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High Plains Book Awards

The news came out yesterday that This Is What I Want is a finalist in the fiction category of the 2016 High Plains Book Awards. It’s my third finalist designation—the previous ones were for Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure in 2012 (short stories) and 600 Hours of Edward in 2010 (winner in the First […]


We were maybe twenty miles west of Billings, Montana, when we topped a hill and the land fell out before us, plains running in a soup bowl to the next plateau, the purple-blue sky a canopy fastened to the horizons at 360 degrees. Elisa drew in a breath and said, “I never get used to […]

Duaine’s Last Rites

This article originally ran in the Winter 2015 edition of the Montana Quarterly, a magazine with which I’ve had a long association, first as a frequent contributor and now as a member of the masthead (design director). If you’re a Montanan (present or in absentia), love Montana, or are simply interested in the culture and […]

Onward into 2016

Most years at this time, I write a little piece in this space about the year gone and the year ahead. Call it a natural byproduct of the job; putting things into some kind of perspective—good, bad or otherwise—is what I do. The problem today is that 2015 was just too big, too transformative, to […]

The great man smiled on us all

Tuesday night in Bozeman, in one of the singular honors of my writing life, I helped pay tribute to Ivan Doig at the Country Bookshelf. I’ll point you to the story I wrote for Last Best News if a nuts-and-bolts recounting is what you’re interested in. For me, the moments of wonder came after the seven […]

Farewell, Ivan Doig

I’ve been wrestling with whether to write this since I heard the news yesterday that Ivan Doig, the poetic chronicler of the American West and Montana, died at age 75. Unlike so many of my friends, of whom I’m endlessly envious, I have no story about meeting the man. Though he surely has been a […]