A Surprise Reading from Brian Doyle

Maybe I just don’t pay attention enough to what’s going on around campus, but apparently the Clark Library Open House is this afternoon. This was a rare opportunity to see the wonderful individuals responsible for making the renovation possible. Alumni, donors, and friends of University are still wandering through the new-and-improved space. Having been here for over a month now, I’ve gotten used to that “new library” feel that all these people are experiencing. I can still marvel at all the beauty, but not quite in the same way that these newcomers. It’s a wonderful thing to watch someone light up as they enter a room, overwhelmed by all the new and beautiful sights.

I’ve settled into a cozy chair here on the main floor. I’ve been quite content to sit here for the past hour or so. But about half an hour into my study session, an eccentric looking man with a salt-and-pepper beard walks over to me, smiling profusely. It was Brian Doyle. As fate would have it, I happened to be sitting in the section of the library that he was doing his author reading in.

Before he began, he looked at me and said, “I’m sorry for intruding in your circle, but I’ve got to do this reading. So if I start yelling, know that I’m not yelling at you.” Rather than quietly pack up and move to different part of the library like the other students in the area, I decided to stay and listen.

You know how listening to an amazing storyteller can bring you to tears? Well, Brian did precisely that for everyone in attendance, himself included. You could feel his love for the University in his voice as it quivered through each sentence.
Afterwards, he turns to me and says, “You can get back to studying now; sorry for yelling in your ear,” handing me a copy of the Autumn 2013 Portland Magazine. It’s people like Brian that make me glad I decided to come to the University of Portland.

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