I recently returned from a walk to find in my mailbox a fat little U.S. Mail packet from the Whitefish Review. Not only did it contain the latest issue (a treat at any time), it had a few extras too: my contributor copies.
Those words feel pretty wild to write, and it’s an even more surreal sensation to look at my own words printed on the page — right next to a wonderful poem by Chris Dombrowski, and following a fascinating interview with National Geographic’s Chris Johns. There’s so much more here, too, including Rick Bass’ picks for this year’s Montana fiction award. I can’t wait.
If you don’t have a subscription, you can find a copy at several excellent bookstores, and probably also libraries, across the West. WR will send you one direct, if you prefer*. It’s a beautiful little book, both form and content. It feels good in your hands. And it smells delicious.**
The present issue is Our Living Planet***. Every piece it contains addresses, in the introductory words of editor-in-chief Brian Schott:
“…how we honor, celebrate, and fight for our planet. How do we love a broken being and rejoice in its beauty, even in the face of epic loss and uncertainty?”
What answer would you make to that powerful question? How do you respond — or want to start responding — with your daily life?
My contribution discusses shorebirds, growing up on military bases, and the complexities of national — as well as personal — power and identity. I’d be honored if you find the time to read it, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, too.
It’s such a crucial conversation, and one I think we can engage in with great joy, even when it’s also difficult, maybe discouraging. I read some words recently in a different publication that speak so powerfully to this difficulty, and our right role in wrestling with it:
“It is ok to be confused. It is ok to be small. It is ok not to know what to do. Really, the only thing that is not ok is turning away.”-Paul Kingsnorth, Life versus the Machine, in Orion Magazine, Winter 2018
*If you’re local, or you’re not but you ask sooner than later, I will happily bring or send you a copy. At the moment of writing, I find myself in possession of three extras.
**A very important attribute of a good book
***It’s #23. My lucky number.