Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Erin from The Familiar Wilderness

Erin is another friend I met on twitter, and thanks to the powers of the MetroNorth, have actually hung out with.  She's just as awesome in real life as she is on The Familiar Wilderness, her nature-writing blog, which inspires me all the time to explore my own little corner of the world.  Plus she is really good at identifying flora and fauna via photograph, so if you're ever wondering what a certain type of animal is, she's your gal!

Who are you? I'm Erin! I'm a writer/photographer/naturalist/aspiring artist living on Long Island, New York.

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation?  Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you.  They want all the details.  If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it.  Hey Stranger. I write a blog called The Familiar Wilderness, superficially about my adventures as an amateur naturalist on Long Island. More deeply, I'm trying to bust open the notion that Cool Nature only exists on distant continents or in the hearts of impassable wildernesses. I like to reveal the amazing creatures, plants, places and phenomena right under our noses here in urban/suburban/rural North America. If you stop by my online home, you'll find lighthearted photo essays, musings, stories and how-tos. I try not to take myself too seriously.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I've been blogging at TFW for nearly three years (holy cow!). I've always been a reader of nature and science writing. When I started learning about plants and birds and places as an adult, I fell head-over-heels in love with places that didn't get much attention in the literature -- plain old, commonplace backyard parks and preserves that I could reach by car after work. I wanted to use words and photos to share my love of close-to-home wild spaces in the hope that others would be inspired to fall in love too.

Why do you write? There's a sentiment that shows up in poems and posters to the effect of, "You can't love what you don't know." My hope is that my words inspire people to look closer at the world around them, get to know it, fall in love with it, and take care of it. I love it too much to keep quiet. But also, I write for the satisfaction of laying down words, shuffling and sifting them, and hopefully arriving at that feeling of getting it true, that "DAMN I nailed it," feeling.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? I really admire Julie Zickefoose as a nature writer and author ( I have several friends who write honestly and hilariously, though they would be embarrassed if I called them out. They remind me to play with my words.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Oh! Oh! I know where I would go! I'd like to take two months in late spring/early summer to camp and drive from Joshua Tree in California through Sequoia National Forest and Yosemite, and all the way up to the Olympic Penninsula in Washington State. My expenses would include knowledgeable-nature-guides-who-are-also-awesome-people for each areas, sleeping up in redwood trees, and wine delivered to my campsite every night. Wanna come?

What is your favorite place on earth? You know what's funny? I'm not a homebody at all, but my favorite place on earth generally tends to be wherever I'm calling home, currently Long Island. But also I love the wild bits of Maine -- they've grown into my soul.

Anything else you'd like us to know?  I keep a spare set of binoculars for friends and visitors, hint hint ;)

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