Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

Around my office #1

My office is a cluttered place, crammed tight with books, wall-to-wall with framed art and pictures, with notes everywhere—corkboards, whiteboards, in folders and drawers and such. It's not all useless junk, though. I thought a little tour might be fun. Here are a handful of random items to start.


This is the only signed bit of sports memorabilia I have, and it's my most precious. This is the ceremonial first pitch ball, thrown at a Stitch 'n Pitch event at Sinsheimer Park, where the San Luis Obispo Blues play. My wife Felicia threw that opening pitch, and signed the ball afterward. (The ink faded, so a couple of years ago, Felicia re-traced her signature for me.) It sits on my bookshelf—in a little felted warmer Felicia made years ago—as a reminder that I did not see her throw the pitch. It's one of the great regrets of my adult life. If I remember correctly, I was late leaving work that day, and arrived in the middle of the first inning, where Felicia and my father informed me that I'd missed history. 

But at least I have the ball. 

Also, today is Felicia's birthday. Happy birthday, my dear!


Hanging on one wall is this long-exposure photograph of the Powell's City of Books marquee in downtown Portland. This isn't just any shot of that marquee, however. My friend Darryll DeCoster surprised me with this gift in early 2016, when my name was on that marquee for my upcoming Eleanor launch event at the store. 


Here's a closeup of that photograph, where you can see that I was scheduled to read the night following Ursula K. Le Guin. This was one hell of a gift from a talented photographer. (I won't show you my own poor man's attempt at photographing the same marquee a few days earlier. It doesn't hold a candle, let me tell you.)


On this (omg dusty) table, a few things: a slab of petrified wood (which once featured a pen holder) that used to sit on my grandfather's desk; a wrapped bar of "writer's block" soap, a gift from my sister, Liz; the framed paw prints of my beloved, late cat, Oscar; and a little spiral notebook which Squish writes in whenever she hangs out in my office. 

I have my doubts that the petrified wood is the real deal; my grandfather had lots of fake trinkets lying about when I was a kid. 

That little notebook is wonderful. Life Stationery makes the most lovely paper, and I adore the design of that cover. Squish loved it, too, which is why she bamboozled me out of it. 


And finally, these are the bells which hung outside my grandmother's house for many years. Any time Liz or I visited, we had to ring the bells. Now they hang in my office, where Squish insists on ringing them. The sound brings back a hundred different memories each time. They're old cowbells. I don't know who made this thing. I'm sure Grandmother picked it up at a craft sale, or something, forty years ago. 

Behind the bells you can see the poster for the Rolling Roadshow screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which they played on an outdoor screen at the base of Devil's Tower. My father and I road-tripped from Portland to Wyoming for the event—some two thousand miles round-trip for a movie we'd each seen twenty times before. Worth it. 

I've gone ahead and labeled this post #1. There's a lot more junk in this office I'll share, eventually. 

Around my office #2

Having everything and anything