The above image was my first venture into the small music world of Portland, Oregon. It was put together on a hand-me-down desktop computer more than a decade ago. I had just discovered I had a little penchant for songwriting as some lines I wrote in my poetry notebook never dried their ink to the page. When I picked up a guitar and began to teach myself tracks by Neil Young and Cat Power (and my biggest influence, L. Cohen) a new route of expression was discovered in that hazy green underbrush of youth. My words had found their place in verses, not in verse.
Besides the big names, I was also influenced by a group of young, local musicians that had come to Portland from their hometown of Salem. The lead singer-songwriter and I shared a class at Portland State University and I soon had him and another member of the band working beside me at the restaurant which I had picked up a bussing job at in a Northwest neighborhood. I soon learned that these talented players had a band and had just finished up their first self-released album under the name Typhoon. Their label was called Boy Gorilla Records. Soon, I was helping them load and unload gear, printing album covers and even recording my own split EP on the label with one Elec E. Morin. A few tracks of mine survive on a little visited Bandcamp site, but I’m proud of the work I got to share and experience with my friends.
I’ve given this blog the honorary http of “dawnzerlylight” as a smile and wink to that swiftly changing image of my Portland home for a good ten years of life – longest I ever stayed put in one place. But not many places, well, not many cities, remain as they were for the young who needed their streets, their cafes, their all-ages venues and their cheap homes for a cool basement to practice in beneath the hot summer streets. While playing scant shows in town I was privy to see the rise of friends to local and national acclaim, all beginning with a little label from the sons and daughters of Salem. See also Wild Ones, Genders, and Sons of Huns. There’s still quite a scene in Portland, I’m certain of it. Here’s to DIY movements, getting involved, and creating your own voice from the audience to the stage.
The above is an image recently sent to me by a talented and genuine soul of the Northwest. He holds in his friendly hand an accomplishment of mine from 2006, Haiku Composed on an English Tour. It is the only self-published volume of poetry which I have arranged, printed and hand-sewed together. As a little bit of millennial ephemera, the chapbook exemplifies the DIY publishing ethos that seeped into my young blood in my first few years out of high school.
At the time I met my friend Mark, I was living in the liberal atmosphere of Portland, Oregon and attending an arts school. Though poetry had been my primary creative medium since I was 13, I intended to study photography and soon after printmaking at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. In the above chapbook, Mark’s copy being only one of a proposed 50 copies, drawings and clippings from maps I used while on a solo bicycle tour through England & Wales accompany the haiku which I wrote at the end of my days’ journeys. I had left PNCA and was embarking on a new chapter of my life altogether, and Haiku was the symbolic result of this period.
I am thankful to Mark for sending me this photo, quite unexpectedly, as he was searching through an old portfolio at home. Discoveries like these can become in a moment the unexpected blessing and reminder to the giver of such cherished and beholden ephemera. That friends keep and hold on to the little pieces of creativity that unknowingly become a benchmark for their personal history is affirmation enough that efforts are worth their short suffering and the support of friends is invaluable help to complete their work.
Almost 3 weeks ago, a volume of love stories featured on the year-long, collaborative Tumblr project One Page Love Story was released into the world for purchase on Kindle or in paperback. Affirming the continued existence of physical books, this volume is printed on nice, warm colored stock and has a matte colored cover, as you can see above in one of its new homes for the feast of public eyes, Strand Books! However, this Saturday March 7th and Sunday the 8th are Kindle free days in which you can read and revel in the work that’s been brought together.
The collection of writers involved in this project were prompted by author Rich Walls to participate in the crafting of short fictional love stories of their own composition, submitting one-a-day over a period of 10 days. One Page Love Story: Share the Love is the culmination of these multiple efforts. A portion of the proceeds go to First Book, a charity which “is determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books,” and so I encourage Kindle readers to consider purchasing a paperback copy for this sake for themselves or as a gift.
I am quite proud to be amongst a hearty crew of working authors who have chosen to support such a worthy cause and create work in this surprisingly tough constraint & format. Each one manages to illuminate a wavelength in the spectrum of love’s expression within human life. Thank you to Rich for making this all possible and to the many readers, writers and lovers in this world, striving for those peak experiences of consciousness and communion.