Local author changes lives through writing

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Authors capture stories and save them for eternity, but one local author has not only saved her own life in words, but also insured the legacy of countless other women.

Meet Linda Hasselstorm.

When we ran into neighboring ranchers in the pasture, I was there to hear the stories and a lot of those guys are gone now so I get to tell the stories."

Linda Hasselstrom began writing at just 9-years-old after moving out of the city to a ranch about 5 miles south of Hermosa.

Hasselstrom says, "It was as though a door opened. I've been living in Rapid City and had always read but I had never begun writing."

Her love of nature and ranch work with her father spurred her new found talent.

She says, "We would go out in the pasture and the antelope would be out a little ways away from us stomping their feet and I'd write it down because I want to remember it but I also want to find out why they were doing it."

And as she grew up she worked many jobs teaching at various levels, but it never satisfied her hunger for writing.

She says,"I put together a diary of a year on the ranch and that was my first book." ... "That was Windbreak. That was my first book and that's when I thought, oh I guess I really am a writer."

Now, award winning author Linda Hasselstrom has decided to share the inspiration from her family ranch with fellow writers.

Hasselstrom" I came up here from Cheyenne, Wyoming where I was living with two writing friends for a weekend and we were staying here and one of the women said 'Why don't you turn it into a writing retreat for women?'"

Now writers and artists from around the country visit Windbreak House writing retreat as serene, secluded treat for their work.

She says, "I'll come back and they will be sitting outside saying 'I've never really heard birds before or I've never noticed that color of green"

But helping writers wasn't enough ... Hasselstrom wanted to capture the stories of women like her who never got the opportunity to tell their stories.

She says, "We started thinking about all the women we knew that had wonderful stories that had never ... or would never write and we thought how can we help them, how can we get those stories out so that they're saved."

The solution was the Wind Anthologies.

She says, "The first anthology was their lives in the country."

Hasselstrom and her two co-editors put out a call for women who wanted to tell their stories."

She says, "The second one was woven on the Wind and this was women writing about friendship." ... "Crazy woman Creek the third one was women reading about community."

And the response was more than they ever imagined.

She says, "At first we thought I will be able to read a few lines and tell whether they're any good. We got a stack of manuscript, well it was two six foot piles, and we read every single one of them because we were afraid that we would miss some gem."

But out of all the books ... poetry ... and art she has created ... she says the anthologies will be the legacy she shares with the voices of those rural women.

"I've got at the moment 15 books and prints at the end of the summer and will be 17 books and prints I'm very happy to have written those books those three anthologies are more important than anything I've ever done."