Let me address the elephant in the room. I have been trying for over a decade to move to Portland. I’ve whinged and sniveled and carried on about it until I’m sure you were all ready to stab me in the eye with your fountain pens, and now at last I’m here. So why am I not writing about our new home?
Because it’s so fucking wonderful that every excursion makes me want to race to the top of a mountain and start twirling in my pinafore. It’s nauseating, how much I love it here. If I truly did the place justice, I’d tell you about Silver Falls, where we hiked around and had a picnic next to the creek and laughed at the crow who disdained the chunk of apple we’d offered. I’d describe the farm stands, overflowing with berries. The vintage shops where I’ve bought milk glass and watercolors and barely escaped without the most adorable 70s fondue set (so cute, it still had all its forks!). I’d wax poetic about the arboretum, a cathedral of trees, threaded with quiet footpaths. Our neighborhood market and its mouth-watering ciabatta. The soft cool rain and this lovely house with all its windows open even at midday, my tender potted herb garden in the kitchen. I’d tell you about my fellas, who went bowling together for the first time and came home hooting with laughter. They love it here too.
I’m baking my own bread, for fuck’s sake. I am a cliché of domestic bliss.
But there’s only so much I can share without becoming redundant. You and I have become friends based on our mutual misery: writing, and all its tribulations. And the muse is as bitchy as she ever was.
I have discovered that happiness and misery can coexist quite symbiotically inside me, can in fact swoop in and overtake one another without a break in the action. One minute I’m kneading a ball of dough and watching the squirrels scamper over our back fence, the next I’m pacing around in agony, trying to locate the story. And the sneaky truth is that I’m loving the ride. The shivering apex, the stomach-dropping glide, then up again with my feet against the sky. I don’t want to be steady, I want to swing.
What about you? Feet on the ground, or ass in the swing?