Northern Plains

Light in the North

After months of darkness, the euphoric sense of relief from hours and hours of light lasts all spring and summer. The sun is constantly shifting when in the East it rises and where in the West it sets. The gift of this is that if you have an East or West facing window, the sun will only blind you in the morning / evening for about 3 weeks twice each year before it moves on.

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Dolnstein, History, Luther, Northern Plains

Double Book Progress & Toxic Tourism

The Black Band: Finished draft 2 of chapter 3 and fired it off to my editor. Today I have a 3 hour Write-In with a colleague to work on chapter 4, in which Paul Dolnstein drinks a beer with Martin Luther.

The War with the Sioux: Today brings a Skype editing meeting with my co-translator.

Toxic Tourism: Apparently this is a thing. Toxic Tourism is a form of activist tourism where people pay to visit environmental disaster zones. These would be zones created by human actions – pollution in particular.

Bill Caraher notes that Toxic Tourism tends toward a less than helpful focus on “economically disadvantaged, minority, and marginalized communities which do not have the political standing to challenge unscrupulous producers or the location and precautions associated with dangerous and toxic industries.” Caraher talks about its impact on the Bakken oil patch here.

Dolnstein, History, Literary Project, Luther, Northern Plains, Village Arts

Book Updates

The War with the Sioux: Norwegians against Indians, 1862-1863 is with the publisher now. We are working on images and maps. The hope is a fall print date. The War with the Sioux is a collaborative translation of Karl Jakob Skarstein’s Krigen mot Siouxene: nordmenn mot indianerne, 1862-1863.

Voices from the Prairie is printing, as I understand it. Voices from the Prairie is a regional literary anthology.

The Black Band, the novel of Martin Luther and the Peasants’ War, is receiving all of my writing time now. I am adding several new chapters and have rewritten those I posted earlier to Scribd. I have hopes of being done by the end of the summer. We shall see. In the meantime, if I seem stranger than usual it is because I am in the 16th century.

Northern Plains

Just Part of the Job

The True Life and Heart of a RancherMarolynn Lesmeister, 14 April 2013
The True Life and Heart of a Rancher
Marolynn Lesmeister, 14 April 2013

Near Halliday, North Dakota, Marolynn Lesmeister snapped this image of Jordah Hausaer rescuing a calf during last weekend’s blizzard. Lesmeister entitled her photograph “The True Life and Heart of a Rancher.”

My cousin is a rancher, and so are a number of my friends. Here on the Northern Plains, we are fortunate to live in a world of cattlemen, cattlewomen, and farmers and ranchers with a variety of specialties. The kind of dramatic work that is Hausauer’s rescue is common to the life, just part of the deal.

Growing up in Montana and South Dakota, I wanted the ranch life. But it’s a helluvalotta work, and I’m not at all sure I would have been up to the task! Instead I admire these folks with a persistent awe.

Northern Plains

Apparently We Have One Season

12 April 2013

My father used to say, “Don’t put the shovel away until Mother’s Day.”

It’s supposed to be a joke, but perhaps we’ve said it long enough now that Mother Nature thinks we’re serious.

It’s snowing. Again. We live about forty minutes from the Canadian border, and for the most part I love the snow. It’s clean, beautiful, and on a night with any moon at all, the snow makes the long winter nights a little less dark.

That said, this has been an exceptionally long winter, and I am ready for spring. Everyone I know is ready. I’m even a teensy bit edgy about the weather now, lovely as the snow is. The next time someone asks how the roads are, I’ll answer, “North Dakotan.”