Before I left Missoula in 2008, I stood on Higgins Bridge, shook my fist at the churning Clark Fork River, and with all the melodrama of Scarlet O’ Hara, swore that I’d be back, and with a published book. That’s right, a BOOK. With a shiny cover. And chapters. And an acknowledgements page.
And so, after three years of flaming meteors and alien invasions and giant poison spitting toads and who knows what else (who said writing a book was easy?), I shall make my Great Return to Missoula at the Montana Festival of the Book this fall. I don’t know yet if I’ll be reading at Fact and Fiction, or at the Wilma, or perhaps standing on the M for an audience of puckerbrush and ponderosa pines. But I will be reading.
I began My Life as Laura at the beginning of my MFA in 2006. I had no idea what writing a book meant, beyond subjecting my fellow workshoppers to half-cocked drafts. (Flashback: sudden memory of an early chapter that included a certain “Kraft Macaroni n’ Cheese Incident,” in which orange noodles gave me the ability the ability to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder.)
Uh, that did not make the final cut.
I’ll be launching an author website soon (Does “book” mean I’m no longer a “writer” but an “author” now? One can hope). In the meantime, I look forward to the time when I can see the people who saw the pages in humbler, more orange forms.
The Western Literature Association Conference will be that same weekend. Also, a good thing.