After reading through a pile of Tim Cahill's work, it's easy to understand why people living in a mountain town -- notoriously adventurous limit-pushers -- would enjoy the writings of a man who has explored the back alleys and raging rivers of more than 170 countries.
Cahill travels with a headfirst enthusiasm that leads him into "how do I get out of this" adventures -- the stuff of malaria, falling off cliffs and great articles.
Off the Beaten Path Bookstore has a pile of his books: "Jaguars Ripped My Flesh," "A Wolverine is Eating my Leg" and "Pecked to Death by Ducks."
The author of six books, Cahill is an adventure travel writer whose articles have appeared in Outside magazine, where he was a founding editor, and Rolling Stone. He will be a featured speaker in the annual Literary Sojourn on Sept. 11.
His first books, written more than 20 years ago, are self-conscious and awestruck as he asks himself on paper why anyone would want to pay him to do what he loves.
"People use (the term) adolescence as a pejorative, and it is," Cahill said in an online interview with Salon Magazine, "but I think that is the time in your life when you are most open to new experience. It is also the most idealistic you will ever be in your life. And those are two qualities of adolescence that I hope I can keep."
These days, he writes from his home in Livingston, Mont., between visits to politically unstable countries, looking for adventure unmarred by tourists.
His reprinted articles, published in the book "Pass the Butterworms," are part geography lesson, part character study and part the kind of travel tale that has earned him the nickname "Mishap Maestro."
After decades behind the typewriter, his writing is polished and his enthusiasm has turned to eye-open contemplation as he filters places and people through years of experience.
"If you were traveling with me but a mile apart, the things that happened to you would be entirely different; the things you saw would be entirely different. You can never exhaust the world. There is never any reason to become jaded," Cahill said.
Cahill will be joined at this year's Literary Sojourn by authors Alexandra Fuller ("Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight"), Maxine Hong Kingston ("The Woman Warrior"), Gus Lee ("Chasing Hepburn") and Colum McCann ("Dancer").
Tickets are on sale for Literary Sojourn, which is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.
Tickets are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore or from the Web site www.literarysojourn.org. Call 879-0240 or 879-6830.
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