I had a wonderful dinner last night in Girdwood, at Alaska’s famous Double Musky restaurant. Stunning scenery, savory food, great company – a new friend and one I’d known years ago. In the way things happen here, my new friend knew my old friend, and she re-connected us.

My “old” friend, who’s very young at heart, came to Alaska in 1954. She and her husband homesteaded Stony River from 1960-1970, building not just a home for their family of seven but also a town so folks didn’t have to send their kids to Wrangell to school. Gail Sheehy wrote about her in Passages. Now she’s prepping to tell her own story by taking an online class in memoir writing with 12 people from across the country.

“Hands down, your stories are the best in the class,” I said.

She laughed. “My classmates seem to think so,” she admitted. In contrast memoirists who hype their tales, crossing the fuzzy line between creative nonfiction and fiction, my friend says she’s having to tone some stories down a notch or two. “Otherwise no one would believe them,” she explained.

I pressed for an example and had a good laugh over Uncle Tony, a careening fuel drum, and a red bathrobe – not all in the same tale. I won’t give up the details – they’re hers to tell. But this will be one to read. I can pretty much guarantee it.

Scroll to Top