The Pickets


I taught Robert W. Chambers’ The Pickets many times and found it a great story for 8th graders – either as an entry into other CW topics or as a stand alone unit. I’ve refined that unit and put on TPT. I checked with Perfection Learning (who published the story in “A House Divided”, their excellent CW anthology) and determined that it’s in the public domain. I included extensive excerpts from it and included links to the complete text of the story. Please take a look when you have a chance.

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Filed under Front Page, The Civil War Remembered

Tailey-po, Tailey po – give me back my Tailey-po!


Photo by Sharon Turner

San Lorenzo County Park near King City is a true treasure and the Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum is its crown jewel. The folks at MCARLM host a yearly gathering for young people around Halloween. The focus is on local history, legends and – yes! – ghosts. I was invited to the campfire and added a few local ghostly tales to the mix. We had a great time! If you’re in the area, please join us next year.


Dark is the ghost of Molly Means!


Filed under Author Visits, Front Page

Allegory E-zine publishes Billy Starbuck


Some stories fight, bite and scratch while you’re writing them. Billy Starbuck was one of these, dragging me through a dozen rewrites. It’s published at last, however! I thank Ty Drago, managing editor of Allegory E-zine, for working with me on it. Also, I tip my hat to Herman Melville, from whom I still gather inspiration. Great echoes from Moby Dick lend substance to Billy. Thanks, Herman!

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Filed under Front Page, published story

High Camp – First Snow


Michael and I squeezed in an October trip to the Sierras this year. We pulled in to the Caples Lake campground on the heels of the season’s first storm – not much below, but wild enough up high. I wrote the poem below while a muscular wind played patty-cake with Michael’s best tent. It’s the worse for wear, believe me. We walked a section of the PCT the next day  in perfect weather.

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Filed under Front Page, poetry

A Shopping Trip in Zagreb



Editor Beryl Belsky just published a comment I made on my experiences in Croatia at the beginning of the refugee crisis. It follows our family activities on an ordinary morning during a time of extraordinary events.

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Battle Hymn of the Republic


Julia Ward Howe arose at dawn on November 18th, 1861 and hurriedly wrote the words that became one of our most revered patriotic songs. I hope that the common core activities I offer on TPT will open the poem for young people. I’ve provided directed reading, scripted reading, reciprocal teaching, research questions and a poster assignment to help involve students with Julia’s words and with the turbulent times in which she lived. Here’s the link to the activities:

P.S. Here’s a great recording of the Battle Hymn:


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“Rise Above” is out!


Steve Roper and Al Steck created and recreated “Ascent” for more than thirty years. It was the premier journal for mountaineering photography, art and literature, both fiction and memoir. When they stepped away from the immense work each volume required, the publication became history. An enormous void took its place. There is now no meeting place where climbers can share and reflect upon the best of their images, the best of their words, the most intense of their experiences.

Most of my climbing fiction has gone begging these past ten years. I wrote “Moroni” far too late to have it considered for inclusion in “Ascent”, but it’s a good climbing story, one of my best. Imagine my gratitude to editor and publisher Cassie Newell that she agreed with my assessment of “Moroni” and offered it in Rise Above, her new e-book collection of prize-winning short stories. Please follow the link below to peruse Rise Above.

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Filed under Accolades, Front Page, published story