We met Nikki Patin around this time last year on Chicago's South Side. My friend Jin J. X had introduced us online. It was a lunch meeting at the Currency Exchange Cafe, which sits on Garfield Boulevard, next door to the Arts Incubator Gallery. Nikki works at the gallery as Community Arts Engagement Manager for the … Continue reading POETRY IN MOTION
I wasn’t going to post this. Then I read this great article in the New Yorker where Katy Waldman talks about Robin DiAngelo’s new book, White Fragility. We have a propensity to capitulate or avoid talking about race because the social cost is too high…“as if the mention of racism were more offensive than the … Continue reading WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF?
I have a confession: I eat at Chick-fil-A. When you live on the road, you prepare your own meals, or someone else prepares them for you. When the refrigerator in your van is broken, or you’re just too tired from traveling to think about cooking, you stop and find what you can. Seeking out exclusively … Continue reading CHICK-FIL-A, THE SKY IS FALLING, AND YOU
Years since we started this adventure: 1 Miles we’ve traveled in the van: 25,659 Miles we traveled in an AWD car (to do a couple of quick interviews in mountain states in the middle of winter): 2,419 Average miles per gallon in the van: 15.9 Hours spent in the van with the engine running: 649 … Continue reading GIGANTIC INDEX – DAY 365
Sixty-two years ago yesterday, ten-year-old Johnny Wilkinson rode his bike from 951 S. Weller Avenue, in Springfield, Missouri’s Rountree Neighborhood, to the Shrine Mosque auditorium downtown, where Elvis Presley was set to perform that night. Elvis was only 21 and had just started to top the charts and make television appearances, but his popularity hadn’t … Continue reading GRACE LAND
One criticism we’ve heard over this last year is we aren’t talking to a wide enough variety of people. A typical comment is, “You should talk to my aunt. She watches InfoWars everyday and thinks the Parkland shooting survivors are all paid actors in their twenties who never attended that high school.” I will talk … Continue reading I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO EVERYONE
Here's my latest song. I wrote it a couple of years ago for Springfield's "Wild Bob's Musical Book Club," which meets every month at Lindberg's Bar. The book was Ozark native Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone. Further inspiration came from Melissa Millsap's stories from Urban Roots Farm in downtown Springfield. I recorded the one-take video at the … Continue reading HERE WE GO AGAIN
We've been traveling the country listening to all kinds of people tell their stories. When we're on the road we generally listen to NPR, podcasts, and audiobooks - we'll post more about those things later. Sometimes we listen to the wind and wheels, or we talk to each other. Weird, huh? We also listen to … Continue reading WHAT ARE WE LISTENING TO?
If there were a soundtrack for my childhood, it would feature verse after verse…after plaintive, supplicating verse of "Just As I Am." The 19th-century hymn by Charlotte Elliott – not to be confused with the mawkish ‘80s soft rock hit by pop phenom, Air Supply – was the signature altar call in Billy Graham’s evangelistic … Continue reading JUST AS I WAS: BILLY GRAHAM AND LOSING MY RELIGION
"Come to the wet, swampy land of North Florida," they said. "It's a great place for a young mosquito just starting out," they said. "You'll be drunk every night on the blood of sweaty white meat, so numbed by Budweiser, box wine, and Airstream pride, they'll forget to keep up their defenses." So I arrive … Continue reading GOING (WEST NILE) VIRAL