Monday, October 25, 2010

Halfway there

Dear Friends -

It is incredibly windy today. I feel like I'm being pummeled, brushed, and buffed by an enormous electric toothbrush all over my body when I go outside. Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh. It makes me high, just looking at the way the trees are bending and creaking and the leaves go rocketing by. Wyoming is recognized as one of the windiest places in the country, or, as the wind farm people like to say, "a premiere wind site."

I've been sitting at my desk for six hours, more or less. Every now and then I'll look up and see herds of deer running by in the next field over. They leap. They bound.

The sky is an intense iron bluish-gray. The wind is howling. The atmosphere is fraught. It feels like something is going to happen.

Should I expect Mary Poppins or Jack London?

One of the residents here has generously downloaded a movie for me, "Sylvia," starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath, the bi-polar poet who committed suicide by gassing herself. I can watch it on my computer with earplugs. My son tells me it's probably not the best viewing material on a windy day in the lonesome middle of nowhere.

I've been re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book "The Last American Man" and it's pretty good. She's is a lot looser in this book, not so self-conscious or precious. She's having fun. She's found her subject. I take back what I said about her in an earlier post. I don't think she slept with Eustace Conway, the iconic mountain man who is the subject of her book. But I do think she slept with his younger brother, Judson. Or wanted to. And who wouldn't want to?

Here's how she described Judson, whom she met when she was 22 and working on a ranch in -- where else??-- Wyoming:

"I met Judson Conway the first day I came to the ranch. He was the first thing I set eyes on after that long drive up that big Wyoming mountain, and I kind of fell in love with him. I didn't fall in love with Judson like 'Let's get married!' I fell in love with him like 'Mercy!' Because here was Judson Conway at that moment: slim, handsome, hidden slightly under a cowboy hat, and appealingly dusty. All he had to do was stroll by me with his sexy swagger (classically executed, in the Hollywood manner of Pardon-me-ma'am-but-I-just came off-a-long-ride), and I was believer."


That narrator is so much more likable and trust-worthy to me than the one in "Eat, Pray, Love," with its movie-of-the-week epiphanies and neat little observations.

As for my own writing, it is inching along. I still hope to have a draft finished by the time I leave Ucross.


Horoscope for today: "Your ability to get your point across is sharpened right now, although you may have a hard time finding people to talk to." Ha! Ha! Ha!

I haven't talked to a single soul today except the answering machine in my Ohio home. Dinner is in two hours. New people have come today to Ucross. I can't wait to meet them.

Thank you for reading my blog. It makes me feel a little less OUT THERE on the prairie. This blog is a tumbleweed and I've pinned a note to it, hoping it rolls its way up to your door.


  1. I love it when your tumbleweeds show up at my door, sister.

    So apparently I should give Elizabeth Gilbert another chance? I've seen her speak on YouTube and she seemed so cool; don't know why EPL came off so lame-o. You're totally right about the movie of the week epiphanies.

    Thinking of you, out on the prairie, from my spot on the couch amid all the deciduous trees. Windy here today, too. I'll bet the sky isn't as big as it is there.

  2. Bobbi, thanks for posting. It was spitting snow a few minutes ago. And the wild turkeys are trying to get into the next pasture, only there is a fence in the way. They try to climb THROUGH it. One or two figure out if they jump on a branch they can hop over the fence. But most of them can't figure it out. They run back and forth frantically. I feel sorry for them but they ain't so bright.
    Yes, I really enjoyed "Last American Man." Also "Pilgrims." I'd give her another shot. Hope you're making progress on ze essay!

  3. I think one flaw in EPL is that it doesn't mention that she was living off a book contract. If you add that in, she comes off as a hardworking gal instead of a privileged spoiled brat.