Thursday, July 5, 2007

The quiet before the storm…

Forty years ago my parents built --with their own two blistered hands-- a little cabin on twenty acres in the Siskiyou Mountains in Northern California, just about an hour south of the Oregon border. The cabin was meant to be a temporary structure while they built their real retirement home, but plans change. They now live within reach of handy things like electricity and city water, rather than dealing with the vicissitudes of life on the mountain. But some of my happiest childhood memories are of lounging on the screened-in porch with a book, or sitting by the river with a book, or snuggling in my sleeping bag…with a book.

As an adult I can begin to understand the legacy my parents left me: the quiet, the sweet-smelling air, the lack of city craziness. Glimpses of deer, wild turkeys, black bears, quail, fox, rabbits….even emus (residing on a nearby farm). For the past several years I have dragged my hapless son (and some duped friends) along as well. It’s amazing to see what happens to children when deprived of video games, television, and other electronic devices. We swim in the river by day, cook over the campfire, and play cards and board games well into the night. Occasionally there is actually some civilized conversation!

I went this time with my friends Mary and Anna, and we drank a toast to the release of Brush with Death on July 3. It seemed somehow appropriate that I would be in the quiet of the woods when the book came out, since it was there that I developed and nurtured my dearest love of reading.

On our way back to real life we stopped by the charming Yreka Bookstore, in Old Town on Miner Street, but like many sane people they were closed on the 4th of July. Still, we spotted Brush with Death on their rack of new books. I left a note for Mary Ellen Rock, the owner, and she called back to tell me that I have a lot of fans in the small town of Yreka! She invited me to sign later this summer, and I’m really looking forward to it!

How amazing to think that, after all those years of reading paperbacks in the wilds of Jefferson State, our book would be on those very bookshelves!

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