Sierra Gold Rush History
I was born in Los Angeles sometime around the end of the last Ice Age, and moved with my family to the mountain fastnesses of Sierra County when scarcely more than a tot.
My parents -- a talented but zany artist father and a more rational biochemist mother -- made this move rather impulsively, I gather. And while taking up residence in a wee cabin in the piney woods, far from traditional sources of income, proved to be more romantic than practical, I was and am grateful. Had we remained in Southern California, I doubt seriously that I should have formed the profound attachment to untamed rivers, deep forests, craggy mountains, and the wild flora and fauna which nourish my spirit even today. Growing up in relative isolation, with the time to and necessity of amusing myself, at an early age I turned to books, fantasizing, and (perhaps inexorably) writing. Being a shy one, I did a lot of observing. And despite social conditioning meant to curb childish curiosity, I have never stopped asking "Why?" (My husband finds this vastly irritating, as do my elected representatives.)
My first paid, adult-type job was as a feature writer for a newspaper while I attended college. Then, following the dictates of ages past for females of modest talent and courage, I got married. I produced children -- fine sons who are a great joy to me and others, and who have amply educated me into the mysteries of maleness (as my brothers tried to do) and the next generation. Around the edges I continued to observe, to write, and to volunteer in areas of life about which I knew very little but eventually learned much. I accumulated an odd assortment of work experience entirely unplanned and unforeseen in my rarefied youthful daydreams. It has all proved to be grist for the writer's mill.
Writing books, as opposed to articles, is an entirely different kettle of fish. It takes a lot more tenacity and concentration, and feels waaaay more exposed. There is great satisfaction in spinning out a longer yarn, however, although Mark Twain's dictum still applies: one must "squeeze the wind and water" out of longer prose! Not every book the size of War and Peace is a keeper.