AK 2010, Day 46: Farewell to the Last Frontier

I’ve boogied with locals at a festival in Knik…
I’ve eaten no less than 5 pounds of trail mix…
I’ve hiked…
I’ve shared new writing at a public venue…
I’ve loved sled dogs…
and seen birds of note…
A Spruce Grouse is pictured above. Others included: Black-billed Magpie, Northern Pintail (female), Bald Eagle, Merlin Falcon, Hawk Owl, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Crane, American Golden-Plover (heard), Great Horned Owl, some kind of flycatcher (nearly impossible to identify), Boreal Chicadee, Arctic Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Gray Jay, and Tundra Swan.
Last year’s farewell went something like THIS, including the six paradoxes of hiking in Alaska and the perfect coda demonstrating Alaskan free will.
This year?
Alaska is my greatest muse to date. When I travel here, if I’m not writing directly about it, I’m out living in it. The landscape has provided respite when I needed a break from the intensity of creating new fiction. But the landscape also provided inspiration in real. Everywhere I looked I found something new to learn about.
This year had a wholly different mission: write, be inspired, write some more, learn new things, and write again. I ended up writing 70 pages of new fiction in less than six weeks—something I thought might previously take me a year. As it turned out, that’s 21 new war short-shorts! I learned about the benefits of my research and steeping phases as a writer. When I strike just the right balance of fact and imagination, I can sit down at the desk and it feels as though I’m looking at a stage. This was my first real glimmer into what it’s like to write fiction along a theme (the war stories). I wonder if there are similarities between this and writing a novel? When I wrote each day, the set was already constructed. The foundation was built. Those were the “fact” parts. From there, I just needed to help the characters act out certain events—the “imagination” part. Metaphor, of course, came into play where fact and imagination met.
I also learned that I can have multiple stories going at a time and not feel restricted or overwhelmed by that. I call that endurance with fiction, and it’s something I didn’t know I had until now. Blessings on The Last Frontier!
I’ll resurface again in a few days at Weymouth Center for Arts & Humanities, where I have a residency for the month of October. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
  • Anonymous

    All the world is a stage KT. Given sugar, given salt, given time.
    Looks like I have October 15th to November 15th off… might see you in Wyoming. I've got some FF R&R coming up. Safe travels from AK. And hella good blog posts.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.