Book versus Blog

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Published by University of Alaska Press (Dec. 2020). Cover art by Ruth Hulbert.

Now that Cabin 135, A Memoir of Alaska has been published, I am looking back at my first hundred blog posts, topics and ideas: nature, gardens, travel, and memory. The heyday of this blog stretched from 2012 to 2014. After that, my posting became less frequent and eventually just stopped. What happened? My focus had changed from fairly quick blog posts to marathon writing and revising of Cabin 135, a work that began as a collection of essays.

Although, looking back, I realize that the process of writing Cabin 135 had crept into this blog. For instance,  Procrastinations, Deletions, and Questions of Intent (April 17, 2013) began:

Recently I read an article about procrastination. The premise was that determined procrastinators can be very productive because of what they accomplish otherwise, when procrastinating. This could be true. Rather than working on an essayI compiled this post… (read more)

In the Procrastinations post, I went on to share fragments of my deleted writing that seem more like poetry than prose—and that I still love “…Clouds. Ocean. Blue islands. White mountains. Ice. Glaciers stretched taut, the tuning pegs tightened.”

Now, I’m intrigued to see my reference to “tuning pegs” as if that was foreshadowing the future. At the time, music (as in playing an instrument) had only just started to creep back into my life after a twenty year hiatus.

Finishing the 2013 post Procrastinations, Deletions, and Questions of Intent, I signed off with:

Cheers, all.
. . . now, back to revising the essay.

And so it went. First several years of revising individual essays and then shifting course—slicing the essays apart and interleaving them—followed by another five years or so of writing new sections and discarding parts that no longer fit. In Where Did the Last Year Go? (Oct. 18, 2016), I consider my painstakingly slow writing process.

Topics that interest me, particularly nature and memory, occur in both Cabin 135 and in this blog. The book, though, is anchored to a log house, built in 1935 for the Matanuska Colony. The house became a character in my life while, outdoors, the yard and gardens, forests, mountains, glaciers, and oceans also offered stories and more views of the passage of time.

Cabin 135, A Memoir of Alaska was published in December 2020 by University of Alaska Press as part of the Alaska Literary Series. Cabin 135 can be purchased at independent booksellers like Fireside Books in Palmer, Alaska and Roundabout Books in Bend, Oregon or ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the University of Chicago Press. (Note: University of Chicago Press ships internationally.)