Tag Archives: digital media

Bookish is Back!

Hello, world…I’m back!

It was not my intention to go silent for a year. Things happened, I got busy. (I “only” read 17 books in 2015…can you believe?) Truth be told, I’m still busy—but things have been calming down for the year so here we are.

What could possibly have taken my attention away from Bookish?

Rain in the Forecast
Shortly after Atticus died last year I gained a new charge—at least part time. Rain was (and is) a bit of a wild child, but I started writing about our work together last summer on Rain in the Forecast. It has been about a year since we first started working on her social graces, but she has come a long way since last fall.

CSA Season
When you have a bundle of vegetables to use or lose each week for 23 weeks, making meals becomes an important part of your week. This is the third year I’ve split a CSA share with Steven. Each week we get our veggies from Zenger Farm  and split them up. We both eat very well, but it means that cooking takes a high prominence in our daily lives.

In order to maximize value from the CSA, I’m currently reading Eat It Up: 150 Recipes to Use Every Bit and Enjoy Every Bite of the Food You Eat. In the past I’ve written about great food reads, so I may write about this one later.

Oregon Standoff/Bundy Trial
Over the last several weeks I’ve been following the Oregon standoff trial really closely. A few weeks ago I even took a day off of work to go watch the trial in person! I could probably write a lengthy blog post about the trial alone. (And another blog post about the verdict…)

One amusing element that arose out of this whole wacky trial was Bundy Court Sketches. Scott Klatt even self-published a book called The Migration: Snack or Die compiled of his sketches about the refuge takeover and trial.

I’ve been going to yoga class from one to three times a week for the last few years. Over the last year it has become more of a challenge because my time has been more stretched overall and because I’ve had more flare-ups of an old injury this year. Turns out that yoga may have been causing that! So I’ve been adjusting as needed.

In February I took two workshops with Dana Falsetti and Jessamyn Stanley, who have become renowned for their radical idea that one needn’t be wafer thin to be a badass yogi. Jessamyn will be releasing her first book, Yoga for Every Body, next spring!

Friday Reads
It’s a simple concept: take a photo of the book you’re reading on Friday and post it on social media. Inspired by Missoulian Chris LaTray, and my own desire to read more books this year than last, I’ve been posting Friday Reads photos on Instagram for a couple of months. I’ve already read one more book this year than last, and we still have a couple months left!

That’s more or less what has been taking up my time! Now that it’s winter I’m hoping to produce more work for Bookish. There might even be a new project or two in the works—more to come as time allows.


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Workshopping With and Fangirling Over Kim Stafford

Lewis and Clark College, my alma mater, has a long-standing connection with the family of William Stafford. Oregon’s Poet Laureate from 1975-1990, Stafford wrote poetry about nature, pacifism, and Oregon, and had a long teaching career at Lewis and Clark.

Kim Stafford, William’s son, has had an equally impressive career. He has taught much of his adult life at Lewis and Clark, founded the college’s Northwest Writing Institute, and writes brilliantly. This winter I read his most recent work, 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared, which was nominated for an Oregon Book Award in creative non-fiction this year.

As an undergraduate student at Lewis and Clark I had the opportunity to listen to Kim close the campus’s Last Lecture series for the year. He brought his guitar and sprinkled songs between thoughts about the importance of being true to yourself—embracing all your interests rather than giving up your guitar playing, say, to become a better mathematician. Do all the things, embrace life wholeheartedly instead of being a specialist. Over a decade later, and I still look back on this evening with great fondness.

You might say I’m a bit of a fan!

That’s why, when I heard about his Introduction to Digital Storytelling workshop, I was compelled to attend. I’m not a complete newbie—after all, I did produce “The Cycling Eight” at Adventure Cycling and have racked up quite a bit of educational media experience. An opportunity to work with Kim Stafford and to glean new storytelling approaches could be rather helpful!


Journeying to the new Lewis and Clark graduate campus, I arrived early to check things out. I entered the chapel, our workshop space, and before I even sat I had an entire conversation with Kim! He walked right up and asked me about myself. We talked about the Sisters of St. Francis, the order of nuns that the property originally belonged to. We spoke of silent retreats at monasteries,  how we’d like to see more radicals in the church, and I told him about discovering the wonderful Trappist Abbey. Standing next to me, he took a photo of the same dove mural on the ceiling that I was photographing. Like we were already old buddies.


The workshop, as it turns out, presented a specific way of telling personal stories modeled by the Center for Digital Storytelling.

In this example, Kim tells of the day his father narrowly escaped being hanged:

Most of the workshop participants were professional educators with limited media tools, looking to take the idea to their students for classroom teaching. As a hired pen, it was hard to imagine incorporating the workshop content into my work life. And sadly, real life has time constraints that foil many of my creative project ideas. Still though, I was thinking about the class content the rest of the evening and into the next day.

One phrase Kim kept throwing around was “digital haiku.” This is the idea to make one’s digital story as succinct and brief as possible. Let the images communicate some things so you can take another few words away.

It gave me an idea:

As we filled out course evaluations at the end of the three hour workshop, Kim waited just outside the chapel doors. Students formed a receiving line, shaking his hand and I imagine covering him with praise. Eventually I headed up the back of the line, extolling my own praise and asking a question about that latest breathtaking book, a memoir about his brother’s suicide.

It was a real thrill to be Kim Stafford’s student for a few hours. He filled the room with warmth and a joyous smile, admiring so many of the deeply personal stories his students were brave enough to read out loud. He focused on drawing things out of his students rather than intimidating newbies with his own brilliant work.

Where will I go with this? It’s hard to say. Inspiration’s a funny thing—sometimes it shows up in odd places…

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Exploring Mt. Hood Glacier Caves on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide

We had a few pretty common meditations in MPub, and two of them were about the future of digital media in publishing and how digital media could be used creatively to tell good stories. At the time many of my classmates were enthralled by The Wilderness Downtown, a song by Arcade Fire and HTML5 website.

Personally, I wasn’t that impressed.

This week though, I happened to catch a website that I thought was doing really interesting things how they told a story using a website. Thin Ice: Exploring Mount Hood’s Glacier Caves is a big project set to kick off the 25th anniversary of Oregon Field Guide. Click that link and read the story. Scroll down and take note of images appearing as you read, and how multimedia ancillary material is presented. Background images are possibly the most thrilling thing about this page, as the photography is beautiful and the background actually changes as you scroll into each new chapter of the story.

Bestill my beating heart! In my mind, this site is a far better use of digital media and way more compelling than ebooks. As an ex-employee of Oregon Public Broadcasting, I am not surprised they’re leading the way in terms of both quality content and innovative use of media.

If that’s not quite enough, check out this behind-the-scenes preview video of Thin Ice: Exploring Mount Hood’s Glacier Caves on Oregon Field Guide, airing October 12th.

Thanks to Ed Jahn for tweeting about his project at just the right time to catch my attention!

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October 5, 2013 · 8:00 AM