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The Salmon River and Huckleberry Pie

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:31AM) (new)

It's been a litle quiet in our group, so I thought I would tell you what I've been doing the last few weeks. I'm sitting in a barbecue joint on Main Street, in beautiful Salmon, Idaho. Beans, coleslaw, and a pulled pork sandwich big enough for a husky appetite are in front of me, and I'm wondering if I've got room for a piece of huckleberry pie.

The Salmon River is one of the great rivers of the west, and my son and I are camping and fishing and eating pie in small town diners along the Lewis and Clark Trail, searching for the perfect huckleberry. The river, and the pie, have brought me to my latest writerly conundrum.

We were having a discusion at my writers group about why we wanted to be writers. There was a lot of high talk and as a group I thought we sounded a bit depressed, actually. I said, I just want someone to listen to me talk. And I was trying to be funny, but I think the truth slipped out when I wasn't looking.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park. The Bitteroot River Valley. The gorgeous Salmon River, and the mountains that must have nearly given Lewis a coronary when he saw them in the winter (Quick! Get in the Longhouse!)

If I was Native, Blackfoot, could I look out over the Bitteroot River Valley, over the hills and rivers and mountain streams and not still, to this day, feel resentment at the loss of this land? The bitterness of this loss, burning like acid in my throat, no way would that ever go away. I ought to write a story about it.

I know! I ought to write a story about every one of the great rivers of the American West! The entire tragic bloody foolish epic history of our country, told river by river! It will be an American Masterpiece!

And why am I busy planning my great river epic when I have a wonderful sexy fun book contract with MLR Press? Why am I eating huckleberry pie and camping when I should be hard at work? I'm afraid it's because I'm suffering from that chronic writer's disease: I just want someone to listen to me talk. And what I want to talk about is outstanding! Magnificent! Put down your book and listen to me!

But I can't screw around, I have a book contract and it shines like an alien sun in my life, so beautiful and strange and dangerous. This must be what it's like for you guys to finally buy the truck of your dreams, only to fall in love with the Jeep across the street.

But I'm a decent sort, a mother, for goodness sake, and we can't just camp and eat pie forever! So I'm going to get to work and get writing about what I'm supposed to be writing. But at night I'll still dream about the rivers. Can't you just see them? Wow. The Yukon, The Snake, The Salmon, The Bitteroot, The Mightly Colorado, The Pecos, The Rio Grande. They feed the land, blood and water and history. Hmmm, maybe I can slip a river into that story for MLR Press, the Yukon, frozen in the dark of the endless Alaskan night...

message 2: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:32AM) (new)

Laura Bacchi | 2 comments Wow! You have a lot going on... besides the trip. Congrats on your contract and enjoy some pie for me :)

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