Posts Tagged ‘Jon Krakauer’

It’s been ages since I’ve posted here – I’ve had my hands full with work and some on-again, off-again health issues that, happily, seem to be under control now.

I’m really excited about my latest story. It’s a long look at the “McCandless pilgrims” who risk their lives trying to reach the bus from Krakauer’s Into the Wild. I put a lot of work into it, and got a lot of help and information from some amazing people I connected with along the way, and I am very pleased with how it came out:
Chasing Alexander Supertramp

I’ve also got a new story out in the December issue of Up Here that deals with similar themes. It’s called Hiding Among Us, and it’s about the long tradition of people coming to the North to disappear.

Another Up Here story, from the September issue, is about a group of miners abandoned on Great Slave Lake: The Great Escape From Outpost Island Mine

Meanwhile, some amazing news arrived in September: My Vela essay,
Not an Ike and Tina Thing, was listed in the Notable Selections of The Best American Essays 2013, while Three Kites on the Ice landed in the notables for The Best American Sports Writing 2013.

I’ve got a bunch of new features in the works for early 2014. Stay tuned!

Update: The story has a new online home now. Thanks!


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Thanks to Matador Nights co-editor Kristin Conard, who posted this interview with Jon Krakauer in the comments of my Origin Stories post.

Here’s Krakauer on his early writing efforts:

I knew that you couldn’t make a living simply writing about the outdoors, so I made an effort from the beginning of my freelance career to write about other subjects. Since I had been a carpenter, I felt like I could bullshit my way writing about architecture for Architectural Digest. I had been a commercial fisherman, so I had queried Smithsonian about a commercial fishery in Alaska, and they went for it. I queried Rolling Stone early on about firewalking, walking on hot coals, and agreed to write it on spec.

I tried writing for local Seattle magazines and found that it was just as difficult to get published locally as it was nationally and the local magazines paid literally ten percent as much, so I said fuck the local stuff. I was setting quotas that I would write ten query letters a week, and I definitely worked hard, but I got lucky. Because I wanted to pay the rent, I didn’t have any grandiose ambitions of being an artiste; I wanted to pay the fucking bills, so I worked really hard.

I realized that what I wrote for Rolling Stone had to be pretty different from Smithsonian, and I gave them whatever they wanted, I wanted to sell the article. It was useful, as a writer, to try out different voices and it was also smart, as a businessman.

The whole thing’s worth a read – there’s also some interesting stuff about the emotional process of writing Into Thin Air, and returning to climbing, in the wake of the Everest disaster.

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