Cabin Fever Justice?

ImageIn Bush, Alaska, Cabin Fever, or being Shack Nasty as it’s sometimes called, can turn fatal. My husband and I lived for four years in Wales, Alaska, an Inupiaq village of 150 people strung along the Bering Strait. There, death in winter is not infrequent. Jack’s (not his real name) occurred a few years before we arrived.

Jack had raped his little cousin. After serving time in prison, he returned to the still-outraged village. Winter days and nights in the tundra are long and dark, the temperatures arctic and the wind relentless, driving blinding snow from the polar ice pack, far beyond the frozen beach. Anyone caught out in such weather depends on the village lights to orient against becoming hopelessly turned around and out on the unforgiving ice.

The village has a generator, but power outages are common during blizzards. Jack had been visiting one household and left, announcing he was going to walk a ways to visit another family.

Minutes after he set out the village plunged into darkness. After an hour, the lights came back on, but Jack had vanished. The first rumors began. Talk was that the power outage had been timed for Jack’s walk alone on the beach.

That spring, hunters found him out on the ice. Ravens had disfigured his face, and one arm raised high with, they reported, Jack’s hand pointing accusingly at the village. Was the outage caused by fierce weather, or the brooding hatred that can grow and be acted upon in the long, dark, Cabin Fevered nights of an Alaskan winter?

Cabin Fever in the Electronic Age

By: Deborah Epperson

According to the dictionary, cabin fever is an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1918, for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period.

I can understand how early settlers in rural locations could get cabin fever. There were no cars, phones, electricity, or the many things we take for granted today. But in this era of television, cell phones, computers, Skype, IPods, streaming videos, Facebook, eReaders, and a never-ending list of electronic wonders, it takes a lot of work to be “disconnected” from family, friends, or world events.

I never get cabin fever. There is simply too much to do. Research for a book or article, write, cook hearty stews or soups, answer emails, clean out the closets or design that special project to build next summer …here too, the list goes on and on. There are shelves of books, baskets of books, a Kindle full of books waiting to be discovered. There are stories running through my mind, scenes playing out in my dreams, and characters waiting to be named and given life on pages I have yet to write.

When I need fresh air and just want to play, I let loose the hounds (in this case – golden retrievers) into the fresh fallen snow. They romp, frolic, and roll around making their equivalent of snow angels. They’re like two silly kids enjoying a snow day. When play time is over, we trudge back inside to find a warm fire, a treat for them, and cocoa for me. Nope, there’s no time for cabin fever here in our winter wonderland.

Thanks for stopping by,


by Deborah Epperson

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG


Noisy Cabin Fever

Cabin fever is the common name for the months of January and February.  For me, I dwell in the quiet months by making them noisy.  When snow covers the sidewalks and the sun is dimmed by overcast, enhance them by scraping a shovel and switching on a light.  A book by Tara French will dispel any gloom by transporting you to the Irish country side to read about the clash of murder and mayhem Celtic style.  Or grab a friend and hit the movie theater for a matinee and a bag of buttered popcorn.  The long afternoon is applauded by an unreal world on the big screen and munching on kernels.  For a writer, midwinter is a time of exuberance, where words flow in the darkness of morning and of evening.  Make noise, clatter about, and sing aloud.  Soon the crocus, daffodils and tulips will bloom again, and then in the heat of the summer, we will sit quietly in the cool shade.  Which sounds better to you?




Have a noisy, joyful winter,

Marie F Martin