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Writers taking inspiration from time in Aspen

Patrick Fort
Aspen Public Radio

Back in the 1970s,  while Andy Stone worked at the Aspen Times, he was questioning himself. He felt that all newspaper reporters had a novel in them. So he decided to follow suit.

His first novel, “Song of the Kingdom”, was published by Doubleday in 1979. After that book’s release, he decided he’d take another crack at the publishing world.

“With my youthful arrogance, I assumed that would be a simple process,” said Stone. “I got pretty lucky with the first one in that, I finished it, I sent it off to an agent, read and said, ‘Ah, I like this. I’ll represent it.’”

His second book wasn’t published, but earlier this year, he put out his third book independently. It’s called “Aspen Drift.”

The novel tells the story of a reporter diving into the world of billionaires and and the lives of everyday people in Aspen. It’s fiction, written as something nearly historical — with tales of the town’s mining past and changing future.


Stone said he wrote the book to re-create the feeling of the Aspen he knew back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jack Brendlinger, another long-time Aspen resident, felt that instead of writing fiction, the best way to share his experience of Aspen would be to tell his stories. After telling someone the same story for the fifth or sixth time, they told him to put it in a book.


“..Somebody made the comment, ‘why don’t you write this down so we can enjoy our dinner and not have to listen to you,’” said Brendlinger.


Brendlinger — who now lives in Carbondale —  put out his book “Don’t Get Mad...Get Even: Stories of the Aspen Practical Joke Years’”  last year. For a bit of time,  it was a bestseller at Explore Booksellers.


One story explains the events which led to Brendlinger’s children getting horses as Christmas gifts, after telling his friend that he would absolutely not take one.


The two stories look back at Aspen in very similar ways, yet do it so differently. One is fiction but could feel real. The other, is filled with stories you can’t make up.


Stone said after putting his book together, he has a better understanding of his life.


“I have now a much better grip on how I feel about Aspen, and what Aspen is,” said Stone. “I’ve gotten a good bit older so I can look back and appreciate a particular time and shape of Aspen and feel like there is something there that I can get a hold of and write about.”

Whether your Aspen is small and quaint, or flashy and new, truth may be stranger than fiction.


Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.