From the Blog

Small Town Living

Even though it still feels like we’ve “just arrived,” we are coming up on two months that we have been in Astoria. The time is flying by. We’ve made a number of whirlwind weekend trips back and forth to Portland. We are often asked how we like Astoria and if we miss Portland. I sometimes don’t know how to answer.

The short, small talky answer is yes, I like Astoria. I like walking to town along the river. I like the old houses and green hills. I like seeing the ships go by on the river. I like the beautiful sunny days, but the rainy, gray days are nice too. There’s as much vitality and social goings-on as we could want, but part of the appeal is a slower pace and less distraction. I don’t know if I’m just getting older, or if I am coming to terms with my inherent homebodiness. I like not having too much to go do.

I may have the attention span of a flea, but I get easily caught up in “what’s going on.” I do this on micro levels amongst friends and family. Like who has a new boyfriend, who got a new job, who got arrested, who is pregnant again, who is in a tiff with who. Etc. I can’t imagine this is unusual. And I get caught up on a macro level with news, politics and shit going on in the world, which can make me alternately fascinated and infuriated. In between, there’s a mid-micro level of the localish city “scene,” which can be both entertaining and exhausting at the same time.

Many of these various levels of distraction don’t really require being in a physical location. I can be distracted as hell just sitting on my ass for hours. I could be in Portland or Astoria or Siberia. Yay for the internet. My tenancy for distraction is a self management issue, not a physical location issue. But being in a city can create a pressure to participate, to be “in” on things, or to measure your activity against what other people are doing. It’s sometimes hard to be a slovenly, basement dwelling recluse when there’s so much to do outside with other people.

I realize this need for “bigger,” environmental solitude might sound baffling. Wouldn’t self discipline be so much easier? Shutting out distraction is probably easy for some people. I am a classic extrovert, and I’m vacuously influenced by my surroundings. Attention span of a flea. Not kidding.

I’d like to imagine that I’m not a dummy. But thinking takes a long time. Quiet, internal, real thinking anyway. The big trees, the wide river, the chilly breeze push the noise away. There’s a reason artists flock to beautiful, quiet places. Even the noisy, blabby mouth, distracted artists.


  1. you have just expressed one of the main reasons i moved to this tiny town. ok, so its not so tiny. but it feels tiny. jake was very worried about me moving here and becoming a hermit. i pooh-poohed him at the time. but now i see that he is/was right! i could easily become a hermit. i like staying home, i like living alone. i wouldn’t mind more friends, but when i get invited out… i usually do not go. cuz i wanna stay home. i find that i have more time to think, to enjoy simple things. sitting on my back deck watching the birdies flit around can consume and hour, easily. and i feel so peaceful after.
    but then i get lonely too. its a dilema.

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