Yesterday when I got all my conference information, included was a paper ad for what I thought was a book.  It had what looked like an author pic and a title on it and some information, and I set it aside only wondering who was paying so much to have this included in the adverts.  Turns out that it was Natalie Merchant’s picture and that she was playing a show for us.  I had no idea until right before lunch.

The show itself was emotionally charged.  Natalie has a beautiful throaty and lyrical voice.  I have always enjoyed her music, except for the song Thank You that seemed to play every ten minutes for a while in the early 2000’s.  Mostly that was just annoyance.  Today it was sung just for us; for librarians being there for her when she was young and providing so much of the materials that influenced her.  Today it brought tears to my eyes.

The songs that preceded that one also caught my heart.  They were poems by different writers that she had adapted into a sort of coming of age album.  They were beautiful and haunting and jaunty.  I loved every minute.  The new album is called “Leave your sleep” and I recommend a listen.  Before the show started, we wondered why Natalie Merchant would want to open for a bunch of librarians.  As soon as she spoke, it became apparent.  She found inspiration in the stacks, librarians helped her find her way, she did tons of research on the poets who’s work she used to write the songs and she shared with us what she found.  The link goes to Amazon, but I know the library already has it in the catalog, even though the release date isn’t until April 13.

So I am here in Portland, hanging out with my co-workers, trying not to let my ugly side show.  Being here is great and I am learning a lot from the sessions I have been to so far.  I have taken the MAX all over and visited Powell’s and Stumptown.  The friend I am staying with also took me to Screen Door, which was very good.

What am I reading?  I am still listening to The Curse of the Blue Tattoo and reading Steamed: A Steampunk Romance.  The first is soo good, but it is taking me a while to get through it, since there is so much going on.  The second is turning out to be more of a Romance than I like (with a capitol R), but is interesting enough that I am still going to read it.  Jack and his sister, Hallie get blasted into a different dimension where aether created steam is the main source of energy.  They find themselves on an air ship with the luscious Octavia Pye and her colorful crew.  Jack and Octavia feel an instant attraction that only grows stronger as how strange their situation is becomes more tangled.