The magazine for Western Washington University

Sehome Arboretum

Clete Barrett Smith ('96)

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Clete Barrett Smith | Photo by
| Photo by

"When I sit down at the computer, there are absolutely no creative synapses firing," writes Clete Barrett Smith ('96, English - Secondary). "I almost always have to go on a hike in the woods first.

"I think it connects me to my childhood, where I played in the forest every day and played imagination games - building forts and defending them from imaginary hordes of orcs with stick-swords and pine-cone grenades. Anyway, I still love to walk through campus, and then I usually end up on the trails behind Huxley/Fairhaven.

"I bring my iPhone with me and as I walk through the forest I 'see' the story playing out like a movie in my head, then I use the audio recorder app to take notes. When I get back to my computer, I am able to write. So many of my aliens were born on that trail."

Smith's books include “Aliens in Disguise” (Disney-Hyperion, 2013), “Alien on a Rampage,” (Disney-Hyperion, 2012) and “Aliens on Vacation” (Disney-Hyperion, 2011).

Learn more about Smith at