My May, in a list:
Started a new writing project. Played golf in hiking boots.
Cut my hair. Shaved my beard. Booked a trip to Michigan in August.
Learned the hard way there are bad seats at Providence Park.
Rode the train ’til the end of the line, then hiked into camp. Pushed my shopping cart past the one-pound bags of Sour Patch Kids without wanting to buy one of them.
Wiggled into snowboard boots in a dry parking lot. Bought a new sleeping bag.
Made something new for dinner, finally.
Passed my one-year mark as a Portlander.
An anniversary announcement, of sorts: Postscript turned one in May. Thank you, kindly, for following along with these musings, which are nothing short of self-published self-indulgence. I really appreciate your readership, encouragement and kind comments.
Katherine Pommerening’s iPhone is the place where all of her friends are always hanging out. So it’s the place where she is, too. She’s on it after it rings to wake her up in the mornings. She’s on it at school, when she can sneak it. She’s on it while her 8-year-old sister, Lila, is building crafts out of beads. She sets it down to play basketball, to skateboard, to watch PG-13 comedies and sometimes to eat dinner, but when she picks it back up, she might have 64 unread messages.
— The Washington Post, on being 13, among other things
They built shelters with frames made of branches and covered them with whatever material they could find. One family made a wall out of a pair of XXL Levi’s jeans. Another stretched out a dirty Snuggie, its left sleeve hanging out like a limp windsock. Someone found a huge purple-and-yellow vinyl poster bearing the smiling face of a Dominican congressional candidate and used it as a waterproof roof.
— The New York Times, on people of Haitian descent being deported from the Dominican Republic
If you have just fallen in love, take the week off sick. With all those new emotions and without having to put on a false face for anyone, you might just write a novella nobody likes.
— The New York Times, on taking time off when you’re sick
Pinellas Park police knocked on Carolyn Groover’s door about 1 a.m. Dec. 15, some three hours after her son’s body was found nearby. She answered the door in pajamas and hustled off to get her glasses when the officers asked to come inside.
— The Tampa Bay Tribune, on a man’s addiction and death and the people who loved him
Alexi Pappas’s hair bun, wound as tightly as a coach’s stopwatch, slowly unraveled as she quickly completed her workout, tendrils snaking down the nape of her neck as on some Medusa figure.
— The New York Times, on an Olympic distance runner’s philosophy and following
The showman gives his full name as Peter Carmine Gaetano Napolitano, and he speaks of stages seen, bandstands of a bygone New York, disco halls and late, late nights and platinum records on other men’s walls. The telephone rings, and he answers:
“Good evening. You’ve reached Melody Lanes. How may we help you? Yes, this is the bowling place.”
— The New York Times, on a drink recipe and man who makes it
May was another thrilling month of reading. I quickly thumbed my way through Laurie Lee’s “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning,” marking magical sentences and paragraphs every couple pages. The memoir — about a young man leaving his English hometown on foot, touring the country and setting off for Spain — is full of writerly gems, such as the following:
“A hundred fountains were playing, filling the sky with rainbows and creating an extraordinary dreamlike clamor. Marble gods and wood-nymphs, dolphins and dragons, their anatomies studded with pipes and nozzles, directed complex cascades at one another or shot them high above the flowering trees. Everything that could be done with water seemed to be going on here, almost to the point of hydromania. Lakes, pools, jets, and falls, flooded grottoes and exotic canals, all throbbed and surged at different levels, reflecting classical arbours, paths, and terraces, or running like cooling milk down the stationary.”
And to think he could have simply said he was impressed with the fountains…
You should be listening to the Washington Post’s “Presidential” podcast, if you’re not already. The episode about Ulysses S. Grant is one of my favorites.
I recently reported about a hiking death that serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of outdoor recreation and a man who fired dozens of shots at police during a standoff in a Portland mobile home park.
As always, thanks for reading.