12.16.17: Sketch: Fiction

Fiction excerpt; Northwestern Ohio, summer 1938 "The train marked the passing of time on the farm. When another train went by you knew a certain span of time had passed. They broke the days for the men in the fields in sections, made the girls look up from their work in the kitchen until their mother clicked her tongue at them and stared at them to make them get back to work. When they came…

Catching Sunlight: musings on farming, photography, and seeing

When I first started farming (my first job, in my junior year of high school), I became fascinated by the way the weather changed.   I was working outside for hours on end, full days -- from seven in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon -- I was in the full elements. The sun, the wind, the gray, the rain. I met this truth abruptly -- I remember on my third day it poured, the sky opening…

An Ode to Used Book Sales

Define heaven on earth -- those fleeting places where we can brush up against deep, unadulterated happiness in its purest form.They're different for everyone, perhaps. Mine come in many forms. One of them is used book sales.It seems an unlikely place to induce an experience of heaven -- a sale of old books, volumes abandoned and unwanted, sometimes folded or stained, always worn.They're held in unassuming places -- pavilions in small-town parks, in entry lobbies, under fold-up…

Six Rules for Writing a Good Article

Writing a good article requires two things: good content and good technique. There's a lot of noise to compete against when writing on the internet. Anyone can write something, post it, and call it an article -- in the information age, the definition of an article has become a very blurred line. The line between good and bad, however, is much more defined -- and arguably, more important. Good content is relatively easy to create.…

How to Ask Good Questions

One of my favorite life philosophies: "Everyone, everyone, has something of value to teach you. It's just a matter of finding the keys to unlock it." I stand by this adamantly. It's absolutely true. Everybody has something to share that's of interest to you -- an experience, a philosophy, a skillset, a recommendation, an entire paradigm. Those keys I reference? They're questions. Asking good questions allows you to connect more deeply with people. It also…

The Long Story in Short Form: An Analysis of Storytelling Style

As of late, I've become fascinated by long stories told in short formats -- feature-worthy progressions captured in a short film, short stories that contain an arc as complex as a novel, novels that follow the development of a whole web of plots. Isaac Babel was my introduction to this concept in literature. He's a master of short stories. He uses juxtaposition, seamless transitions, complex and gritty ideas, and incredibly strong words to get the…

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