Much of the book focuses on Jennifer’s experiences aboard an emergency helicopter keeping victims of heart attacks and critically injured survivors of traffic accidents alive as they are being transported to hospital emergency rooms and the risks of being an emergency flight nurse—night flights, bad weather, human error—including dealing with the deaths of colleagues in helicopter crashes. A former neonatal and pediatric intensive-care nurse, she writes vividly of the tiny patients whose lives were in her hands.
Jennifer worked on A Final Arc of Sky during a two-week residency at Soapstone in the spring of 2006 and again for another two weeks in the winter of 2008. She wrote to us in March:
“I can't tell you how much the gift of concerted, focused, untroubled time helped me—time that was completely untethered from the stressors of job and home. At Soapstone each morning I journaled purely for fun over coffee in front of the Queen, worked on the material for my book up in the cube from late morning until mid-to-late afternoon, spent the last two hours of daylight riding my bike to Nehalem or Manzanita and back, a wonderful 25-mile ride out to the sea past the woods and the farms of the area; after a quick dinner I continued to work on the book up in the cube until 1 a.m.
“I never write in the evening at home—I have MS and am exhausted by the time evening rolls around—so this new capability surprised and delighted me. It was enlightening to discover how much I can do as a writer when the usual constraints and energy drains are removed.
“This gift of time is enhanced and heightened by the secluded beauty of the natural setting, by the house itself, and by your amazing management of the facilities. I love the house—it balances perfectly on the cusp between aesthetic and necessity. I love the natural materials, the simple comfort of the furnishings, the quirkiness of the Wind Studio. I love that it has absolutely everything one needs without any froufrou, and the same can be said of the Nehalem/Manzanita area, as well. The total environment you've created frees the writer to focus exclusively on the work and on forms of relaxation and inspiration that enhance the work.”
A 2008 recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, Jennifer lives on
(Photo of Jennifer courtesy of Elisha Rain)