I’m in the middle of reading an unpublished manuscript, “The Light from Tomorrow,” by Dirck Van Sickle. It’s kind of a grim road-trip love story set in 1934 during the Dust Bowl, which apparently started on the Montana Hi-Line. (Did you know that?) Dirck, the author of “Montana Gothic,” is rumored to be dead, but I discovered he’s still kicking in New York City. He let me interview him and I’m shopping the story around to lit journals.
Other books on my nightstand include “Writers On Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times,” “The Situation and the Story” by Vivian Gornick and “Wild Ducks Flying Backward” by Tom Robbins.
Why did you start your blog?
I started journaling on a Geocities website in summer 1998 during an online editing internship in Fort Lauderdale. I wanted to share my travel adventures and photos with friends. It became a real blog in 2003, although I got burned out and mostly stopped blogging last year. I still post some pictures and a few thoughts, but I recently redesigned my site and took most of my old posts down. I have loved writing and photography since my teens, and I guess I have a compulsion to share them with people, but lately I’ve withdrawn a bit.
I also think it helps if you have a niche, which I never really did. The most successful blogs seem to focus on a fairly narrow topic — like writing or food or politics or “mommy blogging.”
Many pieces of advice come to mind. Two that I heard just today were, “Live vicariously through yourself” and “Illegitimus non carborundum (Don’t let the bastards grind you down).”
I do most of my writing at my desk/dining table, which faces a big panoramic window with a spectacular view of the Missoula Valley and Bitterroot Mountains. I also like to take my Macbook to bed to write, although I tend to put myself to sleep that way.