Bookshop Santa Cruz is delighted to welcome award-winning author Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness) for a reading and signing of her new memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, which tells the remarkable story of “that girl who dared herself to buy a ranch, dared herself to dig in and care for it, to work hard enough to pay for it, to figure out what other people meant when they used the word ‘home.'"
At 31 years old, fresh off a tour promoting her first collection, Cowboys Are My Weakness, Pam Houston had “no job, no place to live except my North Face VE 24 tent.” On an impulse and a good instinct, she spent her royalties on a 120-acre ranch near Creede, Colorado. It was more than she could afford, and required more maintenance than she could manage. And yet, twenty-five years later, it’s the piece of land that’s defined the largest part of her life.
In its chapters, Houston spends her days walking along the fences on her property, watching leaves on the aspens ignite into an eruption of fall colors, and caring for the animals on her ranch: the horses, sheep, chickens, Irish wolfhounds, and a pair of miniature donkeys with outsized attitudes. Houston’s audacity and generosity are on full display as she cares for an elk calf abandoned by its herd and sleeps outside to comfort her old hound. Deep Creek raises concern about the many ways we endanger the natural world’s delicate balance, and nature’s enigmatic powers to survive and to save. It’s also a chronicle of recovery.
Encompassing Houston’s childhood, her adventures, and her details of everyday life at the ranch, Deep Creek is, above all, a testament. In holding on to her ranch, Houston carved a life to support her spirit and her talents, and discovered that she could be the cowboy of her own story. “I know,” she explains, “that when I claimed these 120 acres they also claimed me. We are each other’s mutual saviors.”
This free event will take place at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Chairs for open seating are usually set up about an hour before the event begins. If you have any ADA accessibility requests, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by February 5th.
Pam Houston is the author of the novels Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, the short story collections Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and A Little More About Me, a collection of essays. Her stories have been selected for volumes such as The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and The Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Literary Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award, and multiple teaching awards. She cofounded the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, is a professor of English at UC–Davis, and teaches in the Institute of American Indian Arts’ low-residency MFA program and at writer’s conferences around the country and the world.