Witness to the West


I first discovered the High Desert Journal shortly after its inaugural edition was released. The magazine made an immediate impact on me; from its sophisticated design, to its smart juxtaposition of literature, essays and art, to the first lines of the editor's note, which I will never forget as they spoke so directly to my own experience of growing up east of the Cascades:

As a young girl growing up in Central Oregon, I would look east with my schoolbook definition of deserts and wonder to myself, "what's out there?"

These were the words of Elizabeth Quinn, editor and founder of the High Desert Journal, Art and Literature from the High Desert, in the spring of 2005.

Bend sits on the edge of the Great Basin, a landmass defined by hydrographic characteristics, one of which being that no water finds outlet in the Pacific Ocean or in the Gulf of Mexico. This basin and range territory spreads its fingers across state lines into Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and California. Growing up on the precipice of such land made my imagination want to stretch just as far. Looking east set me on a path of reaching, longing, and daydreaming myself into new territory and experience. The land to the east made the world of loamy density west of the Cascades, the narrow valley between mountains and sea, seem far removed; the dream of Cascadia a distant thought that bore little resemblance to the sage and hoar-frost covered desert that was in my bones.

The High Desert Journal, too, is reaching and striving, dreaming of what might lay beyond the eastern horizon. The journal has moved from its hometown of Bend to Montana. I am so honored, thrilled, and well, HONORED, to have my art on the cover of the last issue before the magazine's big move. There is also a two-page spread of the work from my Tuf series inside the magazine.

Issue #18 is on the newstands, and you can look at the first few pages of the issue, as well as back issues online at the High Desert Journal website.