Pair of writers to animate the version


CHIMACUM — In his sand and earth colored book, Nhatt Nichols takes his reader on a walk in beauty.

It is a farewell walk, exemplified by Nichols’ drawings of the forest floor, the treetops, and the waters in between. The book and the poem it contains bear the same title: “This Party of the Soft Things”, an ode to the non-human creatures around us.

“The kelp tells me he / never studied dance formally / he lets the sea rule it forever,” Nichols writes near the end of the book.

“We move together/I say it’s beautiful/our limbs get tangled.”

At a joint book release party, Nichols and fellow author Ward Serrill will discuss their work at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 124 Center Road, at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

While Nichols describes “This Party” as an adult picture book, Serrill calls his memoir, “To Crack the World Open,” a saga of self-discovery.

The event is free, but you can order food and drinks at Finnriver’s Cider Garden restaurant. Proof of vaccination is required on site.

“To Crack the World Open” was released last November; “Soft Things” has just arrived in the hands of Nichols. His friend Stefan Lorenzutti, an American-born artist who lives in Poland, is the editor while the Polish artist Damian Nowak is the designer.

Nichols befriended Lorenzutti, a comic artist, via Instagram, and she became such a fan that she chose to have Lorenzutti and his Bored Wolves press produce her book in Krakow.

It took longer to get ‘Soft Things’ shipped from Europe than it would have taken from a North American printer, she said, but for this author, it was worth it .

The tactile pleasure of holding “Soft Things” is important, Nichols said, so there’s no e-book there. Copies can be ordered via and at Imprint Books in Port Townsend, just as Serrill’s “World” is available at the bookstore and at

Nichols, 40, is a multifaceted artist whose work ranges from cartoons to poetry and beyond. She grew up in the Okanogan Highlands and moved to the North Olympic Peninsula six years ago. she is now Chair of the Port Townsend Arts Commission.

Halfway through writing “Soft Things”, she moved from Port Townsend to the Gibbs Lake property in Chimacum, so the artwork draws inspiration from the trails of both locations.

The poem grew out of free writing Nichols did while reading “The World Without Us”, journalist Alan Weisman’s book about what would happen if humans disappeared from the planet, leaving other living things to evolve without us. .

So it’s not a hopeful book about humanity’s resilience — and Nichols doesn’t feel very optimistic “on many levels,” she said.

“To me, [the book] is a way of saying that things are really beautiful and worth enjoying right now.

On the penultimate page, she writes, “I hope this opens your heart.”

Serrill looks for a similar opening in his book, which is subtitled “Solitude, Alaska, and a Dog Named Woody.” Documentary filmmaker and author, he writes about both joy and sorrow, the thing that “broke the armor around my heart”.

In an interview shortly after publication, Serrill, 64, said writing these memoirs meant going to deeply uncomfortable places.

At the same time, like Nichols’ book, Serrill’s story is about loving the natural world. It takes place in Ketchikan, Alaska, where the author and his yellow Labrador have been hiking, cross-country skiing, and kayaking together.

One night, man and dog go paddling in a phosphorescent bay.

“Sparkling green fireworks exploded in the dark water,” as Serrill throws a boulder.

When they look back towards the house, “as if the miracles would never end, the Northern Lights appeared in the sky, neon green and shimmering”.


Diane Urbani de la Paz, Jefferson County Senior Reporter, can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]


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