About the Author
Hi! My name is Shady Grove and I just wanted to say thanks for checking out my blog. I hope you’re finding it interesting!
Growing up in CA, I often passed spontaneous shrines on the side of the road. When I was in high school, a local college student was killed in her driveway by a person trying to steal her car. Her parents set up a shrine around a tree in front of the apartment complex where they all lived. For many years, I drove past the shrine almost every day and watched it change with the seasons. Her parents would put up hearts for Valentine’s Day, wreathes and lights in winter, and flowers in spring. The shrine became an integral part of the landscape and the center of a number of discussions over space and place. I discovered that it had also found its way into the hearts of many people throughout the city. I was worried when I heard the city might try to cut the tree down for safety reasons. On a number of occasions, I saw people straightening up some part of the shrine that had fallen over, or been blown askew by the wind. Inspired in part by the local shrine, during my senior year in college, I decided to do one of my honors theses on shrines like it. I wanted to find out the stories and the people behind the shrines, the controversies they sparked, and the ways in which these personal memorials were connected to larger societal narratives.
After graduating with a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Religious Studies, I moved up to the Talkeetna Mountains in south-central Alaska to work for the State Park Service. As a Natural History Interpreter, my job was to tell visitors the story of the abandoned gold mine where I was both living and working. It was there I think I really fell in love with storytelling and being a story detective–finding the voices of and in the landscapes surrounding me.
I moved down to southeast Alaska and passed the winter as a barista and assistant baker in a small coffee shop before getting a job as a morning news host and occasional reporter for the local public radio station. As a result, I got to talk to a lot of really interesting people and learn many new things I’d never known anything about before.
Two years ago, I moved from Alaska to New York City (driving all the way) for graduate school. I recently completed an M.Sc. in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and constructed this blog as my thesis/capstone project. Although I am done with the academic side of the project, I plan to continue writing this blog indefinitely.