Reading in Spokane


December 5th, 2005. 7:30 p.m. (free) I will be reading from Shoot the Buffalo and The Moss Gatherers with Polly Buckingham at the great independent bookstore in Spokane, WA, Auntie’s Bookstore. Polly will read from one of her three amazing and oddly yet-unpublished novels.

About a month ago I suddenly became very, very nervous about driving over Snoqualmie Pass. I have no idea why this is so.I’ve never actually driven over the pass before, but have been there in other people’s cars hundreds of times. I have been there more times than I have been to Portland or Everett. I can travel to Portland or Everett without any apprehension. And yet the drive over Snoqualmie Pass which I must do in order to get to Spokane has filled with me images of sliding off the road into an icy crevice where I will only survive by eating my own leg.

There have actually been in the last year many odd incidents involving travel in the region of Snoqualmie Pass. Last year a man lost his way near Commonwealth Basin. He survived on lichen and had to have both of his feet cut off due to frostbite when he was finally rescued. A woman driving in her SUV was crushed when a boulder broke free from a mountain and bounced over I-90. Even though efforts were undertaken to prevent this from happening again, more boulders bounced over the highway shortly thereafter. Even now I-90 only remains open with one lane due to the danger of bouncing, car sized rocks.

My mother talked to me about my nervousness. She asked me if I had a gallon of water in my car so that I would have something to drink when I slide off the road.

I contemplated flying instead, but failed to buy a ticket before the price of flying to Spokane because as much as it would cost to fly to New York City. I won’t pay this price to get Spokane, although I may pay my life.

Everyday thousands of cars make it to Cle Elum with no incident. I tell myself this. Every single day.

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