The Book Came and We Sailed It into the World

There it was, The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs. Maddy looks at it and says, “It’s so beautiful.” Mary Randlett’s photographs lift the towns into your line of vision. There’s one, “Pathway to the Duwamish,” that makes you want to walk right into the book, straight through the undergrowth to the river.

We launched the book, ready for its little sail into the world, from Richard Hugo House. My friend and trusty agent Elizabeth Wales says there were about two hundred people there. Bravo, little book. Maddy had to rush in at the last minute from her strings ensemble concert (cello) and they had played Russian Sailors’ Dance and some Bach. “We had to start over because we were all playing at different times,” she said.

First, Rebecca Brown gave a warm, informed introduction. That is an amazing feeling—having your work deeply read by someone who is an expert. She connected this project on Hugo back to The Stenographer’s Breakfast and to some essays I’ve written over the years.

I read some of the pieces about Hugo’s river, the Duwamish, and my own early river, the Ohio. Then, we breezed into Wallace, Idaho and then onto Butte and Pony, Montana. I had never heard the work read out loud.

I wished Gary were there. I came home and was up half the night, imagining him at the reading, with the book, at Maddy’s strings concert.



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