By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
Readers seeking funny short essays on work, family, home and Pacific Northwest destinations and oddities will find what they are looking for in local writer Nancy Woods’ newly published book, Under the Influence of Tall Trees: Humorous Tales from a Pacific Northwest Writer. Woods will read from her book on November 18, 7 p.m. at Broadway Books, 1714 N.E. Broadway.
Sometimes tender, sometimes cranky, Under the Influence of Tall Trees presents Woods’s take on everything from the miracle of birth to her failure as a gardener. Along the way, she reveals herself as perhaps Portland’s most warm-hearted curmudgeon.
“I enjoy being funny,” Woods says. “It just feels so good to let it all out—like a sneeze, only less wet.”
Whether arguing with The Other Phone Company, seeking out the perfect dancing dress for her young daughter (it’s “one-quarter Cinderella and three-quarters Mardi Gras”), or collecting yet another rejection slip as she starts her freelance writing career, Woods comically describes the longings and labors of someone more than a little out of step with the rest of the world. When it all becomes too much, she retreats to the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge or ducks into an antique shop, for relief from “life’s trendy newness.”
She also takes up spinning, becomes an oyster chef groupie, and visits Fort Clatsop to uncover the real cause of Lewis and Clark’s problems (“too much communal living combined with dense undergrowth”).
Original photographs, line drawings and cartoons round out Under the Influence of Tall Trees.
A transplanted Alaskan, Woods lives in Northeast Portland, where she edits The Hollywood Star News.