More montana racism echoes my novel

Here’s an update on White supremacism in Montana, reported by the Montana Free Press and the Montana Daily, along the lines of my new novel:

Big Sky Active Club, the group linked to the racist stickers applied to various sites at Montana State University in Bozeman, “has repeatedly appeared in news stories about white nationalist activity in Montana over the past year. Big Sky Active Club reportedly took credit last March for etching Nazi symbols at the Four Dances Special Recreation Management Area near Billings, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and named for a prominent Crow leader. Months later, residents of more than a dozen homes in Miles City reported receiving CDs in the mail containing audio and music files supporting the neo-Nazi movement.”

The Montana Free Press story continues: “In October, a peaceful rally outside the Missoula County Courthouse in support of Palestine was disrupted by a group of masked protesters carrying signs with neo-Nazi slogans, one of whom was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct. White supremacist activity was reported that same day outside Missoula’s Har Shalom synagogue …

“A ‘demonstration report’ posted online by White Lives Matter Montana last October listed five regional groups, including Big Sky Active Group, as participating in the demonstrations outside the Missoula courthouse and Har Shalom.

“Last month, the Great Falls Public Library learned that neo-Nazi propaganda stickers had been inserted into numerous books in its collection.”

More montana racism echoes my novel Read More »

Racism news echoes montana blues

Tones of violent racism in Montana run through my new novel, and recent news from the Daily Montanan shows the threat is real:

Marquayvion Hughes, a Black student at Montana State University in Bozeman (where Montana Blues is set), quit the university “in part because he no longer wanted to face white supremacism, he said. He was called the ‘n’ word at MSU, saw Nazi propaganda in trash cans on campus, and heard Bobcats at a football game ‘screaming racial slurs to members of the other team.’ …

“One student said she reported a poster with Nazi imagery and eugenics propaganda placed on her car. She saw similar posters plastered to poles around the parking lot.” …

Alexandra Lin, an MSU student “who is part Taiwanese … said she has received numerous death threats, graphic images of Asian porn, and racist messages, such as an email telling her to ‘Kill yourself, ch–k.'”

Racism news echoes montana blues Read More »

Montana blues in indiana

Now my new novel has wandered into Indiana, thanks to two eccentric Joes — Joe Rhodes (a semi-retired writer for major magazines such as Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, somehow living in a van traveling North America for the last 14 years), and Joe Vitti (a semi-retired photographer for major newspapers including the LA Times and the Indianapolis Star, now living in Indiana). Here are pix of the Joes and the van in Indiana, and the van’s roaming to the California desert. Thanks, Joes!

Montana blues in indiana Read More »

hummer in my hand

Today I was in the living room by a big window and heard a soft thump. I realized that a bird flying outside had hit the glass. I went out and spotted a hummingbird lying on its back on the ground. I picked up the tiny bird and gently coaxed it back to consciousness for a few minutes. Then it flew off, wonderful. … Yeah, Tucson. Now I’m going to put stickers on the window so birds can see the glass better (I already put stickers on the sliding-glass door a while ago).

hummer in my hand Read More »

my process

My process begins with ideas, of course, and listening to the words. Deep into it, I’ll print out a draft of a novel, then I’ll reread and rewrite, then I’ll print out another draft for another round of rereading and rewriting, and so on. I’ll do some doubling-back to see what I had in some previous draft, all of this for draft after draft until I need to stick my head in a bucket of ice. Sometimes the writing feels as good and easy as singing. Sometimes it’s like digging up rocks with a pickaxe, still kind of enjoyable because it’s solving problems.

my process Read More »

montana blues with tom zoellner

A nice surprise — my new novel showed up in the hands of Tom Zoellner during Tom’s August 9 online talk for the Border Community Alliance. Tom is based in the L.A. area, and I was watching his talk on my computer, enjoying his remarks about his eighth book, Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona. Suddenly he’s recommending my novel to the audience, saying that Montana Blues is “really outstanding fiction … a fast-moving, suspenseful story.” Tom is an Editor-at-Large for the Los Angeles Review of Books, along with teaching as an English prof at Chapman University. Kindness is one of his traits. Thanks, Tom.

montana blues with tom zoellner Read More »