These days, I’m finding it pretty easy to be proud of where I live. I’ve made the Pacific Northwest my home for more than 13 years, and I don’t think I’ll ever regret it. Born and bred in Wisconsin, I took to the PNW lifestyle like a fish to water when I first moved to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound in 1999. Though I often write about Wisconsin, and visit my family who still lives there, I know that this is my home now, and I’m damn proud to say so.
The diverse culture, incredible restaurants, breathtaking landscape, and yes—even the weather of this part of the country offers me everything I need to continue living the rich, beautiful life to which I’ve grown accustomed. And this past week, having recently filled out my ballot and voted, I have to say how monumentally proud I am to live in a state where I was not only able to vote for an African American president who believes that “You can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom,” but was also able to vote to give same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled, AND legalize the use of marijuana to make it safe and available to all who need it. I love living in a state that is progressive enough to start sending a message to the rest of the country about learning to have a little something called compassion for others. Hallelu!
But none of this holds even the dimmest candle to the literary love I feel in this region, and how incredibly crucial it has become to my happiness here. Having completed both my undergraduate and post-graduate studies here, I knew I would be able to carve out a fulfilling and challenging literary life among the tightly knit community of writers and readers in this neck of the woods. Coming into my own as an editor of The Los Angeles Review (which, by the way, has the most kickass contingency of contributors and readership in the Northwest!) and now as a published author, I feel intensely fortunate to have found a fantastic network of fellow lovers of the written word in a place I love so much. This is why it pleases me so to be able to make my way around the state, reading and discussing my memoir, A Real Emotional Girl, which was so heavily influenced by my adopted homeland.
I hope to see all my PNW friends at my upcoming events so I can show you in person just how grateful I truly am. For all my Portland-area friends, please join me at one hell of a show at the Gerding Theater next Monday, October 29th at 8 pm. I’m honored to share the stage with my dearest friend Caleb Barber, brilliant writer Brendan Constantine, and poetry legend Tess Gallagher. And for my Seattle peeps, I’m also reading this Wednesday at the Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park at 7 pm. I hope to see you all there!