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.

I used to dread the big holiday columns for newspapers and magazines– Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter– I was always better with the lesser days, the days when the whole world wasn’t writing about the same subject, which is why I still miss my weekly Anchorage Daily News column and even the monthly Woman’s Day column I wrote for two years. Columns are my favorite genre. Bloggers and guest columnists now fill in that slice-of-life gap in those publications, and in many. They are a good deal for a publisher, as they usually write for free.  But something is lost, and it is more than wages for writers. One great guest column, while a stunner, doesn’t do the heavy lifting of a year of columns, which mostly are not great, though some are close. The nature of deadline writing is that you have to send something off that is good enough for now, yet over time, the words you write string together in a familiarity that becomes a kind of friendship. A writer can change her mind in a regular column. She can have a bad day. She doesn’t have to write everything she knows at once. She can evolve, in real time. Out loud. (I do prefer the filter of an editor, and maybe because I’ve had some for so long, I have a part of my brain that hopefully does a bit of that.) With regular columns on the outs, I have chosen to write my own, here on this blog. I write because you read. Otherwise I’d keep a journal. Regular columns are relationships in a way no other writing really is. A book ends. An essay wraps things up. A poem flashes like a flare in the night. In church on Sunday the priest said we all know “in our bones” that relationships are what transform us. Of course we do. Relationships are what I am most thankful for today, and everyday, really– my family, friends, neighbors, this community I live in, the dogs and chickens– and you, for reading this. You are why I write. Thank you.