Thursday, August 03, 2006

"Oops,went to the Bahamas there, just for a second"


Actually to beat the heat this weekend I went for a stroll with Chuck Palahniuk by sitting on sofa in the AC and reading Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk Around Portland, Oregon. It is part of Crown Journeys, a series of short books wherein authors wax eloquently about areas close to them. Coincidentally S. had just finished reading his book Haunted and was kind enough to share some of the more disturbing elements... an autoeroticism accident involving a swimming pool drain for example.
The Portland book is compelling with non-touristy suggestions for destinations and insider tips. It also contains brief intercalary Postcards from Palahniuks's life in the area over the past twenty years including being beaten up, participating in a Santa Rampage, and his first acid trip which can be read here. I was dissapointed not have made it to Portland while out in Seattle this spring but am glad to have read this book before my eventual first visit. I look forward to checking out other books in this series including Kinky Friedman about Austin, Roy Blount, Jr. in New Orleans (although that might need an updated version), or Iowa's own workshop mentor, the late Frank Conroy on Nantucket. (Another reading at Prairie Lights I missed.)

It would be interesting to have historical authors in modern cities such as Poe in the Fell's Point area of Baltimore battling tourists for a bar stool, Rimbaud in Paris trying to find a decent domestic absinthe, or Dickens sampling the fusion cuisine of modern London . Who else? Van Gogh in the hash bars of Amersterdam? Actually those were probably already there.

2 comments:

scruffylooking said...

I could spend hours lamenting all the readings I've missed in this town.

How about you? When are you going to write your Iowa City through the eyes of a displaced New Anglander?

Dexter said...

"Rolling Blackouts: Stumbling through the Alleys of Iowa City" A transplanted New Englanders guide to the Athens of the Midwest.

or make it a midwestern guide book...have to work on a title for that....from St. Louis to Sault St. Marie by way of Sioux City...or something like that. Maybe too much alliteration...work in progress.