On Not Owning A Cell Phone

So maybe I don’t like cell phones. At all. Maybe I don’t think they’ve added anything to our culture.

Maybe I think they’ve ruined a lot of things too, like, for example, talking to other people, hanging out without interruptions, driving cars, looking around at the world around us, going outside, being self-sufficient, knowing how to read a map, looking up every once in a while instead of staring at your stupid expensive phone, looking people in the eyes, using dictionaries, reading books on the Subway, reading books without stopping every two minutes to check a text, listening to music while staring off…

This list could go on and on and on.

Plus, I hate every cell phone advertisement ever. Why do we need phones? Why do we need them with us everywhere we go? Why does every family need a “family plan”? Why do we willingly carry a device that tracks where we are? And would we readily accept chips in our brains if they were offered to us? I think so.

Maybe my opinions are too strong, but I’ve never owned a cell phone, and here’s my new essay for Vice Magazine titled “Confessions Of The Last Human Being On Earth Without A Cell Phone” :

Click to read.

Bonus: The artist Jack Graydon drew some ridiculous pictures of me to go along with the article. I’m so ugly in these drawings that it’s awesome.

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“Write Like A House Cat” Published By Writer’s Digest

My article on writing and ignoring failure was published by Writer’s Digest:

Click to read.

Interview With Northern Spirit Radio

Because of the publicity campaigns for Let Them Be Eaten By Bears and Graphic the Valley, I was fortunate enough to do forty or so radio interviews this summer with local, regional, and national radio shows. So I talked to a lot of hosts, some of whom had read the books and liked the writing or the message, and were willing to promote outdoor education or literary writing in general.

In many of these conversations, I realized how positive radio hosts are, how supportive they are of the arts, how much a lot of them love books and storytelling. As a group, radio hosts are good people doing a job they seem to love. So it was a fun summer for me.

Every once in a while, a radio interview feels like a conversation with a friend, like a long involved talk about life and what’s important to both people. My interview on Wisconsin’s syndicated Northern Spirit Radio was like that. We talked about Graphic the Valley, and the host, Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, was a thoughtful and involved reader. He engaged with the novel in a way an author can only hope for. He considered the extended metaphors and had insights I hadn’t considered.

Plus, Helpsmeet recently made wild-rice and acorn burgers at his rural home in Wisconsin. And if that isn’t something that Tenaya’s parents would do, I don’t know what is. Helpsmeet has a perspective on the novel that most readers don’t ( he had a wandering cougar down by his canoe a while back), and that’s just one of the reasons that this interview was one of my favorites.

Radio Interviews

After doing twenty or so book interviews for Let Them Be Eaten By Bears this last month with NPR, Fox, ABC, and CBS radio affiliates, I’ve decided that radio DJs and show hosts are some of the nicest people I’ve ever talked to.  Also, they seem really happy.  Not just on-air happy, but happy when I talk to them off-air in studio, in-person or by phone.  Real, and satisfied with their jobs, which is nice to see.

Two interviews coming up for my novel Graphic the Valley:

July 8th: KOPN, “Penguin Tracks,” with Jill Sheets, Missouri’s NPR affiliate.

Also July 8th: KFMG-FM, the “Culture Buzz,” with John Busbee, Des Moines, Iowa.