Paul Gerald

You really should read: Breakfast in Bridgetown

Most people savor going out for breakfast; but Portland author Paul Gerald—otherwise known as "Breakfast Guy" on local food blogs—has make it his job. The Portland-based writer, who has penned everything from travel articles to hiking guides in the past, taste-tests more than more than 90 Stumptown cafes, diners, and restaurants in his 2008 breakfast book. Order up! KELLY CLARKE. 10:30 am Sunday, Nov. 9. Columbia Sportswear Stage.

What's your personal writing ritual?
Wake up early and stumble upstairs to make coffee. While it's brewing, do something mindless like folding laundry or washing dishes. Eat a bowl of cereal with the first cup of coffee and the usual lineup of websites: New York Times, Salon, Slate, ESPN. Begin to think about writing. Pour second cup. Look through notes, write a crappy sentence or two, start to feel the gears moving, maybe even get something good out...then go take a crap. On toilet, realize that the mind and body are both awake, the chores are done, a new day awaits, and I know exactly what I'm going to write.

What are your favorite themes to write about?
That every person and every place is interesting, and the only way to become less interesting (and therefore catch shit from me) is to suggest otherwise.

The most beautiful word in the English language is: Stratospherically.

What author—or book—made you want to pick up a pen in the first place?
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, because it's interesting, funny, sad, touching, captures a fascinating moment in history, and then is funny again. Also Hunter Thompson, especially the old journalism stuff in The Great Shark Hunt.

Fight Club time: If you could fight one author (or critic), who would it be and why?
Larry McMurtry, no doubt. And it's because when I was working on a fishing boat in Alaska one summer, I read Lonesome Dove, which for several hundred pages was the most riveting, entertaining, character-filled thing I'd ever read and totally took my mind off the work...and then, one by one, that son of a bitch destroyed every single character in it. He killed them in stupid ways, dragged them through one atrocity after another, left their lives utterly without hope, and in the process almost destroyed my desire to ever read again. When I was finished, I threw the book into Bristol Bay and told my crewmates, "If I ever meet that Larry McMurtry, I'm gonna punch him in his goddamned face."

Name a book that you think is highly overrated.
Obama's books.

Dream project:
Writing exactly what went through my mind during a Grateful Dead show.

Most recent nightmare:
I seem to recall shooting people, but I have no idea why.

Your cure for writer's block:

Pessimistic question: Will you keep writing even after people stop reading?
I already do; I call it "my blog."

Optimistic question: Kittens? Discuss.
So cute it hurts to look at them, and I want to scoop them up and take them somewhere, keep them all to myself. So they kind of make me feel selfish and reclusive—but, sorry, this is an optimistic question. By the way, I have the same reaction to ducks, rabbits, puppies and certain women.

Please paste a short paragraph from a story, poem, article, blog post, etc., you're currently working on below:
There are flowers all over the place, everybody is really friendly, the food is tasty but seems a little light, and in this estrogenized atmosphere I felt a little brutish for ogling my very pretty (and, sadly, married) waitress. And yes, I just made up another word: estrogenized.

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