As one who follows her work might expect, Dina Mishev was traveling on March 11 when the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Wyoming.
Secluded in a fly-in backcountry ski lodge in the Canadian Rockies, she didn’t hear the news until she opened her laptop in a Revelstoke, British Columbia, hotel room at the end of the week. Mishev and her boyfriend made it back to Wyoming just one day before the border between the U.S. and Canada was closed to nonessential travel. For the past 11 months she has barely left Wyoming — extremely uncharacteristic for Jackson Hole’s preeminent travel writer.
But, like many Jacksonites, Mishev has found solace in regular laps on Snow King and trips up Cache Creek. And, of course, she has been writing.
Mishev, the fifth speaker in Teton County Library’s 2021 Mountain Story festival, will give a talk titled “Pandemic Project: Writing Essays About Travel” starting at 6 p.m. Thursday via Zoom. Although she will impart some of her wisdom, she especially hopes to spark creativity. She will offer prompts and exercises and ask audience members to share ideas.
“It’s about not putting too much thought or worry into it and just writing what comes into your head,” she said.
Mishev says that the idea for her most recent article in The Washington Post, “Small ski areas, big impact,” evolved from her idea for the upcoming workshop. In it she compiles a series of intimate vignettes that offer glimpses into different eras of her life and the evolution of her current relationship. Each snapshot takes place at a ski resort.
It’s not the only reflective piece she has been working on this year.
“I’ve been talking about writing a memoir for five years,” Mishev said.
Isolation and a thinner workload have provided her with the time and space that she needed to get started on the tentatively titled “Say Cheese.”
“I’ve been telling people it’s about illness, skiing and the Cheesecake Factory.”
Although the only books she has published in the past have been guidebooks, Mishev is no stranger to authentic creative nonfiction. In 2015 and 2016 she chronicled her experience undergoing treatment for stage 3 breast cancer in a biweekly column titled “The C-Word” in the News&Guide. Her real-time reflections blurred the lines between journalism and personal essay writing, and many Jacksonites followed Mishev as she fought to both destigmatize cancer and overcome it.
Whether the topic is morose or cheery, Mishev will try to spark reflection in community members at her upcoming workshop. She hopes the audience is a diverse blend of aspiring freelancers, amateur writers and avid travelers.
“I want everyone to feel welcome,” she said.