Back in Alaska, we’re deep into the guts of writing scene.
“We sent the editor away yesterday, but today we’re going to bring her back. We need the editor, even if she’s cranky,” Leslie says.
For me, the editor is always cranky. I get attached to my precious darlings. Write tight. Less is more. Blah blah blah. Reluctantly, I invite my inner editor to raid the bounty of the week’s words. It hurts. Fittingly, the rains have come. It’s a muddy slog in to get from the classroom to the main house for lunch. Leslie offers a precious ride in the 4X4 to Dorah from Uganda.
“Bye economy class,” Dorah calls over her shoulder to me in mock condescension. She climbs into the passenger seat.
“Okay, ‘First Class,’ I see how you are,” I holler back, pulling my raincoat hood tight over my head as I trudge through mud, past two outhouses, through a grassy field, down a slope, and then up Firm Butt Hill, the steep gravel path leading up to the main house. An eighth of a mile has never felt more like a mile.
Treasures like this plump jellyfish hiding under seaweed (which we ate one night as a side salad for dinner) on a rain-slogged day abound on Harvester Island.
If anyone deserves a lifetime first-class pass, it’s Dorah. She grew up sleeping in a hallway on a sack filled with grass, coughing and fevering her way through childhood. I decide First Class is my nickname for her from now on. Dorah has stared down steeper odds than any I have imagined. She is a 29-year-old change-maker who was sent to an orphanage to die. And yet she lives. I’ll tell her story this weekend.
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