If you want to write – a book! Part I

“Wanted: someone willing to sit for hours in front of a blank page and come up with words and sentences which will hopefully become riveting fiction, compelling memoir or beautiful poetry. Financial compensation: potentially zero. Benefits: an excuse to avoid working, housecleaning, laundry, and exercise. “ During a recent promotional event for the People of Yellowstone book at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, many visitors asked me if I knew when Old Faithful would erupt, but some stopped by our display table to peruse the book and ask questions about writing. Several said that they would like to write a book, too. Some imagined they would write fiction, but most wanted to write about their own life. “How do you begin a memoir?” they asked. “What’s the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?” Why do people think they want to write a book? I asked myself. I’m not sure if I can answer this for others, but I do know that writing is a wonderful and mysterious heroic journey during which it’s possible to make amazing discoveries about our self and the world. “Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves,” says Carol Pearson, author of The Hero Within. I think we can say the same thing about initiating a writing project. It’s a heroic feat. But how does it begin? Most of us wouldn’t consider entering into hand-to-hand combat or a tennis tournament without some training, but to accomplish a piece of writing – a short story, essay, or even a book – it is possible to hone your skills on the job. The first requirement is to put words […]

People of Yellowstone: Living the Dream of Working in a National Park

For those who have dreamed of living and working in a place that’s still wild with mountains, lush forests and animals living in their natural habitat – here are some tantalizing ideas. Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure recognized throughout the world. It is also our oldest park, dating back to the efforts of Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Most people think of forest rangers when they contemplate who actually works in the park today, but, in fact, there are more than one hundred different jobs both paid and voluntary – including many types of rangers. In our new book, People of Yellowstone, photographer Steve Horan and I captured the stories of eighty-seven people – in words and full-page photographs – who work, live and play in the Yellowstone region. As I conducted interviews of the people Steve had photographed, I heard accounts of how challenging it is to set up a camp kitchen with a wood stove next to a stream for running water in the middle of wild back country, as well as the technical difficulties of measuring continuous seismic activity, and trying to prevent people from falling into boiling hot pools. When five feet of snow accumulates on the roof of the Old Faithful Inn, it’s time to call in one of the “winter keepers” who harvest the snow in blocks like giant styrofoam cubes. These are just a sample of the fascinating activities that involve people in the park throughout its 3,468 square miles. You’ll meet Suzanne Lewis, the first woman to become superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, and Jett Hitt who composes symphonies when he’s back from leading trail rides in the […]

People of Yellowstone

A group of amazing people work behind the scenes and in front of the camera at Yellowstone National Park. In fact, the park would not continue to exist and remain wild and wonderful if not for the People of Yellowstone who work as rangers, wranglers, rescuers, artists, hotel employees, scientists, animal trackers, and much more. We hope you will jump on the campaign to bring their story to the world.