Friday, February 18, 2011

Eating Paris

A completely true story about a place I have been is now up at Visit it directly through this link:

Oh, and the Paris stories up on this site were posted before I'd ever been to France, so, technically they still count as completely fictitious adventures in a country I've never been to (yet).


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adventure Writing Requires Adventure Travel

Once again, its time for the writer to head off on the road. This time I'll be facing down monkeys, elephants and anteaters on another wild safari! I'll be back with a new story on the second of March, so until then, please check out some of the stories from the archives.

Will write soon,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Panama: Getting Wet

     This morning (and by morning I mean afternoon), I was greeted at the door by an unassuming package. It was flat, small and from Arkansas. In it was a blue CD filled with pictures of my recent trip to Panama. While looking through the photos, I noticed something strange about them that I am going to share with you now.

     Let's start at the end of the journey. We're tired, we're wet and we're not sure yet if we're going to make it. The guides are visibly concerned as they examine the next rapid. It has changed since the last time they navigated this section of river. And by changed, I mean got fucking scarier. My dad, the guy in white, an expert on a river, is also worried, but ready to steer across the treacherous rocks (which roll along with us as we slide across the tops of them). His wife has perfected the art of, "GET DOWN!" which is a game we like to play with the captain. My brother is hiding against the bottom of the boat, completely invisible in most of the photos. And what am I doing? I'm perched on the edge, looking straight at the camera, posing with my oar. Good job, me. Way to contribute to everyone's survival.

     Okay, so let's go back in time a little bit. Huh. Yup. Look at the determination on their faces. They are going to fight the rapids and live to tell the tale. I am grinning like a moron


     And this holds true for on an entire roll of film. Even here: just because you can't see me, what with all the water we're under, doesn't mean I'm not still mugging. If you value your life, please don't invite a camera crew along with us on the dangerous river journey. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Belize: Getting Zoe (Part 1)

     This story, like many in my life, begins with an inescapable hunger.

     It was three beers past a bottle of rum and the half moon was high. The boys had dined on steak and snake but the only thing I had rolling around inside me was a shit load of booze. Where’s a taco truck when you need one?

     “Tacos sound good,” Zoe confirmed.

     “You reading my mind?”

     “No, I’m listening to you talk to yourself.” She slapped my thigh and pulled me from the chair, tilt-a-whirl head and all.

     We slipped out through the red curtain that separated the bar from the street and stepped into the night. One in the morning is as good a time as any to eat the forbidden street food. Better, perhaps, because of the liquor. Show me a gut bug who can outlast me in a game of Kings and I’ll call myself colonized.

     We ate out of newspaper cups and told the other drunkies we had boyfriends.

     “But you don’t have a boyfriend in Belize.”

     “No thank you,” I answered through a half a taco.

     “You should come with us. You are very beautiful.”

     “That’s not really a reason to go with you.”

     “You break my heart. I love you.”


     “Your friend is coming with us.”

     “My friend is eating tacos with me.”

     Nope. I was wrong. My friend was tipping like a see-saw into the opened window of a slowing moving taxi cab. Two of my new boyfriend’s crew were trying to pull her in. I grabbed onto her legs and yanked her back towards sanity.

     “They’re going dancing,” she told me once I’d extracted her from the car.

     “I don’t think that’s the case.”

     “That’s what they said. I want to go to the club.”

     “I don’t think there’s a club.”

     One of the men in the car stuck his head out to talk to us. “There is no club. There is a hotel room.”

     At least they were honest.

     “But we have a disco ball.”

     He showed me. They did have a disco ball. A two-inch keychain disco ball.

     Zoe grabbed onto my shoulders. “A disco ball. Crystal, it’s okay. They’re Lebanese.”

     Such flawless logic for a woman who, seconds later would pat the top of the taxi, starting it off on its journey, and then fling herself in through the window, blowing me kisses as she vanished from the street.

     I would have attempted a rescue, but gone are my days of diving through the windows of moving vehicles.

Go on the the next part: Belize: Getting Zoe (Part 2)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Greece: Getting Answers

Greece: one of the world's oldest and richest civilizations. Western inventors of drama, philosophy and democracy. Which begs the question, just how old is this great nation?

Huh. Is that all?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Indonesia: Getting Closer

Instructions for the use of this short story: 1. Read Indonesia: Getting Answers first. 2. Turn off the lights. 3. Play the music. 4. Read with caution.

There are many things in this world that scare me:

·          Monkeys
·         Freeway driving
·         Zip-lining
·         Airplanes
·         Crowds
·         Swimming in the ocean
·         Clowns
·         Toads
·         Commitment
·         Caves

     While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does give you an indication that my fears are both plentiful and varied.

     Most of the time, I can suck it up and do shit anyway. Case in point:

     Here I am suspended from a horrible, horrible zip line.

Right there in the middle.

     Here I am swimming in the ocean.

It's just how I swim. Wanna fight about it?

     Here I am in a previous long-term relationship.

Yup, one of those happy campers is me.

     But, and I have friends who can attest to this, I really suck at caves. I wouldn’t mind them so much if they would just sit still for a moment, but the minute I step inside, the ground begins the undulate, the walls spin around me as if I were the focal point in a zoetrope and the roof draws perilously close. I can’t see straight. I can’t walk straight. And I’m pretty sure the cave is filling up with poison gas and suffocating me.

     “Where are you going?” the boy on the bicycle asked me.

     “To visit with the wise man who lives in the forest.”

     “Where are you coming from?”

     I pointed behind me.

     He nodded, accepting my salutation and then offered only this bit of cryptic advice: “Mind the bats.”

     At the edge of town, I learned what he meant.


Photos courtesy of Gaylen Burnside, Connie Freeland, Elie Wasser and Ryan Marsh (in order of their appearance).