Letters from me to you

Dear returning reader,

Thank you all to who participated in my poll. And thanks for the kind comments from Julie, Melissa, and Lola.

I thought the poll was kind of fun, and interesting. In many ways, the votes aligned with what I expected. However, the fact that nobody voted for the tales of a bookseller almost makes me want to share a few stories from Fireside  Books just so you know how interesting it can be. (You would be amused, touched, and amazed at what we find in the boxes of used books people bring in.)

Outside of this streak of rebelliousness, though, the feedback will help me a lot in guiding how I divvy up my letter topics. The overwhelming winner was “life and adventures in Alaska,” which is wonderful because I love writing about Alaska. It really is an amazing place to live.

The next preferred topics were the writing life, The Snow Child, and one vote for “books I’m reading.” Strangely enough, I think the percentages equate pretty well with how much time and space I’ve devoted to these topics — mostly Alaska, some about my novels, and a mention here and there of books I’m reading.

In honor of “adventures in Alaska” being the top vote-getter, I had planned on at last telling you the story about the black bear on my porch. But yesterday we Alaskans got news of a horrible bear attack not far from where I live. Seven teenagers, here from New York, New Mexico and all over the country, were participating in an outdoor leadership school when they were attacked by a brown bear with a cub. Two of the youths suffered life-threatening injuries, and all were injured to some degree. The experience must have been incredibly traumatic to everyone involved, including the teachers and other students in the school.

It is a sober reminder to the hazards of the wilderness, and it didn’t feel right telling a different kind of bear story without first acknowledging this recent situation and sending out my wishes for a fast recovery for all involved.

On Wednesday, though, I’ll share my Alaskan bear tale.




  • Sue Mathis says:

    A terrible experience for those kids. They all did the right thing, though, and that was important to their survival. Administering first aid to each other and sending out the beacon were very good things. The thing I think they did that helped them all survive was staying together in the group. The hero who goes off to find help is unfortunately the one who doesn’t make it back. They obviously learned all the right things from their camp experience. I pray for their speedy recovery.

  • Sue Mathis says:

    Oh, and if I could have, I would have voted for all the topics on the poll!

  • nana says:

    It is a terrible news. I have a passionate love for wild nature/animals so my heart tends to “fault” humans even in tragic circumstances as this one. I hope the kids injured will recover soon tho.
    About the poll, I have got to agree with Sue. I would have voted for every option if possible. Yours is one of my favourite blogs , and I truly enjoy reading everything you write (even if it’s not always possible for me to comment).
    My suggestion is to keep varying the topics.. after all you are the link to it all, and the reason we keep coming back here. 🙂

    Looking forward to read about your porch-black-bear 😉

  • Melissa Behnke says:

    I appreciate this letter on many different levels, Eowyn. As co-owner of Fireside Books, of course I always appreciate those references, and I know you have great stories to share! I also just found out that one of the injured boys, Sam Gottsegan, is the son of friends of my family in Juneau. These tragedies always seem to strike us deeper if we know the individual, families or friends. Thank you for reminding us all of the respect and awareness we need, as we go about our daily lives – for each other and for this big wild world in which we live.

  • Thanks for being tuned in to local and global events.

    Would you like my photo to use in your story?

  • Mr Baer says:

    Since you are the blog mistress I expect you to write about anything you like, including the Fireside stories and I look forward to your critique of “Sometimes A Great Notion”. To write about your backyard bear story is very daring as it has become Chickaloon lore. I expect to see all the details and I’m with the Loony person on this one, there should be the photo!

  • RH says:

    If there were multiple votes allowed, I’d definitely vote for Fireside stories. I considered coming back and voting again, but it seemed like cheating to skew your poll like that.

  • Eowyn Ivey says:

    Thanks for the comments everybody! Melissa, I hope the boys are all recovering well. The bear issue here in Alaska is a contentious one — on the Anchorage Daily News website you can read all the discussion about guns vs. pepper spray, blaming the bear, blaming the people. This does seem a very rare instance, though, where the kids did everything as correctly as possible. They weren’t by any means harassing the bear. They didn’t even know she was near, and they had no chance to react. Some ran, even though you’re supposed to play dead. I once did the same in a similar situation — ran from a charging bear. Instinct is a very strong force.
    On this topic, I do want to warn that Wednesday’s letter about my porch bear may not appeal to all my readers. If you would rather not read about a black bear’s fate as fine cuisine, you might want to leave this letter unopened. But if you like a good bear hot dog, or are even just a little curious, then enjoy!

  • nana says:

    @Melissa: thoughts and wishes of soon recovery to Sam. ((HUGS))

    @Eowyn: Thanks for the warning bb! ‘Bear hot dog’ is really not my cup of tea.

    ..I am very intrigued by all this talking of Fireside stories. It sounds like lots of fun!