When I was six, my mom felt it necessary for me to read the books that she read when she was little. One week, we headed to the Powell’s books of West – the Tattered Cover Book Store in downtown Denver, Colorado. A few hours later, we were on our way home with a stack of 14 books with interesting titles and covers.
Which 14 books were these? The Oz Books of course. It turns out that besides the Wizard of Oz, author L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) authored 13 sequels to the original favorite…mostly due to letters from his adoring fans. When he died in the early 1900’s, his illustrator took over the writing process from him, and wrote an additional number of books. I never read those. I was a stalwart L. Frank Baum fan and left it at that.
My mother had hardback illustrated originals of all of the Oz books when she was growing up. However, she only had one left when I was ready to read them. This was the fourth book, called Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. It was falling apart from its bindings, but it was the first one I read. It was also one of the last books on my parent’s shelves that I read. They knew they had to do something or I’d keep reading the 1960 World Book Encyclopedias and have a brain full of interesting but obsolete knowledge.
Hence, the entire Oz Series was purchased in one night. Most of them were cheaper paperback versions of the original hardcover editions. I soon found out that this allowed greater portability.
The next 4 months of the photo album were nothing but pictures of me reading the Oz books in windowsills, treetops, cupboards, swingsets, the breakfast table and a number of restaurants, car trips, and hotel rooms.
I think this period of time might have influenced my future self quite a bit. You see, the Oz Books were full of alternate realities, cultures, and societies, and showed how a core group of characters interacted with them. There were flat headed people, Wheelers (creatures with shopping cart wheels for feet), people cut out of paper, talking hens, and even the H.M. Woggle Bug, T.E. (H.M. stands for Highly Magnified, and T.E. for Thoroughly Educated) who I did not like very much as a character, but admired for his ability to make knowledge pills that one could swallow in order to educate oneself.
The Oz Books added a distinct layer to my thinking process, and made it even more difficult to go to sleep at night. Before I went to Preschool, my dad thought it was important to teach me how to build model rockets, solder LEDs into circuit boards, and understand the laws of physics, gravity and wormholes.
So already I was up all night thinking about time and space compression, the fourth dimension, and new forms of technology, I had the bizarre cultural explorations of the Oz characters to add to this. This is probably what led me to read the first five pages of my book on sociology in college before grinning wildly and running to the admin office to declare a concentration in sociology/anthropology.
Portland is the Land of Oz
When I first moved to Portland 3.5 years ago, I discovered that it resembled the Land of Oz quite a bit. Portland is very green, much like the Emerald City, Compared to Wyoming (where I lived for four years before moving out West), Portland is a fantastic place where anything can happen at any time. paradise.
Quadrants in the Land of Oz
The Land of Oz does not just consist of the Emerald City — it has four quadrants that surround it. There’s the Munchkin Country, the Quadling Country, the Wikie Country and the Gillikin Country. Each one has a different flavor and type of inhabitant. And when you really think about it, Portland has similar quadrants. And Portland has a bunch of different characters too.
Treating Portland as Oz
So maybe I’m Dorthy, or a Sociologist or Anthropologist or something like that, but I begin exploring the different sections of Portland the moment I realized that it resembled the Land of Oz. Now that I’ve finished college, I’ve decided to live in each quadrant of Portland for a few months in order to check out the all of the awesome inhabitants that exist around here. I lived in SW at the beginning of the summer, then moved SE for a month, and now I’m living in NE, right off of Killingsworth and Rodney Ave. It is my favorite place so far. I live in an enormously ancient house, and I can ride the Max into town every morning. Compare that to SW, where only cars can survive.
I’m considering St. John’s for a little while, but NW will probably be end my tour of Portland. There will be a lot to write up after the tour is finished, so I’ll need a small place with a table and close proximity to downtown. So that’s about it. I’m sure I’ll be able to hang out with some amazing people out here in NE for the time being…and might even stay here for a longer period of time than I previously planned. Kerry Finsand, Derrek Wayne, Katherine Gray and many other Tweeple live out here. I’ll have to watch Shizzow.
If you live in the area, please let me know, and we can meet up at some point! If you know of any great places to eat or coffeeshops in the area, please let me know as well. It’s the most exciting quadrants I’ve experienced so far.