Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Q&A with David Grann

Posted in America, Books, Clips, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing on April 21, 2017 by frankbures

grann-bookFrom Nieman Storyboard:

David Grann had never heard of the “Osage Murders” until a historian he was talking to mentioned the series of mysterious deaths among members of the wealthy Osage tribe in early 20th century Oklahoma.

When I learned about these crimes several years ago, I was shocked that, like so many Americans, I had never learned about them in school or read about them in books.
Grann, a staff writer at The New Yorker and something of a history writer himself, couldn’t believe that the sinister campaign targeting the oil beneath the Osage reservation land was so little known.  So he started looking into the killings.

There wasn’t much online. No one seemed to have told the victims’ story in a comprehensive way, even though, as Grann puts it, the campaign was “one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

Read the rest here.

On Rimbaud’s Trail

Posted in Africa, Books, Geography of Madness, Travel, Uncategorized, Writers on July 19, 2016 by frankbures

From Longitude Books:

One of the places I remember most clearly (and fondly) is Obock, Djibouti, a town on the edge of the Red Sea where I traveled several years ago for a story for Nowhere Magazine. Obock is hot and miserable and there is nothing to do. At night thousands of migrants stream through the area on their way from Ethiopia and Somalia to the Middle East where they hope to find work. When I got there I found that the hotel the tourism office in the capital recommended had closed long ago. On my first day I was harassed by the local police for being there.

What I remember best, though, was how refreshing it was to be so uncatered to, so far from everything. It didn’t matter to anyone (except a few curious folks) whether I was there or not. This must have been something like was the French poet Arthur Rimbaud felt when he first arrived there in the mid-1880s to escape his former life and become an arms dealer: It was like the whole world could slip away.

Read the rest hereIMGP3480.JPG.

The End of the World as We Know It

Posted in America, Art, Books, Clips, Culture, Science, Uncategorized on February 24, 2016 by frankbures

imagesConsensus is growing that we have entered a new geological era called the Anthropocene. As it does, so does anxiety about our fate as a species. This was the subject of a recent piece I did for Aeon on our love of apocalyptic fiction, film and stories. We fear the end might be near, but we also fear we are part of something from which we have no way to extricate ourselves. If you feel this too, read on.

One day in the early 1980s, I was flipping through the TV channels, when I stopped at a news report. The announcer was grey-haired. His tone was urgent. His pronouncement was dire: between the war in the Middle East, famine in Africa, AIDS in the cities, and communists in Afghanistan, it was clear that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were upon us. The end had come.

We were Methodists and I’d never heard this sort of prediction. But to my grade-school mind, the evidence seemed ironclad, the case closed. I looked out the window and could hear the drumming Hugh-Howey-WOOL-COVERof hoof beats.

Life went on, however, and those particular horsemen went out to pasture. In time, others broke loose, only to slow their stride as well. Sometimes, the end seemed near. Others it would recede. But over the years, I began to see it wasn’t the end that was close. It was our dread of it. The apocalypse wasn’t coming: it was always with us. It arrived in a stampede of our fears, be they nuclear or biological, religious or technological.

Read the rest here.

On The Pitfalls of Self-Promotion

Posted in America, Art, Books, Clips, Culture, Uncategorized, Writing on December 17, 2015 by frankbures

jf16_coverI’m not sure that I should be considered any sort of “branding expert,” but I do have an essay in the current Poets & Writers on my ambivalence about self-promotion, and the struggle to balance promoting your work with promoting yourself. See the print edition if you can get it!

Feet First

Posted in Clips, Uncategorized on November 17, 2015 by frankbures

Outside 12.15In the December issue of Outside Magazine is a short piece I did on Eric Orton’s ideas for helping you run without injury. Orton was the coach featured in Chris McDougall’s book Born to Run (and the upcoming movie) but most readers missed his point, which is that strong feet make strong form. I say this as a chronically injured runner who’s had minimal issues since I using Orton’s foot strengthening exercises. In the past year, I’ve run more miles with less pain than ever before, including a 25k trail race. In the end, whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist, it’s what’s in the shoes that matters most. The piece is online here.

Boundary Waters Bound

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2013 by frankbures

BWCAWIt may be a little late in the season for this, but it’s not too soon for planning for next year. In either case you can use this short piece I did for Men’s Journal as a jumping off point for your next trip into the singing wilderness:

The Boundary Waters region in Minnesota is a 150-mile maze of connected lakes and rivers surrounded by thick pine and cedar forests and speckled with small, rocky islands. The area has some 1,200 miles of paddleable routes, making canoeing the most practical way to experience it all. By August, most of the visitors (and bugs) have gone – you’re more likely to see black bears and moose than like-minded paddlers – but you’ll still need to get a permit ahead of time. Also bring a tent and a cooler with food (and a clutch of beers). “It’s just you and nature,” says longtime local guide John Schiefelbein. “You own that lake at night.”

Day 1
Start at Lake One, about 25 miles east of Ely, Minnesota, where you can rent a canoe, if you didn’t bring one yourself. Pass through Lakes Two, Three, and Four, and into the 3,000-acre Lake Insula. In this deep, clear lake (with 11-foot visibility), camp on one of the dozens of little wooded islands.

Read the rest here.

Blue Earth Writers Workshop

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2013 by frankbures

If you Writers-Workshophappen to be in southern Minnesota next week, I’ll be teaching about travel writing here:  The Blue Earth River Writers  are holding a Writers Workshop, Saturday, September 28th at Hope United Methodist Church, 12080 380th Ave, Blue Earth. Doors open at 8 am, with a meet and greet at 8:30 am and sessions starting at 9 am. Cost is $25, students through grade 12 are $15 and  lunch is included in the price.  For more information about the sessions or to register, stop by the Blue Earth Community Library, 124 West 7th St in Blue Earth or call Eva at 507-526-5012.