Posted on October 3, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Anna Pier from The Sun sat in Maxwell Park with writer Glen Ellen.
How did you start to write?
I have always been a writer. In 6th grade, I wrote my first detective novel. When I was in high school, I wrote a fantastic novel. I thought I was going to be the next JRR Tolkien. And I started writing for Marin’s local papers in high school.
You’ve been to Berkeley. After that?
I worked as a journalist for a newspaper in Evergreen CO, where my husband and I lived. I didn’t like the deadlines, so I found a new job as a climbing guide editor.
How did you start to write guides?
I had twins and my editor suggested that I try writing a hiking guide for people with young children. He was very successful, so I followed him along with other guides.
In fact, more than 20 of them.
About parks and places in Colorado and California. Small hikes, best hikes, guides from. It’s a way of combining my love of the outdoors with my love of words. I have always loved the outdoors. I grew up in the Marin countryside and was out all the time. I am a lifelong hiker. I mountain biked, off-piste, and downhill skiing in Tahoe, and later Colorado. And climbing and mountaineering. You can’t be in Colorado without climbing mountains.
Your guide Hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park won the National Outdoor Book Award last year.
It’s a small pond, but I won. A nice gold medal on the cover of the 3rd edition. I first wrote the book when I returned from Colorado to California. Lassen is a park that I really love, and I think that’s why this book won.
Lassen burned down in the Dixie Fire this year.
Yes, 70 percent of it. My guide has therefore become a snapshot in time. I am a member of the board of directors of the Lassen association, a public not-for-profit organization. We are now focusing on education on what a fire looks like in a park, including the issue of climate change. I am sure that a 4th edition will take place one day, including the fire. All of my guide writing from now on will be informed by my perspective in the aftermath of the Sisters fire in 2017.
How did you do at Glen Ellen?
My half acre burned down, but not my house, because the fire was playing hopscotch. Many of my neighbors have lost their homes. I can tell you that the survivor’s guilt is real.
Can you talk about the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center?
I am not officially part of the planning / advisory team, but I am a very committed Glen Ellenite. What happens at the SDC will affect the whole Valley. As part of the Glen Ellen Forum, I work to try to get the word out, so that people take advantage of the public’s contribution opportunities.
You are the librarian of Dunbar School.
It’s a job that makes me incredibly happy. Help with literacy, help teachers teach children to love reading. We just received a large donation of books on diversity, equity and inclusion. One of them concerns Dolores Huerta, who was of course a key figure in the United Farm Workers movement. It really struck me. I was the half-Mexican girl in a white school in Marin, and the only one who didn’t have grapes in her lunchbox. My father was very clear about his support for the boycott. “My family will not eat grapes.
Did you experience racism growing up?
No, because I don’t look Mexican. In fact, the family was used by our schools to fill the quotas; we were the symbolic Mexicans. But my father and my brother experienced racism. You carry the stories you are told from when you were a child to adulthood.
Write in the future?
More stories about human journeys and endeavors in nature, such as Search and rescue in Alaska. Hope I did the stories justice. But maybe no more like Death in Mount Rainier National Park When I returned from my research, I stood on the porch and sobbed for 20 minutes. At the moment, I feel myself going in the direction of the tests. Maybe one day I’ll be a novelist.