Friday, January 9, 2009

The View from Bainbridge Island

Sunday, Jan. 11 I'll be doing my first-ever book reading at Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, in downtown Winslow, just a walk from the ferry. The time: 3 pm.

This is a bit of a second-homecoming for me. My parents moved to Bainbridge to semi-retire in 1973. At one time, both my sisters lived there too: Kari is a photographer and Barb, who still lives on the island, is a writer and children's book author. My father, Knute II, was a physician and artist who passed away in 1990, but my 93-year-old mom, Margi, an island poet, still lives there.

During my college years, the house on Bainbridge was my home during winter breaks, and the location of many family events, from weddings to Christmas and Thanksgiving. So there's something wonderful about having my first reading at a great bookstore on an island that has nurtured so many Bergers in their creative ways. Loving islands is almost a Puget Sound cliche, but such feelings run deep and are genuine in my family. I've been spending more time on the island lately, amazed at the bird-life that passes through my mother's yard. It's become an important creative refuge.

A warm welcome to Bainbridge was offered by the Bainbridge Review in a this week's paper featuring a story about Pugetoplis. The reporter, Lindsay Latimore, did a great job of bringing up some of the bigger issues raised in the book and we had a long and pleasant conversation about the region earlier this week at Pegasus Coffee on the island.

One of the topics we discussed was Utopia, and the good and bad of it. It's a topic I address in the book in the opening essay, "Pugetopolis Unbound." The nice thing about Bainbridge is that it isn't a Utopia. It's better because it's real.

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