Hello — Don here, messaging you from QuarantineVille! Yes, we are weeks … months(?) … into this Cornonavirus thing. All of us are seeing some changes in our lives from this crazy deal. For Tom and myself one of those is we’ve had to put the brakes on WOWI for the time being. I’m here to tell you — we may be down for the moment, but we’re not out!
Tom and I are each juggling our personal lives with the adjustments; for the time being our schedules, and ‘social distancing’, have precluded us from recording the next WOWI episode. We have done some brainstorming about how we might hold an interview under the current conditions ….
One idea has been to arrange a meeting time and location with an author … each person walking into the location from separate directions (kinda like that Clint Eastwood spaghetti western …. no, the other one), do the interview while keeping our distances, and then safely back out. Dramatic and amusing!
Or, more simply a video-meeting or 3-way phone call.
None of it seems worth the bother right now, and for Tom and myself our priorities have us drawn (if not also quartered) elsewhere.
Our intention is to hold the next WOWI interview when folks can safely shake hands again, without threat of the viral-apocalypse or residential-gulag or whatever. So please enjoy our current collection of episodes, and keep an eye here for updates.
Recently I announced that Tom and I were set to meet with award-winning local poet and 3-time published author, Daniel Edward Moore, for our next WOWI session. What neither of us knew then was that we were about to meet a fascinating gentleman who proved to be — frankly — a POWERHOUSE!
Daniel met us today at a delightful new shop in downtown Oak Harbor — Whidbey Made — which features a splendid array of local-only artisan goods and keepsakes. If you haven’t dropped by yet, I’m tellin’ ya, GO NOW! In the back of the Whidbey Made mercantile is a cozy space available to rent for small meetings and workshops. It proved to be perfect for WOWI — I think partly due to proprietors, Catherine & Brian, seeing their shop in-part as highlighting all the local talent. But I wonderfully digress . . . . (Please follow @WhidbeyMade on Twitter)
Daniel shared his story of how he made his personal discovery of poetry — picking up a well-loved Sylvia Plath copy at a garage sale — and beginning to write. His insights and experiences with developing his craft and submitting to national journals had Tom and myself chomping at the opportunity to ask more questions. Easily this was a conversation that could have gone into ‘the wee hours’ — but, alas, Whidbey Made did need to close up!
As said — Daniel was a powerhouse in conversation. His passion about expression through the written word is clearly merely unabashed on a slow day — and you’ll hear this in the recording session. He is also no-holds-barred when it comes to the poetry community on Whidbey Island. For three years he and his wife, Laura, have managed the Oak Harbor Poetry Project, a group that both features established poets, supports upcoming poets with writing workshops, and holds an open mic. Saturday (14Mar2020) Daniel will be giving a poetry reading from 7 to 830PM at Unity of Whidbey (free admission, refreshments and book signing at intermission). With a “Writing Poetry Inside Out Workshop” at the Freeland Library 29Apr2020 from 2 to 4PM . . . . Daniel is one to watch. (Take a look at the Readings & Events page on his website — note that he’s already booked out into next year!)
Once our session concluded, Daniel kindly pulled out copies of his book “BOYS” (Nov2019), inscribed and signed them, and gave copies to Tom and myself. He also gave a copy to Catherine, who apparently observed most of our recording from the doorway to the workshop room — our first WOWI audience member!
I have no doubt that you too will be impressed with Daniel Edward Moore and our latest WOWI podcast!
Over the last number of decades, Daniel is an award-winning poet whose works have appeared in some of the country’s most prestigious literary journals. Additionally he is the author of “Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist“, “BOYS“, and his latest book “Waxing the Dents” published only weeks ago (01Feb2020).
Together with his wife, Laura, they manage the Oak Harbor Poetry Project, which began its third year January this year. It’s held at the Oak Harbor Library where they also have featured poets and — as Daniel told me — “a wonderful open mic tribe!!”
On a personal note… I’m excited about Tom’s and my meeting with Daniel! Poetry is where I found my voice as a writer — these have mostly been decades of private scribbles, I’ve not pursued public presentation with this work — so I look forward to hearing the writing experiences of a published poet. A few years ago a poetry/author friend of mine, Von, put forth a question to me — asking about how poetry exists now having gone from the printed page to e-books. Daniel’s books are also available as e-books …. so let’s find out his take on this!
Tom and I have had a few dates lined up before with Meg for this interview. Unfortunately those went through a series of reschedules because She’s A BUSY Lady! So we were pleased to finally get a date nailed down with Meg earlier this week. Since Kingfisher is closed until 28Feb2020 for renovations* the three of us were able to sit down and talk. Meg shared with us how she engages Whidbey Island authors, being a bookseller in the modern market, the books she enjoys, her experiences taking ownership of the Kingfisher Bookstore, and the new layout for her shop. (*You can hear some of the work going on in the background of the podcast … along with the creaking rocking chair Meg sat in for the session.)
I’ve known Meg for the past year — since getting my debut book “Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies“ placed in Kingfisher. During our interview I got to comment on my first impression of her, and I’ve been absolutely pleased not only that she carries Whidbey Island authors’ books but how she relates to our books and us individuals. My impression from day-one is that Meg is enthusiastic about books and high-energy — through our interview I’m updating that to being passionate about books and a DYNAMO!
Meg spoke about the history of Kingfisher along with her plans for the future — and if you’re a Whidbey Island author, I’m telling you now … you need to get ready! Ready to meet your readers, ready to do readings, ready for EVERYTHING! Kingfisher will be getting stairs into the basement and when it reopens around February 28th the floor space will be expanded — used books in the basement, new books on the ground floor …. and with that much more space for new books, We Are Going To Need To Write MORE BOOKS!
This is another one of those interviews where I think Tom and I could have sat with our guest and talked all day — so this session ran around 50 minutes (Good Stuff!). Reality is that we’re all busy folks, so Tom and I got out of Meg’s hair / way / renovations. I’m excited not only to see the new shop space in another week, I’m also EXCITED to see everything that’s to come in Meg’s future with Kingfisher Bookshop!
Enjoy! ~ Don
UPDATE 27Feb2020 — I stopped in at Kingfisher yesterday, a lot of nice work has gone on there. I was told that there is a good bit of work yet to go, and they are predicting being back in service in time for Musselsfest March 7th/8th. It’s going to be exciting to see the grand re-opening!
Today, Tom and I trekked out into some wild western Washington winter weather to interview David Gregor — musician, author, and proprietor of Gregor Rare Books — and what a day it was!
A little backstory here… Shortly after Tom and I recorded and posted the first few WOWI episodes, Tom forwarded an e-mail he had received from the owner of Gregor Rare Books. These were introduced with how Tom knows David, and that he has a cozy and unique shop located in Langley on First Street. This baffled me — I used to live at the south end of the island and would typically romp through Langley twice a week — and yet I had no idea where this “Gregor bookshop” was! I looked it up on GoogleMaps and sure-enough there it was!
I believe unbeknownst to David, his e-mails couldn’t have reached Tom and myself any better. In short, he said that he liked what we had started doing with the show and if there was anything he could do to help support it to let him know. Well THANKS — that’s a fast way to get on our radar! Why — we appreciate that sort of reception and because most of the year Tom and I need to find indoor places to record our shows. Anyway, a few more e-mails went back & forth and I easily formed the opinion that this Gregor was a nice guy!
Entering David’s shop you see shelves, books, display cases, a guitar and amp — normal bookstore stuff, right? Until you look closer at his offerings…. Major books, major authors, valuable copies, signed copies, books that David has expertly assessed for their condition. Yeah, when you realize that you’re looking at a Hemingway tome worth more than your checking account, you take notice! These are the books that David has a passion to bring to his customers.
Tom and I got to spend the better part of an hour with David today. To say that he is a pleasant and fascinating gentleman would be putting it lightly. He is an accomplished blues musician and composer. He has five book titles to his own name. He is the owner of a bookshop that caters to customers with particular tastes, whom he connects with rare books both in his store and online. David talked with us about travel, music, his writing, his writing process, the Whidbey writing community, the books he deals in, the customers he meets — I wanted this WOWI session to never end!
But alas, all good things must come to a close, and now you too may enjoy this interview with David Gregor — along with visiting his shop “Gregor Rare Books”, located at 220 1st Street in Langley, WA.
On a personal note, the adventure with my mic stand … Goes On!
This past weekend Tom and I had the absolute joy of interviewing an author-friend of ours — PJ Beaven!
PJ has a most remarkable collection of creative ideas an insights combining health, fitness, and conservation. But where do these come from?!?
As a former zookeeper, PJ saw that she and her peers could take better care of the animals by taking better care of themselves. She took to making fitness a fun and enriching game, and connected healthy habits to conservation. This has turned into a number of PJ’s books, videos, and presentations … like the one Tom and I participated in just before recording WOWI podcast #9.
Prior to the recording session, PJ presented her ZooFit approach at the Langley Library on south Whidbey Island. Tom and I got to sit in as PJ shared her ideas on how to make simple shifts in your life that have an impact on the environment and species we share this planet with. She believe that each person can — not necessarily be perfect but — take on at least the things in our lives that we can to have the best impact on the world.
PJ’s presentation style is down-to-earth, fun, and engaging. She rolled right from the library and brought that same attitude directly to the interview Tom and I held with her at The Commons Cafe & Books. Talking with PJ was an absolute ball, and I know you’re going to enjoy our latest podcast!
Neither of these have happened … yet. So what’s up?
A hiccup happened in our meeting with Meg (<– a little alliteration there for ya 😉 ) — something came up and the schedule didn’t work out. Now that it’s the new year, I plan to get things set back up with Meg. (Look for Meg’s Kingfisher Bookstore on Facebook and Twitter)
As for Pattie … Today is 06Jan2020 and our WOWI meeting date has been 18Jan2020 — the same day that Pattie will be presenting her new book “The Zoofit Safari” between 10 & 11AM at the Whidbey Island Langley Library — “Eat Clean, Live Green, and Train Positive” (<– click for more event information). I was concerned that I was going to need a schedule change, going out of town to do some SCUBA diving work …. yes, in winter … yes, in cold water. That’s not a sure thing yet, so we haven’t changed the date yet. I predict that interviewing Pattie will be WOWI Episode 9. (Find Pattie at her website EarthConservant.com, books on Amazon, EarthFit on Twitter)
Our next two interviews are scheduled — and I can’t tell you how EXCITED I am about these!!!
As you will recall from WOWI Episode 7, Tom and I recorded in the future basement floor space of Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, WA. Next week Tom and I will be interviewing Meg — the owner of this cozy book-nook! The first time I met Meg I was impressed to no end — she is a bundle of good energy and has a wealth of all-things-book knowledge. Tom and I are looking forward to talking with her about … well, everything … how she curates her store, her plans to expand, how she engages local authors and readers, and how it is that she makes going into her store Absolutely FUN! Kingfisher on Facebook and Twitter
Mid-January Tom and I look to spend some WOWI time with Pattie Beaven. With more than 20 years experience as a zookeeper, she brings an interesting approach to fitness. This has lead her to write “Zoo Fit” and a collection of other impressive books. I have had the pleasure of meeting her only a handful of times myself and I can say — when it comes to Pattie be prepared for a unique individual! We will be catching Pattie in conjunction with presenting her new book “The Zoofit Safari” between 10 & 11AM at the Whidbey Island Langley Library — “Eat Clean, Live Green, and Train Positive” (<– click for more event information). Pattie’s website EarthConservant.com, books on Amazon, EarthFit on Twitter
This Wednesday Tom and I will be interviewing south Whidbey author and blogger, Dan Pedersen!
Dan is a former Pacific northwest journalist and magazine manager. When he broke away from city life and joined us here on Whidbey Island he made the personal discovery of writing — and having fun with it! He started with the topics of nature and rural living and evolved to writing mysteries.
Dan has an impressive list of titles to his name. Six of these focus on his Whidbey Island detective character, Shane Lindstrom … who occasionally leaves the island to further fight crime!
Our podcast with Dan should be posted by the end of this week — watch for it!
I called this post “Seeing Into The Past” because it’s an addendum to my previous post, “Seeing Into The Future …“. Something I meant to include in that last post is what happened on the way to the session.
Often enough, parking can be a pest in Coupeville. The historic area — where Tom and I were — is not all that large, so the trick for many of us is to use the library parking lot. I hopped out of my truck and started walking across the parking lot. Under my arm I had some DVDs to drop off at the library, one of my mic stands, and a lunch-box sized utility case I use for my portable recording gear.
Not but a moment later a fellow called across the parking lot to me. “Did-ya catch anything?” I quickly cycled through the list of things I might have caught but couldn’t come up with anything. I gave back a confused “… What?”, hoping to find out his intention. “Did-ya catch any FISH?” Then my mind went to “… When and where would I have caught any fish?!?” — quickly followed by “When was the last time I went fishing???” And then it occurred to me what was going on. I held up my tripod boom-mic horizontally and clarified to the man, “Microphone stand.”
Now that all was right in the world, I moved on to the library doors where I ran into Tom. Later that day he was scheduled to present one of his various engaging topics, speaking on how Whidbey Island is changing from a financial perspective — he had just loaded in.
We said our hellos and started walking toward Meg’s Kingerfisher Bookstore to record the podcast. Along the way I began telling him about the fishing-pole / mic-stand confusion that had just taken place in the parking long. We shared a chuckle around this and then I told Tom some of my mic-stand-confusion history.
I commonly say that I half-grew-up on Whidbey Island. This is the truncated way of expressing that I grew up in what used to be part of north Seattle; my family frequently visited my grandparents, and I was here so often I understood this as my other home*. My last four abodes before moving full-time to Whidbey were apartments in Shoreline. I play Highland bagpipes, and practicing my instrument in apartments in America tends to be IMPOSSIBLE! My strategy was to check with local churches to see if I might use their space when it was otherwise unoccupied — in exchange I offered to perform for certain church services. Two churches took me up on this and the relationship proved to be mutually beneficial. In other words, I got practice space and they got a guy who called the cops on a few thieves. Lovely, huh? It’s one of myriad things I do not miss about living in Seattle.
(*Beyond that I’m not getting into the proprietary thing that exists here on the island about whos-who and whats-what with how long you have/n’t lived on the island and blah-blah-blah — I could be from far worse places, and let’s leave it at that.)
The recording equipment I use for making WOWI is gear I gathered for my existence as a musician. One day, as I was walking to a church I used right on the Seattle / Shoreline city lines, I was stopped by a cop. I was en route to the church with my pipe case and recording gear when he parked in their driveway and came toward me. The long & short of it is that apparently some concerned citizen called the police about someone fitting my description walking around with a rifle. Suffice to say, I think my mic stand is pretty decent quality but I am yet to learn what caliber it is.