High water Inner Gorge. Photograph 1983 Tim Turner.

My life in a nutshell.

Between boating seasons on the Colorado in Grand Canyon and other rivers in the 1970s and 80s, I trained and worked as a fluvial geologist (focused on sediment traveling in moving water). My specialties ranged from transport of dinosaur bones in low-flow streams to water-driven erosion of silt and sand from agricultural and forested lands. Throughout my career, I’ve written books and articles for science and general publications. Selected writings are here.

Part of the NPS river unit. Photograph 1984 by Jeannine Koshear.

Part of the NPS river unit. Photograph 1984 by Jeannine Koshear.

Today I direct the artist and scientist residency program at PLAYA Summer Lake, Oregon. I’ve been a writer-in-residence myself in past years; my belief in the critical nature of protected time for creative work led me to the directorship. Every day is a new experience at PLAYA: the changeable light, often-brutal climate, people who fall for this place, challenges of life in a remote region.

Besides working at PLAYA, I’ve been a resident at Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers and The Island Institute.

Havasu eddy. Photograph 2005 by Krista Preston.

I’ve received a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, Waterston Desert Writing Prize, WILLA Award for original softcover fiction, and have been nominated for a Best American Science and Nature Writing Award and Pushcart Prizes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I’ve been a finalist for Arizona State University’s Cli-Fi Short Story Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Best Nature Book of the Year, the David Nathan Meyerson Fiction Prize, and the Chautauqua Fiction Prize.

My newest collection of essays, The Oasis this Time: Living and Dying with Water in the West, is due out in 2019 at Torrey House Press. Too much time at the desk and not enough on rivers, but they and their community are never far from my heart.