It’s time to start thinking about my next stop on the two-year writing residency and fellowship tour!
This Saturday morning, my dear friend Steph and I depart for the 2,700 mile drive from Burnsville, NC to Enterprise, OR, where I will be the Eastern Oregon Writer-in-Residence for Wallowa County. To learn more about this position, especially if you are a writer who might want to apply for 2012, click here
for more info.
[Glacier Lake, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest]
Situated in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains, I’ll be living in the towns of Joseph, Enterprise, and Imnaha (all very tiny, very literary, and very beautiful) between January and April of 2011. And situated around these towns are the rustic Wallowa Mountains—my favorite range in the state of Oregon. They’re very appreciated regionally, but not quite known nationally. This, of course, helps the more than 2 million acre Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
stay wild and quiet—not counting the noises from black bear, bighorn sheep, elk, and deer, of course. With 36 peaks over 8,000 feet and the highest being Sacajawea Mountain at 9,838 feet, as soon as I get my cast off and enough snow has melted, you can bet I’ll be hitting the trails.
[Eagle Cap Mountain, which I was fortunate enough
to summit one summer when I was 16 years-old]
Of course, I’ll also be writing and teaching in service of the local communities. Being a Writer-in-Residence for a particular geographic area is not unlike being poet laureate (on a smaller scale) for a state. I’m expected to be involved by teaching 8 hours per week in the local schools, a few evening classes for adults, and 1 college level composition course. That’s roughly 11 hours of teaching time per week for 10 weeks, with the rest of my time to plan, read, write, and explore. My final 3 weeks will be free of teaching responsibilities entirely and I’ll move into a rustic, off-road cabin with 3 other writers (who come in only for that time period) for some quiet, writing-only time as I bid my farewell to the mountains.
All of this is made possible by Fishtrap, Inc.—a non-profit organization whose mission is to “promote clear thinking and good writing in and about the West.” That sounds simple enough, but this organization has a rich history and many, many paths of literary influence in the state. More info can be found here
It’s been a long, restful visit back home and I’m ready to hit the road. Of course, as soon as I leave there will be things I miss (the dog, my parents, my friends)—but one of the greatest gifts of this two years has been seeing other communities that are out there…and discovering that the kind of richness and beauty I have here does in fact exist in small pockets across the entire country. Here’s to exploring, learning from, and giving back to the next one!