Archive for December 8th, 2012

December 8, 2012

The blog I used to write

The blog I used to write...

The blog I used to write…

Sometime around 2005, I began blogging for a local blog network. The blog I worked on was called Dakota Lifestyle: beyond the weather. I chose that name because, at that time, North Dakota wasn’t a well-known state. My out of state friends routinely asked me two questions: how cold it was, and how far it was to Mount Rushmore.

“Mount Rushmore isn’t even in North Dakota,” I’d tell them. “Why don’t you come visit sometime, and I’ll take you to Fort Lincoln State Park, instead?”

Very few of them came.

It’s odd to think how things have changed in the past seven years or so. Now my family and I have moved away from North Dakota. When we tell people where we’ve moved from, we hear things like “Oh, I have a brother that just moved there. He’s got a good job in the oil field.”


Oil production, specifically in the Bakken area, put North Dakota on the map. People know about it now, but they don’t always understand what a great place North Dakota was to live and to work. I still like to brag on the outings my family and I had there. It’s a historically rich area of the country, full of tiny, very interesting museums (including the house General Custer lived in at Fort Lincoln State Park), gorgeous riverside parks, and wide open spaces. Around the end of June and beginning of July, a country drive looked like a green, yellow and purple patchwork quilt. Those canola fields were some of the brightest yellow flowers I’ve ever seen. Side by side with a blossoming periwinkle flax field, it was breathtaking.

Utah is beautiful in a completely different way. There’s geometry here, triangles of mountain peaks and rectangular slabs of swirling sandstone, blues and browns and reds stacked on top of each other in interesting patterns. There’s oil here, too. The northeast corner of the state is peppered with new wells.

I don’t have a blog for writing about Utah, but I’m as proud to live here as I was to live in North Dakota.

I gave up that first blog sometime in 2007. If I remember right, I had just finished reporting on the 2007 session of the North Dakota Legislature (where I heard the name Bakken for the very first time). I was weary of writing on strict deadlines. Sometimes during that session, I wrote up to four articles in a day. By the time that session of the Legislature ended, setting the blog aside and taking some time to breathe seemed like the most sane thing to do.

Funny how life works. I’m blogging again. I’ve missed it. As I’ve mused on that first blog over the past few days, I’ve discovered three important things about myself:

  • I keep writing. I’ve told myself more than once that I needed to slow down, to pace myself or to quit writing for anyone but myself altogether. I’ve even tried it, once or twice, and I always find myself excited about taking new assignments again. It’s more than an addiction. It’s something that I need to do–and most of the time I don’t care what the topic is. I can write about serious, intricate topics like the Bakken oil industry just as happily as I can write about chocolate. Life–my writing life–is simply delicious.
  • My family likes me better when I write. A few years ago, one of my daughters told me, “Mom, you’re cranky. You need to go write something.” Even now, a few days away from a deadline, my children seem content to see me clicking away on my keyboard. The fun of it all is beginning to rub off on my oldest two children. They’re both working on books of their own now. Whether anything ever comes of it doesn’t matter. The fact that they’re joining me in my craft (and finding as much pleasure in it as I do) matters quite a bit. Writing is how we include each other in our secret worlds, and I think my children like connecting with me this way.
  • I like myself better when I write, too. I like the sense of accomplishment after meeting a deadline, the warmth of laughter at the end of the day when my daughters and I share what we’ve worked on, the quiet ebb and flow of thoughts while I’m sitting behind my desk. Writing has turned me into someone who can think, feel and talk about important topics with other people, but most of all, writing has made me a heroine in my own world.
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