High water Inner Gorge. Photograph 1983 Tim Turner.

My story on water.

I grew up in a family of outdoorsy outsiders. It was a natural transition to leave high school right after graduation and become a river guide. Between rafting seasons on the Grand Canyon and other rivers, I trained and worked as a fluvial (stream) geologist. My professional life put me in the middle of the flow–when running rivers and when researching them. And so my writing life revolves around the things I know best: water, water culture, water stewardship. Find my work 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 in Summer Lake, Oregon. Protected time and a community that supports creative work helps us get ‘er done. The artists and scientists who have graced this place would still have important projects stuck in their files if not for their efforts at PLAYA. Now their words, music, paintings, and papers are out changing the world.

I’m keeping up my own writing practice, a little. Everything I do is instigated by the same light and space that inspire our residents.

Havasu eddy. Photograph 2005 by Krista Preston.

My work has been supported by the Fulbright Association and Fulbright Canada, the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, and Women Writing the West (with their WILLA Award for my novel Junction, Utah). If you’re a writer focused on subjects important to these organizations, apply to them. They’re fabulous.

Preparing my new collection of essays, The Oasis this Time: Living and Dying with Water in the West (2019, Torrey House Press) has meant too much time at the desk and not enough out in nature, but its beauty is why I write.