Tag Archives: narrative

Go Bigger

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Rule #1 when you’re planning a hike through Glacier National Park: Let your ambition match the scenery. See larger version

My first long piece for BACKPACKER offers a simple recipe: Mix an off-his-meds bipolar II friend with some of North America’s deepest, most scenic, and megafauna-packed wilderness, add a dusting of snow, and let it marinate for 10 days. This ran in the June 2011 National Parks issue.

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Thank God for the Rock

These armed pioneers are reclaiming Christ’s kingdom one jacked-up block at a time. Read full story

Junkies with metal-piled shopping carts pace past rows of boarded-up houses, trash collecting in the chain-link fences. Many have already abandoned this neighborhood in Kansas City to entropy. But where others see blight, a group of white boys from the suburbs sees the Kingdom of God. In Nov. 2009, I joined a well-armed faction of Christian warriors as they colonize street-by-street in the city’s valley of darkness. Read online version here

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Historian in Chief

Forget his football career. Professor Pellom McDaniels has a goal of reshaping Kansas City’s racial history. Read full story

To this day, Troost Avenue defines the race line in Kansas City, and still, few people cross the grid to see what the other side is up to. The result: Rampant ignorance and crosstown perceptions that are limited to the point of absurd. In this Oct. 2009 feature for the Kansas City Pitch, I followed former Kansas City Chief Pellom McDaniels to cross the imaginary line, build a more nuanced version of the city’s racial fault lines, and bring to life a Kansas City that remained below the surface since the 1920’s. Read online version here

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The Oldest Professional

Photo by Michael McClure

As the Northeast Neighborhood residents try to solve their prostitution problem, here’s one woman’s cautionary tale. Read full story

This story ran in Kansas City’s Pitch, a Village Voice Media-owned alt weekly, in Sept., 2009. I spent two months befriending and hearing the battle tales of one of the city’s most unrepentant prostitutes. Impossibly heartbreaking highlight: Seeing Darlene’s tough exterior shatter as she recounted being beaten, tied to a tree, and set on fire over an embankment on one of the city’s loneliest roads. This story won an honorable mention for profile writing from the Kansas City Press Club’s Heart of America Awards in 2010. The story caused a bit of a dust-up. Click here for the online version.


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The Cheetah at Twilight

What do you do with the world’s fastest mammal when it is too old to run? Or with an ancient fox that walks in circles? If you are a zoo veterinarian, you have some difficult decisions to make. Read full story

This story ran in Tufts Magazine Winter ’09. It later received a bronze Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in its 2010 judging of The Best Articles of the Year: Higher Education. Comment from judges: “A finely crafted story on an important topic that receives little attention in other media.”

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