It’s that time of year when we all tend to look back and reflect on the paths our lives have taken over the previous twelve months. For many of us, much was predictable: we managed the same obligations and the same routines that we have embraced for some time. For most of us, there were also a few unpredictable challenges and pleasures that either threw us off kilter or enriched us in unexpected ways.
My year has been full of surprises. In January, I was dealing with infuriating physical limitations and gearing up for a political fight. By February, I had acquiesced to both and, determined to use my new-found time constructively, had turned to a writing project I had neglected. I was deeply involved in that undertaking when my friend David Hoefer contacted me in May and said it was time to wrap up The Last Resort.
I wholeheartedly agreed and immediately switched gears. Both of us devoted the entire summer to our goal of publishing by the start of the fall academic year. We edited, polished, proofread, worked with our designers, struggled with software, launched a business, and, on August 17, produced a book we felt was ready to release to the public. It was an intense few months, and it was worth every bit of the hard work.
We are enormously pleased with the book’s reception and with the feedback so many of you have provided. Thank you for giving The Last Resort a chance and for indulging in a little nostalgia for a time long lost. I am most grateful for the people this project encouraged me to reach out to: my father’s former students, Sherry Olson and Alan Strahler; the family of my father’s former colleague, Charlie Denny; my father’s cousin, John Allen Moore; the family of my father’s best buddy, Bobby Cole; my childhood friends, Lorrie Abner Gritton and Marcy Feland Rucker; my cousins (you know who you are); my long-time writing friends, Roi-Ann and David Bettez and Rogers Bardé; and the next generation of forest ecologists, Bill Bryant and Tom Kimmerer.
This is also a time to look toward the future, toward the fresh start offered by the new year. In September, I enrolled in a nine-month writing program to sharpen my skills and provide the impetus I need to finish my first novel. The holidays have provided an opportunity to focus on that project, and I feel some momentum as we enter the new year. I intend to commit to that undertaking—at least until life’s unexpected twists and turns shove me off my intended path.
Here’s wishing all of you a year full of challenges that change you for the better and surprises that kick you out of your happy routine.