Hello scavengers. We're back with another issue and another fantastic featured writer. Get ready for an Ashley-Ashely power hour as we talk place, hybridity, and uncovering intentions. Haven't read the piece yet? Check it out here.
Ashely Adams: First off, thank you so much for this piece. I enjoyed so much just sitting with this place and the people that occupy it; the slow churn of development of change. My first question is–you submitted this under our hybrid category. I’d love to hear how you approached hybridity with this piece?
Ashley Boucher: Thank you! The day I first drafted this piece was the day the trees from the opening line were cut down. I’d known for a few years that this new housing development was coming and when they finally broke ground it felt like such a tremendous defeat. I knew I had a lot of feelings about it and that I wanted to write about it, but at the time, I still didn’t know exactly how it would turn out. I had a basic understanding of the developer’s intentions and I made some guesses about what the development’s impact on my own property and my own experience might be. I think this piece was a way to help me process, and maybe find some hope, in what was about to come.
AA: I think my favorite place-centered writing really creates a sense of the location as its own character. For lack of a better phrasing, how did you give this neighborhood it’s own characterization?
AB: There are things I absolutely love about my neighborhood and things that I don’t, but I think what really characterizes it are not those pros and cons, but the people that live here–both past and present. Everyone on my street has, at some point, decided this is where their home would be, and we’re all tied to each other as a result. It’s that interdependence and that connection and community that really characterizes a place, the neighborhood in this story included.
AA: One of the things I loved about your piece was care in the specific details grounded in thoughtful observation. How did you approach observation as a writer when examining this slice of Portland?
AB: When I started writing this piece, all I was thinking was “There’s a new housing development and I don’t like it!” But as I got farther along I realized that I can’t really tell this story fairly without honoring the broader context in which it exists. And that meant taking a step back and allowing the place and the people who make the place to take up space in the story.
AA: Moving away from the piece, I’d love to hear what you’re reading or otherwise being inspired by right now.
AB: Lately I’ve been surrounding myself with a lot of other writers and their drive and their talent and their friendship has been super inspiring.
AA: Final question–what is your favorite bone?
AB: I’d say the skull, because it’s a bone all us vertebrates have in common and it’s also the creepiest and/or the coolest to look at.