Avi WordCraft blog

Where I live

Mountain homeLet me describe where I live: It is in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains, 9,500 feet up. We are surrounded by mountains. Looking out the front windows I can look down Elk Valley for about seventy miles. We are in the middle of a forest. It is very beautiful. We are adjacent to Routt National Forest, and if you walk due West, you won’t see anyone for a hundred miles. Nearest town, Steamboat Springs, is thirty miles away.

The dirt driveway that leads to our house is three-quarters of a mile long and goes mostly up, steeply, and that includes a hairpin turn at the bottom of the last hill, which some who visit often don’t quite make. The population of Columbine, as the neighborhood is called, is, I’m told, thirteen. I’ve never met them all and the nearest is a mile away.


When I describe this to people they often say: “Isolated! Lucky you. How wonderful for writing.”

And indeed writers often talk of the need for isolation. That famous “room of one’s own” and all that.

There is a lot of truth to that.

BUT…when the writing stops, isolation is not so great.

Speaking for myself, I miss contact with people, even the casual contact, such as when I visit my post office (twelve miles away) to pick up mail. As a human being I thrive in cities, where I see people in their endless varieties, their talk, the way they look. From a writer’s point of view, I need those connections. It feeds my imagination, my vocabulary, my sense of place, my sense of interaction.

Speaking for myself, this writer must live—in part—beyond my mind.

8 thoughts on “Where I live”

    • It is very beautiful, very calm, quiet, and during the summer one can almost live on the wild flowers. As to how we came to be here, that is a long story: children, economics, chance, and probably many other things I have forgotten.

  1. I met you once. It was over a decade ago and perhaps closer to two decades. You were in town (Albuquerque) and met with students at Georgia O’Keefe Elementary school. I so enjoyed you then: you were honest and humble and very kind to the students. If you ever come back this way, know that there’s a spare bedroom with your name on it (and your wife as well). I could provide you two as much isolation or company as you’d wish. Visiting cities is great, but sometimes hotels are sterile places to spend the night.

  2. I understand–we live 11 miles from the nearest community–our driveway is a 1/2 mile long. It’s 22 miles to a Safeway, Walgreens, fast food, etc. We look straight out at Pikes Peak to the west of us. We can see the Sangre de Christo mountains to the south. We DO get mail delivery (half mile down the driveway).
    As we are both retired we prefer the solitude–except when I wish I could go to my bookclub meeting in Denver (100 miles away–a 2 hour drive). We have 6 neighbor homes within a couple of miles and within our view.
    I look forward to the next time I run in to you at a bookseller’s conference!
    Shirley Sternola

  3. I met you in Walker, MN, last year at Spotlight on Books. I grew up in Colorado Springs and can’t wait to return to CO, except I’m married to a guy who does NOT want to move there. Ugh. Color me jealous. I understand the need for solitude but also the need for people.

  4. Avi, this photo makes me yearn for a simpler, quieter life. Yet, I know that deep down I would miss the hum of kids playing in the street, a random car driving by, and the ease of riding my bike to our local shopping center. This is why you must continue to visit schools and author events…to get your dose of crazyville so you can appreciate your idyllic home when you return. Love reading your musings on life and writing.

  5. Some writers find the bustle of the big city fodder for endless stories. I, personally, need something in between. Fortunate are those who can have a summer home and a winter home.
    Maybe you can come down from the mountain for the winters, and have the best of both.

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