In The Writer's World

The State of the State

July was a month of wonderful summer weather punctuated by a couple thunder and lightning storms and a grand adventure to southeastern Oregon.

Evening view from our Airbnb rental on the High Desert south of Burns, Oregon.

Steen’s Mountain is about as far into the middle of nowhere as one can get, so I don’t undertake these little jaunts on my own. My sister and brother-in-law are more in touch with the wild country, and so we went together. I drove to Mitchell the first day. Day Two we traveled to our Airbnb rental south of Burns, well out of wi-fi range. It was a great little house on a small ranch. We brought our food. You can’t just go somewhere and get a hamburger out here!

Day Three was the trip up the mountain–from the High Desert to an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet. As we drove from French Glen up 26 miles of gravel road festooned with beautiful wildflowers the plants became smaller, until near the top, above the timberline, they were miniatures of themselves.

The wildlife was incredible too. On the trip we saw Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, Great Sandhill Cranes, Great Horned Owls, wild horses, coyotes, antelope, and more!

It’s great at the top, y’all. 360-degree views, dramatic canyons and gorges, snow from the previous winter, a cooling breeze, an ancient prayer circle facing east. Ancient. Read all about it. Go, if you want to experience something really special. There are amazing views and challenging hiking opportunities and all the rest. Oregon, my state for more than 50 years, is a state of wonder and beauty and lovely people wherever your travels may take you.

The State of the Novel

My butt has not yet lodged itself in the chair  in front of the computer. The work, however, continues. There is a reason I’m so taken with locations in central Oregon, and it has to do with a future novel. One only needs to observe road signs to be inspired (see left). Possibilities and juicy names are just off the beaten path, and in the company of my traveling companions we find them.

Janet and Patrick are leaving Mitchell for good in a few days, but my trips there have left me with an arsenal of ideas. Place is everything!

Meanwhile…there now is a working title for Emma #4. I will tell you in the fullness of time. I’m very excited about returning to wine country and another adventure with my old friends Emma and Melody and Lila, Angel, Dan, Rob the Reporter and the rest.

The State of Everything Else

It’s sad to wake up and learn that a friend has departed. That happened to me today, when I heard that Lori McKean has died. Those of you who knew me back in the day and remember The Northwest Palate may recall her many food articles in the Palate. She was our Food Editor for six years, wrote cookbooks, and had her articles published in many food and wine periodicals over the years.

Lori was a bohemian, an ethereal soul, who would have fit right into the salons in Lost Generation Paris. She had a mane of flyaway blond hair, pale skin, and an irrepressible giggle. She soon earned the nickname Lori Borealis. It stuck because it fit her.

Thinking of her all day, I remember her sweetness and how she made us laugh, her excellent contributions to the magazine, our frequent minor adventures together. I had lost touch. A shame. She was 63. RIP old friend.

Coming Soon

Me and my sis in the middle of nowhere.

Several of us local authors will be guest presenters at the Toastmasters-sponsored Write Here all day Saturday, October 12. Stay tuned for details.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 15 when I will give an author talk at Lake Oswego Public Library from 7-8 p.m.

All my books will be available for purchase and signing at both events.

Stay well, dear ones.




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  • Janet Nedry says:

    Well, I forgot to “suck in my gut”, what can I say? I look like I just swallowed a badger!

  • Leigh Adriance says:

    That looks like a fun week. Beautiful flowers.

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