Interviews and Reviews



The Fear Workshop

In the Yikes! Zone


Garden Gallery


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Photo of Mermer Blakeslee by Rose Mackiewicz
Photo by Rose Mackiewicz

Mermer Blakeslee leads many lives, as a writer, skier, teacher, and gardener. She has published three novels, Same Blood (Houghton Mifflin), In Dark Water (Ballantine), and When You Live by a River (Narrative Library). Called by Connie May Fowler “a novel of uncommon grace and soaring beauty,” In Dark Water was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series. Mermer was awarded three New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowships in fiction. Leenie, an excerpt from her latest novel, won the 2006 Narrative prize. Mermer’ss roots are in poetry and her poems have been published in the Paterson Literary Review, Heliotrope, and Narrative. Two were finalists in Narrative’ss annual poetry contests. Her non-fiction book, In the Yikes! Zone (Dutton) emerged from her work with fearful ski students over the past thirty years. It has recently been reissued in paperback and e-book as A Conversation with Fear.

Mermer started skiing at the age of three at Windham Mountain, New York and then went on to Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont where she ski-raced on a national level. She started teaching skiing in 1979, and in 1987, became an examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) to train and certify ski teachers throughout the east. In 1996, Mermer won Skiing magazine’s Instructor of the Year Award. That spring, she earned a spot on the PSIA National Demonstration Team, an elite team which spearheads the development and direction of ski teaching in America and represents American skiing internationally. (She was one of the few women and the only mother to do so.) She has lectured at PSIA’s National Academies and National Women’s Seminars, and the National Ski Patrol’s annual conventions. Dubbed “the ski industry’s fear specialist” by the late Stu Campbell, Mermer uses skiing as a metaphor to elucidate the philosophy and strategies she’s developed about fear, learning, and innovation.

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