Stories & Life
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North to Alaska

The annual trek up to Alaska is rapidly approaching, less than a week away. This will be my ninth consecutive summer working/living in AK. It’s become a lifestyle choice, to say the least, a nomadic lifestyle: summers in Alaska and winters spent wandering the world. In truth, though, it’s mostly been California. I’ve become quite comfortable and settled in here in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. So I do a good deal less free-style gypsy living these days.

It was a good winter for connecting with people and community, making new friends and getting plugged in to groups, like with fellow meditators as well as with DSA, i.e., Democratic Socialists of America, an activist organization.

It was also a good winter for writing. I was able to make good progress on my nonfiction book. I finished the first draft of my novel a year ago but put it on hold for a bit. When working on serious, book-length projects, I find that it can be helpful to set them aside for a good while, to let things in my brain settle. My mind seems to reach a point where there’s simply too much activity, the many elements of a book kind of beginning to jumble together, and it gets difficlt to settle in to any kind of productive writing.

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McCarthy Creek, fall 2017

I can also get tired of working at one project for more than four or five months. Given a little distance from the project, I find that I can bring both a fresh perspective and a renewed energy.

I’m hoping to get myself set up in a cabin in Alaska, for the summer. With any luck, I’ll be in the cabin pictured in this post. It would be conducive to good writing, I think, and it’s my plan to get a little more writing done this summer than usual. We’ll see, though, what the Alaskan summer brings. It usually holds surprises, which is one reason I think so many of us wind up coming back up north, summer after summer.

 

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy; I pass the winters in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I'm working on a memoir-based nonfiction book on the American Dream. I blog, quite frequently, and I also have a novel in process, set in Alaska.

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