- Publisher: The Dakota Institute
- Edition: 1st Edition
- Available in: Hardcover, Paperback
- ISBN: 0983405921
- Published: August 21, 2012
This is a collection of more than 100 of the newspaper columns I have written for the Bismarck Tribune. Generally speaking, I’m not fond of collections of newspaper columns, and I’ve never been completely satisfied with this book. I’m very proud of what I have written week by week for ten years for the Bismarck Tribune. Indeed, I believe that some epitome of the entire 520 columns and 650,000 words must be regarded as the most sustained (and I hope penetrating) analysis of life in North Dakota in the first 15 years of the 21stcentury.
To make it something more than a collection of columns, I asked my friend Leon Basler to draw some illustrations for the book. His work, especially his drawings of North Dakota’s buttes, is really outstanding. I also added little notes for about half of the columns, providing some sense of the reaction they received, or how I regard them looking back at a later time.
I wanted the title of the book to be, “The Language of Cottonwoods and Other Essays,” but those who thought they knew better vetoed that idea, in part because they had no idea what the language of cottonwoods is. You have to spend hundreds of hours in quiet under those trees to hear their “message on the wind.”
I very much want to publish a second volume of essays. I believe that some of my best work has occurred since publication of For the Love of North Dakota. Moreover, I would prefer to stitch together a sustained exploration of such themes as weather, agriculture, history, spirit of place, the badlands, conservation, the energy boom, and the future of North Dakota, wholly derived from the columns I have written, but not inevitably this whole column or that whole column. In other words, I feel that what I have to say would have more impact if the book were not enslaved to the weekly column format. And I would call it The Language of Cottonwoods.
To read a sample of five of Clay’s essays from For the Love of North Dakota click here.