Since I can’t bug my agent every day about the status of the memoir, the best thing to do is…write something else. This is how I roll: I work on two things at once. That way when I get annoyed/disgusted/nauseous/stuck with one, I can pop on over to the other. I’m writing a memoir and a novel. The memoir is (surprise) another Alaska book, about being a wilderness kayak ranger in Alaska, while also navigating personal treacherous waters; the novel is about a 14 year old girl in 1982, one of a set of identical twins, who is witnessing the unraveling of her parents’ marriage as they hike into Hells Canyon. (How are those for elevator speeches? Not bad for coming up with them as I typed this!) 

Starting a new book. It’s fraught with minefields. There’s the inevitable great first paragraph! This is awesome, I think! Then the reality sets in. The grim slog through cliches, the tearing of the hair, the thoughts of unworthiness. Then there are the times when words fly unbidden, with no effort at all. It’s kind of like a long run, in fact: the first steps out the door: running is great! I love it! Then, the hills show up. You look at your watch. It’s only been three minutes? 

I need to follow my own advice. Take it one step at a time. Write scenes, skip around if I must. It’ll get there. Don’t think about the 80,000 words to go. When I got stuck on Geography I just stopped. I pictured the scene as if I were there. That got me through.

If it were easy, everyone would do it. Right?

(photo from