Today's Pacific Northwest Reader spotlight is in honor of April Nabholz who will be giving a reading this Sunday at Grass Roots Books and Music in Corvallis! 227 SW 2nd St, Corvallis, OR. Tel: 541-754-7668. If you're nearby, stop in at 7 PM and hear her read from her lovely essay about Oregon and a mule named Honeychild.
Here's a taste:
"When my mule and I are dropped off at the Enterprise Fairgrounds, square in the northeast corner of the state, I believe there must be some mistake. We aren’t in a temperate rainforest at all; we are in the middle of a desert. I pull myself to the top rail of a fence and stare westward forlornly.
"I had been led to believe the state was lush, hilly, and green, but what I see is a thirsty, scrubby expanse of barely anything. The ground is hard and dusty, and I see scarcely a tree. As a matter of survival, I swallow my disappointment and carry hay and water to my mule.
"To the north I can see snow-peaked mountains—the Eagle Caps, I am told—and I hear that nearby is a legendary gorge that runs deeper than the Grand Canyon itself. Hell’s Canyon, they call it, and it is wilder, rougher, crueler, and more beautiful, plunging more than a mile deep into the earth from Oregon’s eastern rim. I lie awake my first night in Oregon shivering in my sleeping bag under a starving moon and starry sky."
I love the surprise of opening up to an essay about Oregon and coming upon a story about a woman and her mule. And I love that the more I read these pieces about my state, the more I see how very different, yet how very linked, they are. I knew this would be true--it's the nature of the Reader series--but I'm struck by how much.
April Nabholz grew up in rural Pennsylvania, attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, and worked as a dishwasher in Montpelier, VT. After traveling to Asia post-graduation, she vowed not to leave the country again until she had seen the western half of her own homeland. She traveled to Oregon in 2008 and settled in Corvallis, Oregon, where she plays daily at Grass Roots Books and Music.