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ARTIST - AUTHOR

signature9

ARTIST - AUTHOR

Kim Fairley, Writer

Shooting  out  the  lights

Kim was twenty-four when she fell in love with, and married, a man who was fifty-six. Something about Vern–his quirkiness, his humor, his devilish smile–made her feel an immediate connection. She quickly became pregnant, but instead of the idyllic interlude she’d imagined as she settled into married life and planned for their family, their love was tested by the ghosts of Vern’s past–a town, a house, a family, a memory–Vern’s failing health and the unexpected arrival of a visitor. It is a love story that explores the ongoing, wrenching aftermath of gun violence and the healing that comes with confronting the past.

"Shooting Out the Lights" will be published by She Writes Press and available in the spring of 2021.

University of New Mexico Press, 2002

Praise for Boreal Ties

"The photographs and journals provide insights into the personalities and values of individuals who would later become some of the most famous Arctic explorers or backers in the world...Anyone interested in the history of Arctic photography and polar exploration will be excited by these materials."

—Prof. Susan A. Kaplan, Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center

“The chapter on racial perspectives sheds some necessary light on the prevailing ideas on race at the beginning of the 20th century. For example, in both diaries, the Inuit are referred to as “Huskies” and it appears Wyckoff and Bement reflect the white man’s view of race in 1901, but between the lines one can read the respect they undoubtedly had for the Inuit, their culture, abilities and way of life in the harsh landscape of coastal Greenland.”

—Paul van Peenen, The Arctic Book Review

"Boreal Ties should be a welcome addition to the scholars bookshelf."

—Robert M. Bryce, The Polar Record

The Making of Boreal Ties

“I don’t know what to do with these,” my great aunt Betty said when she handed me the 1901 photo album that had belonged to her father, Clarence Wyckoff. Betty pointed out crew members as well as several of the most famous Arctic explorers—Robert Peary, Dr. Frederick Cook, and Matthew Henson—standing on the deck of the Windward and Erik, conversing and enjoying themselves. The images included breathtaking views—icebergs, Inuit, lush and barren landscapes-- shot in the Thule region of northern Greenland.

I had spent most of my MFA program at the University of Michigan creating monumental collages that dealt with Arctic exploration. I was fascinated to learn that these famous explorers, seemingly close friends in my great grandfather’s photographs, had eight years later, become bitter enemies.

In 1909, returning with Matthew Henson from placing a flag at the North Pole, Peary learned that Dr. Frederick Cook had reached the Pole a year earlier. Peary had spent his entire career attempting to reach the Pole. He and his supporters found it impossible to accept that anyone else could beat him to it. Together with his supporters, Peary launched a national campaign to discredit Dr. Cook, which created a huge controversy that exists to this day.

Since Betty shared that her father always believed Dr. Cook and was skeptical of Peary’s claim, when I finished my graduate degree, I set out to write a book about the 1901 expedition. I traveled with album in hand to the National Archives, the Prints and Photographs Reading Room at the Library of Congress, Cornell University Library, the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

After identifying most of the images and then transcribing my great grandfather’s diary, knowing their reputation for producing beautiful books, I sent a proposal to the University of New Mexico Press, and they agreed to publication.

Thinking there might be other images floating around in the world, especially those taken by the other men on the 1901 expedition, I pored through my notes and found the name Silas Ayer as somebody Betty had recommended I contact. “He’s the grandson of Uncle Louie,” she said, referring to Louie Bement. I made countless phone calls and managed to track down Silas in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Silas and I met at the National Archives where we compared his grandfather’s album to Wyckoff’s and to the photograph files I’d studied the year before. Interestingly, many of Wyckoff’s and Bement’s photographs were taken on the same occasions, only seconds apart and from slightly different angles. Silas offered to contribute his photos and diary to my project. With his encouragement and feedback, I compiled the best images from the two collections, wrote an introduction, and with the expertise of the folks at the University of New Mexico Press, the book became a reality.

Baltimore Sun - Boreal Ties Article
Ithaca Journal - Boreal Ties Article

"Historians are lucky to have Wyckoff and Bement’s rare and extraordinary record of their voyage, and as a novelist I absolutely cherish my copy of Boreal Ties.The businessmen were not only in the right place in the right time, they were paying attention. To take such photographs, they clearly put themselves on scene, front and central, entering into a landscape and into the lives of people they depicted."

—Katherine Kirkpatrick,  Author of The Snow Baby: The Arctic Childhood of Admiral Robert E. Peary's Daring Daughter and Between Two Worlds.

 

The Making of Boreal Ties

“I don’t know what to do with these,” my great aunt Betty said when she handed me the 1901 photo album that had belonged to her father, Clarence Wyckoff. Betty pointed out crew members as well as several of the most famous Arctic explorers—Robert Peary, Dr. Frederick Cook, and Matthew Henson—standing on the deck of the Windward and Erik, conversing and enjoying themselves. The images included breathtaking views—icebergs, Inuit, lush and barren landscapes-- shot in the Thule region of northern Greenland.

I had spent most of my MFA program at the University of Michigan creating monumental collages that dealt with Arctic exploration. I was fascinated to learn that these famous explorers, seemingly close friends in my great grandfather’s photographs, had eight years later, become bitter enemies.

Baltimore Sun - Boreal Ties Article

In 1909, returning with Matthew Henson from placing a flag at the North Pole, Peary learned that Dr. Frederick Cook had reached the Pole a year earlier. Peary had spent his entire career attempting to reach the Pole. He and his supporters found it impossible to accept that anyone else could beat him to it. Together with his supporters, Peary launched a national campaign to discredit Dr. Cook, which created a huge controversy that exists to this day.

Since Betty shared that her father always believed Dr. Cook and was skeptical of Peary’s claim, when I finished my graduate degree, I set out to write a book about the 1901 expedition. I traveled with album in hand to the National Archives, the Prints and Photographs Reading Room at the Library of Congress, Cornell University Library, the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

Ithaca Journal - Boreal Ties Article

After identifying most of the images and then transcribing my great grandfather’s diary, knowing their reputation for producing beautiful books, I sent a proposal to the University of New Mexico Press, and they agreed to publication.

Thinking there might be other images floating around in the world, especially those taken by the other men on the 1901 expedition, I pored through my notes and found the name Silas Ayer as somebody Betty had recommended I contact. “He’s the grandson of Uncle Louie,” she said, referring to Louie Bement. I made countless phone calls and managed to track down Silas in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Silas and I met at the National Archives where we compared his grandfather’s album to Wyckoff’s and to the photograph files I’d studied the year before. Interestingly, many of Wyckoff’s and Bement’s photographs were taken on the same occasions, only seconds apart and from slightly different angles. Silas offered to contribute his photos and diary to my project. With his encouragement and feedback, I compiled the best images from the two collections, wrote an introduction, and with the expertise of the folks at the University of New Mexico Press, the book became a reality.