Chaos and Evil Noodles in Portland

Another whirlwind trip! I flew to Portland on Thursday for a conference of Washington and Oregon librarians. It was a long flight, but just enough time to finish a chapter of Percy 5, so I felt quite productive. Thanks to Angela, Jennifer and Catherine for picking me up and taking me across the state line to the quaint little town of Vancouver, Washington (not to be confused with Vancouver, B.C.) where the conference was held. I do love the Pacific Northwest. It’s so beautiful and laid back. The skies were gray, the air was cool, and the train kept sounding in the distance all night (which was actually quite peaceful; I like trains). The children’s roundtable group goes by the acronym CAYAS, pronounced ‘chaos.’ It was a while before I figured out what they were talking about. “You’re having dinner with chaos tonight,” they told me. “Okay,” I thought. “That sounds like dinner every night in my family.”

We met in the evening and walked through the town square to a nice little Thai restaurant. The dozen or so librarians were all very welcoming and polite (especially for a group called chaos). I ordered the ‘evil jungle noodles’ — I kid you not. That was the name of the dish. How could I not try it? I was expecting boiling, smoking food, but the noodles didn’t strike me as evil. Morally ambiguous at best. The highlight of the evening was the committee’s welcome present: a signed, framed print of the Unshelved cartoon featuring the Lightning Thief. The cartoon made my day when it first came out, and now I have my own print in my office.

The next morning I spoke at the CAYAS breakfast. Despite the fact that it was seven in the morning and the line to get coffee was quite long, we had a full house and the librarians were very receptive. Believe me, it’s hard to get people to laugh at that hour! I gave away some Labyrinth t-shirts and showed off artwork from the upcoming Percy Jackson website. The site should go live next week — I’ll let you know when!

At the signing afterward, I got to meet lots of nice folks. Special thanks to Michael and his mom. Michael got permission from his principal to miss the beginning of his school day so he could come see me at the conference and get his books signed. Thanks also to the Vancouver Barnes & Noble for providing the books. Afterwards I spent some time at the Portland airport, and I want to know why I can’t have a Powell’s airport bookshop. That place was great, and it was only the airport location! On the plane back, I wrote another Percy chapter. The end is near folks — for the rough draft, at least.

Next week, on to Houston for a quick school visit at Awty International, and then the LA Festival of Books next weekend. If you’re in the L.A. area, I hope you’ll come by!

Rick Riordan