It’s really flippin’ cold. And that’s a good thing for a writer


Because when it’s cold, you don’t want to go outside. All of the lovely temptations that beckon you away from your laptop (or whatever your preferred writing instrument) recede. Writing—warm and cozy writing—suddenly seems like a great way to spend the day. During this recent cold snap, I’ve been unusually productive, almost enough to make me wish it would stay this cold all the time. I’ll get over that. But it’s been a great time to play catch-up after another few days on the road, this time for readings in Billings and Livingston.

In Billings, I read at the new Billings Public Library. The next time you’re in town, you owe it to yourself to stop there. It’s a veritable palace of books (and computers and electronics and study rooms and some pretty fine art, too). Don’t take my word for it. The Billings Gazette did a fine video tour.

The Gazette reports such heavy library use in its first couple of weeks that readers actually picked the shelves bare. Billings also is the home of the very fine YMCA Writer’s Voice program, which sponsored my reading there, and also runs programs such as The Big Read (this year featuring Charles Portis’ True Grit, which I personally would term a Helluva Big Read). 

From Billings, we went to Livingston for a reading at Elk River Books, a store that’s the best excuse to pull off I-90 and spend some time in Livingston. The biggest thrill of all? A copy of Montana now resides on the bookshelf in the world-famous Owl Lounge (the best excuse to stay off the road awhile), hanging out with books by Jim Harrison and Carl Hiaasen. Guess where I’m drinking next time I’m in town? But no drinking for me now, or at least nothing stronger than cup after cup of hot cocoa or tea or coffee. I need to make the most of this cold weather while it lasts. 

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