Very, very happy to have had my book, Get Back Stay Back: 2nd Generation Back-to-the-landers, featured in the first-ever Maine Farmlands Trust Journal: Maine Farms and on Anthology Magazine’s blog.
“Anthology?” you ask. But isn’t that a high-end, lovingly prepared, San Francisco-based design and decor magazine? What’s a guy like you, writing about about hippies and farming have anything to do with that?
Well, a while back, my apartment ended up featured in the magazine thanks to a completely random turn of events. A friend of a friend is the art director for the pub, they had a photographer and stylist heading to Maine to shoot local design bon vivants Wary Meyers’ home, and they needed another place to make the trip pay off for everyone involved.
I’m not the type of guy to be like, “Yo, check my crib,” but my wife and I do happen to live in a pretty neat spot. The photographer and stylist team, a husband and wife, native Utahns based in Manhattan (Seth and Kendra Smoot) made it an awesome day. We hit it off and long story short, I ended up writing the piece myself.
You can download it on my portfolio site if you want to take a look. And I would sure be remiss if I didn’t flog the living daylights out of my book, which is still definitely for sale HERE.
Last October I was lucky enough to get hired to write grants for an amazing organization here in Portland. It’s called The Telling Room, and it’s a writing and literacy center for kids. I think we all know that kids are some of the best storytellers out there, and it turns out that helping them put their experiences and ideas down on paper can sometimes be profound and sometimes be hilarious (and in the best cases, both!).
A few times a year, Telling Room staff get the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are. As “writers” working for a writing organization, can we really walk the walk?
Last winter, my number came up. There was an open slot in SLANT, our quarterly live storytelling event, so I jumped on that grenade. It’s a bit like The Moth, if you’re familiar–12 minutes, no notes, no props. It’s just you and mic on stage, wilting in the bright lights in front of a significant portion of the population of Portland.
How’d it go? You can tell for yourself now that The Telling Room’s new podcast is up. Check out Episode 20: Soundtrack of My Life. I was fourth in a lineup of some seriously accomplished Mainers, a scenario that saw me almost heaving before taking the stage.
The next SLANT is coming up fast! It’ll be sometime this summer, so keep and eye out and come down. Or, if you’re brave enough, contact us at email@example.com and sign up to tell a story of your own.
At long last, it’s almost here. This Thursday, February 13, 2014, I’ll be hurling two and half years of hard work out into the world in the form of my first book. GET BACK STAY BACK looks at the back-to-the-land movement as it unfolds over the course of two generation here in Maine. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but rolling my sleeves up and diving deep into this topic led me to a place where a lot of what’s important to me in life comes together at a critical juncture. Food, farming, wilderness, art, handcraft, and the pursuit of simplicity — specifically how hard it can be to pursue — it’s all in there.
If you’re interested and so moved, we’d love to have you at the launch party on from 7:30-9:00 at the ICA at MECA in downtown Portland. Support independent publishing and all the elbow grease that goes into it, and maybe share this post or shout about it from a mountain top if you enjoy WW&W from time to time. There’s more to come, which you can keep up with here: www.getbackstayback.com.
If you can’t make it down, copies will soon be available for purchase online. Link to come!
There’s such disparity between the seasons here in Maine, it’s like each is entirely divorced from the others. One day you’re walking between man-sized snowbanks on the sidewalk outside your house and then four months later you’re still sweating in shorts and a t-shirt at 11 o’clock at night.
Right now we’re enjoying a long slow fade of a fall. It’s been glorious, the blaze of color across the landscape lasted longer than I ever remember. The weather stayed warm, prolonging that precarious moment at the tipping point between winter and fall. The leaves clung to the trees, steadfast, almost seeming committed to prolonging our enjoyment of my favorite part of the year.
It’s all over now, though, for the most part. The oaks have gone the color of dry, yellow parchment, or crisp chicken skin on a plate of Sunday dinner, and they’re all we have left. The bareness ahead can be beautiful in its own way, the bare bones of trees matching the dark tones of the earth below their limbs, which blend out to the horizon beyond. The blaze orange comes next, as hunters set out to fill freezers, and into storage go shorts and sneakers. Soon we’ll be out on the sidewalk again, hustling along, backs bent and chests hunched against the penetrating cold.
On those days I’ll have to remember this picture; shot by my friend Nathan Gilliss, of my dog Reyes. It was a day so hot — the Fourth of July — that we could all actually enjoy the bone aching water of the bay. We stayed in all day, this guy maintaining a vigilante watch over an ever-increasing cache of sticks for fetching. As soon as he left the water, his not insubstantial tongue was out, and salt formed into white spiked crystals at the tip ends of his black coat.
It’ll be good to remember being that hot, if it’s possible in the dead of winter. That the two experiences, freezing and perspiring, play out in the same environment is a piece of cognitive dissonance that might just be irreconcilable.
I am ecstatic to announce the arrival of one hell of an art book. “You Are (On) an Island” documents the journey of a sculpture created by my friends Alicia Eggert and Mike Fleming. Last fall they flew to England and constructed the piece on the back of a rented truck and drove around doing random, temporary “installations.” Exceptional photos by Mike, copy editing by me!
If you remember a while back I posted a little photographic journey through a residency program I did last summer. I called it a “Mid-Winterlude,” but the program, now in its second year, is actually called Hewn Oaks.
The big news is that TONIGHT is the application deadline for this summer, so get on it it you haven’t! Writers, visual and performing artists, musicians, filmmakers, craftspeople! If you live in Maine at least 50% of the year, are not in school and are 21+, you too could bask in the glory that is a sweet cabin of your own on Kezar Lake for a week.
Website and additional info here: hewnoaks.org/
You should. He’s the best longboarder in the state of Maine, and every time someone mistakes us for brothers I take it as a compliment. Pete Miller, folks! PETE MILLER.
Way too busy lately and WW&W is feeling it. Sorry for the lack of posts, getting back on it soon! Now, for your viewing pleasure, if you’ve ever read any of my stuff about mussel farming, this little ditty will show you what it actually all looks like. Go get some today and support this super sustainable family business and Portland’s working waterfront.
Wool. Wood. Whiskey. I started this blog a little more than five years ago, mostly as an outlet for my writing and as an expression of my interests — on the internet and out in the world beyond. From there it’s taken on a shape of its own design, fanning out along vast, varied and sometimes random corollaries in directions that sometimes even I can’t predict.
Recently I realized that what it’s really about is the search for a different kind of life. One that’s simple and timeless, rich and true: The Good Life. Greater minds than mine have whiled away days in the pursuit of it, seeking the same kinds of things. It’s a tradition of sorts, the idea that it’s possible to cut away all that’s unnecessary and get back-to-basics while soaking up the best things in life.
Time. Fun. Meaning. Adventure. Dirt under your fingernails. Sea salt on your skin. Freedom. Rope swings, fire pits, good hard work, epic meals, winter surfing, road trips, music in the morning, the wind in the trees.
Call it what you want — I’m convinced it’s out there, and this is my search.
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