Skiing &Writing, in Lutsen, Minnesota.
Pat and I were in Stratford, Canada the summer after my dad passed away. We were watching a one-man play called Brief Lives. At the beginning of this show the actor walked to the edge of the stage and said the following, “When a learned man dies there dies a lot of learning with him.”
I decided right then to write a book about my father and entitle it “A Learned Man.”
At college I’d avoided English courses because I knew I was a slow reader. In hindsight, the one English course I took in my senior year was the class I remember the most from my Bowdoin days. It was a course on the modern novel and we read many books. That started my life-long interest in reading.
Cal Kendall was my roommate in college. He was an English major and went on to earn his PhD. at the University of California. He became a distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for more than 38 years.
Back when I told Pat I was going to write my first book she suggested I call Dr. Cal and I did. After he recovered from the shock of hearing my voice, he said, “Hank, you taught me how to ski at Brunswick. I’d be delighted to help you with your writing. Send me your manuscript and let’s plan to meet up here in Minnesota at our local ski resort called Lutsen to discuss your writing.”
I wrote my book in longhand about ‘The Learned Man’ and headed for Minnesota. Cal and his wife, Ellie, live in a superb of Minneapolis. I spent the night with them and we loaded up to head for Lutsen—a small ski area up on Lake Superior not far from the Canadian border. Founded by the family of Cindy Nelson, the first US woman skier to earn a medal in the 1982 Olympics.
Born and raised in Lutsen in northeastern Minnesota, Nelson's family ran the local ski area and she was on skis before the age of three. She raced in all five alpine disciplines, with a focus on downhill, and was on the World Cup squad of the U.S. Ski Team at age 16. Nelson won the silver medal in the downhill at the 1982 World Championships and was the bronze medalist in the downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympics.
Now, in November 2017, I have written a number of books with most of them edited by Cal. These books are shown on this site and many of them were written after talking with Cal about them and with his edits. I credit Cal and Ellie and our Lutsen visits with the inspiration to write.
Now Cal, Ellie, and I are too old to ski but I still have the urge to write and am waiting for the inspiration to start a new writing project.