yet to be told.  When you live in Portland, you know that the damp and gray is just around the corner, waiting to pounce, so you savor days like these.  It’s a survival tactic, or perhaps a sanity tactic.

Like many, if not most, of us who were around on September 11, 2001, I’ve been mulling over my own story from that day, the way it seemed as though the announcer was speaking a foreign language through my car radio as I drove to PSU that morning, the way it didn’t seem real until I went to work at Starbucks and was told that we were closing down for fear that we might fall prey to additional attacks, the way a cold beer felt in my hand in the middle of the day at a bar across the street, my eyes glued to the large-screen TV.  Our collective shock morphed into our collective grief morphed into our collective story – an “I remember where I was when” story.

In my line of work, I hear and read a lot of stories: Funny stories, heart-breaking stories, stories that inspire and fascinate me, stories that vex me and propel me into action.  That’s what we at Analogy hope to capture in our pages, those stories that give a glimpse into the lives we live, lives that can change forever in an instant, lives that persist through the mundane and exceptional alike.

 

Jenny Bates

Editor-in-Chief, Analogy

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