From P-Town… Fiction on Two Wheels

1. In one corner, Powell’s of the Pearl District. In the opposing corner, a juggler. 2. A few seats left in the Pearl Room, minutes before the reading began.

Evan P. Schneider read from A Simple Machine, Like the Lever in the Burnside Powell’s last Tuesday, on a night that messed with the accuracy of street jugglers, caused street signs to tremble, and prompted many bike commuters to ask someone for a ride.

1. Everyone seemed to have a copy or five of Schneider’s book. 2. Ryan came to learn of another’s seemingly whimsical journey through life. 3. Greg came to experience magic, though I think he is a BYOM type of guy.

The weather lent a lodge feeling to the third floor Pearl Room, which was simultaneously transformed into an eighth grade hallway somewhere near the art room by the long wall of Matt Kish originals and audience members gathering for a quick gossip like swifts at Chapman.

Schneider gained momentum while reading dialogue-intense selections, sometimes in an amused whisper due to audience laughter. More descriptive sections (making coffee the night before a work day and getting all the honey out of a bear using hot coffee) slowed his pace and allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the textual details, or possibly imagine a friend or situation similar to those being described.

1. Tiah & Mackenzie weren’t looking for a fight, at all. 2. Schneider with Judith, his fiancée, who brought his soon-to-be in-laws to the reading, who gave him a ride to work that morning.

1. Schneider reads his book from a lovely fake book façade. 2. Dan DeWeese, author of You Don’t Love This Man (Harper Perennial) and publisher of Propeller Books, alongside Mary Rechner, author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women (Propeller Books) and Program Director for Writers in the Schools.

During the Q&A, Schneider mentioned not being particularly fond of his protagonist as a character, as well as stating that the book is a piece of fiction (not memoir). His future in-laws were sitting next to his fiancée in the audience, and they held their questions until after the reading.

Local filmmakers seeking a cross-section of healthy, good-looking Portland residents may have missed a casting bonanza and should consider hosting a reading of Schneider’s book about a life lived frugally in Portland due to consumer debt, if the need arises.

A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

by Evan P. Schneider

— Judith Ossello currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find her at

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