Archive for the ‘#mondayblogs’ Tag

Advice Well Received   2 comments

What Advice Has Stuck With You For A Long Time? And Who Gave You That Advice?
Did someone give you some great advice at a certain time in your life? Think back to that time and write down the advice as you remember it.


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So last week, I alluded to a period in my marriage that was not easy. I didn’t go into detail because I wanted to use it for this week’s blog hop article.

Image result for image of christian adviceBrad doesn’t make a secret that he’s a recovering alcoholic. We have a rule where we try not to bring up things from decades ago to shove in each other’s faces today, but I have to sort of do that to make this blog post make sense. I’m doing this with his permission.

Relapse happens with alcoholics, but recovery is not guaranteed. About 22 years ago, Brad went off the rails and I decided that for the sake of our daughter and myself, but also for Brad’s sake, he couldn’t be with us for a while. This coincided with the younger adults of our church choosing to dis-fellowship Brad until he straightened up. As a friend of ours put it, “If you show up at our door asking me to drive you to an AA meeting, I’m all in, but if it’s for anything else … don’t bother.” That might sound cruel, but Brad now credits those people as some of his best friends.

My choice to make an ultimatum (get help or lose us) came from advice I received at Alanon, but how I did it was entirely based on advice from my friend Theresa.

Theresa had been a missionary’s wife who discovered that her husband was sexually abusing their sons. By the time of my crisis, she’d been divorced from her husband for 25 years. She’d never remarried, which I had always assumed was because she had so many kids, but when my decision became public knowledge in the church, she came to me to give me some time-honored advice from a modern perspective.

I HATED that we were moving toward divorce (and at that time, it didn’t look like there would be another outcome). I knew that divorce outside of the exemption for desertion of a Christian spouse by a non-Christian spouse or adultery was not Biblically allowed. It bothered me that I was deliberately sinning. But Theresa explained things to me in a different way.

 7:10 To the married I give this command – not Ibut the Lord 8  – a wife should not divorce a husband 7:11 (but if she does, let her remain unmarriedor be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife.  1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Take a really good look at that clause in verse 11. Theresa chose to remove herself and her children from a damaging situation. She divorced her creeper husband. More power to her. We should never seek divorce lightly. “Irreconcilable differences” is a trivial excuse to end a covenant relationship sealed before God, but some marriages are not salvageable for deeper reasons than he leaves the toilet seat up or he watches football all weekend. There are husbands who beat their wives (and women who abuse their husbands). There are spouses who gamble away every dime and others who drink it away. Alcohol shuts down important centers of the brain having to do with reliability, self-control and judgment. Brad was doing things that needed to stop and he just couldn’t see that through the amber haze he was shrouding his mind in. I needed to keep a roof over our daughter’s head and I couldn’t afford his habits any longer. I provided him with a way back to us before I closed the door on him. But it looked like he wasn’t going to take that lifeline and I felt guilty that I was disobeying God by divorcing my husband.

Image result for image of christian adviceAnd then Theresa showed me this one little clause and my perspective changed.

“If you leave (for a good reason), remain unmarried or be reconciled.”

When Theresa left her husband, she did so to protect her children. He remarried (and there’s tales to tell about that one), but Theresa never did. She understood that she was still bound by the covenant they had both made before God. She was certain that (we’ll call him) John was a Christian, so his remarriage didn’t absolve her of her covenantal responsibility. She remained unmarried as an act of honoring God’s standards.

God blessed her by the way. Jobs fell out of the sky for this woman and her younger children, who had escaped their father’s predations by her choices, turned out to be wonderfully committed Christians who married wonderfully committed Christians. Some of her older children worked through their issues and are adults to be proud of. She was a respected elder in our church and among Christians throughout the state. And, she was happy, surrounded by grandchildren, financially secure, knowing she had obeyed her God to the very best of her ability.

Of course, I was at the other end of that decision. Divorcing without committing a sin wasn’t my only object in view. I had made that choice in hopes of driving Brad to a healthy choice. Would I still be there if he made it? How long was I willing to wait?

If I was going to remain “unmarried”, I could wait until God gave me other instructions. I could still have friends and a life. I didn’t have to grieve or fret about being alone because my relationship with Jesus would fill the voids. I could accept God’s will for my life and live that life.

I didn’t have to adjust to long-term singleness. Brad entered sobriety several months later, although he chose for us to remain physically separated for several more months because he didn’t want to put our daughter through a roller coaster ride while he got his head screwed on straight again. It also gave us time to enact the other part of Theresa’s advice.

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation. It sucks when someone hurts you. It sucks more when you hold a grudge. It sucks for you more than it sucks for the person you’re angry at. Theresa never reconciled with John … more power to her … but she forgave him. She prayed for him. She wished him well. In the 1970s, there were no laws against what he’d done to their sons, but she did what she could to protect people from him. She managed to prevent at least one woman from marrying him by telling her about his past. Then he moved out of state and back in those days, it was impossible to intervene long distance. When she heard he remarried, she prayed for that woman and the children she was bringing into that marriage. She prayed every day for them, I suspect until her death just a few years ago. She never forgot, but she did forgive. She wasn’t bitter. Her daughters are friends of mine and they say that she taught them a great deal about what it takes to sustain a marriage that doesn’t have a sexual predator as a partner.

When Brad and I were working out how to reconcile, we discussed that forgiveness thing a lot. It’s not something either one of us grew up seeing modeled. His parents have been married five times between them. My mother would bring up decades-old hurts whenever she was mad. When two people get married, they have to deal with each other’s baggage. We rely on an old Amish tradition. When a person repents of sin in the Amish community, they have to do it in front of the whole community, but once they do it, there is a prohibition from ever bringing it up again. The Amish will actually discipline the person who breaks that rule. Brad and I try to practice that at all times … which still means occasionally having to bite our tongues. Every now and then one of us will say “You’re not being very Amish”, which serves to remind us that the past is dead and we need to leave it buried. That’s usually enough to make us laugh and knock it off.

Not only do we do this for those unfortunate months way back when, but we try to practice it as an ongoing discipline.

To boil Theresa’s advice down:

  • Remember, you two Christians made an unbreakable contract with God for your marriage. You can walk away legally, but God won’t. (This applies only to Christians married to Christians, btw.)
  • You can divorce, if you have a good reason, and provided you’re prepared to reconcile or remain single.
  • Regardless of the outcome, forgive. Don’t leave that anger hanging in your past so that it ruins your future. Forgiveness is not necessarily for the person who did wrong. It’s for you, so you don’t have to live with all that pain.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation. Because God created us to have free will, there are times when He can’t fix something that really needs fixing. Trust that He’ll be with you even when things don’t turn out the way that you want, and … because He’s there with you … you can be happy even when other people think you shouldn’t be.

Vagabond Writing   5 comments

How Do You Work While Traveling?
Many people work remote and travel with their work now. It really helps to see how others work and reach their goals while they’re traveling. Share your tips.


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Okay, I live in Alaska, where we are still in 3rd world status when it comes to connectivity, so working remote is different depending on where I am traveling.

Image result for image of a stenographer's notebookIf I’m traveling to Anchorage or the Lower 48, I bring my laptop and continue working like I always work … although I did stay at a friend’s house a while back who would not allow me to use his wi-fi. I still worked off-line and we went to Starbucks often enough that I could continue to do things on the Internet, just not on my own schedule. The cloud is very accessible these days and I also carry a thumb drive because it’s a lot harder to steal a thumb drive in my pocket than my laptop.

In reality, though, there are a lot of places I go where my laptop shouldn’t. It would just be a really stupid idea to take it camping, hiking, hunting, fishing or white-water rafting. The Alaska Marine Highway doesn’t have connectivity, but it also doesn’t have places to plug in. There are just a lot of places where I go that I can’t take my trusty writing tool.

But that doesn’t stop me. All I need to write is a spiral-bound stenographer’s pad and a pen. Those are almost always in my backpack as I hike into the woods. I take it with me when I’m going somewhere without connectivity. I usually carry one with me even when I travel in the Lower 48 because sometimes we have odd friends with issues about wi-fi. I can write anywhere with my steno notebook and pen. What I lose in efficiency by having to transcribe into the computer later I sometimes offset by the burst of creativity that writing long-hand affords me.

Sometimes the simplest approach is the best.

Seeking Inspiration   6 comments

This week’s blog hop topic is “What inspires you, and why do those things inspire you?


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Inspiration surrounds us. All you need do is open your eyes and your imagination and let it in. Inspiration comes from the words of your favorite author to the leaves blowing across your path on your morning commute.

Image result for image of inspirationSometimes it’s hard to see the muse while you’re living your daily life. My husband Brad wonders how I can spend my workday planted in front of a computer screen writing for other people and then come home and write my own stories. And, I can’t really explain what’s going on in my head while I’m doing the mundane parts of my job and my standard life. Exactly what is it about filing or data entry that gets the creative juices flowing?

Inspiration is innate — intimate — to a writer, I believe. I know there are people who do their best thinking while lying awake in the middle of the night, but I do mine in that margin between when I lie down and when I go to sleep. It’s about a half-hour where I can daydream without interruption and those are often times spent at the inspiration well. I’ve trained myself to remember so I write down what I learn later.

I find inspiration in the everyday. I’m fascinated by relationships – happy ones, complicated ones, weird ones, even painful ones. My writing is often an attempt to dissect the meaning behind an event or to describe a particular feeling or emotion.

I’m inspired by things I face and work through in my daily life. The news is a constant source of inspiration for my apocalyptic series Transformation Project. Sometimes when I’m reading or watching television or doing research, ideas will fall on fertile imaginative soil and slowly a story will spring forth, again while I’m doing something completely unrelated to “being creative.” My most recent book, the novelette Hullabaloo on Main Street was inspired by a Washington Post article about how Democrats in Wisconsin were shocked that their neighbors had voted for Donald Trump, but when I opened my imagination to it, I overheard dozens of conversations by people from both sides of the aisle. Yes, I’m inspired by eavesdropping too. Connor’s observation about how his conservative and liberal neighbors asking for help differently is actually inspired by a liberal coworker’s observation about that dynamic.

Living in Alaska is a powerful inspiration. Long walks just through my neighborhood brings me in contact with nature right on the edge of a vast wilderness. I see colors that I want to describe, smell fragrances that want to be put on paper, watch my neighbors do things that just must be captured in word pictures.

I’m inspired by investigating my life — taking it apart at the seams and seeing what’s inside. How did I become who I am? How did someone who shared their story with me become who they are? I look beneath the surface of this visible reality and find places that are more felt than seen.

The creative process itself brings me to a place where I am often in that world and the process itself is inspiring. The act of having to type words slows me down and connects me to emotions, places and characters in a way where I feel what they feel, see, hear, etc.

I’m inspired by challenges. When I reach a point in a book’s narrative where things are hard, I love the feeling of finding the just-right turn of a phrase that solves my characters problems … or drives them forward to face those problems. Don’t we just wish our own lives were that easy?

(Note – not really. I’m pretty mean to my characters and I would not want anyone to treat me that way.)

Although the sources of my creativity are many, back of it rests the one main foundation of my life … my faith. I find literary themes and ways of addressing problems on the page in the words of my Savior. I learn ways of seeing things that are different from what is “normal” because of the tenets of my faith. Writing fiction somehow draws me closer to God and allows me to not only say, but sometimes realize insights through my characters that I’d feel awkward and foolish saying myself.

Inspiration comes in many forms and myriad sources. It’s kind of cliche to say that inspiration is everywhere, but I get my best moments with my muse when I’m filing paperwork or scrubbing the tub, so I think that “everywhere” is about right.

#openbook, #bloghop, #mondayblogs, #amwriting


Posted May 15, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Dream Team   4 comments

This week’s blog hop is “Pick Out 3 Creative People Who Inspire You And Think About If They Collaborated To Make A Product—What Would It Be?”
If those three people created something awesome with all their skills, what would it be? Create that and then share your process and inspiration.


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I read this article in Harvard Business Review about how artists are often uncomfortable with sharing their creative process with other people. We don’t do groups, essentially. I believe this is very much true. I cannot — have tried — to co-write. I never like the outcome. My daughter, an artist, gets grumpy if you offer suggestions while she’s creating. My husband, a musician, will stop playing the guitar if you suggest another chord might work better in that melody.

Image result for image of the dagger of amon raMy son, who will likely grow up to be an engineer, is the most introverted person in the family, so you would think he wouldn’t like to work on teams, but that’s not the case. He’s very comfortable with accepting feedback from others. When he was on the robotics team, he started a project, someone else completed it and then he was the driver, working with others, at the competition. He can draw, play the guitar and write and he doesn’t care if you critique him. He’s happy for the input. He’s a techy, not a creative per se and there is something different about his brain than ours.

Some people are just better at cooperative efforts than others. As a writer, I can see the reason for wanting to maintain control of my project, and yet, I do recognize the value of input from others. This is why I ask others to edit my material and, although I design my own covers, I ask for input from others.

I don’t really do fangirl star-struckness, so it took me a while to figure out how to write this article. For example, I admire the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, but I don’t necessarily admire Andrew Wyeth. So, given that mindset, who would be my creative dream team if I could make other creatives do what I wanted?

There’s a spot of abandonware out there that I would LOVE to see given a modern makeover. The Laura Bow series by Sierra was my first real role-playing computer game. The Colonel’s Bequest had Laura as a journalism student traveling to a creepy mansion outside New Orleans and getting involved in a murder mystery. I’m really good at mysteries,  but I never did solve it. The Dagger of Amon Ra had Laura in a museum, also with a murder mystery. Same thing. I never could solve it. I know whodunnit in both cases (those darned Internet sites), but I would still love to “solve” the mysteries myself. You can run the games today on most computers with a special mod, but it’s a pretty miserable experience. The technology of the day wasn’t great, the graphics suck and the great stories and hard puzzles aren’t really enough to overcome those obstacles.

After they’ve seen Paris, it’s hard to keep ’em down on the farm ….

So, if I had my way  ….

Roberta Williams, the original designer, would definitely need to be involved because she wrote the original stories. She’s retired these days and can’t do modern coding, but the project would definitely require her as a consultant. Otherwise it would end up like all those television shows they try to redo that turn out nothing like the show you loved, so you don’t watch them.

Then, I would like to see Her Interactive pick up the project because they do such a good job with the Nancy Drew mysteries. They have great writers and wonderful designers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find their names on the website. Combined with Williams’ original material, I trust the company’s team to do a great modernization of the tech while keeping the classic 1920s mystery and feel.

Cities Skylines cover art.jpgThen, just because I admire their entrepreneurial chutzpah in taking the disaster of Sim City’s turn to the dark side and subsequent death spiral to create a great game that I’m willing to plunk down coin to play, I would ask Colossal Order to come alongside the Laura Bow project and push it out to the public. Again, there’s no single person I would target. This company has a great team and I would want their collaboration.

I can imagine this cooperative effort yielding a game that is true to the mysteries of Laura Bow while featuring great graphics, maybe some cool music and some new fun features that weren’t possible back in the 1980 and 90s. And, I would not be surprised to see Her and Colossal Order come out with new Laura Bow games if this project found success.

While I’m not convinced that creative collaboration in novels yields better results than lone-genius efforts, I do see the benefits for projects like computer games, music and murals. A team approach can reveal insights and practical strategies that can enable all kinds of talent to flourish and create value together. Original writer and designer, new writer, new design team (that’s how they usually do computer games these days and a marketing team that has shown it knows how to come from behind with limited resources and take the market by storm —

That’s the definition of a dream team.

Snapshots in Verse   7 comments

Or maybe it would be easier to say my favorite poet. Actually, I like a lot of poets. As you might guess from my last name, I am distantly related to Edwin Markham, who my grandmother met in her parents’ home when she was about 15. Supposedly, she’d met him as a younger child too, but she had no memory of it. By the time she was 15, he’d attained some measure of fame and that made meeting him all the more weighty, she said.

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Image result for image of stopping by the woods on a snowy eveningSo, I grew up with his poetry. I also grew up with the poetry of Robert Service and Omar Khayyam. Robert Service, of course, is the unofficial poet laureate of the frozen northlands, so I actually have several of his poems memorized from my days working in the visitor industry. I worked with the grandson of Langston Hughes and memorized one of his poems to surprise Cory once.
I admire poets quite a lot. What they do is similar to what I do, but it’s a special skill that evokes pictures and emotions in quick snapshots that I find difficult to do well.
But my favorite poet is Robert Frost. Down-home, rural, painting pictures with words, not horribly preachy, but making some salient points. I don’t know of any Frost poems I don’t like, and the one I selected as my favorite has close competition from about four or five others.
This one, however, actually inspired a scene in Book 5 of Transformation Project. When the book comes out, you’ll have to read it to see what I mean by that since Robert Frost’s poems are just not that apocalyptic.
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   
My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   
He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
You can just see a man in a sleigh or wagon, standing next to a dark wood with a lake nearby, his horse quietly bobbing his neck, wondering how come they’ve stopped. The snow drifting down in big snow globe flakes, some slight drifting out on the ice. No stars or moon to diminish the snow’s featured role, just the stark trees against the white sky and the slight tinkle of harness bells.
Way back in highschool, a teacher suggested the last stanza is a reference to suicide. Having read a lot of Frost even by then, I doubted it and still do. I think he was tempted to go for a walk in the beautiful deep snow, maybe make a snowman. But he had other commitments and he was a long way from his bed. He had a horse to put up and probably fires to mend. He didn’t have time for more than this snapshot of beauty on a snowy night. It was time to go.

Cost-Benefit Analysis   5 comments

This week’s blog hop topic is a “pro-con” list, which is really a cost-benefit analysis. This happens a lot at our house because:

  1. We’re not independently wealthy
  2. We’re debt-adverse

Currently, we have three major pro-con discussions going on, but the literary one I’m working on is probably of more interest to you than the one my son is doing on his college decisions.

Image result for image of a pro con listEvery time I publish a book, I find myself needing to do a pro-con list about what my next project will be. I have two series underway and a healthy back-list of stories that would like me to pay attention to them.

After I published Objects in View, I didn’t do this and the last six months have been … um, scattered, I guess. I revisited a literary fiction I’ve been playing with for years. Even sent it to the beta readers. The feedback I got suggests it needs more work. I wrote a short story submission for an anthology,  I’ll know in April whether that was accepted … or it could go in a book of short stories I’m considering. I have worked on A Threatening Fragility, the third book in Transformation Project, some and I have also worked on Fount of Dreams, the third book in Daermad Cycle, some. And, I’ve also dabbled with a YA and a mystery-romance that sort of want my attention.

Do you see my problem? I lost focus because I didn’t make a plan as to which project should be my primary project in this cycle. Time to correct that problem — starting with a pro-con list.

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So a basic “pro-con” list might help me to decide which book series to work on next. This is sort of a modified pro-con list because I have multiple jobs. Pro-con lists can be simple ticks in a box and the most ticks wins or the ticks can be weighted. Because I got busy and missed the deadline on this post, I’m not sharing all of my thinking with you.

Pros for working on Daermad Cycle next.

If I’m trading off on the series, it’s next in line as I published from Transformation Project last.

I thoroughly enjoy writing fantasy.

I’m at a point in the story where a lot of mystical elements and philosophic questions are coming to light.

The book cover for Fount of Dreams has already been done.

Cons for Daermad Cycle

Writing fantasy takes longer, so it will likely be another six months to a year before the book will be ready for publication, which is a long time between books

Daermad Cycle doesn’t sell so well as Transformation Project. They are different genres and fantasy sells less well than apocalyptic as a rule and I’m at a loss for marketing ideas.

Pros for working on Transformation Project next.

This writes fast. It’s set in a mostly modern world with people who think like ordinary Americans in an extraordinary circumstance.

My rabble-rousing on the blog acts as marketing for the books.

The third book really gets into the nitty-gritty of what is happening in the wake of the bombs.

Although the subjects are dark, I’m focusing on Cai more than Shane this book and Cai is a much less brooding character, so enjoyable to write.

Cons for Daermad Cycle

The cover is still in development.

I don’t want to lose momentum on Daermad Cycle.

It brings me that much closer to the dark turn in the series, which is artistically gratifying, but I suspect it will be depressing to write.


My decision?

The third book of Transformation Project – A Threatening Fragility — is my primary project for the next six months.

Because I always have a secondary and usually a tertiary project that I can go to when I get bored (so as to avoid writer’s block), Daermad Cycle 3 – Fount of Dreams – will be secondary and the rewrite my literary fiction What if Wasn’t will be the tertiary. My goal is to have A Threatening Fragility ready for publication mid-summer.

My Favorite Job   11 comments

This week’s Blog Hop topic is “What was our favorite non-writing job and why?”

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I don’t know what it feels like to be able to write full-time. I’m not independently wealthy, so I’ve always had to work a “real” job. My first job was working for my mother’s daycare after school. My second job was sweating to death in a laundrymat washing, drying and folding other people’s clothes. I’ve been a waitress, a newspaper reporter, all different kinds of cashier, a janitor, a house cleaner, a window washer, a hotel front desk clerk, a hotel maid, a professional photographer, a tour guide, a legal transcriptionist, a psychiatric transcriptionist, an administrative assistant and an administrator (which is basically an administrative assistant with responsibilities). I went to college to be a journalist, so you would think that would be my favorite job, but it really wasn’t.

Related imageMy top favorite job was as a front desk clerk for a campground here in Alaska. At the time it was the largest campground in Fairbanks with over 500 sites if you included all the tent sites. Norlite provided full-coverage camping – shower, laundry, dump station, motor home wash, water fill station, a convenience store, a liquor store, a small eatery, tourism information, about 40 full hookups, 100 electric and water hookups and hundreds of tent sites. On a full-to-the-gunnels day, we could host 1500 people from all over the United States and many foreign countries. And this site had a lot of tree-shaded sites, the owner’s garden and a watch goose. Yes, she was a goose who thought her job was campground security. If you’ve never had your behavior corrected by an irate goose, you have not learned discipline.

It was a great job! It paid minimum wage, but the owner Sarah was a gourmet cook, so we ate well. The first summer I worked there, it poured down rain from July 4 to Labor Day. And, I mean, POURED. Because we had to leave the office regularly, we were wet constantly — until I got smart and started coming to work in a tank top and shorts with rainproof sandals and a slicker. I’d come inside, hang up my slicker and be dry and warm because all of my clothes were dry. It took my coworkers weeks to figure out my secret.

The tourists liked me a lot. We weren’t allowed to solicit tips, but we could accept them if offered and the tourists would hire me to give them local tours during my off-hours. Sarah was big on us telling them about all the little out-of-the-way places they could visit, the tours they could book, the restaurants they could go to. I could convince tourists who planned to spend one night to stretch their stay to a week and bypass Anchorage entirely (they weren’t missing much).

The other three summers I worked there were HOT! These were also huge years for Alaska tourism, so we were always full. And there was always something going on. Snow on the 4th of July … yes, snow. It was HOT out when some of the visitors came in to tell me that it was snowing. I didn’t believe them because I was covered with sweat, but there really was white stuff coming out of the sky and melting into rain about two feet from the ground. There was the bear that wandered into town and spent a couple of hours rooting through a dumpster some tourist left open. There was the biker gang that stayed with us all one summer and acted as unofficial security. As their leader put it “We don’t piss in our own nest.” They might have been murdering people at the Rendevous, bu they were wonderful to us. One day some guy showed up to demand that we tell him where his wife was. She was staying with us to get away from his abusive self. When he started yelling at me, I wondered if I could get to the shotgun (yes, shotgun) fast enough to get him before he hurt me, but in walked two of the biker gang ladies who backed him out of the office and slapped him silly all the way to his truck. His wife stayed with us for the rest of the summer before she caught a flight to the Lower 48, but he never came back. While some people might think an incident like that was scary (and it was for a moment), it is one of those I look back on fondly.

There was the prostitute who pulled her trailer into the campground every spring and stayed until Labor Day. She was from the Mat-Su area, but had discovered that the construction crews here liked a nice tumble between jobs. Fairbanks has a long history of prostitution and we have our home-grown lot, but Wendy was very professional. We all knew what she was doing, but Sarah had an agreement with her that she would keep it subtle and it was fine. Sometimes the regular tourists would come in all atwitter about “that trailer”, but when asked, they had just realized that there was a different guy there every few hours. She wasn’t noisy or rude. They just thought that sort of thing was illegal, so why weren’t we doing something about it? Sarah would always say, with a wink, “That’s our entertainment committee.” Nobody ever called the cops, and because she worked all hours, Wendy was an additional set of eyes for nighttime campground security.

My third summer there was hot and the forests around Fairbanks were aflame. We had about 1500 people in the campground that day when a big rig pulled up outside, followed by two vans. A couple of men got out and asked if they could rent a tent site and some place to park this huge truck. Sarah and the brash man in charge agreed on three tent sites and she told me to lead them back to the “field”. It was hot and dusty and I had to go 5 mph on the little moped we used to led campers to their site. The young man driving the big rig remembers that my tank top was soaked in sweat and my braid was dripping water (I think I’d rinsed myself with the hose not long before they arrived). It wasn’t a great first impression, but he was amazed by this tiny little girl who took absolutely charge of a giant truck and his father, who is known to be a maverick. I admit that I didn’t see Brad other than as the guy behind the windshield. A couple of days later, we met formally as I was doing a rent audit and then later that day he came into the office to buy ice cream and just wouldn’t leave. We went out that night and the rest is somewhat infamous.

I could tell a hundred Norlite stories, but you should get the idea. It was outdoors, fun, interacting with the public, extremely service oriented, owned by entrepreneurs, casual, a little different every day, and filled with a lot of unexpected encounters. It was also a great place for a writer to get to know people.

And, wow, now I feel like writing a story based on it.

Posted March 6, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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