The Billings Outpost

2 Montana writers to watch... Smith Henderson

 
By DAVID CRISP - The Billings Outpost

Smith Henderson is a man in a hurry.

In the middle of a 17-city book tour, he has stopped by McCormick Café for a quick interview before heading off to Yellowstone Public Radio to be interviewed for “Here and Now,” a nationally syndicated news program on public radio.

Although it is nearly lunch time, he is interviewed over a classic Montana breakfast: biscuits and gravy with a couple of eggs on the side. He has no time to waste: Before the day is out, his tour will take him to Bozeman; the following day, he will be on the road to Missoula.

All at once, the Montana native is living a writer’s dream. His first novel, “Fourth of July Creek,” hit the bookshelves in late May.

Reviews have been stunning: “First novels don’t come much more confidently written or fully imagined than this,” said the New York Times. The Washington Post reviewer called it “the best book I’ve read so far this year.” Esquire said simply, “This is a hell of a great book.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:11

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2 Montana writers to watch... Carrie La Seur

 
By STEPHEN DOW - The Billings Outpost

After more than a decade of writing, Billings environmental lawyer Carrie La Seur’s will release her debut novel, “The Home Place,” on July 29.

“The Home Place” tells the tale of Alma Terrebonne, a lawyer from Seattle who must return to her hometown of Billings when her sister Vicky is found dead one winter night. When she returns home, Alma must reconnect with her estranged family members and discover the truth about Vicky’s death. Throughout the story, she tries to understand why she feels such a strong personal connection to her “home place.”

La Seur’s story was born as she was trying to discover the answer to that question herself. Shortly before the beginning of the Iraq War, La Seur was working as a clerk for the federal court in Australia. Many Australian citizens were protesting the war and a few suggested that La Seur should give up her American identity and take up Australian nationality.

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2014 11:02

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Golfer keeps dream alive

Not Freddie Couples or Kenny Perry, but former PGA Tour player Mike Grob helps out at the Pita Pit.
 
Story and Photo - By MARTIN MULL - For The Outpost

Wait a minute. It can’t be.

Is that popular PGA Tour star Freddie Couples behind the Pita Pit restaurant counter wrapping around one of their gigantic pitas during the lunch rush hour?

No, at second glance, maybe he’s No. 1 senior pro golfer Kenny Perry, noted for duffing an easy chip shot to lose the 2009 Masters Tournament.

“All the time,” said the man with the true identity behind the fresh vegetable counter. “When I was out on tour (PGA Tour) I’d be mistaken for those two all the time. The clubhouse boys would see me and say, ‘Hello, Mr. Perry, can I take your bag?’”

It’d be a surprise to see any of these PGA superstars out on Grand Avenue near North 24th Street West, serving the pita-loving public. But perhaps, for the local golfing brotherhood it’s, how shall we say it, a bit interesting to see Montana’s best-ever male golfer finishing up the healthy wraps with his soft hands, at the end of the line, next to the cashier and alongside the summer-job high schoolers.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:10

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Powder River country offers rugged views

Photo by Rick and Susie Graetz - The Powder River meanders through prairie and rugged badlands.
 
By RICK AND SUSIE GRAETZ - University of Montana

“A mile wide, an inch deep, too thin to plow and too thick to drink” is as appropriate a portrayal today as it was when the first inhabitants described southeast Montana’s Powder River.

In September 1805, French explorer Francois Antoine Larocque wrote, “The current of the river is very strong and the water is so muddy that it is scarcely drinkable. The savages say that it is always thus and that is the reason that they call the river Powder, for the wind rises and carries from the slope a fine sand which obscures and dirties the water.”

The Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow Indians at one time used the Powder River country as their hunting grounds. After the mid-1880s, when the bison were slaughtered and the U.S. Army forced the Indians out of their homelands, large cattle herds were driven north from Texas to graze on the rich grasses in the broad valleys of the Powder. Big cow outfits claimed huge tracts of land, until the legendary winter of 1886-87 virtually wiped out their operations.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:04

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