A Memory in the Making

P1000686 On May 25, Memorial Day, my daughter drove 120 miles to make this year’s cemetery run with me. I started doing this with my mom when I was in the fifth grade. Then Elmer covered her spot after she passed. And now, it is my daughter who faithfully travels so we can remember our loved ones.

First, we drove to Conrad Cemetery and put a potted mum on my great-grandma Elsie, then we stopped by Shopko and did some looking around in the garden department, Deanna’s favorite place to snoop at fun yard stuff. She bought a ceramic croaking toad to put in her flower bed, and off we went

We headed twenty miles north to Woodland Cemetery in C-Falls. That darn toad croaked with every turn, bump, and pass all the way. We got tickled. This year we had a croaking toad to make the run with us. We decorated Elmer. Alan, Mom, Dad, Grandpa and my baby. Got back into the car to croaking.  More belly laughs.

Then we drove to Hwy 93 and down to Glacier Memorial, (say thirty miles or so) and decorated Howard and Buella Buck, my best high-school friend’s parents. That dang toad croaked all the way there and then to my home. Before driving back to Plains, Deanna removed the toad’s battery. I still chuckle at how quickly she tore off the packaging.

I liked to say some expansive, grand piece of wisdom about our yearly journey to pay respect, but I think the croaking toad says it all. Enjoy the moment.

Marie f Martin

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Leaving My Camera at Home

by Karen WillsIM003737

I have nothing against photographs. They enrich our memories, our knowledge of nature and the world of people, they can make us laugh or weep or take action or be silent in appreciation. One photograph can tell a story whole. Walls in our home are more filled with photographs than paintings, although there are plenty of both.

But when I go hiking in Glacier National Park, I leave the camera at home. I am a writer. I started leaving the camera behind and carrying a small notebook and pen in my pack to force myself to stretch to convey in words accurate pictures of natural scenes peaceful as a doe in a meadow nursing her spotted fawn, powerful as spring waterfalls, or grand as mountain vistas.

Tennyson’s poem, The Eagle: A Fragment, started me on this. When I was young, the poet brought me up short with the eagle watching “from his mountain walls” as “The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls.” I saw the ocean exactly and at once as the raptor did. So I search for the right metaphor, simile, or descriptive phrase. I take it home and try to fit it like a jigsaw piece in the perfect empty space in my writing to complete something that includes shape and shading, like a memorable photograph, but in words. I dream of giving my readers the rare and magical gift of eagle sight.

And Now for Something Different

Ann Minnett MWW photoBy Ann Minnett


I had the great pleasure to take Kathy Dunnehoff’s Screenwriting class at FVCC in May. She’s taught for twenty-five years but still managed to be enthusiastic and involved with our class. Great feedback and handouts, too! Guest speaker Dennis Foley was a plus.

Kathy inspired me to give screenwriting a try.

I use Scrivener for my novels, and it features a scriptwriting template. Even with that assist, the screenwriting format is initially clunky, and I tend to add details of a novel (a big NO). Nonetheless, I’m writing a screenplay based on my second novel, Serita’s Shelf Life. The novel is funny, sad and sometimes crazy, but readers love the main character. She might translate well to film. About a third of the way into the story, her flamboyance is coming through on the script’s pages.

We’ll see if I have the aptitude. In the meantime, this writer’s having fun getting back into Serita’s head and imagining her on the big screen.


June Book News

June! Summer dawns in the mountain valleys we call home — well, sometimes it slinks in on wet, muddy feet, but we never mind a little rain in these parts. Makes us all the happier when the sun shines.

And here’s a little bright, shiny news from us!

The Wild Inside

Join CHRISTINE CARBO as she launches her debut novel, THE WILD INSIDE, on Tuesday, June 16th from 5 to 7 pm at Tupelo Bar and Grill in beautiful Whitefish on Central Avenue. Come enjoy the company and some delicious appetizers!

Also, Christine will be in Bozeman at the Country Bookshelf on Friday, June 19th at 7 pm and at Barnes & Noble in Billings on Saturday, June 20th at 2 pm.

Come visit Christine as she releases her first crime fiction novel!

Butter Off Dead (final)

LESLIE BUDEWITZ invites you to the Launch Party for BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in her Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, on Friday, June 26, 5-8 pm, at Frame of Reference Gallery in Bigfork. We’ll visit, sign books, enjoy the 3d annual Bigfork in Paint and Print exhibit, and nibble yummy food made by Chef Dan Solberg from the recipes in the book!

And if you’re a writer, join Leslie, BJ Daniels, Lise McClendon, and Kat and LJ Martin — all Montana writers — at the annual Get Published! conference in Bozeman, on Saturday, June 6.