Casper Professor and Writer Puts Out New Book About Wild Horses
Chad Hanson came to Casper College at “the turn of the century” he jokes with students. He’s been teaching sociology there since 2001, but in the summers he and his wife like to go to their special place in Red Feather Lakes.
“It’s a small village,” said Hanson, “gravel roads, no pavement, and we spend a big part of the summer there” in a 1951 aluminum travel trailer.
Hanson said he lived in Wyoming for about a decade before he discovered the wild horses that would ultimately become his muses.
It took him about five years to finish writing his recent book, which just came out earlier this month: In a Land of Awe: Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses.
He spends time with wild horses about three or four times a month during the school year and even more in the summertime. He said that he and his wife pitch a canvas teepee on the prairie for two to three days and make a home base looking for wild horses from there.
“I have a charmed life,” he said.
K2News asked about his writing process, and Hanson said, “I’m really consistent. I have to do the bulk of my writing in the summer because I have to have blocks of time. I roll out of bed in the morning, I roll directly over to my writing desk with a cup of coffee and my first thoughts of the day are on my writing. I can’t write for more than about three hours tops. I find at the end of three hours I might do more harm than good.”
“My first drafts are as lousy as any you’ve ever read. It doesn’t pour out of me in a form that anyone would want to read. My work is no different than anybody else’s, at least in the beginning, but I’m Midwestern and I have a work ethic, and I can’t stop tinkering with my sentences until I think they’re right,” Hanson said.
During the school year he edits things.
“I think writing and words is about the most human thing we do, so it comes naturally. I happen to really enjoy editing and revision, I think it’s a puzzle. That part of the process appeals to me. I’ll spend three hours trying to make a paragraph that sounds like I wrote it in a minute. “
We talked about reading work out-loud and developing an authentic writer’s voice.
“That is a thing,” said Hanson. “Words on the page translate into sounds, and so you have to think about how your words are landing in the ears of a reader, what it sounds like to read your sentences.”
Hanson said one his favorite writers is John Gardner, specifically his non-fiction work. He shared the quote:
“...good writing should be a continuous, uninterrupted dream.”
“That’s what good writing does, it provides you with this stream of consciousness,” said Hanson.
Not only is Hanson a writer, but he is well-known for his photography, too. Check out more of his photos here, and scroll down for his epic shots of wild horses.