One of the reasons I left the newspaper business and joined Fireside Books [in Palmer, AK] is because I wanted more time and energy to write. What I didn’t expect is how stimulated I would be by the actual work of bookselling. To be constantly surrounded by all these ideas and stories and art!
The morning was so cold that when Jack first stepped outside and harnessed the horse, his leather boots stayed stiff and his hands wouldn’t work right. A north wind blew steadily off the river. He’d have liked to stay indoors, but he had already stacked Mabel’s towel-wrapped pies in a crate to take to town. He slapped himself on the arms and stomped his feet to get the blood flowing. It was damned cold, and even long underwear beneath denim seemed a scant cotton sheet about his legs. It wasn’t easy, leaving the comfort of the woodstove to face this alone. The sun threatened to come up on the other side of the river, but its light was weak and silvery, and not much comfort at all.
...Black spruce and dark winters spoke of lonely isolation, and the fresh, sparkling snow brought hope and magic.
Growing up in Alaska, I’ve at times felt a foreigner in the pages of my country’s literature. All the books I had read and loved, but not one of them told of my home. The characters didn’t live the way we did. ... But the setting of the old Russian fairy [tale] was hauntingly familiar.
...She had never understood how Jack could fall asleep in a chair without washing up, talking to her about his day, or even removing his filthy boots. Now she knew. Yet for all the sore muscles and monotony, the days of working in the fields filled her with a kind of pride she had never known.