I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

 This morning I opened my email and found this note: “What type of tree is in the lower left foreground of the photo of Pearl that you posted on Oct 2 on Facebook?” [Mountain Ash.] Next came: “Heather, My husband Tom and I were in Skagway in Sept. when you were in  Anchorage (our first ever trip to Alaska; we live near Buffalo, New York) and I picked up your first book, in a small shop there. Did not  start reading until on the plane ride home.” She went on to say she stayed in Vancouver and wrote a poem inspired by the book, and added these always uplifting words for any writer to hear, “I LOVE both of your books (just purchased and am about a third of the way thru the second one).Thank you !” [I told her how happy she made me and how grateful I am.] Third came this one: “Hello Heather, I wanted to let you know that our Moms club here will be reading If You  Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name for this month’s meeting.  I first came to know your books through my Mom.  As I now live in a relatively small town,  she thought I would enjoy it and she knew I could read it without too much  struggle (unlike our recent read, Cleopatra: A Life) We’ll be purchasing copies of the book through our local bookstore – they will also feature your book for their book club in January 2013 – I’ll be leading the discussion for that one too.” [I replied that I’d be happy to Skype with her reading friends.] She also observed, “Right after I finished your first book, I began to notice the obituaries in the Washington Post.  I noted the many ways that death notices were phrased – expressions like ‘went to her great reward’ or ‘was called up’ or ‘fell into the arms of God’ or ‘transitioned into eternal life’ – much more expressive than ‘died’ or ‘passed’ and I wondered if you had such variety requested by those ‘left behind on this earth’  when writing your local obituaries?” [I told her that my editor at the Chilkat Valley News, Tom Morphet, does not allow such flowery language. Dead is died, not “passed away,” as in passed on to where or whom? ] Speaking of Tom, here is the final email in this batch, a story he forwarded me with this comment:  “Sometimes you eat the bacon. Sometimes the bacon eats you.” Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his hogs.Terry Vance Garner, 69, never returned after he set out to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm near the Oregon coast, the Coos County district attorney said Monday.A family member found Garner’s dentures and pieces of his body in the hog enclosure several hours later, but most of his remains had been consumed, District Attorney Paul Frasier said. Several of the hogs weighed 700 pounds or more.