Hello, my name is Mel, and I’m addicted to written words. You can laugh, but I’m serious. I have friends who hide their magazines when I come over because I get sucked into the articles and stop paying attention to the conversation. I’ve stumbled into classes or work with puffy, bloodshot eyes and zero attention span not because I was partying all night, but because I’d found a book that I simply could not put down. It’s embarrassing.
On the other hand, books saved my life. No, I wasn’t shot in the back and the bullet was stopped by a hardcover in my bag (although that would be kind of awesome). Nor had I decided to pull a Virginia Woolf until I read a passage by my favorite author and decided life was worth living. Sometimes I wish it was that cleanly dramatic. Instead, books taught me how to breathe when it felt as though life was drowning me.
My attempt to explain: I believe that everyone feels like a lonely oddball sometimes (as someone who hit 5’10” in 6th grade, I’m well acquainted with awkward). Books gave me a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes—to try on other people’s perspectives—as I was figuring out my own story. The more I read, the more I realized that everyone, everywhere, is making things up as they go, and that I could write my own story however I wished. This drawn-out epiphany handed me a get-out-of-jail-free card and has made me a passionate believer in the power of storytelling.
Books also led me to my current position at Literary Arts, specifically as an assistant to Mary, the WITS Program Director. I’m excited to be here…like doing-cartwheels-when-the-boss-isn’t-looking excited. My job includes a little of everything (office management, social marketing, editing, and event planning, to name a few) but best part is working with people who are fun, wicked smart, and dedicated to nurturing the literary community in Portland. I can’t wait to see a fresh group of students learning to see and tell about their world in new ways. I’m excited to learn what they have to tell.
Salah Badis with International Writing Program
November 19, 2018
A reading with Salah Badis. Algerian poet, journalist, and translator Salah Badis…
2018/2019 Portland Arts & Lectures
December 4, 2018
The 2018/2019 series is sold out! Sign up for our newsletter at…
One Page Wednesday December
December 5, 2018
Writers, escape the solitude of your desk. Readers, come hear great fresh…
The Moth Mainstage in Portland
December 10, 2018
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 10. This extraordinary performance…
Everybody Reads 2019: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (SOLD OUT)
March 14, 2019
In partnership with the Multnomah County Library and The Library Foundation, Literary…
2019 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
April 22, 2019
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in…