It sounds like the beginning of a joke on a Laughy Taffy wrapper, right? Well it’s not. Ernest Hemingway and His Holiness the Dalai Lama really do have something in common. They have both been to the remote Wood River Valley, a small yet wealthy area in central Idaho.
What these two men did there, however, contrasts sharply. Hemingway had a house in Ketchum, a small town in the valley, which is where he put a shotgun to his head in 1961. The Dalai Lama, in 2005, visited Sun Valley, another small town, to “bring his message of compassion to Sun Valley during the anniversary of 9/11” (Idaho Mountain Express). (more…)
“Stalking is a game played in the actual present.” —Annie Dillard
I often go for walks during my lunch breaks, and when I do, I’m usually reading. I learned this method of multi-tasking as an English major with more books to read in one semester than I could stuff in my backpack. Now that I’ve graduated and gotten a “grown-up job,” I have to fit reading in whenever I can. “Read-walking,” as I call it, allows me to get some fresh air, exercise, and a daily dose of good storytelling. (more…)
I’ve heard stories of children drowning in canals. A canal runs past my apartment complex, and it doesn’t seem threatening, yet I’ve heard these man-made streams can be deceptive and treacherous. This one was emptied several months ago with the approach of winter, but during the warmer months it was full of water and life. Green moss billowed on the rocky bottom, ducks dove to catch small fish, and my wife once saw a muskrat scuttle to the water and swim upstream. (more…)
In early December, the well-known author Brian Doyle did a reading at BYU-Idaho and visited the nonfiction class I was taking at the time. Meeting him and hearing him read his writing aloud was an incredible experience, and I realized that while our personalities and writing styles are different, our goals as writers are much the same. We both see our writing as weapons. We both see stories as food that can nourish the world. (more…)
Nature is an important part of our story. Mankind came from nature, yet has worked for millennia to remove itself from nature. But we can’t escape the fact that she still calls to us; she is still part of us. And if we listen, we will hear her invitation to come commune with her and learn her secrets.
The week before Christmas, my wife and I attended a community performance of Handel’s Messiah that my father and two of my brothers sang in. I’m a big fan of this oratorio, but the thought of sitting through such a long performance intimidated me a little. (more…)
I am reading a collection of nonfiction essays by Brian Doyle called Grace Notes. Doyle’s writing is a nice balance between the lighthearted and the serious. Though his writing is sometimes goofy, he truly believes that “stories maybe save lives.” He knows his writing has the power to heal and to build. He also knows his stories are weapons, as shown in his essay, “What Am I Doing Here?” In part, this piece describes his desperate desire for justice in the aftermath of 9/11, in which three of his friends were killed:(more…)