Writing my essay about Oregon for The Pacific Northwest Reader, I felt I got to know my home more intimately--or perhaps got to recognize just how intimately I knew this place. Now along comes Karen Munro's essay for the same state, for the same book, and I see an Oregon I knew but never knew. One place is a million places seen through a million sets of eyes. And how amazing--and heartbreaking--to get to see Oregon through Karen's unique eyes and heart.
For the heartbreaking, you'll have to read the whole essay.
For a taste, here is a paragraph from "Land of Oz":
"For people like me, Oregon, like Oz, seems like a place to wander for a while. A fascinating, frustrating place, a place that offers fields of poppies and cities made of emerald, but nowhere to put down roots. Elton John had it right: you can follow the yellow-brick road in search of a heart, a head, or whatever it is you're looking for—but sooner or later, you're going to have to click your heels together and come back to the real world. You're going to have to make your peace with imperfection, and decide whether you can live with things as they are."
Karen Munro is the Head of the University of Oregon Portland Library & Learning Commons in Portland, OR. She has an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has published stories in Grain, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere.