Bushwhacking: How to Get Lost in the Woods and Write Your Way Out


Product Details

$18.95  $17.62
Trinity University Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.4 X 0.8 inches | 0.62 pounds

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About the Author

Jennifer McGaha has taught creative nonfiction and memoir writing for more than twenty years, currently at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Flat Broke with Two Goats, and her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Bitter Southerner, Brevity, CHEAP POP, Lumina, PANK, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Passengers, HerStry, and elsewhere. A native of Appalachia, McGaha lives in western North Carolina with her husband, two cats, six unruly dogs, ten relatively tame dairy goats, and an ever-changing number of hens.


Praise for Bushwhacking

"In Bushwhacking, Jennifer McGaha makes a very convincing argument that in order to understand the unknown, writers must get up from the desk, go outside, and step into it. She beautifully and effectively braids her life as a writer, hiker, reader, and civic-minded citizen into an approach to seeing and understanding the world that will serve all readers, whether they're looking to understand the story in their hearts or the story of the world around them." -- Wiley Cash, author of When Ghosts Come Home

"Bushwhacking is rich with the smell of mountain laurel, the musky stink of a menacing bear, the splendor of a Blue Ridge sunset, and, in equal part, with keen wisdom and practical writing advice. We set out into the wilderness each time we sit down to start a story or poem, and in both writing and nature, the beauty is often found not in where we thought we were heading but in where we find ourselves instead." -- Dinty W. Moore, author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life

"This wondrous book focuses on the importance of writing, the necessity of using words to connect us to our world--especially the natural world. In the face of Trumpism and COVID, McGaha finds genuine optimism in using language to commune with trails and swales, with ziplines, dogs, and mountain bikes. 'Of course, your words are inadequate, these ethereal voices tell me. Words are always inadequate. Write them anyway, ' McGaha says. Between giving up and writing, she shows that the only authentic choice is to write--as she herself does--beautifully, fearlessly, absorbing the world around you." -- Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences

"Bushwacking combines sensible writing advice with vivid outdoor adventures. McGaha's sensory details--the itch of chigger bites, the fright caused by a rattlesnake--show us that persistence is key when writing (i.e., revising) a life." -- Natasha Sajé, author of Terroir: Love, Out of Place

"Bushwhacking is a fierce, honest, and inspiring exploration of the inextricable connection between how we write and how we live our lives. McGaha offers us no prescriptions and no easy answers. Instead, she helps us shape the necessary questions as we enter the daunting woods of our work, making Bushwhacking the perfect book to get lost with." -- Tommy Hays, author of The Pleasure Was Mine

Praise for Flat Broke with Two Goats

"An enjoyable back-to-the land memoir. " -- Library Journal

"An easy read with a warm tone, like hearing from an old friend, McGaha's memoir is touching, funny, and hard to put down." -- Booklist

"Flat Broke with Two Goats is a funny, moving and unflinchingly honest reckoning. Reduced by desperate circumstances, Jennifer and her husband find themselves living a life that echoes the hardscrabble Appalachian ways of their grandparents. This sweet miracle of a memoir tells the story of a struggling couple who have to lose their house, and just about everything else, to find home." -- Tommy Hays, author of The Pleasure Was Mine

"You'll be alarmed, breathless, and ultimately charmed by Flat Broke with Two Goats because yes, it could happen to you..." -- Terri Schlichenmeyer, Bookworm Sez

"Flat Broke with Two Goats is a brave book written in beautifully unflinching detail. McGaha lays bare the flaws in her marriage, the poor choices that led them to rock bottom and how they found their way to a new definition of home." -- BookPage