Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

Ten Mile


When Sam got shot by the SWAT team up Ten Mile, I decided to go ahead and write the Ten Mile book.  I’ve been working on it this summer. I’m supposed to write in my blog at least once a week, according to what I read about blogs, but clearly I don’t do that.  I’m writing about Ten Mile, that beautiful place, and I’m writing about the people there: odd, eccentric, capable people. I’m writing about the Indians and the homesteaders, the CO camp nearby which was where the Beat Movement began, the battle over the forest,and poverty. I’m writing about Agent Orange and how, when it was outlawed in Vietnam, Dow Chemical and Monsanto marketed it as a herbicide and brought Agent Orange home to poison our forests and our rural communities. I’m writing about the fact that the worst elements of our culture can sometimes find their way into our most remote places. I’m writing about wilderness and the difference between the responsibility of a person living in the time of Thoreau and the responsibility of person living now. I’m writing about what it means to live within the context of the fact that we are, as Derrick Jensen points out, murdering the planet.  I’m writing about Sam and all the things that converged to make his death not inevitable, as the newspaper said, but likely.

Categories: memoir, Oregon, politics, poverty, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I’m looking forward to reading that book.
    I just read Empire of the Beetle by Andrew Nikiforuk. There were some chilling facts about global warming, and lowering oxygen levels in the atmosphere.

    Why do most people not get that killing the planet means our extinction as well.

  2. Genny, I’m picking up that book today at the library. Thank you. My husband is an environmentalist. I’ve always been more interested in human issues: war, class, etc, but we’re in a state of emergency, and right now, in terms of the environment, it’s all hands on deck. And of all the problems, it seems that climate change is the most urgent. Why do most people not get that killing the planet means our extinction as well? That is the big mystery.

  3. I’m late to the party – be curious to read your Ten Mile book. Ten Mile is a border, you know. Between the Alsea people and the Siuslaw. In Siuslaw language it was called tsi’ima or tsi’imahl, meaning ‘clay place’ for some clay deposits in the area. Alsea name meant same (tho’ I think theirs is pronounced tsa’am, at least if I remember right. And coincidientally similar to the Coos word for sea anemone.)

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