Much of my writing career has been devoted to writing about me! As I sometimes say, ‘I’m writing my autobiography bit by bit, trip by trip.’
For the past decade, although I continue to chronicle adventures and experiences, I have been more and more focused on the treasure trove of stories lying all around, and especially those centered in Montana. These stories provided the grist for Montana: Real Place, Real People, my latest work which has just arrived and is piled in my garage. But it didn’t stop there. The pieces keep coming my way – rich, surprising, full of amazement.
In the past few months, for example, I’ve finished a story about the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, running from Banff to Mexico. Marypat, Ruby, Sawyer and I rode along it for eight days through Montana and Idaho last summer, through some stunning and quiet country. The piece highlights the epic route and the heroic feats bikers have accomplished along it. It will appear in the summer issue of Montana Quarterly. I wrote a story about photographer, Dusan Smetana, and his passion for raising and racing homing pigeons, an incredible and historic hobby featuring what he calls, “the Arnold Schwarzenagger’s of the bird world.” That piece will be in the summer issue of Montana. I’m also beginning work on a feature about an organic sheep ranch on the flanks of the Bridger Mountains, outside of Bozeman. Recently I was able to participate in their lambing operation, and watched 5 births while it squalled snow outside the barn (hence the photos!). Look for it in an upcoming issue of Big Sky Journal.
There are more . . . an editorial about the juggernaut of the Alberta tarsands operations in the online syndication, ClimateChange.org, for example. A story about the century-old Sheep Experiment Station on the Montana/Idaho border, along the Centennial Mountains, which is coming into increasing conflict with expanding grizzly bear habitat. A feature in Canoe & Kayak Magazine revisiting the tragedy and triumph of the Moffatt Expedition of 1955.
When I first came to Montana, burning to establish myself as a freelance writer, I had a grand total of three story ideas. Frankly, I had no idea what I would do once I used those up. These days, what worries me is all the stories that get away, slipping past like trout in a flood, so many that I’m not lucky or quick enough to catch hold of.