Archive | June, 2004

Regional Wrangle – Part I: Getting Past Landscape

This is the first in several parts of posting updates about last Thursday’s Regional Wrangle at Richard Hugo House where I wrestled with Lyall Bush on the topic of “Is there a Northwest literary style?” It’s a vile topic that inspires a great deal of boredom from just about anyone who actually produces work in the Northwest and a strange kind of bored anger by people from outside of the region. However in talking to Lyall Bush this last spring he realized that there was more the issue than the use in marketing various regional products to tourists: salmon, mass produced Haidi art, and trips to Mount Rainer. I also realized that the topic was completely obscured by the supposition that all northwest literary work has to bare obvious tokens of “northwestness.” This was handily summarized recently in Ryan Boudinot’s SALMON, TREES, CANCER: A PRIMER
How to Write a Great Northwest Novel.

So Lyall and I opened the topic up and invited people to buy some drinks and talk on the topic. Gregory Hischak was kind of enough to serve as the referee and by the end of the evening I think he didn’t want to here a single more invocation of Murray Morgan or drizzle.

I’m going to post several things to keep the record, starting with my comments.

Getting Past Landscape

I am thinking that regionalism can be thought of the in the way you might think of surrealism. Where surrealism is the investigation of the individual subconscious; regionalism is the collective subconscious.

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Writing as Knowing

Making language is making knowledge.

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RIP Hector

After a week of heat, after a week of meaning to get to the fish bowl that held my daughters first two fish, even though she wasn’t interested in them once she realized that they didn’t talk, bark, or really do much of anything beside bob just under the surface of the water and act up slightly if we came with in view of their fish tank, Hector, the larger of the two fish died.

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Links to funding sources for writers in Washington State

Artist Trust
http://www.artisttrust.org/
Seattle Office of Arts and Culture
http://www.cityofseattle.net/arts/
4Culture (King County)
http://www.4culture.org/
Espy Literary Foundation
http://www.espyfoundation.org/writersres.html
Centrum Creative Residencies
http://www.centrum.org/residencies/application.html
Bumbershoot
http://www.bumbershoot.com/apply.html
Richard Hugo House Co-Sponsored Events
http://www.hugohouse.org/programs/sponsoredevents.html

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My brief on Northwest Literature

A while ago someone said to me that they can’t help talking about Seattle and region but they don’t think it makes a difference to them when they sit down with a blank piece of paper. For me, on the other hand, this my understanding of my environment makes a difference when I go to the store to pick up a quart of milk.

Introduction

When humanity escaped the African savannah, it developed the need to understand its environment. This awareness was built by collective gathering of environment data in the construction of a conceptual model of their environment. In the similar way, social interaction between people depends on a situational model. Both of these models, environmental and situational, are combined into a regional model, which encompasses environmental and social narratives.

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Tire Explosion

On Intestate Five on Friday morning, at the Boeing Field and Martin Luther King Way exit, a tire on a detached semi truck exploded. The explosion shook the cars on the freeway. Tiny fragments of rubber scattered into the oncoming lanes, against the cement barriers. Blue smoke hung over the concrete. The sound and smoke suddenly made the entire freeway seem remote, the site of industrial activity. The majority of the tire peeled away from the semi and flew directly up and then fell into the red sedan following the truck. The truck jackknifed and luckily wasn’t pulling a trailer. The sedan behind it had by this time started to stop because of the length of rubber. I kept moving and moved a lane over watching phone book sized pieces of rubber slide across the freeway and them I passed in front of the truck. The entire flow of traffic abruptly stopped behind the truck. A half mile further down I-5, I had the entire place to myself.

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