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Changes of venue

[Star Wars icon used for entry because any part of the Star Wars galaxy would be one heck of a change of venue]

Walking, sitting, writing, reading: strictly speaking, I can do all of these at the house where I live, but like lots of people, I like and want to do them elsewhere. As I write this, I'm at the house, and this is the view:


It's a nice view, from a comfortable chair, a plush rocking chair of mine. In that view: the street, two of the house plants (the one on the right is mine), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, my phone, a mug (empty, but it had tea), my current poetry notebook, and the two most recent books I finished: Hyperbole and a Half by blogger Allie Brosh of Bend, Oregon, and the Coen Brothers' screenplay to Fargo. I can do plenty from this chair and with this view. But I get out to other views for other things.

Earlier this afternoon I read while sitting among the Belmont Goats, making sure the goats didn't overly nibble a book (or my bag, or my yellow coat) and also taking pictures of them. It had been a while since I'd visited or photographed them. Luckily several were in a friendly mood. Other times I just put down the book and my tablet and just petted or groomed them, taking it easy with them.

Last night my change of venue, after hanging out at the house all day, was Mt. Scott Community Center nearby, where I sat in a corner of the lobby and wrote. Poetry-writing. Yes, I do that in public (sometimes in coffee shops even!). I made sure it was OK with the community center staff that I just sat and wrote for a bit. It's warm, well-lit, convenient, and open until at least 7:00. After that, I went for a further walk and briefly looked around the Portland Mercado, a market open until 9:00 each night, and nicely busy at the time. I didn't hang out to read or write, I just visited. Since I wasn't going to eat or shop, I wouldn't have felt right just hanging out, but it was nice to be reminded I could.

Friday night my change of venue involved bus riding. A lot of it. I went up to Bridge City Comics, which by Portland standards is a lengthy trip. The rule of thumb I knew for years was You can get from any part of Portland to any other part of Portland in 20 minutes, but...not this trip, nor for many other kinds of trips. Which was fine, I had time, and I could just read.

Turns out I'm less likely to do blog-writing while I'm out, at least when I'm out nowadays. Blogging should be pretty portable, especially with this tablet, but I don't think to do it while out. I could and should try that, like maybe go up to Portland International Airport and write there — that's another place I visit sometimes, just to visit — and see what comes out of me. Because changing venues can help me do something different. I made good progress on a poem at the community center last night, for instance.

Now I'm thinking of venues I miss going to. College common rooms, for instance: I probably didn't use them as much as I would've liked when I was in college. ("Why didn't I go over to the EMU more often?!") I'm likely thinking of those because of my Harry Potter re-read, re-reading about the comforts of Hogwarts. Well, of parts of Hogwarts. I miss Big-Ass Sandwiches, whether sitting in an alley or a covered area near one of the carts or in the restaurant. I miss All-Way, a diner/fountain-type place that was in downtown Portland briefly; it took over the space where Red Coach had been for years, but which I'd never gone to; I wish I had. Cafés, of course; I hadn't gone to many of them before or during college, but I feel I'm making up for that. Another category of venues: porches. I get the appeal of porches, but not in winter; I last sat on this house's porch on a warm day in November, reading Ian Fleming's early Bond novel Moonraker. Hey, maybe this is incentive to visit the American South, where warm porches are more prevalent.

I guess the goal is: More things to do, more places in which to do them...