A Womans Place is in the Wild / Colorado / Home / Landscape and Place / Mountain Living / Seasonal Life / Writer's Life

Welcome to Rougher Beauty

I’ll be honest:  I’ve struggled with this blog (formerly 1hotkitchen@blogspot.com) for the last year now.

Sure I’ve had the convenient excuse of writing a book, a task far more lovely and consuming than I ever imagined.  But It’s also true I’ve worried for some time now about where to put my focus.  When I began blogging seven years ago, it was with my sister and our motto was two sisters, two opinions, One Hot Kitchen.  After Nancy’s attention shifted with the birth of her daughter and she went back to school, I kept at it, with the intention of following M.F.K. Fisher, to write about the sensual nature of ingredients and cooking. In those days, I thought making meals gave me roots.  But when the sense of pleasure I had in food and its rituals deepened once I met the artist lover and I began writing more seasonally, I realized that landscape had been my foundation all along. I still wrote under the title One Hot Kitchen because I was newly in love, but I shifted my focus to “the sensual, sensate life.”

River on the road to Lake Ann

I still want to write about the pleasure of food, but I want to write about other things too.

As I have been.  In the last year, I’ve posted about the health adventures of our dog, River and gone on record about American politics in what seems like the age of the apocalypse.  It’s not just the kitchen that’s hot.

The time has come, however, when One Hot Kitchen, just doesn’t fit.

One of the things writing a memoir about the ten years I lived in the Overland cabin taught me is that landscape is my bedrock.  It gives me roots and a place to stand.

Near Maysville, Colorado

And so Rough Beauty became the name of my book and now Rougher Beauty will be the name of my blog.  It’s a truer expression of the way I see the world. My preference has always been for the earth, particularly for its rough beauty, its inscrutability, its mixture of shit and muck.  “I know what the world is made of and I still love all of it,” says Reyna, the spirited ranch hand Gretel Ehrlich meets in The Solace of Open Spaces.  Me too.

I hope you will continue to enjoy it and the changes I’ll be making to the way it looks.


Karen Auvinen is poet, mountain woman, life-long westerner, writer, and the author of the memoir Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living. Her body of work traverses the intersection of landscape and place, and examines what it means to live deeply and voluptuously, and has appeared in The New York Times, The Columbia Review, Ascent, The Cold Mountain Review, and Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, among others. Awards include two Pushcart Prize nominations, a Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Imagination Award, two Academy of American Poets Awards, and a Jentel residency. She earned an MA in poetry from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D in fiction from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and presently teaches film and media studies to freshman at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Past gigs include Writer-in-Residence for the State of Colorado, editor, book-buyer, rural postal route driver, caterer, clinic assistant, landscaper, summer camp director, and guest chef. She lives in Colorado with the artist Greg Marquez (www.artquez.com), their dog River, and Dottie the Cat.

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