I realized this morning that the last modification date on the PSYCHOBABEL file is about two weeks ago. Where did the time go? Well, let’s see . . .

Back on the 15th, I drove down to Portland to participate in a reading with Barth Anderson [barthanderson], M. K. Hobson [mkhobson], and Jay Lake [jaylake] at St. Johns Books. Barth was in town for some foodie shenanigan and stayed over a few extra days so that he could play with the local peeps, and we co-opted a bookstore for the afternoon. The reading was lightly attended, but well received, the fact that we threw it all together in a few days notwithstanding (Deb [wheatlandpress] and Jeffrey from the Writer’s Dojo were among the attendees). I read the Markham piece, Mary read from “Crushing Butterflies,” her piece in the latest Flytrap, Jay read “The Philosopher Clown” (which can be found in The River Knows Its Own), and Barth treated us to some of The Magician and the Fool and a bit from a new book. Yes, the man is working on a new book. Very exciting.

Afterward, we all perambulated over to the local McMenamin’s pub and discovered the Electric Mud Stout, one of their seasonal beers. Once Tiger Wood birdied his way into a sudden death playoff at the US Open, the party broke up, and Barth and I went to Powell’s.

Where I proceeded to find everything on my list, which made my basket very heavy. We also picked out two books for each other (Barth’s idea, and a very good one). I ended up with Lisa Goldstein’s The Red Magician and Papus’s The Divinatory Tarot. I found copies of John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 and James Ellroy’s White Jazz for him.

After a couple of hours at Powell’s, we wandered down Burnside so I could take Barth to Voodoo Donuts, that magical space between buildings where the “magic is in the hole.” I had the bacon-covered maple bar, and he had some sort of raspberry cruller thingie with lightning bolts burned in the frosting or some such marvel. I didn’t really notice, as I was having bacon AND a maple bar–two things that are mighty fine on their own. Though, eh, not so good together, actually. And it may have been the presentation: two strips of bacon slapped on top of a maple bar. Really. I mean, I can do THAT at home, so why was I paying three bucks for someone pierced and tattooed emo punk to do it for me?

The raspberry wind-up creampuff with a miniature sealife diorama was the better donut. Which is good that Barth had that one, as it wouldn’t have good for the guy who came the furthest distance for a customized donut to have the shitty one. That would have made me a bad host.

One of the guys working at the St. John’s Theater & Pub mentioned that the Electric Mud Stout was brewed at the Kennedy School, one of my favorite places to stay in Portland, and so we wandered over there to have more stout. And to have some more of those Cajun tater pups.

And that was Father’s Day.

I was already scheduled to have the day off so I stayed over and we wandered through bookstores on Monday, including Twenty-Third Avenue Books where I picked up a copy of Goodnight Bush, a topical parody of Goodnight Moon. For those of us who have read this book a couple thousand times in the last few years, it’s a hoot. For those of us who are counting down to January 20th, 2009, it’s even funnier. Especially in the little details on the pages.

We wandered through town (stopping over at the Hawthorne street Powell’s), and ended up at The Grotto, a 62 acre botanical garden and Catholic shrine (administered by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary). After taking in the view from the top of the bluff, we drifted through the garden and rested under the watchful eye of St. Francis and a deer and a hound while continuing the on-going conversation about writing that we’d been working on for the last thirty-six hours. A few hours later, having reached some sort of conclusion and outlined the framework of a Clever Idea(tm), I wound up the rubber band on WhiteCar and hit the road.

And I still haven’t written up the PLAN for the Clever Idea(tm). Lazy bastard that I am.