Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chasing Bierstadt, Stegner, and Abbey

by Kristen Lodge

After finishing college in New Hampshire, in 1999 I moved to my first mountain town near Bethel, Maine. I started writing my stories that eventually became Continental Quotient Stories From Both Sides of the Divide. My stories are about place and landscape, and how I found new adventures and met amazing friends across the US.

Since high school I wanted to be a westerner. Back then, to me, being western meant big landscapes with less people and more wildlife. I began to read Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey and dreamed of living west of the Mississippi. I discovered the western landscape paintings of Albert Bierstadt.

Colorado Blue Sky

I wanted to live in those wide open spaces they wrote about. I wanted to ski in western powder. I finally moved west in 2004 and continued to write the stories for Continental Quotient. One of my favorite stories to tell is about driving I-70 through Ohio, Kansas and into Colorado. The story of my journey west and my first western town becomes “Making A Home Out West.” I write about making friends and finding new adventures in Colorado that include hiking and biking. Steamboat was my first western ski town and I instantly fell in love with the Yampa Valley and the ski mountain.

What it means to be western has evolved over the last ten years. At first it was big landscapes. Then it was the blue, blue sky. Being a westerner and choosing to live in an arid landscape has become an education about water and protecting wild places. And now, after ten years living in the west, I’ve learned it is about taking care of each other and making a home wherever I live.

Fraser, CO

I am in love with mountain landscapes and currently am falling in love with the southwest desert.

The stories I love to tell are about taking every adventure that comes my way from living in a mountain town surrounded by wilderness to navigating through the prickly, Saguaro filled desert landscape. I re-read Stegner and Abbey every chance I get and still search for Bierstadt in western museums.

Continental Quotient is available for purchase on Amazon.com or Barnes and and Homebound Publications website. It is available on Nook and Kindle.  Please visit Kristen's website for more information about the book and upcoming speaking engagements. Kristen blogs at My Outdoor Blog.

Kristen grew up in Plattsburgh, New York and Rye, New Hampshire. She earned a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire. Her collection of creative nonfiction was published in October 2013 by Homebound Publications. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her two dogs: Daisy & Winnie. 

 Naranja Park near Tucson, AZ

1 comment:

Carmen Peone said...

Kristen, your book sounds inviting. Can't wait to read it! Carmen