Friday, June 18, 2010

Just in time for summer travel: MONTANA CURIOSITIES

If you're planning to travel around in Montana this summer, Ednor Therriault can tell you where all the good stuff is. His new book, Montana Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff, is a guide to all things strange and weird in every part of Montana. Parts you've never heard of as well as parts well-known.

Use Montana Curiosities to plan your route across the state. (Therriault logged 8,000 Montana miles during his quest for quirky.) And plan to be surprised -- stunned, even.

As you drive into Cut Bank, you'll be greeted by a 27-foot-tall cement penguin. In Wolf Point, you can use an old phone to call your waitress, although she's standing about 15 feet away. Find out where to hear the one-man band of Erik "Fingers" Ray, or see a two-headed calf or a stuffed behemoth bovine.

If you've read Bob Wire's columns (Ednor Therriault, slightly disguised), which are published by, you'll know to anticipate a laugh-out-loud book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Laura Bell, author of Claiming Ground: A Memoir

Wyoming author Laura Bell is this week's guest on The Write Question.

In 1977, Laura Bell, at loose ends after graduating from college, leaves her family home in Kentucky for a wild and unexpected adventure: herding sheep in Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. Inexorably drawn to this life of solitude and physical toil, a young woman in a man’s world, she is perhaps the strangest member of this beguiling community of drunks and eccentrics. So begins her unabating search for a place to belong and for the raw materials with which to create a home and family of her own. Yet only through time and distance does she acquire the wisdom that allows her to see the love she lived through and sometimes left behind.

By turns cattle rancher, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife and mother, Bell vividly recounts her struggle to find solid earth in which to put down roots. Brimming with careful insight and written in a spare, radiant prose, her story is a heart-wrenching ode to the rough, enormous beauty of the Western landscape and the peculiar sweetness of hard labor, to finding oneself even in isolation, to a life formed by nature, and to the redemption of love, whether given or received.

Quietly profound and moving, astonishing in its honesty, in its deep familiarity with country rarely seen so clearly, and in beauties all its own, Claiming Ground is a truly singular memoir.

Hear Laura Bell talk about writing Claiming Ground and read from her book on The Write Question Thursday, June 10, at 6:30 p.m. (Yellowstone Public Radio) and/or 7:30 p.m. (Montana Public Radio). Or listen online.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Patrick Marsolek: A Joyful Intuition

Patrick Marsolek, author, teacher, facilitator, and director of Inner Workings Resources has just published a new book that can help readers expand their intuitive skills.

The following is an excerpt from A Joyful Intuition, which includes one of the intuitive exercises.

Intuition is a natural human ability of directly perceiving information that is meaningful to us. If you are interested in tapping into your intuition more easily and reliably, you can. Here’s a simple exercise you can try to help you learn how it works.

Remember a conversation you had recently with a close friend. Remember the sound of her voice, phrases she used and what you felt and experienced when talking with her. By remembering her, you begin to resonate with her in the present.

Once you’ve ‘tuned in’ to her, ask yourself a question or two; “Is she home? Is she at work? Is she feeling happy or sad?” Ask questions you would ask her in person, but that you don’t know the answer to now. After asking each question, wait for an answer within yourself. Notice anything you experience after you ask the question and write it down.

What else would you ask her in person? Ask more questions. You can notice and allow whatever thought, perception, or even imagined response you have to each question. Whatever you sense, even if you think it’s your imagination, write it down. Ask as many questions as you want, noticing any perceptions you have for each question.

Then when you’re ready, call your friend. Share with her what you’re doing. Ask her the same questions. Take notes. Be aware how you feel as you get your feedback. Even as you talk with her, you are in an intuitive process and learning about yourself. Be sure to thank her for helping you with your exploration and learning.

When you’re done with your conversation, go back to your list. Circle any perceptions you wrote down that you feel were correct. Remember the sensations you had for the these answers. Was there any consistency? How about the ones that didn’t seem related to the feedback? With attention, you will start to know the difference.

This exercise is a simple way of directly applying intuition. There are unlimited ways to use it. Any time you are going to get some information through normal sensory channels, you can check your intuition first. Ask, pay attention, and note your results. Then get your feedback and compare your results. You can have fun and every new experience can be part of your learning.

What happens when you’re at work and you get a pleasant sense that reminds you of another friend? Do you imagine they’re thinking about you? Call them and see. If you don’t ask, you’ll miss the opportunity to validate your intuition.

When you trust your intuition, you activate a personal intelligence and wisdom that can be deeply meaningful and fulfilling. Using your intuition doesn’t replace your ability to think rationally. It just augments it and balances it. Paying attention to that information can enrich the quality of your life.

You can read more about A Joyful Intuition at and on Facebook at:

Patrick will be doing book signings and lectures in the following cities in Montana in June:

Missoula Book signing: Wednesday June 9th, 7:00 pm. Fact & Fiction Bookstore - 220 North Higgins

Whitefish: A Public Talk for the Whitefish IONS Group, Thursday, June 10th, 7:00 pm, Bohemian Grange Hall

Helena Book signing at the workshop:
Sacred Wisdom in Dangerous Times - An experiential workshop with James O'Dea and Patrick Marsolek. Saturday, June 19th

Great Falls Book Signing: Tuesday, June 22nd, 4:00-6:00 pm. Hastings Books - 726 10th Ave. South

Contact Patrick Marsolek: 406-443-3439 or Read more about Patrick Marsolek and his activities at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Frances McCue

The book starts out this way: "Richard Hugo visited places and wrote about them. He wrote about towns in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and villages in Italy and Scotland. Often, his visits lasted little more than an afternoon, and his knowledge of the towns was confined to what he heard in bars and diners. From these snippets, he crafted poems. His attention to the actual places could be scant, but Hugo's poems resonate more deeply than travelogues or feature stories; they capture the torque between temperament and terrain that is so vital in any consideration of place. The poems bring alive some hidden aspect of each town and frequently play off of the traditional myths that an easterner might have of the West: that it is a place of restoration and healing, a spa where people from the East come to recover from ailments, that it is a place to reinvent oneself, a region of wide-open, unpolluted country still to settle. Hugo steers us, as readers, to eye level. How we settle into and take on qualities of the tracts of earth that we occupy -- this is Hugo's inquiry. From this vantage, we'll see how much more complicated, and how much more impoverished, the actual places are. Before his death in 1982, in a writing career that spanned little more than twenty years, Hugo published a book of essays, a mystery novel, and nine books of poetry, and all of them immerse personas into particular, named places -- most often towns."

Some forty years after Hugo visited the towns he wrote about, Frances McCue set out to discover those towns for herself. She made many trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with her husband, daughter, or dog. And finally, with photographer Mary Randlett, whose images appear in the book.

Hear what McCue has to say about why she became obsessed with Richard Hugo's poetry and the places he wrote about.

Listen to Chérie Newman's conversation with McCue on The Write Question: Thursday, June 3, at 6:30 (Yellowstone Public Radio) or 7:30 (Montana Public Radio). Or online anytime.

* * * *

The Write Question is supported in part by Humanities Montana, enriching intellectual, cultural, and civic life for all Montanans. And by the Montana Cultural Trust and public radio listeners.