Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Reads ~ "Of Walking in Rain" by Matt Love

Nestucca Spit Press $19.95 USD
Matt Love's newest self-published book.

Let's let Newport author Matt Love get the first word:

Who would you rather hang out with? Someone playing hooky from work because of the sun or rain? Rain is a bindle, the sun carry-on luggage. 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. Rain sends roots deep; the sun desiccates. The sun speaks in monologues while rain always dialogues. Rain is aural and visual and has body; the sun can't possibly compete with that Triple Crown. Only genuine awakening results during encounters with rain. The sun? Mostly relaxation or trying to forget. All my great notions manifest in rain. All my mediocre ones emerge with the sun. We can thank capitalism for making the word "acid" an obscene adjective of rain. The Hindu religion has a rain god. Noah's 40 days and 40 nights is a richer story than Joshua's sun standing still. What are the semiotics of rain? Is it a symbol for transparency or solidity? Earlier, I switched on Save Me Jesus Radio and a crooner crooned a maudlin "thank you " to God for taking him out of rain. The implication was that Satan lurked there. God I hope so! If I find him, we'll get right down to it.

For all you puddle-splashers, you rainy-day bicyclers, you who see umbrellas as eight-pronged instruments of hell: this is the book for you. Matt Love, a prolific self-published author (check out his website, Nestucca Spit Press, where you can order books and see where Matt Love will be reading, here), should be considered Oregon's minister of rain, which puts him in a holy caste.

Of Walking in Rain is firstly a record of three months in 2012 -- from October to the end of December. Plot and story arch take a back seat to what ends up to be a record of rain, the best way to describe a book that churns and skids along: on some days Love is lucid, political and anecdotal; other days he wants nothing to do with expository and sets off on diatribes like the one above. There are moments of love, moments of conflict -- characters are introduced and forgotten, old memories are revived and new memories created. For the reader this means movement--in time, in language, in rain--and if it is raining as you read this, it will be hard to put down.

I love this book. I keep it in my bag so it is now a banged up beautiful copy. I've left it out in the rain so its pages are puffy. I'm writing this today during an obscene dry spell in hopes that rain will hear my plea and come back. Every time we have those beautiful rains that last for days, and the clouds just keep coming and every body starts to feel miserable until they stop feeling miserable, I pick up this book and read it. You should do the same. It'll make you proud to be an Oregonian. And after summer I'm thinking I'll start my own rain journal, which is essentially what Love wants me -- wants us -- to do: join his Church of Rain by creating your own rain journal. And support self-published authors and local business.

Although I'm loath to send you over to Powell's Books' website, nonetheless there are some blog posts by Matt Love I think you should check out. Maybe he'll do a few blog posts for us as well.

~ James Maynard, January 2014

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