We awake to discover the Great Wen matted with snow. The city is a white wasteland. Buses and trains stand cold and neglected in their depots. By the day’s end, if the snow does not melt, or worse, if there are further falls, there is a real risk of an epidemic of piblokto. Shivering in their hovels, the populace cries out as one, “Oh what shall we do? How can we cope with a world o’ snow?”

Far away, in Portland, Oregon, artist Hayley Barker has the answer. Back in December, she wrote:

Snow has hit Portland hard. It is causing some serious cabin fever. The perfect antidote – the Hooting Yard podcast. Frank Key’s podcast of strange, erudite, somehow Victorian short stories is certainly worth your time. This man has created a rich fictional village full of bird-watching pamphleteers, troublesome janitors, and more juicy language than you can fit in a pippy bag, which is a phrase he uses often and one that I truly love. If you love alliteration, tongue-twisting phrases, and antiquated language strung into run-on sentences, please download his podcast, The Hooting Yard. I love Henry James’ language, and Frank Key is like a postmodern Henry James with a dry sense of humor and a small town perspective. One of my favorite phrases is “gossamer fripperies,” found in the story Pitfalls On The Path To Sainthood. How can you not love it? I thank my husband for finding him…. Now go listen to a story about Dobson the pamphleteer. Or better yet, buy one of the books. Let’s keep this writer writing!

Ms Barker is clearly a very sensible woman. You can see her art here. Meanwhile, take her advice, batten down the hatches, and immerse yourself in Hooting Yard until the snow disperses and tiny, fragile signs of life reappear in the white and silent city.

One thought on “Snow

  1. Last summer my husband and I went camping on Mt Hood. My husband brought his iPod and speakers. One very dark, starry, warm night we took a long walk from our camp site, down to the lake nearby, listening to one of your stories all the while. We finished listening to it while sitting around the campfire. I share this as one of the ways to enjoy Hooting Yard even when it’s not snowing.

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