Saturday, August 04, 2007

Weekend Update

There are a couple good-sized writers' organizations here locally, Willamette Writers (that's pronounced "Will-lam-it," not "Will-uh-met,") and the Oregon Writers Colony.

WW, and OWC, as we like to initial 'em.

This weekend, WW is having its big yearly conference at the Sheraton out by the airport.
Three days of classes, panels, presentations, awards, banquet, like that, with editors, agents, book, movie, TV folk all coming together. Even with multi-track programming, the classes are sometimes pretty crowded, you can get forty or fifty people in a session. Probably eight hundred or so will attend over the three days. It's fairly spendy, and for an extra bit, you can sign up to pitch your book or movie to editors or agents, but it's a good deal for an aspiring writer.

Some times, they ask me to teach a session, some times not, and this is an off-year for me.

However, OWC and WW did a joint event Thursday called Writers Faire, in which a bunch of us sat at tables to autograph our assorted books, and to be offered as prizes in a raffle. People bought chances, and the winners get an hour to have coffee and talk writing with a pro. I've done this a few times in the past, and met some interesting people as a result.

Took me two hours to drive from Beaverton to PDX, a distance about twenty-five miles, during rush hour. Average speed just over twelve miles an hour. I could have ridden a bicycle that fast. Well, except there aren't enough bike paths going to the airport, and riding a bike on rush hour traffic streets in Portland is about as safe as working the night shift at the 7-Eleven Stop 'n' Rob. For a town that is supposed to be bike-friendly and green and all, Portlanders would just as soon run over a bicycle as look at it.

Not that bicyclists are particularly well-behaved in these parts, either.

Year or so back, a bus crowded a bicyclist whilst both were crossing one of the downtown bridges, or so the biker said. He wasn't as close to the edge as he could have been, because there was gravel there. Pissed off, he pounded on the side of the bus, sprinted and got ahead of it, then pulled his bike across the road and made the driver stop. Stood there glaring, holding the bus hostage to his road rage.

Gotta be careful -- karma always comes round. One of the passengers told the driver, "Let me handle this." He got off, beat the crap out of the bicyclist, got back on the bus, and they drove on.

Quite the scandal locally. Bikers want to have the guy who did it put under the jail.

Bus riders want to give him a medal ...

I wasn't there, I couldn't say what really happened. And, in the bike vs car argument, you have to figure the biker gets the short end of the stick most of the time; still, what the guy did was stupid, and he brought it on himself.

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