Like Bookends in Portland
By Lori Polydoros
Everybody’s got a story. Even Portland, if you can find your way inside. Only one way to travel through the city’s maze of one-way, criss-crossing streets that change names. Take The MAX across the Columbia. Take the time to slow down. Read. Listen.
So Helena, an Oregon transplant from Minnesota, rides into town to meet friends. She’s a mother of four who works in the securities industry. But at heart she's a writer. A woman with many stories to tell— stories of heartache and joy , apparent in her generous smile. Helena discusses the never-dull job of parenting. Her story rings true. We are all storytellers. But only a few are lucky--or crazy enough-- to write them down and send them along the winding path of publication.
Portland is full of hip cafes, ethnic food stands, and vintage clothing shops. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the moustache-clad transvestite in fishnets and pink boots. But a perfect destination looms ahead. Powell's bookstore. King of the independents. A writer and reader's Pleasure Island. The musty, intoxicating smell of old books wafts through the endless rooms, singing stories written by old friends like Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman, and Rick Steves.
Outside Powell's, dread-locked Rashib carries a sign: "VEGAN, HUNGRY, HOMELESS, AND HANDSOME." He munches rainbow veggie pizza and talks of the world. Rashib has traveled the globe with this very same sign—once written in Indonesian. He's an author, too, and has been writing like crazy lately. Look for his book soon in the stores--GLOBAL NOMADS, he says.
So many storytellers. Like bookends, Helena on the way in to Portland, and Rashib on the way out. All of us diverse with crazy different life experiences. Yet all eager to share our stories, to share our piece in this massive, interconnected maze of life.