Tag Archives: Writer

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 2018 by Martin’s Press
My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:
Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strongmen and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

My Thoughts

What a satisfying read! This is my second Kristin Hannah read, (the first being The Nightengale), and I’m starting to get a good feel for her style. The Continue reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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Travel Writing: The BIG Dream

I’ve had this blog going for a couple years now and hardly brought myself to admit out loud, or I suppose, in type, the reality of my big dream. That one that stays hush-hush thanks to doubt and the perpetual fear of public failure. But that said, I did quit my fulltime job, spent countless hours years training myself to work independently, practicing, editing, scraping and pitching, all while attempting to remain transparent here, so why not just say it?
I want to be a travel writer.

The dream is to fly, road-trip, sail, and hike the different continents, countries, and towns of the world, forever searching for their words. I want to share places, experiences, cultures and (at times) sidestep that ever-bubbly whisper of romanticism. As much as travel can benefit, there’s this underlying prerequisite when writing about it to fluff it up and exaggerate a growth and spirituality that supposedly comes with stepping foot onto new soil. I get it, travel is wonderful. Epic even. Do I need to reinvent myself every flight I take? No.

I think travel and the image of hiking boots toeing the ledge of a cliff and inspirational quotes plastered in calligraphy against a wide blue sky, play against the back of my eyelids.

But that’s not enough for me.

A trend has come to my attention as of late and I hate it: Women don’t have a spot carved out in travel entertainment.

Our sweet spot tends to be the romanticized, spiritual, paths of self-discovery. Those stories are love ballots to ourselves. Which in itself, I won’t deny, has a beauty to it. Emotion is a large component of honest writing and we can play that tune in our sleep.When it comes to writing about travel, can’t we be more than ourselves in turmoil? Don’t we have more to offer than that?

I do. And I’m ready to prove it.

Watch out, Bourdain and Bryson. I’m coming for ya.

Seeking Breadcrumbs

A trickle of stale bread to lead the way – to find one’s way home. There’s no more useless a trick than that of marking a path with edible, highly-popular crumbs of gluten-y goodness. Destined to be sabotaged by everything from birds and squirrels to mother nature herself, you’re competing against a raucous group of scavengers and downpours that’ll wipe out your markers as they fall.

Hansel and Gretal, you done fooled up.
Continue reading Seeking Breadcrumbs

When All Else Fails, Write.

Write when it makes sense. Write when it makes no sense.

Write when you’re dejected and the dam is thick with suffocated vowels. Write when you’ve succeeded; when the good news pours in and accomplishments are ripe. Write when writing is the least of your wants or concerns. Write when you think you’ve deserved to not write. Write when you think you don’t need to write.

Write as the rain falls, then freezes to hail and until that softens to snow and finally melts beneath a bare sky.

Write when you’re sad. When your tongue is weighted by words too bloody with meaning to speak. Write to give them credit, to spoil a wasted plot of silence and make everything real.

Write at dusk, at dawn, within earshot of waves, under a blazing sun, to the sounds of cities and rushing lives. Write when the world spins too fast. Write when it’s slowed to a stop.

Write to explain. Write to distort.

Write for them. Write for you.

Write passages, words, stories, novels, epics. Write to create. Write to breath life into something that’s other. Write to immortalize both fantasy and life.

Write to remember.

Write because it’s right.

Write to taste life twice.

Write because to become a writer is to make, to be astonished by nothing, to celebrate the weird, to pin, to mark, to build, to watch and to collect all life and its maybes with words.

Write to be a writer.

The Makings of a Writer…Maybe?

I’m ashamed of my blogger silence. But I’ve already prepped and loaded an excuse!

I’m writing!

Clearly not here. But I am writing. My book is in full swing and I’m skimming past self inflicted due dates with a personally prideful determination. There’s been hard days of writer’s block, entire pages that I reread only to discover i hate them and way too many puppy induced distractions to wade through. (Not to mention my own nagging thoughts and injustices I love pushing upon myself). Each day, as the words become sentences and those sentences become paragraphs that fill page after page, I have a sense of growth. I’m getting better. I’m more confident than I was at the start of this shaky blog and i’m starting to believe that maybe I have a talent for this after all. Lacking the insane page output that Stephen King is famous for, I’ve struggled with feeling slow and inadequate. I criticize myself endlessly; pages don’t fill fast enough and I’m not piecing my thoughts together efficiently enough. Then I remember, this is me. It’s me finding my prose, it’s me developing my language and it’s me heading this project. These words are mine, this style is me and i can do this my own way. Discovering those they things have altered each step in this process.

Writer’s block is my mind telling me to let go. To give my thoughts space and time to collect. What’s the point in raging and letting my frustration leak onto the pages? I know what I’m writing about. Just breath.

So what if a few hours work seems like rubbish. I can revise it. Reword and rework what I have; It’s not all trash. There’s something buried in there for me to work with – be smart. Be patient. Be creative. There was a reason I wrote what I did, now rediscover it and find that purpose.

Distraction will happen! I’m human! If anything is worthy of breaking my concentration, it’s definitely the things I love most. The world won’t end and my book won’t fall to the wayside to be forgotten about and defeated if I take a few minutes to award my attention elsewhere. I’m going to jump back into it. I’ll write more, and maybe even with more of the happiness I get from my distractions translating onto the pages.

I’m still scared. I still question exactly what I’m doing with this foolish dream and big project daily. Yet something in me is pushing me on. Even if I’m being silly. Even if this never gets read by anyone but me. I can promise it will get done, and I’ll do my best each day to make it the best thing i’ve ever written. There’s a new calm that i can’t quite explain…but it keeps me going.