The Powell’s Column

It’s a rite of passage for every SF/F writer, especially those of us in the Pacific Northwest: signing the legendary column in Powell’s Gold Room. For a measure of the artifact’s true awesomeness, here’s a photo from the Powell’s Tumblr. Yes, that is Douglas Adams’ signature. And Peter S. Beagle’s. And Ursula K. LeGuin’s. Neil Gaiman has particularly epic piece of art he added to the column a few years back.

So when a group of us local writing gals met up with an out-of-town friend—the talented Tex Thompson—we knew we had to take her to see this holiest of all landmarks. You can’t help but feel the presence of the great ones when you’re standing next to their scrawled messages. Elizabeth Scarborough left her email address! Brian Froud drew a fairy! I mean, how cool is that?

Staff in the Gold Room were just as geeked out about it as we were. Over the past few years, one of the staffers has stepped up to advocate for the preservation of the post, and Powell’s is going to install a new UV-protective plexi covering that will help keep the signatures fresh for future generations. If you look closely, you can see the ghostly shapes of previous signatures, now nearly lost in time.

But the signatures of our little gang are bright and shiny  (and right next to Wesley Chu‘s autograph! What a great place to be!). I’ve been waiting to sign the column until I felt like “a real writer,” but with a lot of chocolate under my belt and in the presence of awesome fun friends like Tina Connolly (who hadn’t signed either, even though she has like four books out and a Nebula nomination and is basically my hero), Alex Renwick (who already signed the column like a total pro, because that’s how she rolls), and Tex, it just seemed like the right thing to do.


powells column
Photo by Arianne “Tex” Thompson, who rocks.