Heather Lende is a local author, columnist, and radio commentator. If you haven’t read her book, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name (check your local bookstore) or read her column, formerly in the Anchorage paper, now in the Alaska Dispatch, you’ve probably heard her on National Public Radio. She plays a significant role in the Haines community, not only through tireless public service, but because she’s personable, outgoing, intelligent, witty, and attractive.
I don’t know Heather personally, but we’ve spoken a few times. In small towns, particularly in Alaska, casual conversation among people who don’t know each other is common. I certainly know who she is, as she’s a local celebrity. I suspect she knows who I am, in the way that well-connected members of a small community know who everyone is. After all—it is the title of her first book.
A few months ago, Heather started blogging. I decided to ask her if I could add a link to her blog on mine. Most of my friends and relatives know more about Haines through her stories than through mine. Since this blog originated for them, I saw a chance to offer them something extra. They’ll certainly learn more about what’s going on in Haines from Heather than they will from me—I never seem to know what’s happening up there!
I hesitated, uncertain about reciprocation. A link to her site will improve mine, but I’m not sure a link to mine would benefit her in anyway. Further (and this is the silly part) I’m shy about the possibility that Hainesites might read my blog!
I’ve pointed out before that our life here isn’t unique. We’re not special by Alaska standards. We don’t do anything that neighbors haven’t done better and for longer before us. To my friends elsewhere, we’re doing something worth talking about, but to anyone who lives here, this blog may seem trite, or, worse, presumptuous.
When I was young, there was a common joke. A resident would ask a newcomer how long they’d been in Alaska. The answer, whether a few days or a few months, inevitably prompted the response: “Oh, then you’re ready to write your book!” It’s common for people to come to Alaska and within a short time begin to act like an expert. I’ve always been wary of that. I was born in Alaska, and lived here most of my life, but up until we moved to the homestead, I’d only visited Haines a few times. I don’t intend to present myself as any kind of local authority.
Obviously, if this is how I feel, the last thing I should be doing is posting on line! I guess I’m writing more for people outside the area.
While I hesitated, the situation resolved itself. When I revisited Heather’s blog after a recent “wind drought,” I found a link to our Website on her page! I suspect that’s why my number of daily hits tripled around then.
Obviously, I’ve been worrying needlessly again. I’m flattered and grateful that she found my site, and decided to add it as a “local reference link.” I certainly appreciate the increased traffic!
So now, faithful readers, once you’ve enjoyed our latest adventure, click on Heather’s link on the right, and find out what’s happening in Haines. I’ll be joining you there for the same reason!