It's a book! I made it! Available here!
OK, so, the book. This started in June when an Alaskan author named Seth Kantner (one of my heroes, but that's the subject of another post) came to Juneau to promote his latest book, "Shopping for Porcupine." That also happened to be the same day my parents flew into town to visit me. I dragged them almost directly from the airport to the bookstore to attend Kantner's signing and slideshow. As he flipped through photos of his hard life in the frozen wastelands of the Arctic, I kept glancing over at my mom and dad, expecting to see perplexed looks on their faces. But, like me, they seemed enthralled. I decided two things that evening: I needed to go back to the Iditarod Trail - if not in 2009, then someday. And I needed to get my 2008 experience on paper - not just the quick first impressions of the blog, but everything I could remember.
Before that night, I had already been working on essays of other past adventures, some of which I consider turning points in my life. When I started working on the Iditarod story, I noticed a lot of similar themes that cropped up in some of my old stories. The complimentary details seemed worth drawing together. I moved toward fusing the two projects - like parallel journeys at different points in time. The result is this book: My personal story of the Iditarod Trail and the far-reaching trails that led to it.
I finished it in September and didn't really feel compelled to add much to it. But I wasn't sure what to do with it. There was a sense that maybe it was worthy of publication, but I know myself well and I knew I was just going to bury it in a computer folder and forget about it as I avoided all of the work of trying to get a piece of creative nonfiction published. Years would go by and eventually the computer's hard drive would fizzle out and that would be that.
As I mulled just posting it on a blog (not this one, because this blog is already really long without the addition a 75,000-word post), I came across the idea of self publishing. I have lots of mixed feelings about self publishing, as I'm sure lots of authors do. But I put it together as a book and needled a little covert copy editing out of a friend and was fairly happy with the result.
All was uploaded and done about two weeks ago, but I've been hesitating because I wasn't sure this was what I really wanted to do. But now I don't just want to think about it anymore. This is how all of my best decisions are made. :-)
If you click on this link, you can purchase the book and help support my next big winter racing effort. By buying my book, you get a stack of new and interesting "Up in Alaska" material that you can read in bed, and I get a small royalty that I can put into my new-coat-and-peanut- butter-cup fund. The link will take you directly to the publisher's marketplace site. I understand shipping may be a little high, especially if you don't live in the United States. If that's the case, I am trying to get this listed on Amazon.com, but it will take several weeks at least. You can also download the PDF.
Finally, some of my friends and people I've met are depicted in this book (first-names only in most cases.) I worked really hard to depict the events as accurately as I could, but in the end, I'm relying almost entirely on my own memory. So I apologize in advance if you feel misrepresented in any way.
Also, if you come to this blog solely for the pictures, I am also thinking about putting together a fundraising calendar. And if you come to this site solely to compare your bicycle punishment to mine, don't worry, I'm still training hard and will be back to typing about that soon enough. :-)