Last week we reviewed the final page proofs of Monroe Robinson’s “The Handcrafted Life of Dick Proenneke,” finished up the diestamp (more on that soon) and sent everything to the printer – that felt good. We had hoped to have this book available for purchase by the end of the year, but it may be early 2022. As Chris wrote about here, U.S. printing plants are shutting down and consolidating, and we are working around significant paper shortages.
In the meantime, here’s a short excerpt from the first chapter, Starting from Scratch, written 53 years ago this week. A lot of the book is like this – excerpts from Dick’s journals (in regular font) accompanied by Monroe’s commentary (in italic font) and photography.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl
August 13, 1968:
Today was a day to clean up my leftovers from the cabin. Saw them to length and split them for wood. A good pile by the time I finished.
I drew up plans for the fireplace and they look very satisfactory to me. Now I must try to figure out how much cement it will take. Yesterday I had sawed a few blocks of wood at both the main and guest cabin. Enough to last a day or two. Today I cleared the drift wood from the landing beach and picked up more big rock to make a beach a pilot would enjoy coming in to.
More small jobs – clean up the canoe paddle and give it a coat of shellac. Sharpen and oil the planes and chisels. Ready to return them to the main cabin.
Dick stacked the large rocks he removed from the beach to start a small jetty on the up-country side of the beach. The photo on the first page of chapter 7 shows Dick’s rock-free beach after he and his brother Jake stacked rocks to create a large jetty to protect their J-3 Cub airplane from the west winds.
— Monroe Robinson
7 thoughts on “‘The Handcrafted Life of Dick Proenneke’ – An Update”
Can’t wait for this book to come out !
I’ve read and re-read some of Dick’s writings, as well as books, etc others have produced about him. (Look in your local library, if you cannot find them elsewhere.) How he figured out/knew how to do things baffles me. A true minimalist who used other peoples trash left in the area to make tools and other things he needed. Looking forward to reading another book about Dick.
I can hear his voice reading the excerpt. Looking forward to reading the book.
Loved working in Alaska in 1966 and 1968 (except for all the rain in the SE), and enjoy watching “Alone in the Wilderness” about Dick whenever it’s on PBS (during their fund drives).
Nice I’ve watched the doco that was made. I’m sure the book will be great. What an amazing life he lead.
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