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About Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 23, 2019)
A4 • Friday, August 23, 2019 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com
The killer in their own minds
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
novel set in Baker City? Now that
would seem an unlikely setting for a
literary endeavor. Or maybe the per-
“I guess the story starts three years ago in
a small town in Oregon,” author Bobby Hall
“I suppose every goddamn town in Ore-
gon is small as towns go. Baker City, White
as f***, surprise, surprise. Not far from
Idaho. Barely 50 kids in my graduating
class. You know what that means.”
To Seasiders, Baker City, population
15,980, might be a home away from home,
or a stop on I-84. Seaside attorney Dan Van
Thiel hails from Baker City. EO Media
Group just purchased the Baker City Herald,
a tri-weekly since 1870.
But as a location for “Supermarket,”
“there’s no connection that we’re aware of”
between the author and the remote Eastern
Oregon community, said Kelly Sullivan a
publicity rep from Simon & Schuster.
Ultimately the book has far less to do
with Baker City or supermarket operations
and much more to deal with a modern psy-
che caught in a matrix of their own making:
replete with demons, monsters, self-realiza-
tion — and romance.
Rapper and an author
Bobby Hall, aka the rapper “Logic,”
is the ﬁ rst rapper to become a New York
Times’ No. 1 best-selling author with his
When I picked up “Supermarket” at Pow-
ell’s, I wasn’t familiar with Logic, whose
“Black Spiderman” won an MTV award
in 2017 and whose “1-800-273-8255” was
nominated for best song in 2018.
The ﬁ rst and outer layer of the plot
involves a writer unable to ﬁ nish his novel,
living at home with his mother, a girl-
friend who unceremoniously dumps him.
The character Flynnagin A. Montgomery
— Flynn — has no prospects, no future, an
author with a mountain of rejections.
When a high-powered publisher responds
to his latest pitch — a “realist novel set in a
suburban supermarket” — Flynn needs to
follow through on a book that promises “to
mimic how life is lived, in all its boring and
Let’s put it this way: Flynn’s adventures,
as narrated from his days as a “ﬂ oater” at
Muldoon’s Supermarket is anything but bor-
ing or mundane.
The author creates a world of precisely
drawn characters that provide romantic pos-
sibilities and dark despair — with real-
ity shifts, fourth-wall breakdowns between
reader and author, and some heartbreaking
soul-searching that ends in a mental health
clinic and a battle-to-the-death with Flynn’s
Simon & Schuster
Bobby Hall, aka “Logic,” author of “Supermarket.” The novel uses Baker City as its setting.
To Seasiders it might be a home away from
home, or a stop on I-84. Seaside city attorney
Dan Van Thiel hails from Baker City, and EO
Media Group just purchased the Baker City
Herald, a tri-weekly since 1870.
But as a location for “Supermarket,” “there’s
no connection that we know of” between the
author and the eastern Oregon community,
evil doppelganger. Frank.
“It felt like something out of a twisted
movie,” Hall writes. “But I guess even the
craziest movie concepts stem from real life.”
Into a ‘fantasy’ world
Hall isn’t the only author whose charac-
ters literally jump off the page.
Haruki Murakami’s “Killing Commenda-
tore” is set on the North Japanese Coast, in
the Sendai region, a terrain very much like
the one we know on the North Coast, with
mountains to the sea, with wildlife “includ-
ing the wild boar and the monkey.”
It is in the years before the March 11,
2011, earthquake that was to destroy much
of the region and take thousands of lives.
A portrait painter makes a retreat from
his daily world after a separation from his
wife, to paint and regroup in the empty
house of a childhood friend whose father is
conﬁ ned to a nursing home.
In the attic is a canvas, sealed and boxed
— “Killing Commendatore.”
As the protagonist gazes upon the canvas,
a series of supernatural events begin that
lead him into a “fantasy” world that slips in
and out of what we might call normality.
said Kelly Sullivan a publicity rep from Simon
& Schuster based in New York.
Ultimately the book has far less to do with
Baker City or supermarket operations and
much more to deal with a modern psyche
caught in a matrix of their own making: re-
plete with demons, monsters, self-realization
— and romance.
“As if on cue,” Murakami writes, “weird
things have happened one after the other
since I stumbled on this painting.”
Murakami’s dramatic odyssey ends with
an underworld journey through stiﬂ ing dark-
ness and a ﬂ owing river “along the interstice
between presence and absence.”
As in Hall’s “Supermarket,” art doesn’t
imitate life, and life doesn’t imitate art, but
they become one. Each book reaches plot
climaxes where the authors battle not other
people — but creations of their own mind.
Each protagonist is forced to “kill” in
order to survive. Unlike noir writers like
Jim Thompson, who’s “killer inside me” is a
“sociopath with sadistic sexual tastes,” these
characters are well-meaning creative types
(writer, artist) battling mythic inner demons
in hand-to-hand combat.
in “Supermarket,” it is “Frank,” a bedev-
iling voice in Flynn’s head that appeals to
his deepest insecurities; and in “Killing
Commendatore,” the character in the por-
trait must be vanquished.’
“The Commendatore had died to make
my quest possible. I had stabbed him with
my own hands.”
Meanwhile: “I had been Frank all along,”
Have you ever played Seaside-Opoly?
rowing up in the 60s, nearly every
household boasted a collection
of board games. My own family
owned “Sorry,” “Clue,” “Concentration,”
“MouseTrap,” The Game of Life” and of
course, “Monopoly,” the popular board
game where you could learn how to buy
real estate, collect rents and build hotels.
“Monopoly” was especially fun as it is set
in the storied East Coast beach community,
Atlantic City, which is where I grew up.
Board games were popular back then
and they are again today, especially in
beach vacation towns where they give you
something to do when it rains.
Seaside-Opoly is a new board game
released in July 2019 showcasing the favor-
ite landmarks and most well-known parts
of Seaside. According to its manufacturer,
Late for The Sky Productions, people out-
side of Seaside know little or nothing about
Del Rey Beach or The Prom, but if you’re
from Seaside or have spent any time in Sea-
side, just seeing those place names, or actu-
ally being one of those place names, is a
If you’re wondering how the city of Sea-
side came to be a game, Bill Schulte, a prin-
cipal of Late for the Sky, said the company
researched multiple cities and communities
in Oregon to make a very localized game.
“We always make sure the locals love
their town before we take on a project,” he
said, although he didn’t specify how that
love was measured. “We make the con-
tent as authentic as possible. To reach as
many people as we can, we launch the sales
exclusively at the local Walmart store. Nat-
urally Walmart likes to connect to their
local customers, and everyone appreciates
the fact the games are made in the USA.”
He said other Oregon cities are on the
drawing board for game development and
Seaside-Opoly is made in Cincinnati.
As far back as
1985, Late for
the Sky began
games with a
ing theme. The
company has no
afﬁ liation with
Hasbro, the mak-
ers of Monopoly.
is proud to say
they produce a
completely earth-friendly product. All of
the paper involved in making their games is
recycled. The ﬁ berboard used in making the
set-up boxes and game boards is recycled
material. Late for the Sky is an alcohol-free
printing operation that uses only soy-based
inks. Corn-based shrink wrap is currently
being used, and will soon replace all petro-
leum-based shrink ﬁ lm. Plastic game trays
that hold game parts, currently a high-im-
pact styrene, are being replaced by a water-
John D. Bruijn
bottle-grade #1 recyclable material. The
metal game tokens are being transitioned
from lead-free pewter to zinc. Recycled
glass is becoming an alternative to styrene
“house and hotel” game pieces.
Property locations featured in the Sea-
side-Opoly game were in part informed
through public access sites like Google
Maps and Trip Advisor.
“We also relied on information through
the local chamber of commerce and a
Walmart sales rep who knows the region,”
said Michael Schulte, the marketing man-
ager for Late for
the Sky. “We took
our notes and com-
pared them to
the game are out-
door family attrac-
tions such as the
Lewis and Clark
Trail, Quatat Park,
the End of the Trail
statue at the Turn-
around, as well as
including Ruby’s Roadside Grill and the
Pig ‘N Pancake.
No one from Seaside’s city government
was contacted regarding the making of the
game. Mayor Jay Barber called it “a good
marketing tool for the city.”
So far, Seaside-Opoly has been launched
exclusively at the Walmart in Warrenton. It
retails for $19.98.
Looking for a useful, fun gift for your
Seaside beach house? This could be it.
Hall’s narrator Flynn laments. “I made
Frank up and made him real in my own
head. He was a complete illusion, a halluci-
nation, an apparition.”
And that is the way it is for these two
authors, who recognize in their structure
that the plot is limited only by our layers of
imagination and power of creation.
It’s not that these authors are scofﬁ ng at
our physical world and our conventional
frameworks. They’re simply asking, what
lay beneath, and then, beyond that.
For writers, for portrait artists — any-
one who considers themselves to possess the
power of imagination — these are questions
that lurk in all of us. If we open up our cre-
ative juices, if we look to the inspirations of
the world around it, what will come in? And
how will we handle it? Are we a match for
Best for readers of these two contem-
porary novels: they keep you turning the
pages. Both are ﬁ lled with surprises of
exhilaration and self-discovery.
“I wanted to write something I’d want to
read,” Hall writes. “And isn’t that what art is
about, anyway? Expressing yourself the way
you want to.”
Monday, Aug. 26
Seaside City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall, 989 Broadway.
Tuesday, Sept. 3
Community Center Commission meeting, 10:30 a.m.,
Bob Chisholm Center, 1225 Avenue A, Seaside.
Seaside Library Board, 4:30 p.m., Seaside Public Li-
brary, 1131 Broadway.
Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, board
workshop, 5:15 p.m., Bob Chisholm Community
Center, 1225 Avenue A, Seaside.
Seaside Planning Commission, 7 p.m., City Hall, 989
Wednesday, Sept. 4
Seaside Improvement Commission, 6 p.m., City Hall,
Gearhart City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall, 698 Pacific
Thursday, Sept. 5
Seaside Parks Advisory Committee, 7 p.m., City Hall,
Monday, Sept. 9
Seaside City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall, 989 Broadway.
Thursday, Sept. 12
Convention Center Commission, 5 p.m., Seaside Civic
and Convention Center, 415 First Ave.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, Bob
Chisholm Community Center, 5:15 p.m., 1225 Ave-
nue A, Seaside.
Seaside School District Board of Directors, 7 p.m.,
1801 S. Franklin, Seaside.
Seaside Planning Commission, 7 p.m., work session,
City Hall, 989 Broadway.
The Seaside Signal
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1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside, OR 97138.
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