Many of you know this, but some of you don’t. Apart from being a photographer, I am also a writer! Well, I prefer to call myself an artist, as I think we all are on some level, but photography and writing are my two preferred artistic outlets. This year I’ve finished my first book, a travel memoir about my journey across the United States to Spain. It’s due to be published in Winter 2020.
In my early twenties, I had a well-paying job, two University degrees, an apartment, a car and an explosive social life, but none of that was enough to satisfy my restless and rebellious spirit, which I set free one summer’s day by getting into the car with my best childhood friend after selling all of my possessions to begin a road trip with no end date across the country, on an adventure that would lead me to Europe and to a new world of possibilities.
The book begins with Miette, my best friend since kindergarten, and I careening down the freeway out of Bellingham, the town where we grew up, and into the vast unknown, leaving in the dust the ennui of our day to day lives. We begin the adventure with no idea of what we’ll find on the road, much less where we’ll sleep that very night. We face constant come-ons from strange men, dabblings with drugs and a rollercoaster of car troubles in California. An unexpected one-night-stand in Las Vegas leads to reflections on the identity of the modern feminist. We sleep in our beat up ’96 Toyota Tercel on the edge of the Grand Canyon and witness an impossible sunrise. We pass through New Mexico and Texas and have an unexplainable encounter with the Devil in New Orleans. When we finally arrive to the Northeast after a month of diving deep into the American culture we had never previously experienced and deep into ourselves, I leave my partner in crime to get on a plane and fly to another continent, where my adventure continues and my concept of what it means to be a successful young woman finally takes shape, and I thus accept that my true path in life is entirely different from the one I had been living.
Review of FTSQ by Howard Furst
“Well written, fun, compelling and thought provoking in certain ways. It has a bit of: Eat, Pray, Love; Wild; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road; Bridgett Jones’ Diary; David Sedaris; Bill Bryson and Sex in the City balled into her own edgy and articulate voice”
Review of FTSQ by Sheri Rego
“First, I love every instance where you describe a friend. Your descriptions are so heart-felt and filled with respect and admiration, and still so believable. Even better, the narrative throughout the story always highlights exactly how you had just described them. Excellent!
Your story, without stressing or even stating it, does a great job of pointing out the sexism in our society and the slights, discomfort and dangers that women face on a daily basis. It was no surprise, but still saddening and maddening, that everywhere you went you were hit on by men. Two young men on the same road trip that you took would not have to maintain a sense of wariness every hour of the day. You never said it, but you showed it so well. I applaud you!
I really liked how you and Miette could sound so strong, intelligent and independent and then be sidetracked by talk (or thoughts of) unicorns and werewolves. The part where Miette thought a werewolf had pounded on the car was hilarious. And showed an innocence and vulnerability that made the two of you seem even more real. Another great passage!
In general, I thought you did an excellent job of building a story. Two minor examples: the descriptions of wind in your hair and the sunset over the Grand Canyon were beautiful without being trite or cliched. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed your writing style: the pacing of the story, the humor, the emotion, the dialogue . . it was all EXCELLENT!”
We were nearing Seattle after almost two hours on the road. Arriving to Georgetown—a grungy, alternative district in South Seattle—we were a few minutes early for the appointment I had made for us at my favorite tattoo studio, so we pulled into the bar next door, The Georgetown Liquor Company. After two shots of tequila with a spicy tomato back, our commemorative tattoos went on like a breeze and we were ready to leave Washington State behind us.
“Kate, you’ve been with me for my first tattoo and my first piercing. You help me be the person I really am but am too afraid to be by myself,” Miette reflected as we left the shop.
I laughed but also wondered if I’m the bad influence friend, neither for the first time nor the last. The black lines of the arrow she had put on her inner left bicep were raised and inflamed. I had put a similar, but not identical one just under my left collarbone.
An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward, so when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.