Nearly every wall of my mother’s house is lined with tables, bookcases, or a chest with drawers. And every time I come for a stay, I go through all of those drawers, one at a time.
Before the sun is up, Mama picks up the morning newspaper from the front porch, then pads down the carpeted hallway and pulls my bedroom door closed so I can sleep a little longer and she can fix her breakfast in peace. She feeds the dog a fried egg and makes a half pot of weak coffee, then reads the Galveston Daily News from front to back, clipping a recipe or a coupon if there’s a good one.
Thanksgiving automatically brings to mind all the stories we learned in school about how the Pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom, landed on Plymouth Rock and were saved from starvation by friendly Indians.
Much of what we think we know is wrong. Or at least off-kilter.
“The story we get about the Pilgrims was actually constructed by the Victorians, after the Civil War,” says Kathleen Curtin, former historian at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass.
On an end table in my living room sits a chubby, six-inch-high blue pottery owl with huge eyes. His name is Bernard.
Bernard was also the name of the slightly plump, doe-eyed waiter who brought us strong coffee and a genuine smile every morning on a trip to Cancun some years ago. When I saw the owl, reasonably priced in the hotel gift shop, I had to have him. Twenty years later, every time I pass by him, I think of how friendly and sweet our waiter—and the people of Cancun – were.
I was reunited with a friend this week. From the time we last parted ways — the fall of 2007 — until now, she has lived in Denver and I have moved from Colorado to south Texas and back.
She exists as a painting, a portrait made some 30 years ago on the frozen plains outside St. Paul, Minnesota, by an artist born in Costa Rica, relocated to the midwest via Los Angeles. Her face betrays her Asian roots — Vietnamese, relocated to the United States after fleeing her homeland in a boat.
The newest hot spot in Denver also is where the town got its start: at the railroad station.
The newly renovated Union Station in downtown Denver echoes the past and celebrates the present. The historic 1914 building has undergone a $54 million renovation that incorporates public spaces, 10 local restaurants/bars, three retail shops (with more to come) and a spanking new 112-room luxury hotel carved out of what once were offices, a drafty attic and, frankly, empty space.
Friday night, November 7th, 2014, the twenty-seventh annual Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival begins tomorrow night and runs through the weekend, here in downtown Colorado Springs. Wish We Were Here Intern Lauren Antonoff sat down and spoke with Linda Broker, Executive Director of the festival.
This week's Middle Distancemarks the 200th episode. Congratulations and thank you, Kathryn, for all you have done, and continue to do in the community! —Noel Black, Producer, and the KRCC Staff
I get irritated with writers who only write about writing. How can someone who doesn’t write essays or memoir or short stories or poems or novels, or even news stories have anything useful to say to someone who wants to tell a story?
Tomorrow night at the Fine Arts Center, the Youth Documentary Academy will premiere films produced by their first class of local high school students. Podcaster Ryan Lowery sat down and spoke Colorado Springs native and Academy founder Tom Shepard, a documentary filmmaker who now resides in San Francisco, about the school and the films.
Something remarkable happened in Colorado Springs over the last year. It happens all the time but often remains beneath the radar: someone with a dream pursues it with focus and determination and a vision is realized.
Scott Anderson--seasoned war correspondent and author of the novel, Triage--will be speaking tomorrow at Colorado College. His most recent book, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, tells the story of T.E. Lawrence, an Oxford educated archeologist who helped shape the Middle East as we know it during and after World War One. Colorado College English professor Steve Hayward spoke with Anderson about his work.
One of the delights of traveling – in Colorado or anywhere – is finding great local restaurants. They don’t need to be the fanciest, or most expensive – and often they’re not. What they do offer is good food at good prices or something unique that sets them apart from the predictable mediocrity of fast-food and chain restaurants.
During the past 30 or so years of traveling our state, I’ve found a few that are must-visit venues when we’re on the road. I’ll even time my lunch stop to coincide with them – even if lunch has to be at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.
A student talked to me recently about his storytelling style. Film is his medium, and though he resists it, he tends naturally toward tightly constructed romantic comedies with snappy dialogue and happy endings. “I think I should just embrace my clichéd self,” he said. I told him that during my newspapering days, my co-workers, hard-nosed reporters, often teased that I covered the tearjerker beat. Sometimes, I said, we just have to admit what we’re good at whether we like it or not.
S.C. Gwynne, author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated best seller, Empire of the Summer Moon, will be speaking at Colorado College tomorrow night about his new book, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. The book, which tells the story of Civil War General Stonewall Jackson’s unlikely rise to greatness, currently sits at number 10 on the New York Times Best Sellers list for non-fiction. Colorado College English Professor Steven Hayward spoke with Gwynne about his career as a writer and journalist. Listen to the interview above.
Radiolab Producer and MacArthur Genius Award Winner Jad Abumrad will give a live presentation at Armstrong Hall on the Colorado College campus this coming Monday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. KRCC’s Noel Black spoke with Abumrad about how he produces Radiolab and what to expect on Monday night.
In her masterpiece, The God of Small Things, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy says this about stories: “The secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen.”
Ranchers and environmentalists have long been perceived as adversaries, with those in favor of livestock grazing on one side and those not in favor on the polar opposite. Over the past few decades, however, the two have worked towards changing this perception. In this episode of "A Sense of Place," producer Max Hittesdorf explores the evolution of the rangeland conflict and how conservation and cattle can in fact support each other, despite a history of opposition.
Goodnight tomato vines, gnarly and black, pulled and piled to rot. Goodnight mutilated squash, shriveled eggplant and peppers and beans. It was great while it lasted.
Goodnight lonely beds, stripped and turned, tossed and raked. Quiet now, isn’t it, after all that nourishing? Just relax and let me feed you. I promise a feast of manure and leaves and compost. Your work is done. For now.
In the arid, cactus-strewn hills of northern New Mexico lies Ojo Caliente, an isolated hot springs resort where the rest of the world fades away.
From Colorado Springs, head south on I-25 to Walsenburg, then take U.S. Highway 160 west to Alamosa. From here, catch Highway 285 south through Antonito into New Mexico. At the “town” of Ojo Caliente, follow the sign (turn right to get to the resort). The sign’s easy to miss, so watch for it! Allow about five hours for the drive, depending on traffic.
It’s the day before the September equinox. Black clouds pile up to the north of Denver and a stiff breeze whips the tablecloths on the patio of a streetside sandwich shop. Diners clutch their newspapers and napkins, and their eyes dart across the busy street toward the approaching storm.
High school students on lunch break wander the sidewalks, deep in a dream of themselves.
The first annual Creek Week begins tomorrow with Colorado Springs Sustainability Conference. The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with Allison Plute, Fountain Creek Watershed Project Manager, and Larry Small, Executive Director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District about the weeklong cleanup and its many related events.
Click HERE for a complete list of Creek Week events.
When my son died in the summer of 2007, his brother was scheduled to head off to Budapest, Hungary that fall to study math. The idea of him, so far away and on his own in a foreign place so shortly after this family trauma, caused both of his parents enough anxiety that, even though we had been divorced for many years, we decided to make a family visit to Budapest that October.
Dinosaurs left tracks all over Colorado, but nowhere is the fascination with these prehistoric beasts so evident as in the northwestern part of the state, home to Dinosaur National Monument. About 90 miles north of Grand Junction, you'll pass through the town of Rangely just after you hook up with Colorado Highway 64 west. If you need gas or a meal, get it here. It might be a while before you get another chance. The town of Dinosaur, about another 19 miles away, has a Colorado Welcome Center with lots of information on the monument.
“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” In his posthumous collection, What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, poet Charles Bukowski encapsulated an all too familiar manifesto for growing old.
What nearly kills us strengthens us. What we lose brings into clear focus what we have. Clichés for living through the middle distance that, like all clichés, have become worn and ubiquitous because they are true.