We made it home after a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Colorado, and I managed to not even take one majestic mountain photo for you. I didn’t bring my (heavy) SRL Canon with me, thinking that our point-and-shoot would do the job. With two little ones, two carry-ons, one suitcase bursting with clothes, and another sagging with 50 pounds of books, this seemed like a magnificent compromise in the airport. However, the moment we got into our rental car and wound into Turkey Creek Canyon, I longed for my camera. Even more so when our point-and-shoot charger failed us. Fortunately others have recorded bits and pieces of the book events, as evidenced above. That’s me in Boulder presenting at the Center of the American West, courtesy of Allen Best.
Both events were such magical nights that I’m afraid I can’t do them justice. I was honored to share the stage with such a number of distinguished and entertaining readers. If ever I need to produce an audio book, I know some folks who I will call first. The event in Salida, which I somehow managed to plan and execute, was crowded and hummed with an almost palpable electricity. I talked to more people than I usually see in a month, many of whom I’ve known my entire life. And I loved every single second of it. I can’t believe what a beautiful, generous town I grew up in.
And then to speak and then read on the stage with the likes of historian Patty Limerick, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, former High Country News publishers Ed and Betsy Marston, Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher, and so many more at the Center of the American West on my dad’s birthday was such a true honor that I haven’t quite digested it even more than a week later. Afterward I got to spend a couple of days with my almost eighty-two year old grandma and see all of the cousins who I played with for weeks out of every summer as a kid, as well as their big, beautiful families.
And to top it all off, I went to the Colorado Public Radio studio in Centennial, where a plate-glass window revealed the Front Range aglow in sunshine, and talked with Ryan Warner about my dad and the book. You can hear that interview here.
Now, we’re home, and I find myself in that dazed, but slightly frenzied state that descends after a big project is done, when a million ideas for what’s next start churning and you’re not sure which one to pluck out. I’m both missing Colorado and all of the excitement of last week and enjoying the quiet, calm rhythms of home. It helps somehow that the normally soggy Oregon weather has turned Colorado-like — icy and sunny, with bare bone branches twisting into blue sky.
I was taken aback for a moment at both events when I saw the speakers’ copies I’d sent out weeks ago, now with notes scrawled in margins, multicolored post-its jutting from pages, covers bent back. It is theirs now, this book I created that was once just an idea flitting through my mind. Like any long journey, I’ll never be the same as when I set off on it so many months ago, and it feels both glorious and bittersweet to be at the end of it. In some ways, it’s like saying goodbye to my dad all over again, except I feel like I know him just a little bit better after spending this long year with his words.
You can learn more about Deeper into the Heart of the Rockies at edquillen.com/anthology.