Hello, Nebraska

Life is funny, no?

Here I am in Nebraska City for my month-long writing residency at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I never thought I’d find myself in Nebraska. I hadn’t even thought much about Nebraska, actually.

Yet I’m loving it. The weather has been awesome, sunny almost every day.

Kimmel Harding Nelson Arts Center. My apartment is off the second story balcony–sweet!
Always good to be neighbors with an undertaker, no? Feels as if I’m living next to a “Six Feet Under” espisode. Love it.

Nebraska City is right next to the Missouri River, so it isn’t flat. There are hills! Trust me–I just ran 10 miles of ’em.  There are also a lot trees swirling with autumn colors. And a cemetery.

Ran past this today and had to stop. I’ve always loved cemeteries. And look, there I am in the cemetery, or at least my shadow.

My perfect running road. Dirt, hilly and I passed no one the whole run. Did see a few cows, though. And lots and lots of corn fields.

This small town feels a world away from Alaska, which is probably because it is. When I left Anchorage it was in the 30s. I wore a sweater, with another sweater over that and carried a down vest. When I arrived in Omaha nine hours later, I was embarrassingly overdressed. It was 73 and everyone else had on shorts and flip-flops.

Taku Lake with The Beebs a few days before I left. Overcast and gloomy but still, home is where the heart is. Or, home is where the running is best.

Autumn in Anchorage lasts, oh, maybe a week. Then it snows and it’s over.

My last Alaska run before my residency was a nice 12-miler over the trails and, yes, the inevitable snow in the higher areas. I had on shorts and my poor thighs were purple with goosebumps, yet it was exhilarating to feel that cold, damp air against my tired and straining legs. There was also a lot of mud. I so love running in mud.

Trail up toward Hilltop ski area.

Alaska is kinda gloomy without the green from the trees, but the mountains look splendid topped with snow.

I have to admit this: Autumn is much more cheerful down here in Nebraska with the warmer air and the sunshine. And temps in the upper 60s and low 70s? Yes, please. Come to think of it, that’s Alaska summertime weather.

That said, I miss my trail running. I miss the mountains. Living in a small, walkable town is great, and the weather is great, and I’ve been running almost every day. And my runs have been great, too (as most runs usually are), but I do miss running over muddy trails and hopping over rocks and passing ornery moose.

Yet it is good to be here. I am writing hard and well. Words are flowing from my fingertips. I stayed up until 5 a.m. last night, writing like mad. And the other residents are pretty cool: Two photographers from New York City, an artist from New Jersey and a young musician from LA. A nice group of people, and such creative energy!

Happy weekend, everyone. Hope you all get in some awesome runs and anyone living next to  mountains, please throw them a kiss for me, okay?

And now, back to writing ….

Running: 10 miles Friday, 8 miles Wednesday
Reading: “This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff (P.S. The teenaged girl in my novel dreams of becoming a famous poet and one day kissing Tobias’ bald head)
Writing: Oh, yes!

4 thoughts on “Hello, Nebraska

  1. Mary

    That's funny. I love cemeteries too. In high school my sister and I ran in one all the time. Then suddenly there was a sign put up saying No Jogging. Someone got offended I guess.


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