Annie Lampman:

What is the West?

"The West is a complicated beast with so many contradictory identities it is hard to pin down, and while this is true of all places, the West seems to more fully possess a type of multiple-personality disorder than other places—perhaps because it is where people come to re-create themselves however they see fit, granted a certain freedom of identity that the landscape seems to encourage, if not demand. There is no one West. It is as multitudinous as the hats and boots that outfit it; however, if it is one thing, that thing is tough."

Annie Lampman is a creative writing professor at Washington State University Honors College and fiction editor of Blood Orange Review. She has a MFA in fiction from the University of Idaho and lives in Moscow, Idaho with her husband, three sons, and a bevy of pets. Her essays, poetry, and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as The Massachusetts Review, Orion Magazine, Cascadia Review, and High Desert Journal, as well as numerous others. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, first place in the Everybody-Writes contest, an Idaho Commission on the Arts writing grant, and a national wilderness artist’s residency through the Bureau of Land Management. Her first novel is under consideration in New York.