The Society of Southwestern Authors- October 2016 Forum WRITING ABOUT DEATH? Without depressing your readers “Crossing The Final Frontier”

WRITING ABOUT DEATH? Without depressing your readers “Crossing The Final Frontier”

The Society of Southwestern Authors Hosts Jeff Babcock at October 2016Writer’s Forum

All my life I knew I would one day go back and write about the time I nearly died on the icy slopes of Alaska’s Denali (aka Mount McKinley) in 1967.  As is often the case, an obsessive addictive behavior was the cause which triggered the event tht nearly did me in.  But it ws not an addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, workaholism; adventure … more specifically to the danger of pitting myself against Mother Nature, at her worst …and with the reality of coming face to face with the Grim Reaper” himself.  Even today, I am fascinated by the mystery of death … that final frontier we must each cross when our times comes.

For nearly thirty years, I ws an avid muntain climber … caught in an ego driven sport … week in and week out, 12 months a year.  Like most addicts, my goal was to feel better, more important, and more exceptional.  Yet I could never see that this need for recognition was being fueled primarily by a wounded ego and my low sense of self esteem.  In 2010, my wife and left Alaska, and moved to Green Valley to care for her aging father who was approaching his final years in the usual way … by growing old.

Living with my father-in-law’s slow demise, I soon discovered I now had the time … and yes the inclination to take a good look at my lifelong relationship with danger … and it’s inherent attraction to cheat death.

So I wrote a book about it in 2012 entitled SHOULD I NOT RETURN, which is not your typical mountain climbing story.  My book goes back into all the variables that nurtured and enabled my poor self-concept.

My book SHOULD I NOT RETURN reveals facets from my early childhood as well as my parents failings and strengths.  The challenges of adulthood were followed by my first failed marriage.  Then came the raising of our four children in today’s “blended family” and the trails and tribulations of marriage to Peg … my loving wife of thirty years.  I also discovered a passion for looking at some of the backgrounds of the early pioneer climbers on Denali … in an attempt to draw parallels to my own experience.

In 2014, I continued to address my cnfrontation with DEATH ON DENALI, (the title of a DVD I created), which delved further into my story, and into my desire to more fully understand and explore the concept of writing about death.

I graduated in 1969, with a BA in Secondary Education and then taught two years in Croton, Connecticut.  In 1972, I returned to Alaska, where I received an M.A. in Special Education and worked as a Special Ed resource teacher in the Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitina school districts.  During this time my brother and I oversaw the mountineering program at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Together, we introduced countless students to the joys of climbing with expeditins to Denali and many of Alaska’s surrounding peaks.  I have written articles for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Magazine.  My wife and I are retired and work part time at the ACE Hardware in Green Valley, Arizona.  I am also working on a second novel which continues to explore the concepts of death and dying. My book will perhaps be entitled … THE FINAL FRONTIER … and it will have nothing to do with STAR TREK.

Jeff Babcock


(Granada & Saint Mary’s) 11 am-2 pm, every third Sunday

Please R.S.V.P by Wednesday before the Forum

Danette Young 520-809-5008 or

$25 w/registration  $30 at the door … includes lunch & speaker

(No credit cards … processing fees are too high)

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