Tuesday, May 4, 2010

pacific northwest reader spotlight #10

I'm just a day away from putting up my window display at Powell's for The Pacific Northwest Reader. Today I've been doing some printing and assembling. I always have fun putting displays together but I do have to admit, it's extra fun when a little piece of the book is my own.

A little piece also belongs to Sarah Hutton, who, in her essay elaborates on one of the defining characteristics of the Pacific Northwest. Her piece is appropriately titled Dreaming of Rain...

"I think the rain is the first thing that people think of when they think of the Northwest. What eludes most is the constantness of it. In most places, 'rain' is a finite weather pattern. You can say, 'Oh, it started raining,' and then an hour or two later look out the window and say, 'Oh, it stopped.' Just as the Eskimos have dozens of words for snow, there are dozens of words for rain here, from misting to spitting to drizzling to pouring. Each carries its own nuances.

"And even if it is not raining, the sky is often gray for months at a time. It has its own beauty in a way, the flatness of color, the shifting of clouds, the muted light, but some people just can't handle it. There was one year, early 1999 I think, where the region had had more than a hundred successive days with precipitation of some kind. Three straight months. I was talking to my mom on the phone during this period about how wretched the weather was, even by Seattle standards, and I said, 'I'm starting to understand why people jump off the Space Needle.' (I realize in hindsight this was not the best thing to say to a worry-prone mother.) A few days later, a box with 'Priority Mail' stamped all over it was waiting for me. My mom had sent me a Sun Box: Sun-Maid raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, sunglasses, sundae toppings, lip balm with sunscreen, Sunkist oranges, and some chocolates wrapped in smiling sun foil. I lined the items up on my kitchen counter like an altar. The sun finally did break through a few days later. (Coincidence?)"

Sarah Hutton graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in English and Philosophy. She is currently the store manager and children's book buyer for Village Books in Bellingham, Washington. She still likes the rain.

[photo courtesy of bradleyolin, flickr creative commons.]

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