Worden, Raised in Sheridan, Publishes Hemingway’s Novel | Local entertainment
SHERIDAN – Sheridan-raised author Darla Worden published her first biography, “Cockeyed Happy,” in September 2021. The biography details Ernest Hemingway’s adventures in his home country of Wyoming.
Worden is now based in Denver, Colorado, as editor and chief of “Mountain Living” magazine and founder of Left Bank Writers Retreat with fellow Sheridan resident Sarah Suzor. But his ambitions to become a writer and the first inspirations for his first novel all started in the Sheridan region.
Worden shared that she wanted to be a writer from the time she was in third grade at Highland Park Elementary School. She recalls that her teacher, Miss Wagner, had read “Harriet the Spy”, and went on to say that the books had an impact on her childhood. From an early age, her mother encouraged her to read classics like “Black Beauty” and “Heidi”.
“I spent a lot of my time reading and planned to be a writer someday,” Worden said.
She developed a liking to Hemingway during her later teenage years, adopting a self-proclaimed Hemingway obsession. Worden first connected Hemingway to his hometown by spotting a photograph of the author at Big Horn’s Last Chance Saloon that piqued his curiosity.
She was also able to retrieve several photos and letters of Hemingway in the Wyoming Room of the Sheridan Fulmer County Public Library that hinted at the six summers Hemingway spent with his second wife, Pauline, in the Sheridan area.
She then opened a book reading for Sigrid Nunez at The Historic Sheridan Inn where Worden had worked as a waitress during her high school years. She read a memoir of her journey as a Hemingway fan and her connection to the region. Information about Hemingway’s travels to the west and his second wife was scarce until this point, and curiosity peaked during this event inspired the idea of writing a biography based on his investigations.
Post-college Worden began writing books, admitting that traditionally publishing a book is no easy task, and expressed enthusiasm at the positive response to his first book.
His first book signing for “Cockeyed Happy” took place at the Brinton Museum.
“The setting for the book signing was a writer’s dream, with the Bighorn Mountains as a backdrop,” Worden said.
Also visible from where she was seated, Red Grade Road, mirrors the setting of the book’s opening scene. She was greeted by the support of many friends and neighbors whom she said “she hadn’t seen in years,” including her sixth-grade teacher Brian Morgan.
“I feel like the luckiest girl in the world born in Sheridan, Wyoming. There is no nicer community anywhere on earth, and the support I have received for this book has never been can be matched, ”Worden said.
Jessica Bohnsack, owner of Sheridan Stationery Books and Gifts, shared that Worden’s book was “extremely popular” in their store.
“Representation of local authors in our bookstore is extremely important,” said Bohnsack, and there is a “diverse group of local writers in our area.”
Worden shared that a new book is in the works, but she can’t say much about it other than that it will take place in Paris, unlike her first West-centric biography.