the home place

On August 18, 2015, Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, MT hosted a tribute for literary legend Ivan Doig, who passed away in April, featuring Montana writers Malcolm Brooks, Jamie Ford, Craig Lancaster, Russell Rowland, Paul Wylie, and me. These are my remarks from that night.
As Americans retreat to cooler locales for the worst of the summer's heat, the Department of the Interior is on a listening tour about coal royalty reform. Interior manages coal on public lands for the public's best interest, which has been ill-served by the below-market prices attached to federal mineral leases for decades.
It has microbreweries, artists, a cowboy hat-fixing genius, solar-powered lofts, and huge summer street events, along with homeless people, addicts, and the occasional break-in or fatal stabbing in an alley.
When we see a home left vacant for decades, we usually just register what's on the surface -- incredible architecture, moldering wallpaper and the odd personal trinket or two.
One blogger revisits the home of her great-grandparents and comes back with a poignant story of time passing.