Monday, December 10, 2007

Fire lookout posts

Fire lookout posts have provided writers with suprisingly successful shedworking atmospheres. Jack Kerouac worked as a fire warden in 1956 6,000ft high on Desolation Peak, North Cascades National Park. Kerouac wrote in the small lookout cabin where he lived and found it useful inspiration for his books The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels, although his initial reaction in seeing it was that it was too dark and dismal (nor did it have running water, electricity or an inside lavatory). Fire lookout posts in the US also provided a writing home for environmentalist and writer Edward Abbey and indeed a trail to Aztec Peaks in Arizona is named after him. Like Kerouac, he was not entirely bowled over by his temporary office accommodation, describing Atascosa Lookout, also in Arizona, as a flimsy shack held together by paint, wire, nuts and bolts which shuddered in the wind. There's a marvellous book and web site by John Suiter, Poets on the Peaks, which details the experiences of Kerouac, Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen as fire wardens.
Via Been-Seen

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