Writing Memoir: Tom Montgomery Fate and “The Long Way Home”
Tom Montgomery Fate discusses his writing process and his forthcoming memoir The Long Way Home with Sandy Stott.
The Long Way Home ventures from Fate’s small-town upbringing to vastly different cultures around the globe. Fate comes to define “home” not as a physical location, but as a way of belonging. “Migrating birds have an internal compass that allows them to home their way back to their nesting place each spring,” he writes. “For birds, home is both verb and noun — both journey and destination.”
The same is true for Fate. Whether he is bobbing in a canoe in the freezing rain with his son on a Canadian lake, praying with Lakota elders in a sweat lodge in South Dakota, or teaching English in a remote Filipino village, these are not stories of arrival. They are detours of discovery, a spiritual wayfinding through the wilderness of time and memory.
Tom Montgomery Fate is the author of six books of creative nonfiction, including The Long Way Home: Detours and Discoveries, a travel memoir due out in July. A regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, his essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Orion, The Iowa Review and many others. Dozens of his essays have also aired on NPR, PRI and Chicago Public Radio.