“We Know So Little 008: Giant Sequoias” at Pidgeonholes

In the eighth “We Know So Little” post at Pidgeonholes—and the last before a brief hiatus—I write about the Mother of the Forest, a giant sequoia stripped of her bark in the 19th century & left to (slowly) die, and how we refuse to acknowledge the righteous life all around us:

Sequoias, black cherry in your backyard, a park down the street flush with chestnut and silver maple, a magnificent sycamore outside your office window—trees will outlive us all, and suddenly granting them cognizance, some inner life, is a frightening prospect. You think of the branches you ripped from trees and the leaves plucked out for fun, all the initials you carved, all the hurt, all of it.

You can read the whole series here.

“We Know So Little 005: Osage Orange” at Pidgeonholes

In the fifth “We Know So Little” post at Pidgeonholes—my recurring series about being awed by the world around us—I explore the Osage orange and other evolutionary anachronisms, these things lost in time that yet persevere:

A thing evolves, typically adjacent to other things—coevolution. So a plant, for example, might evolve its fruit to be eaten a certain way by a certain species in order to ensure its seeds are properly dispersed. But in the case of evolutionary anachronism, one of the parts of this relationship dies off. And yet, the plant’s relic behavior remains, visible to us, pumping away like a still-warm, body-less heart.

Read part 1 (Common Fig)
Read part 2 (Turkey Vulture)
Read part 3 (Sockeye Salmon)
Read part 4 (Giant Honey Bee)

New fiction piece “You Owe Me” at Necessary Fiction

I’m beyond thrilled to have this tiny tale at Necessary Fiction of two kids and their tragic friendship down by the bank of a creek:

 

(And here, the storyteller laughs — you have to, like it’s built into the narrative, a piece of coding hardwired, a signal to whoever’s speaking to stop, tilt their head back, and guffaw wildly.)

The boy, shy and sheepish, sat back and made a nest in the tall revenna and silver grass.

“My cousin Rachel taught me a game,” he said.

“What kind.” She was wary of boys and their games. This much she knew already.

“It’s called jinx.”

A huge thanks to the editors for taking a chance on this. I’m grateful.

“We Know So Little 004: Giant Honey Bee” at Pidgeonholes

In the fourth “We Know So Little” post at Pidgeonholes—my recurring series about being awed by the world around us—I talk about giant honey bees, their shimmering defense, and explore what we’d hear if we only stopped to listen:

But we just don’t know—can’t know, can we?—the full implications: what it is they whisper to one another, this throbbing message sent in nanoseconds, sent near the speed of light, means, or how it’s interpreted by a world we’re convinced we’re above.

Read part 1 (Common Fig)
Read part 2 (Turkey Vulture)
Read part 3 (Sockeye Salmon)

“We Know So Little 003: Sockeye Salmon” at Pidgeonholes

In the third “We Know So Little” post at Pidgeonholes—my recurring series about being awed by the world around us—I talk about sockeye salmon and grizzly bears and what it means to go home: 

See? There is a story here you know. This place, this ecosystem, these bears, the salmon, and you. They’re unable to escape the pull of home, of passing something down. You thought, for a long while, that you could escape, that none of it mattered, where you came from.
 

“We Know So Little 002: Turkey Vulture” at Pidgeonholes

In the second “We Know So Little” post at Pidgeonholes—my recurring series about being awed by the world around us—I ponder turkey vultures on Long Island and the inescapability of the wild around us, no matter where we are:

Across the street, a neighbor comes out and makes a loud phone call to animal control. They’re afraid, can’t fathom this monster so close to their house and family. They wave their arms wildly, try to shoo the bird away. They don’t know what to make of this carnage.

You can Read part 1 (the Common Fig) here, and follow along with the series here.

Album artwork for Jesse Young

Feel incredibly proud and honored to have done the artwork for musician Jesse Young‘s new album, Heart of Me, out March 1, 2019. I’ve known Jesse for almost eighteen years; he’s an incredible friend and a mesmerizingly-talented musician.

And this is something new to me, seeing something I illustrated on iTunes. Pretty pretty pretty neat. 

Here’s the front and back of the album (and there will be a physical release, too):

You can pre-order Heart of Me on Bandcamp or on iTunes.

“We Know So Little 001: Common Fig” at Pidgeonholes

I’m doing a recurring series at Pidgeonholes called “We Know So Little”—featuring micro-essays and original art—about being awed by the world around us.

In this first post, I explore a miraculous fig tree on Cyprus (that grew out of the remains of a dead man), and what it means to be alive.

And while researchers retrieved some of Ahmet’s clothing in the soil, beneath the tree—allowing his family to properly mourn and make peace decades after his disappearance—his mortal remains survive now in these branches, this smooth white bark, these deeply-lobed leaves, this particular woodsy-sweet fragrance.

A huge thanks to Jen Todhunter for making this recurring series happen, and to Dina Relles for helping me shape it into something. Read part 1 here, and follow along with the series here.

New fiction piece “Son of Paul Bunyan” at matchbook

I’m incredibly honored to have my mythical flash “Son of Paul Bunyan”—about torrential storms and Lake Superior islands and sunken ships—up at matchbook literary magazine. I’ve wanted to write a Michigan fairy tale for a long while, and am so grateful.

After he buried his father in an enormous coffin made from towering cured pine logs, he thought often of leaving the island, of swimming the chopping inland sea, to proclaim his inheritance from man, proclaiming he was half them, half something else—to be worshipped, absolutely—but also to seek love, yes, to be held. Then the drink would take him, drag him down and, instead, he would wrestle the bears and hunt with the wolves and break the necks of the geese for sport and chide Babe until he felt sickly satisfied in his depravity.

A huge shout-out to Brian and the team at matchbook for making this an incredibly easy (and rewarding) process—this is, absolutely, a dream publication.