Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Cabin of One's Own

I have long been fascinated by the homes and haunts of writers -- where they grew up, where they lived as adults, and especially where they wrote. This particular strain of the “gentle madness” has taken me to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables, Mark Twain’s home, in Hartford, Connecticut, James Thurber’s boyhood home, in Columbus and one of my favorite places on earth, Thomas Jefferson’s experiment in architecture.

So, I was pleased to see the recent Wall Street Journal piece about Tim Cahill’s writing cabin along the edge of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, in southwestern Montana. Cahill is one of our most prolific and entertaining travel writers, the author of A Wolverine is Eating my Leg, Pass the Butterworms, and Lost in My Own Backyard. Cahill is also a founder of Outside Magazine.

Cahill has owned his 500 square foot cabin since 1991 and uses it as a retreat for week-long writing stretches when he feels the need for isolation. The rest of the time, he resides in his home in Livingston, about an hour away. A daily hiker when he’s in residence, Cahill tells reporter Alexandra Alter, “My backyard, honest to God, is pretty much the size of Switzerland,” referring to the greater Yellowstone area.

Of course, Montana has long attracted writers and fiction; the names James Crumley, Thomas McGuane and Jim Harrison. And judging from the slideshow, it sure looks like a nice place to write a book.

The Wall Street Journal piece is here.



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