It’s tough writing your own biography. But it’s tough writing any story without knowing the end. So here’s what I’ve got so far:
All this started with skiing. I learned to rip down a mountain at a young age and got comfortable enough in the hills not to mind the wilderness or what most people call the dangers. Then high school wasn’t really exciting, so we filled the time picking the deepest and steepest lines or jumping over a friend’s Jeep and a road gap.
We rode mountain bikes in the summer between flinging flies at trout.
Then I went to college and learned some languages and some literature. Gonzaga University was a little too far from good snow so I started bouldering and while attending Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy, I learned to sport climb.
After returning to the States, and graduating, I took the climbing thing on the road and disappeared into the dry lands of Bishop, Calif., and Joshua Tree National Park. I learned to trad climb on that trip.
Since then it’s been a bit of anything and everything that sounds, or feels, fun and entertaining. And it seems to be working well enough.
Now, I can chase adventures under the sun and still show up for work on time, or at least close, and throw a few newspaper pages together to collect the paycheck that makes it all possible (working for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle since late 2007).
As for the writing, that seems to have been more of an accident.
Despite English being my native tongue, I never fancied myself any good at it. But in an early, something like the second, English course I took in college I gave a Marxist reading to a short story we covered in class. Truth be told, at the time I was at the end of my rope trying to get a grade I thought congruent with approval, so with all the false-confidence of desperation I wrote a paper that finally got someone’s attention. Though when the professor asked to see me about the writing, I was certain I would be asked for an explanation then find myself begging for a way to make it up. Instead, I was told to submit the thing to a first-year writing contest the school held annually. If that wasn’t odd enough to me, the cheque and sweatshirt I was handed after the story won was.
To save a few words … after that without finding any better idea, I stuck with what I seemed to have a penchant for, writing.
Here are the stories that won awards:
- Spin Cycle – 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism award, second place
- White knuckle ride – 2008 Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism award, first place
- The Proletariat Swimmer – Franz and Ann Schneider Essay Contest winner (Gonzaga University freshman writing contest)