Swimming Against the Current

Two days with two National Geographic photographers on the edge of a salmon stream.

An Homage to Invasives

“Perceptive Travel” recently published an adapted chapter from my upcoming book, “The Lost Continent.”

The Final Voyage

I had the privilege of documenting the last voyage of the RV Oceanus after 45 years of service to the NOAA research fleet.

Asphalt Wilderness

Yellowstone is a complicated place, one where wilderness meets industrial tourism. But on a cold, wet November day it still holds some of its magic.

Place & Story & COVID

After six months of COVID and social distancing, staring at the same four walls of my newly rearranged and then re-cluttered home office, I’ve learned how lucky I am to live in a place where wilderness is a short drive away. We all need our “panic hole,” as Jim Harrison termed it…a wild space inside…

What my dog teaches me about writing

Maggie is the best trail dog because when you’re in the woods with her she wanders with a specific sense of aimlessness that is instructive for writers. For a dog, a walk in the woods is high art. She follows the twin muses of her nose and curiosity. She engages in prolonged tangents during headlong…

To Japan

I never planned to go to Japan. It wasn’t an accident, just somebody else’s idea. That somebody else was my daughter. I’m in the fortunate position of writing and making films and media for a living. And sometimes I get to travel to wonderful places and tell stories about interesting people. I fall in love…

Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash

What I Miss About the Wall

I sometimes hesitate to admit that I miss the Wall, that I feel a longing for something so awful. But back then you knew where you stood. There was a double wall of concrete with razor wire and mines in the middle, and on one side stood the good guys, bad guys on the other.…

Searching for Shark Girl

It’s hard to say where stories come from. It’s a sort of archaeological game that we tend to play if we’ve ever taken a literature class and made the wildly speculative assumption that such origins exist. The online journal published my novella @SharkGirl79 earlier today, so I guess if there’s a moment to spend…

The Steeple Chase – part III

The final post in the series, here are tips for running a Steeple Chase Exercise on your writing in the real world.

The Steeple Chase – part II

In this post we’ll break the Steeple Chase Exercise into its respective parts and show how its playful qualities are the perfect match for literary dilettantes.

The Steeple Chase – part I

I’m going to share the best thing I learned in graduate school. It’s an exercise called the Steeple Chase and and it’s tailor-made for dilettantes.

On dilettantism

Over the course of this project I will dig into the details of dilettantism and how useful it is for artists…

Embracing your inner amateur

I’m a writer and a filmmaker. I can say that now without visibly cringing and with only a minor internal flareup of the old imposter syndrome…

Hope and resilience in Bangladesh

I expected to travel to Bangladesh to portray stories of climate victims. I expected to see a graphic illustration of a nation that is dealing with climate change problems that they had no hand in creating. I expected to see frustration and maybe even righteous fury. But instead, I found hope, grit and determination. When…

Traveling cinema in Colombia

Do films actually matter? I spend a lot of time wringing my hands over this question, especially since I’ve committed so much of my life to making them. A recent trip to Colombia to screen our latest film provided some answers.

Three days in Chicago

“Make no little plans,” or so they say. This is your guide to spending three days in Chicago, featuring pizza, blues and architecture.


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