Dear Oregon reader,
You know how you sometimes beat your own postcards home? Well, that is what has happened to me. I’m already back in Alaska, but today is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a postcard to you.
First let me say that the rumors are true — Deschutes County truly has the most fantastic one community, one read program. For the past 10 years, “A Novel Idea” has featured a book each year that thousands of people read together and then celebrate with programs over the course of several weeks. Past selections include The Kite Runner, The Help, and Rules of Civility. This year they chose The Snow Child, and it was an incredible privilege.
This is the only place in the world I’ve been where the community makes a debut novelist feel like a rock star. For the first (and probably only) time in my life I got to see my name on a marquee. I spoke in front of a sold-out house at the Tower Theatre — 500 people. For a book event! Then another several hundred people came to a nearby high school for another event the next day. And the library gets this kind of turnout every year.
This is a community that knows how to celebrate books. They sew quilts inspired by the book, they paint paintings, sketch pictures, write lovely bluegrass music — all based on the book of the year. It was a moving experience as a writer to see how others had retold the story through fabric, colored pencils, and vocal harmonies.
And most of all I enjoyed getting to know the library staff. In ways, being a writer is a lonely endeavor. There are times that I miss the office banter, the collegial joking that goes on between co-workers. The Deschutes Public Library has the kind of staff anyone would envy, and you can tell they have a lot of fun together even as they work hard. But what was most remarkable was the way they included me, even welcomed me, into their friendship and laughter. For that I will forever be grateful.
So to the quilters, artists, musicians, book clubs, readers and librarians of Deschutes County — Cheers! And thank you!
P.S. For those of you who know my troubles with homophones, I thought I’d confess that this postcard initially read “my name on a marquis” instead of “marquee.” I guess my name tattooed on a nobleman would be interesting, but I prefer the marquee.