Categories for memoir

Disappearing Act

August 7, 2018 2:20 pm Published by 5 Comments

Life does not ask if you want to see a dead body dredged from a river on your bike ride or if you want to wake up one day and realize that most everyone you thought you might marry someday is now engaged to someone else or if you were ready for another year to be two-thirds over, for everyone you love to be two-thirds a year older, for your checking account to be two-thirds a year emptier. The disappearing act forces you to put your thoughts in a centrifuge in a noise-cancelling vacuum and distill them and listen to them until you are aware just what they are.

A Nightmare is Still a Dream

August 2, 2018 4:09 pm Published by 6 Comments

I do not need distractions or white picket fences. I need to write. I need to push myself to the limits so I have something to say. And I need to read what others have said, that I may remember the vague, gnawing feelings I have all day have names.

Being Alive

July 16, 2018 6:39 pm Published by 4 Comments

Existing is a fickle thing, some combination of biological bare-minimums and feeling profoundly satisfied which ultimately makes us who we... View Article

Roadkill.

June 4, 2018 12:59 pm Published by 1 Comment

It might change people if they would stare at roadkill instead of averting their eyes.

Injuring Eternity

May 23, 2018 4:53 pm Published by 2 Comments

I hate circling dates on the calendar, because it always creates a disproportionate sense of the value of a given day.

Hurry Up and Teach Me the Lesson

March 14, 2018 5:07 pm Published by 4 Comments

There is a yearning within all of us to find more joy in a simple evening stroll than in a new Porsche, but there is also a reluctance which holds us back. We can work hard and save our shekels and buy the one, but the other requires solemn introspection and much harder work, and nothing which can be bought with ink on a dotted line. And that is what writing and conversation and coffee and whiskey are all about; it is why we must make a thousand words out of the way the sunlight dances along the sidewalk during the evening dog walk

Bear Country

February 27, 2018 12:17 pm Published by 1 Comment

In a way, it is a refreshing feeling to be constantly aware of your surroundings, to know what it is you are most afraid of. To have a common fear with all fellow men, to have a lingua franca that everyone speaks about dangers and preparations and the haughty laughs we must have if we are to survive it at all. In the Yukon, everyone has a bear story or ten. In Alaska, people speak more in “how bad” bears are than whether there are bears at all.

New Year, Some Words

January 4, 2018 12:43 pm Published by 5 Comments

If there is one thing I have learned in more or less the last calendar year, it is that we are at our best when we can hold our own worst thoughts and fears in our hands at arm’s length and stare at them until they look less ugly and less daunting; less like shackles and more like spurs.

The Arctic Ocean

November 1, 2017 1:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

in this moment, I stood still and shivering and let reality wash over me and blow into my core. It is hysterical how little marketing influences you or how much some other human’s selfish decisions can affect your faith or resolve when you are standing with your toes in the Arctic Ocean.

The Bearded Ones

October 24, 2017 11:50 am Published by Leave your thoughts

If there is one quality that I’ve been told I possess which I’m finally starting to truly believe, it’s that I still get as excited as a child about lizards and automobiles and carnivorous plants and, as it turns out, muskoxen. I think this is my number one greatest survival skill, because it gives me the upper hand over any number of existential crises, chemical imbalances, and structural damages that may otherwise rob me of much desire to proceed.

Peeing in the Arctic Circle

October 11, 2017 2:58 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I stood there in a long sleeve T-shirt and blue jeans, exposed in all the most vulnerable ways to the elements, and felt a certain type of ridiculous freedom that men often chase their entire lives. One would never explicitly state that they aspire to something as trite as peeing atop Atiguin Pass, but that may be part of the problem.

Explanations.

September 26, 2017 12:20 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I snapped a few photos and then resumed staring at the otherworldly glow, pining after a sip or two of whiskey which was never offered and cursing the clouds that seemed to roll in right as the Lights intensified.

Don’t You Ever Get Lonely?

August 31, 2017 7:11 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I stood and let conditioned fear course through my veins and simply observed it from a few feet above my body. For all of these misguided warnings, there I was, completely, utterly alone and more alive than ever. Not even the smallest bone in my body felt lonely in that moment.

In Lieu of the Cosmos

August 26, 2017 4:33 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

We pulled into the shallows, and the dizzying pace of the water just beyond the barrier island gave me something to focus on. “I think that big eclipse is starting right around now,” I offered. “What eclipse?” he asked me.

Fifteen Minutes from Alaska

August 24, 2017 9:51 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

These snippets are always taken out of context, and they often make others feel inferior and the sharer feel isolated, as if their reality isn’t living up to outsiders’ expectations of it. Happiness is not guaranteed by the sight of snow-capped mountains, though they are never unwelcome. A smile in a moment does not tell the full story. One does not and cannot cross a border or climb a mountain every second of their lives.

Welcome to Alaska

August 15, 2017 4:30 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

These intersections of theoretical and physical delight me to no end, and I wanted to ask an international legal expert all kinds of questions about what might happen in any number of potential scenarios in this exact spot. 

Space & Time and the Final Frontier

August 11, 2017 6:08 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

It is healthy to have our schema shattered repeatedly. It creates a certain open-mindedness and healthy humility. It separates us from the crippling weight of individual situations and frees us from the sense that basic outcomes may dictate our entire lives in a hubristically finite set of options. Every mile covered by the Land Cruiser is earned in a way that would seem blessedly easy to Lewis or Clark or Muir, no matter how brutish they may feel at the time. Every time I believe myself close to an understanding or even a point on a map, I secretly relish being crushed or at least corrected.

The Crossroads

July 29, 2017 3:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This was a literal crossroads that felt aggressively metaphorical. I wanted to curse the very road junction itself for pointing in all directions and inviting us to follow them wherever they may lead...

Lonely at the Top

July 15, 2017 2:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

She knew who I was because I had called in to secure a spot and presumably nobody else had done so that day. I was given the keys and a brief rundown of the area, Hank was given a few dog treats and knocked over a stand of s’mores skewers. It was all so matter of fact and immediate that Los Angeles felt even further than 846 miles away.

The Middle of Nowhere

July 5, 2017 3:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

“The middle of nowhere” is a loaded idiom. It’s a vague-yet-precise phrase that invokes a certain situation or location, and which could be positive or negative depending on who says it. It offers up visions of amber waves and orange plateaus, of abandoned filling stations and faded glimpses of the past’s future. It is a place devoid of the decades of social construction required to populate a city with its traps and trappings.

A Bar at the End of the World

April 13, 2017 4:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Sometimes you see something furry and want to touch it, whether it’s a puppy or someone’s velvet jacket. Sometimes you let a bartender plan the majority of your day with no idea of what you’re agreeing to.

Darkness, Light, and a Sunset in Maine

April 4, 2017 12:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This moment turned out to be a subtle turning point in the narrative. Since picking up the Land Cruiser and having a hilarious Saint Paddy’s Day that was blessedly free of self-awareness sabotaging my enjoyment, I now presented the trip as not just a salve for the pained brain clanging around in my head but also as a concerted effort to rediscover the simple joys that make me who I am and thusly make me worth spending any time around.

A Place to Call Home: The Almost-Ghosttown of Centralia, Pennsylvania

March 27, 2017 1:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Signs stood in the trees warning hunters not to hunt in this area. We were quite near a State Game Land, of which Pennsylvania has many, and I suppose if you spent enough time in the woods and chased a deer far enough, you could wind up here. Of course, if you missed, your rifle shot might go through one of the remaining houses in Centralia. Or its sharp crack may just be the straw that breaks the asphalt’s back and sends you or the deer into a deep, hot hole.

Cartography

March 22, 2017 11:11 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Arriving in a new city by night is always a confusing experience, made all the more surreal by the biting cold and sound-deadening snow that blanketed the town on Saint Patrick’s Friday. Aside from brief breaks for fuel and key exchanges, I’d last stood on solid ground in Manhattan, which made this quietude a special blessing and also a shock to an addled system.

Making Moves

March 6, 2017 5:52 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Nothing will snap me out of my hypnogogic trance faster than someone telling me that I have more interests or dreams than they do. I will fiercely accost a perfect stranger because I believe so firmly in the human imagination and the childlike whimsy that resides somewhere inside every one of us.

The Stories We Long to Tell

February 9, 2017 10:06 am Published by Leave your thoughts

I don’t want to tell myself a story about the woods while sitting under fluorescent lights in a cubicle somewhere far away from them. We needn’t delude ourselves that our masterpieces are just a few months away, if only we keep biding time.

DILLIGAF?

January 24, 2017 5:29 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Somewhere between the dutiful and the nihilistic is the sense that none of us make it out alive, but many of us are never even fully alive.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

October 17, 2016 11:14 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The vulnerability offered up and time taken to compliment a laugh or share some commonality in written words is a beautiful thing, and every bit of it makes me want to pour myself into my writing and the people I meet a trillion times more.

Never Forget

September 11, 2015 1:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In an era where Moore’s Law is hopelessly outdated, nothing has surpassed the way that date and its imagery imprinted itself on all of our psyches.