Friday, July 8, 2011


Alaska is hard on writers.
You may be thinking about winter. It is cold and dark from October until March. When the sun comes out it is blinding and brilliant and the only colors are black and white and that amazing blue sky. The snow is tedious, the ice is treacherous and the wind is brutal. It is a major production to go anywhere because of the layers and layers of clothing you have to put on. Moose the size of a quarter-horse are hiding behind the bushes waiting for you to drive by so they can commit suicide. The cost of fuel is frightening and the cost of groceries horrific.
Uhh, no, winter is the easy part. Writers are happy. They're cozy by a fire, wrapped in an afghan with fuzzy socks and a cup of something warm. Not necessarily caffeine. They are writing like crazy because they know--Oh my Gosh! They've only got six months.
In Alaska the hard part is SUMMER.
There is so much to take you away from writing. Lush is the first word that comes to mind. Lush green chickweed growing inches overnight to envelope any little beet foolish enough to sprout. Fish to catch and process for next winter, a garden to work in. Festivals to celebrate all the foolish things we miss for the other six months. We get up in the light and go to bed in the light--oh, the glorious light. We look up from what we are doing and realize it's eleven p.m. and the reason we're hungry is we didn't stop to eat at six. The frantic pace we keep in summer is hard to explain to people from Outside. But, there is so much to do. Four-wheeler trips with family and friends-plane rides to scout for a new hunting area-new puppies and new chicks and new friends or old ones that you only see in the summer when they stumble out of the brush to go to the hardware store.

We collect ideas in the summer and write in the winter-I guess it isn't all bad.
DeNise Woods


Boone Brux said...

Awesome post, Denise! So, so true about the winter being a writers best friend. It's almost blaspheme to say "I can't wait until winter gets here."

Summer is a time for doing. Enter is the time for writing.

Morgan O'Reilly said...

You actually make winter sound attractive! But I still love summer best, especially on days when I play tourist at home and it's sunny and warm.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Yes, that is just what it feels like to be a writer in Alaska. I feel guilty all summer, either from guilt that I'm not writing enough or from guilt that I'm neglecting my garden and missing out on summer by writing so much. Sigh.

LizbethSelvig said...

Well, thanks, that post just made me more "homesick" than ever. The long, dark winter with awesome friends to brighten my life and glorious summer -- with Fourth of July fireworks barely visible in a pale sky at midnight. Awesome Alaska. Wonderful post!

Pauline Trent said...

This is so spot on. I never could truly explain to friends from other places just how constant everything is during summer. :)

Tam Linsey said...

Great description, DeNise!