Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Great Land

I just recently made my first trip to Alaska. It is an unimaginably big place forged in a cauldron of fire and ice.  It is a place of big silence: the skies are heavy and gray and the rain is softly insistent. The wildlife that you know is there moves quietly. It does not want to be seen--the back of a whale, whisker of squirrel, statue of moose, cluster of caribou, flutter of bird wing, splash, running bear.

Here are a few interesting facts about Alaska:

  • It's a water world of over 3,000,000 lakes and it's twice the size of Texas.
  • It has 29 active volcanoes and 100,000 glaciers.
  • The Alaska pipeline moves 88,000 barrels of oil per hour. The pipeline was a monumental accomplishment considering the geology and climate of Alaska.

Alaska is still largely untamed frontier and we should be thankful for that. What a gift it is to see nature as it was created. I'm not sure how anything manages to live in a place of such extremes in geology and climate. Most people seem to visit during the summer months and head back south before winter arrives. By the end of September, resorts shut down for the long winter, roads close, and the year-around residents hunker down for winter. Those living in the bush stock up on food and other supplies to last several months. The bears hibernate and the caribou and moose hopefully are carrying enough fat to get them through the long winter. Survival in Alaska is a supreme challenge for wildlife and people.

Try to imagine living in such a challenging environment. Once you are outside of the few small towns, you stand alone in the wilderness awestruck by the stark beauty and the necessity to stay alive. And you are just one small creature in a big, big country.

Glacier Bay

Mount McKinley

Misty Fjords National Park

Nenama River, Denali

Lake Chilkoot

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay



  1. Such beautiful pictures, I have many of the same, but not taken with such a good camera. I need to go back just to update those old pictures.:) So wonderful to see it again though. I miss it even more so when I look at the pictures. I loved living there. I spent a year in Fairbanks, a year and a half on the North Slope, and then a year in Anchorage, but I took the ferry ride from Seattle to Haines, and was lucky enough to travel all the way from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. I was young, adventurous, and fearless. One out two now - ha, ha! Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Amazing that you lived there. Living 10 years in Minnesota was about as cold as I ever want to get. I can't image how everyone survives the cold and the lack of roads.

  2. I went to Alaska about thirty years ago, but it left the same kind of impression on me. It's so huge, wild, and natural, and I felt like a very tiny visitor in a wide, wild land.
    Thanks for sharing these pictures and your beautiful descriptions of this amazing state.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I just glanced at the weather report this morning and noticed that it was 32 degrees and snowing in Denali. We lucked out, I guess, as far as weather is concerned.