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Of Walking in Rain


Of Walking in Rain Cover

ISBN13: 9780974436470
ISBN10: 097443647x
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lukas, March 10, 2015 (view all comments by lukas)
Matt Love has become something of the unofficial poet laureate of Oregon, writing about the Blazers, the making of "Sometimes a Great Notion," the Vortex 1 festival, and the Oregon coast, where he's lived and taught for years. This impressionistic, free-wheeling, conversational book is, as the title indicates, about rain, a subject every Oregonian, both native and transplant, knows something about. Arranged as a sort of journal, Love doesn't follow any particular path, but his observations and anecdotes are usually wry and amusing, although as someone who slogged though Kesey's "Sometimes a Great Notion," I'm sure I'll grant it the status of "the greatest book on rain in the history of Oregon literature." Fun fact: I had a government class with him when he taught high school.
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Ann Dowdy, January 18, 2015 (view all comments by Ann Dowdy)
This book brings back memories of all of the years I lived in Oregon. Read with caution, it can make you homesick.
Thanks for memories, Matt Love!
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CCupcakeQueen, August 1, 2014 (view all comments by CCupcakeQueen)

When I picked-up Matt Love’s, of Walking in Rain, I wondered what Love could teach me, a native Oregonian, about my long time companion, Rain. At best his work would skirt at the edge of the same romanticized clichés those of us from the Pacific Northwest have come to revere about our friend. After all, we are abuntantly clear why any self-respecting Oregonian would not use an umbrella. We bike, walk, play, sing and dance in the rain. We adore rain. Was there anything left to be said about rain in Oregon?

As I closed on the first entry of Walking in Rain dated, October 5, 2012, I had my answer. “Rain is uneven and that casts the spell. Rain has never fallen the same way twice and I liken its varied composition to snowflakes, fingerprints and lips (pg. 10).” I understood. Love’s words were like no other writing of rain I have read and it was evident I did not know my companion as well as I had imagined.

Love artfully leads the reader through the labyrinth of his obsessions incorporating rain into each crevice of his professional and personal life. Oregonians will appreciate the nod Love gives to quirky state and local politics, as well as the many recognizable venues and events. All of which are presented through the unique lenses of rain.

The candor and introspection of the author will, at times, cause one to feel they have been peeking through the blinds at a secret they weren’t meant to see, but wouldn’t dare miss. “She always wanted to hear rain. In short order, we started kissing, our shoes came off, and we went down to the yellow shag carpet (pg. 39).”

When the final page of Walking in Rain was turned, I sank into the memory of a particular passage only found by those who cannot bear to overlook a single word. Of course, you’ll have to find this one on your own.

“You probably wouldn’t say a word, which is everything there is worth saying.”

I had no choice but to stop and revel in the shear perfection of the words.
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Chelsea Lancaster, July 28, 2014 (view all comments by Chelsea Lancaster)
Often times, as a reader, I find myself 100-pages deep in mediocre writing. Uninspired storytelling. Forgettable form. Pedestrian word-play. It's an occupational hazard, really. Fortunately, Sometimes a Great Book comes along bringing with it profound implications for our future selves. We, as readers, live for these books. We feel changed, our perspective is altered, and we begin seeing the world in a new creative light. Other, more rare times, an exceptional book finds its way to you, and these books not only change you, they become you. Yes, every once in a great while you can find a book that you recognize as a small neatly packaged piece of yourself. As you turn the pages, you pick up a fragment here, a snippet there, and with almost no effort at all you've generated a complete picture of yourself. I believe it is the goal of every writer to solicit this response in their readers, but in my experience, few have succeeded in doing so.

Of Walking in Rain, by Oregon author Matt Love is one of those exceptional books. Written in a creative free-form compiled of real time journal entries, short stories, poems, and excerpts of related works, Love takes you on a journey straight to the heart of Oregon Rain. Having lived, written, and taught in Oregon most of his life, he writes with a genuine and unpretentious authority. “How can you truly write about rain unless you've experienced it's quintessence? That would be here, where I live,” he writes.

Since Love writes in fluid free-flowing real time, we are able to share in his thought process as it happens. He frequently asks himself, “is that the point of this book?” inviting the reader in as a participant, rather than an onlooker. He's not narrating a story, he's guiding an existential journey into Rain, and upon reading his final line, “I let her in. I tasted her rain,” I realized that his journey had become my journey. I flipped backwards through the pages searching for the specific passage where this transition occurred, but pinned down nothing. I think that's the point.

The bottom line is twofold: (a) Rain is, at its very core, hard, uneven, inherent truth. Sometimes it trickles. Sometimes it pours. Sometimes it comes in a gentle mist, other times an overbearing downpour. You could literally replace “rain” with “truth” in any given passage and the message remains the same. For example:

“Truth sends roots deep.”

“Truth is the ultimate in evolution and revolution.”

“What would happen to our country if we elected a president from the Oregon Coast who knew truth and loved it?”

(b) Only those unafraid of being weathered by truth will venture, unprotected, into rain. Love writes

“I didn't stay locked up in my room after she found another and disappeared. I ventured outside to explore rain and confront the serrated truth about myself while she traveled first class to where the sun always shines and foreign capital enslaves locals and monkeys to exploit the sun for profit and banal New Age insights...I suffered an almost debilitating emotional crisis but decided to stand up and walk right into rain in hope of discovering a secret passage through misery. I found it. I embraced rain and let it transfigure me.”

Rain absolves you, cleanses you, prepares you to accept the answers to the questions that you've been too scared to ask. If you think that an umbrella can shield you from the ferocity of these truths, then you are no where near ready for this book or the internal journey that it offers. I advise that you throw away your umbrella, and run naked into your nearest rainstorm. Then we can talk. As Love says, “Anyone can join this country, the Rainlands (Truthlands), if you just cross the boundary-less boarder, which resembles a billowing curtain of gray wool and not a chain link fence with razorwire.”
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Christi Crutchfield, June 29, 2014 (view all comments by Christi Crutchfield)
This little gem of a book is an excellent meditation on the ecstasy and sensuality of that often underappreciated liquid: rain. Author, Matt Love, who has resided for many years on the Oregon Coast recorded his experiences and reflections about rain for three months, October through December, that are traditionally the coast’s rainiest months. He employs Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion as a jumping off point, a novel that mentions rain 500-1,000 times, and Love opens with his favorite Great Notion quote: “Give me a dark smeary shiny night full of rain. That’s when the fear starts. That’s when you sell the juice.”

What follows is all juice. The diary entries are filled with entertaining and sometimes obscure references to rain in music, literature, poetry, art, pop culture, movies, and history. Throughout the book, the author is either venturing out on the stormy beaches with his sweet sidekick Sonny the Husky meeting glistening Rain Shamans along the way or encouraging his hoodied students at the high school where he teaches to contemplate the essence of rain through poetry and photography. All of these pluvial explorations past and present are tapped out (to the rhythm of rain drops) on a thrift store portable Italian typewriter by the author who then raises a shot glass of sacramental rain to the liquid sky: to rain!

Here are a few of my favorite rain lines by Love that flowed along the page like the cataloguing of a Walt Whitman poem:

“Rain is wanton, exciting, the sun constant, boring. Rain gallivants, the sun merely beams. Rain inebriates, the sun makes you drowsy. The rain ruins guns, the sun keeps powder dry.”

And later…

“You can slide in rain. You can smear rain, but never touch the sun. Rain sluices gold. Rain foments serenity. Rain launches sedition against conformity.”

By the end of the book, this reader was ready to ditch the umbrella, make a run to the stormy coast the next time it pours, and learn to love rain more in the process. And maybe if she was lucky she’d get a glimpse of a rain shaman braiding her long, seaweedy hair on the shore or the shimmery rainbody of Sonny the Husky gallivanting along the wet sand.
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Love, Matt

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Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » History
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Oregon » Books About Oregon
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Oregon » Coast

Of Walking in Rain New Trade Paper
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Product details pages NESTUCCA SPIT PRESS - English 9780974436470 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Of Walking in Rain is the latest literary output from the one-man stone Oregon publishing empire that is Matt Love. His devotion to and celebration of all things Beaver State is often infectious (and perhaps ought to be classified as a contagion). His newest work, a stylistic torrent, is a paean to Oregon's "most famous cultural asset" — rain. As he's wont to do in nearly all of his books, Love, amidst the deluge of rain-related reflections, recollections, and rants, offers a veritable flood of opinions on politicians, education and teaching, football, and sex, incorporating no shortage of literary and lyrical allusions to his favorite singers, songs, and scribes (especially Ken Kesey).

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