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Author Archive: "Eric Blehm"
Posted by Eric Blehm, January 23, 2010 11:58 am
Filed under: Original Essays.
After September 11, 2001, my wife and I started a time capsule of sorts that we planned to open sometime years down the road, when our then theoretical kids would be at an age to be interested in their country's history.
I myself used to be enamored by the box my mom kept that contained tattered old ration books from her youth during World War II. She would explain why they rationed things like sugar and flour and described the blackouts in Los Angeles while showing me the safety pins her mother had used to hang blankets over the windows. There were packages from seeds she'd used to plant a victory garden, and copies of Time magazine and newspaper clippings that her mother had saved spanning Pearl Harbor to D-Day, victory in Europe, and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.
That box of memories provided me a tangible connection to World War II — my parent's generation — and instilled in me a respect for our armed services. As a teen, I delved into books that documented many of the battles and all the wars in our recent history, including Korea and especially Vietnam.
So when the terrorists attacked our country and our generation was poised for war, my wife and I collected newspapers, printed out emails we'd exchanged with friends, saved magazines like Time and Newsweek, and put aside a few mementos from our wedding, which was on September 14, 2001. We continued to add articles after our military confirmed that American soldiers were on the ground in Afghanistan in late October, 2001. We were glued to the television as tiny bits and pieces of news circulated through — grainy night-vision footage of an Army Ranger raid on an airfield in Southern Afghanistan, pictures of Special Forces soldiers on horseback alongside the Mujahideen in the north. It was in early December that I clipped out one article about Hamid Karzai, a statesman who had been exiled by the Taliban and became a guerrilla leader. There was a photo of Karzai surrounded by a group of eleven Special Forces Green Berets, all of whom had been killed or wounded, Karzai included. The next thing I knew, Karzai was the interim leader of Afghanistan, soon to become the country's first democratically elected president. This was one of those stories I suspected would remain permanently archived deep in the bowels of the CIA.
Posted by Eric Blehm, February 2, 2007 11:46 am
Filed under: Guests.
Treading dangerous waters this morning as a writer, but hey... book reviewers like Janet Maslin of the New York Times get paid to cast their opinions every day. Why not us lowly authors who pine for the bone they hope gets tossed their way in the form of a "rave" review in some such publication?
The Last Season has gotten many rave reviews, I think in great part because of Randy Morgenson's character — be it considered flawed, funny, self-righteous, and/or downright heroic. Some people loved Randy's piss-and-vinegar, Edward Abbeyâ€“like prose, while others (very few, actually) got bogged down by it. Some forgave him the affair he had, while others cast their entire opinion on that "flaw." And a major draw for many who read and reviewed The Last Season was of course the book's main character, the High Sierra wilderness itself.
Those who could relate to this setting — the harsh, rugged, lonely landscape where solo rangers patrol on foot — were more captivated, say, than individuals who hadn't been exposed to such environs. Maybe this is why Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure gave the book the coveted lead ...
Posted by Eric Blehm, February 1, 2007 11:52 am
Filed under: Guests.
Well, it's Wednesday, and I spent a half-hour this morning on the Louie Free Radio Show that airs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and surrounding states. Louie is a cool guy who actually read The Last Season, so we had a nice, unscripted two-sided conversation during which he admitted he is a sort of "aging hippy" and, as such, could relate to a few of the characters in the book. But one of the nicest things a reader (or a talk-show host) can tell a writer is that a book "delivers." Thanks, Louie, for broadcasting that across the airwaves.
On the subject of "delivery" (how's that for a seamless transition?), I know I built up the whole Beaver Incident and I really wanted to share with you the first (and noticeably so) assigned article that I wrote for TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine back in 1993. But apparently it's buried too deeply in the archives of my garage — and, by the way, I narrowly escaped a horrible plight while searching for it. I was rummaging through my magazine collection, which is stored in dozens of stacked plastic bins, when my ...
Posted by Eric Blehm, January 31, 2007 12:26 pm
Filed under: Guests.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
— John Muir
Many of you have seen this quote by John Muir, but some of you may not have seen it in its entirety, which goes something like this: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
That one is for KC, who asked me in the comments section of Monday's Blog to talk about my most magical day in the Eastern Sierra.
Today was a good day to ponder that. I was in traffic (it was raining, a rarity in San Diego County that turns drivers into paranoid, bumbling idiots spurred on by local media who treat every low pressure system like the Storm of the Century), and as brake lights flickered on and off in front of me, my mind wandered through the flipbook of my times spent in the Sierra. Here and there, I paused at certain choice ...
Posted by Eric Blehm, January 30, 2007 12:47 pm
Filed under: Guests.
Okay, so the surf looks pretty dismal again this morning. It's small and the wind is already on it and it's a good morning to swill coffee (French roast, double cream, single sugar) and get some shi... stuff done. Monday and life is good — dare I admit in part because one of my favorite shows is on tonight. I love the outdoors, recreate "out there" as much as I can, but one of my vices is educational television. You know, the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Cooking Channel, and... well, oh hell, tonight is all about Prison Break and 24. Are there any Jack Bauer fans out there? You know, the lean, mean, counterterrorism fighting machine played by Kiefer Sutherland, whose lines are usually shouted with extreme urgency into his ever-present cell phone and go something like this: "THIS IS JACK BAUER! I NEED A BOMB SQUAD, SATELLITE COVERAGE ON MY COORDINATES, AND A HELICOPTER, STAT! AND GET ME THE PRESIDENT..."
I just had an epiphany. How great would it be if Jack was my research assistant?
Ponder that, and I'll come back to it in a few ...
Posted by Eric Blehm, January 29, 2007 12:13 pm
Filed under: Guests.
"Almost caught a beaver this morning..."
That was the first sentence I wrote in my first-ever assignment as a writer. It was a profile about a snowboarder, and the editor — a cynical literary rogue named Lee Crane — looked at me when I handed the sheet of paper to him and said, "You passed." Lee, I learned, used what he called "the first sentence test" on all the pieces he assigned and read: books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, you name it. He told me, "If you don't hook me right then and there, I'm outta here."
I won't go into the "beaver" story, unless some of you request more. Really, the only reason I started my blog like this is because I wanted to catch your attention. Are visions of furry woodland creatures dancing in your head? Mission accomplished. Thanks for sticking around.
Well, first things first. My name is Eric Blehm, and I'm truly excited to be here in the cyberhalls of Powell's to kick off the paperback release of my book The Last Season. See, I'm kind of a rookie (i.e., full-fledged nobody) in the big-league writing game, and ...