Saturday, March 08, 2014

A Vacation from the Rain

I was between the third and fourth grades in Redmond, Oregon, the summer the local library had a reading contest. All that was required was to record the number of books checked out of the library and read in a defined period of a few weeks. It seemed reasonable to enter, since I spent most of my time curled up with a book anyway, the other half divided between riding my bike and drawing horses from a book of breeds I'd checked out of that same library.

These decades later I can't remember how many I read for the contest, but I do remember I got a book as the prize and the satisfaction of winning my age group. But, as I said, I would have read those books anyway, if perhaps with a bit less diligence. (I was fiercely competitive even then.)

Books have always been a gateway into different worlds for me, not so much an escape as a dive into a different time or place, the good ones populated by people I wanted to get to know. Even now, if I'm reading and Dave says something to me, I only hear a garbled burble of sounds and have to look up and apologize: "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

So needless to say, when my friend Jeffrey Hannan, a writer and author, sent a message saying he was experimenting with a serialized online novel set in Hawai'i, I was all in. Not only do I love his writing, but during the rainy, cold winter months in PDX there's nothing better than taking a vacation in a tropical paradise, if only for a few minutes.

The fact that, though he lives in San Francisco, he spends several weeks a year near Puna, on the big island of Hawai'i, which is where the story is set, is only the icing on the cake. With a knowledge of the local landscape and culture, he tells the story of Pru, who'd arrived in Puna from Rhode Island a decade before on a trip with a boyfriend whom she abandoned at the same time as she found her true place in the small town.

You can escape from the rain and read his story, The Punatics, and get on the list for the new chapters as they're released every week or so. I can't wait, not just to find out what Pru and her friends in Puna are up to, but to feel the warm ocean breeze and hear the hissing of the steam vents from the volcano, if only for moments at a time.

Photos courtesy Jeffrey Hannan from The Punatics.

No comments: