I've taken several visual arts classes at the Multnomah Arts Center and wanted to take a writing course. Last summer, the creative writing excursion series caught my attention. The excursion leaders reflect Portland's avantgarde writing community and offer unique prose and poetry writing exercises at each place. It's great intellectual stimulation. My favorites include Kaia Sand's exploration of “Lost Neighborhoods- Nihonmachi and Vanport”, David Abel's walk through downtown “Portland Alphabetical” and Lisa Radon's gallery tour “In Response: Poems on Art”. Each term new writing places are added to the catalog. If you want to get a different perspective of the metro area, I highly recommend signing up for one or more.
Saturday, I took the "A Day on Swan Island" with Nate Orton and James Yeary. They write an ongoing My Day zine series and demonstrated their techniques as we toured Swan Island. We started at Skidmore Bluffs with a great view of Portland's industrial section on the Willamette River.
The path a long the river offered other views of Portland-
With 80° temperatures, it felt like the first day of summer. Sharing our sketches and writings makes me realize how different we all see the same place. What struck me is how nature and industry collide on Swan Island. Warnings flank the banks of the river to not eat the fish due to toxins or to not drink the water due to raw sewage dumps. The river looks beautiful but analysis shows that it still needs to be cleaned up.
On another note, the peonies are blooming at The Peony Place. They offer cut flowers and a you-pick cutting garden. With the warmer weather, new varieties open up each day. It's one of my favorite places. Here's a post I wrote a few years ago about the garden.