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Wordstock Festival is here. Think Portland’s bibliophile rendition of the ‘60s.

At least, that’s the idea – not quite the case for me so far, unless you count being strung out with 50 choices of where to go every hour. My head reeled with the number of book discussions, readings, workshops, information booths, and Q&As.

The information booth for the Portland Writers group incorporated a contest to win a free workshop. To enter, you draw a random card with a picture on it out of a bowl and write a 100-250 word scene or memory based on whatever the image brings to mind. My kind of contest.

Here’s what I wrote after choosing a picture of “el valiente,” or what I recalled as a matador when I had later lost the card…

The sight of thick, pooling blood lingered in his dreams, always hurtling him into an effeminate world of nausea and bile. He could never come around to the world of the arena, the smell of the death of innocence.

It wasn’t just the brute being taunted and jeered to its death that repulsed him, or the deafening roar of the all-consumed crowd. It was the knowing the end from the beginning, knowing even if the beast should lay flat the glowering matador, his menacing would never suffice to spare him death at the blade.

The injustice of it is what moved his heart to his bowels. May it never shift to his lips, scheming with tongue to form words that would ceaselessly condemn. Never a man in a world defined by its anger and hatred and lust.

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