Published in Flyway: Journal of Writing and the Environment
“He told us that he remembered spotting a full mammoth skull, complete with tusks, jutting out of a cliff along the shore while whaling as a boy. It took him and his friends five hours to dig it out, balancing in their small boat and fighting the rising tide. Once they removed the whole skull, they gave it to the oldest boy who kept it in his living room for a time. Ross didn’t know where it went after that. The market for mammoth didn’t exist then. “
Standing at the summit of Mount Taljanka in Kosovo, your thighs will burn and the wind may feel strong enough to knock you off your feet. You’ll look out on the valley below to see no roads or towns, only a green pasture encircled by layers of mountains reaching back to the horizon. It will feel as though you’ve stumbled on some secret land, hidden in Europe’s southeast corner. But there’s a moment like that every day on the Peaks of the Balkans trail.
“I think she might be the one,” I told my mom over the phone. “Look at the Craigslist ad I sent you.”
I waited while she clicked and then for what felt like a long time and then couldn’t wait any longer. “What do you think?”
She hesitated. “It’s very small. And it doesn’t have a bathroom.”
Mom was right on both counts, but it was too late. After months of scouring the online classifieds and fending off pushy RV salesmen, I’d found the one—a 1984 Scotty Sportsman trailer, stretching just 13 feet from hitch to backend. Three days later, “Honeybear” was mine.
It’s hard to explain the connection Scotty owners have to their trailers, but here are four reasons why you too might find yourself head over heels for one of these tiny rigs.
Published in Mental Floss:
“You can find a hiking trail or walking path almost anywhere in the United States, whether you're deep in the backcountry or a few yards from a parking lot. Most casual hikers probably give them little thought before lacing up their boots, but hiking trails don't just appear naturally. Sure, the popular pathways are created with shovels and sweat and grit, but that's not all: Modern trail construction actually involves a significant amount of anticipating what potential hikers will do and analyzing the area surrounding the route. The ultimate goal: "A useful trail must be easy to find, easy to travel, and convenient to use.”
Feb 25, 2019
Spain’s famous 500-mile pilgrimage trail, the Camino de Santiago, has become one of the most popular hiking vacations in Europe. In medieval times, pilgrims from throughout Europe set out to the city now called Santiago de Compostela to see the alleged remains of the apostle James. Today, people walk the Camino for all sorts of reasons, and in 2017, over 300,000 people laced up their boots and gave the Camino a try.
“Pablo! Get back in the closet!” I yell over gunfire.
Unarmed and unaware of the encroaching danger outside, Pablo Escobar retreats to the bathroom closet with a startled backward leap. I kneel low under the panorama window; chips of blue shower tiles dig at my knees.
Count complete at Charlie Dorm,” the gray-uniformed officer calls into his radio. “Thirty inmates, 14 canines.”
This ritual, individually counting every woman incarcerated at the Lowell Correctional Facility (and every canine in their care), happens five times a day. The dogs of Charlie Dorm know the routine, and patiently wait in their kennels while their inmate trainers sit silently on their bunks.
A voice muffled by radio static replies, “Compound count complete. All clear.”
“All clear,” the guard yells down the hallway.
With the signal given, the dogs stand and stretch while their trainers bounce back into work mode—there’s training to be done, baths to be given, reports that need double-checking. Count time is the only time Charlie Dorm isn’t a hive of activity.
Published in The Smart Set
“I didn’t want to get angry about it again, but it did matter. The combination of sounds and letters that make up a name stand as a shorthand for your whole personhood; the tether to which the rest of your personality and history is tied. Without one you’re just a pronoun or “that girl.” Anonymous. With the wrong one you aren’t you.”
It’s necessary for a writer to get out and view the world through new perspectives. Sometimes that means observing the regulars at your usual coffee shop or talking to folks in a different part of town, and sometimes it means undertaking something more substantial, something long enough to get lost in. A long journey can be transformative, healing, frightening, amusing, or all those things at once. That range of experiences makes travel tales interesting to even the most sedate readers. The titles on this list are meant to inspire a long journey of your own.
Published in Deep South Magazine
“More than six decades after her death, a rusty gate still halfheartedly guards the sandy path to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ rural Central Florida home. Although Rawlings remains best remembered for her 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Yearling, the tear-jerking tale of a young boy and his pet deer fails to properly capture the intrepid spirit of its author. Her story is best told by the traditional Cracker-style house and surrounding citrus grove she called home, and writing muse, for most of her life.”
Based on every article and blog post I’d read about teaching in Korea, I expected it to be a great adventure in which I’d make lifelong friends, gain valuable teaching experience, and fall in love with Korean culture.
It didn’t turn out that way.
I wish I’d come across more accounts of teachers who had struggled in Korea before I signed my contract. If I had, I might have been more prepared to face challenges as they arose. Here’s what I wish I’d known before teaching in Korea.
Surrounded by stiff competition up and down Historic Highway 101, Newport, Oregon doesn’t always make the usual internet lists of the North West’s best coastal communities. But Oregonians have long known of its charm. Newport offers visitors everything the northern Pacific coast is known for – jagged coastline, sustainably-caught seafood, unique lodging options, coffee, crabs, and of course, craft beer. The little town of ten thousand also boasts a surprising amount of sunshine in the winter months, making it a year-round destination and a possible respite from Portland’s soggier days. Whether day-tripping from the city or exploring the PNW (aka the Pacific Northwest), Newport is not to be missed. Oh, and the town is also surrounded by big, barking sea lions.
Published in The Sonder Review
“As the sun settled on the mountains in the distance, I squinted to see Levi, running in a crouch with the barrel of his gun pointing above his head. Ahead of him, I could just spot the caribou standing above the treeless tundra.
KOTZ Radio— “the hottest station in the Arctic”— had announced that the sun was going to set for the first time since summer began, but it would be another month before it dipped low enough, long enough for streetlights to be turned on. New systems for blocking out the midnight sun were frequent topics of conversation among our small group of Park Service seasonals.”
Published in Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley
“Throughout more than two hundred and forty years of American democracy, few moments in the republic’s history have proved as truly democratic, and as cocksure, as the time Frank Sinatra sang John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign song. A collaboration between a candidate for leader of the free world, the son of an Irish dynasty with wealth born from bootlegging, and one of the most successful entertainers of the twentieth century, the son of Italian immigrants whose father bare-knuckle boxed under the name Marty O’Brien. Both under forty-five and both on Joe DiMaggio’s shit list for their relationships with Marylyn Monroe—the highest examples of American Exceptionalism. The moment remains preserved in the narrow grooves of an unknown number of recorded singles, waiting for someone to carefully lower a hollowed needle to their vinyl skin and spin them back to life at forty-five revolutions per minute.”
https://bigmuddyjournal.com/ (only available in print)
A longform biography of the second best-selling author of 1920, Opal Whiteley.
The piece forefronts primary sources like Opal’s letters and declassified reports written for 110-page file kept on her by the British Library Oriental and India Office. This structure allows Opal to speak for herself where possible and lets readers draw their own conclusions about the remaining mysteries surrounding her legacy.