Welcome to Love of Place. Most of my work celebrates our connection to the natural world.

Most recently, my Knocking on Heaven's Door is the winner in the category of science fiction in the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards and in the category of fiction in the 2016 Arizona Authors Association Awards. A number of reviewers have been enthusiastic, including the website Geeks of Doom, which makes me smile. Not many people know me as a geek of doom! But I am happy to embrace the complexity of my personality.

I'm also so pleased that Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World has been awarded the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, as well as the 2014 WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction from Women Writing the West.

My historical fantasy Teresa of the New World won the 2015 Arizona Authors Association Award for best Children's Literature and was a finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Children's Literature, the WILLA Award for Children's Literature, and the May Sarton Award for Children's Literature.

These are nice landmarks in a writer's life. I would be writing regardless--but, still, whew. It's good to have some encouragement.

Feel free to contact me at http://www.sharmanaptrussell.com or through my author Facebook page, Sharman Apt Russell.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Becoming a World Authority

Ten years ago, I was first inspired by another entomologist, Dick Vane-Wright, the Keeper of Entomology at the London Museum of Natural History, whom I was interviewing about butterflies. “There’s so much we don’t know!” Dick told me, sounding excited and distressed at the same time. “You could spend a week studying some obscure insect and you would then know more than anyone else on the planet. Our ignorance is profound.”
Nodding, I wrote the comment down in my notebook. I liked its humility—an acceptance of how little we know—and I liked its challenge and implied sense of wonder—there is still so much to discover. Over the next decade, the words would surface again, like some message on a Magic Eight Ball: Signs point to yes. Concentrate and ask again. You could spend a week studying some obscure insect and you would then know more than anyone else on the planet. 
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life, much more than a week, thinking about the apocalypse. In my circle of friends, climate change is a party conversation. Dead zones in the ocean. The melting ice caps. The rainforest on fire. Then there are the changing patterns in our own weather--that terribly dry winter followed by a dry spring. Most of the Southwest is in what is called exceptional drought condition, the highest category of drought, a drought expected to persist and intensify. I’ve lived in the desert almost all my life and waiting for rain is nothing new.
As the world falls apart, as we lose hundreds of species a day in the most current mass extinction, as I lift my head to the bright blue New Mexican sky and lament and wail and ululate…the idea that there is still so much to discover strikes me as a kind of miracle. We think we’ve beaten the earth flat, hammered out the creases, starched the collar, hung her up to dry. We’ve turned the planet into our private estate, a garden here, a junkyard there, maybe an apocalypse at the end. But no longer wild, no longer mysterious. And yet. You could spend a week studying some obscure insect and you would then know more than anyone else on the planet.  It’s such a cheerful thought.

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