My interview is up at Seven Impossible Things and while I suppose the "I'm a writer and I'm cool" thing to do is just point you over there and let you read it, I can't help but be blown away by the very kind things that Eisha and Jules had to say about me. I'm having a bit of a Sally Fields Oscar moment here in my dining room (wearing pajamas, of course) and I couldn't be more pleased with how the whole thing turned out. It's nice to know that someone in the wide world understands what I'm trying to do over here (and at Bookslut and Eclectica and Voices) and more importantly, that they care enough to let other folks know as well.
So thank you very much guys! (Oh - and I think I should admit that I left the glasses off for the picture, but normally they are on all the time. It was a vanity moment, I guess but sometimes girls do that, don't we?)
It's interesting that this interview should run now as I am struggling with the section on my Alaska Memoir about how I ended up in AK. My agent would like 50 pages by the middle of this month (which I guarantee you will be at least a week late but I'm blaming my Mother's visit for that) and while I have been able to write the beginning of the book (an essay about how a friend crashed into a mountain on a picture perfect clear weather day) and a third essay for the book (about how a pilot who was lucky convinced himself he was good and took four passengers with him when his luck ran out), the middle essay on how I got there is a total struggle. We are talking, word by word, line by line, write it and delete it kind of daily struggle. I honestly do not like writing about myself - which might seem odd since the flying book is entirely based on my job in AK and I agreed to attempt this memoir adventure. There is only one chapter in the flying book that is really personal though - that is about me and not a fictionalized account of flying up there. It's the last chapter and I didn't intend to write it the way it turned out, but as it happens the only death of a co-worker that we suffered at the Company occured the same week my father died, when I was in Florida. So writing about thoughts on one led to thoughts on another and it was one of those situations where I just held on tight to the keyboard while the words did their thing.
I really wish that would happen again for me now.
I know I am over thinking this essay, but it's pretty much impossible for me not to. There are a lot of questions to answer about why I went to Alaska, and more importantly, why I stayed so long. There are places I will not go in this book or any other (unfair to other people involved) but I don't want to be dishonest and write around the subject either. (It's basically put up or shut time.) What I've been thinking about though is why any of us go far far away - why we think it will take that kind of journey to be who we want to be, even if the destination just makes us try to convert into someone we never intended to become. Alaska is a place that draws tons of people seeking reinvention on some level. They might not admit that (most of the pilots didn't), but they often come there more for who they think the state will make them, then for who they truly are. If you are an Alaskan bush pilot then the thought is that you are going to be something else - someone else - and no longer just yourself.
Sometimes that works, but sometimes it is just fails in the ugliest ways possible. (And I'm not even talking about the crashes.)
So I'm looking at myself right now at the Seven Imps site and that girl is 38 years old and a mother and a wife and a writer with an honest-to-God New York City literary agent and still I struggle with how I got to this place and this life. I wanted to be someone else too, I guess but that didn't happen. I ended up writing about the same stuff I had started with in Florida, hanging out with the same kind of guys (always pilots) and even doing the same kinds of things. (My dog Jake flew up with me in 1992 and drove out with us in 2002.) What I learned is that books will show you one thing and life will teach you another; how I transfer that to words on paper is still a mystery. But I'm working on it, right now at this very minute, I'm working on it.