Portland author Alexis Smith—I reviewed her great novel Glaciers here—was on the podcast Other People with Brad Listi this week. Listi's going for a kind of WTF-with-writers thing with his show, digging into how writers live, what their day-to-day routines look like, and how they feel about their work. Smith's episode is an interesting listen, as Listi's interviews typically are, but here's the salacious Portland hook: Smith was a longtime Powell's employee who quit before her book came out, and she has some blunt things to say about how the bookstore's culture has changed over the years. "The feeling was that if you had been there a long time, you weren't valued anymore," she says at one point, noting that longtime employees had relatively high wages and that Powell's did some "jerky things" to encourage those employees to quit—in her case, changing her schedule to include split days off.
Here's the podcast—if you want to skip to the Powell's dirt, it's at around minute 11, although it's worth listening to the whole thing, as it opens with Smith talking about how Portland has changed since she moved here 12 years ago, and why she likes living in St. Johns. (Later on, she has to explain "riot grrrl" to Brad Listi, which he reduces regrettably quickly to "Wait—so you didn't shave your legs? Do you shave them now?" Sigh.)