Lori Messenger speaking at podium for Norman Maclean Festival
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    During my rural Colorado and Idaho childhood I followed a lot of deer and cow paths. They never ran straight, which is also how my various careers have proceeded.  I earned an undergraduate degree in English at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, but followed my own passion for cross-country ski racing into work as a junior Nordic coach for six years.  When I decided to go to graduate school in creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, my manuscript on women in smokejumping earned me an MFA, but also drew me into that fiery world and I worked on a hotshot crew and as a smokejumper out of Missoula for a decade, meeting my husband, Scott Jones, in the process.  


    Throughout it all I have been a reader and writer - exploring my experiences in articles for publication in anthologies and magazines. Injuries and raising a family led me back to the U of Montana, where I earned another masters’ in English education.  My love of literature now inspires me to share how reading can enrich our lives and writing challenges us to think and speak and become who we want to be.  I taught seven years at Seeley-Swan High School and this year (2022-23) will be my third with you at Sentinel. I am so happy to be here.


    When I am not planning classes, reading or responding to student writing, I am wandering in wild places with my family; supporting daughter, Freya (18), and son, Virgil (15) in their endeavors; weeding the vegetable garden (summer) or grabbing a ski (winter).  I enjoy the smoothness of the groomed trails, but still point myself to break new paths at least a few times each year.