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 dayâ€™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, â€œOh what shall we do? How can we cope with a world oâ€™ snow?â€
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 Keyâ€™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 Jamesâ€™ 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 â€œgossamer fripperies,â€ found in the story Pitfalls On The Path To Sainthood. How can you not love it? I thank my husband for finding himâ€¦. Now go listen to a story about Dobson the pamphleteer. Or better yet, buy one of the books. Letâ€™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.