A Community-Charged Creative Clambake at Middle of the Map Forum

Monsieur Raux. If terms like “Creative Placemaking,” “Emerging Education” and “Sustainable Wellness” sound a bit obscure, then you probably weren’t at last week’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum. Or maybe you were there. You’re just still mentally unpacking what it all meant. Sandwiched between a boisterous live Music fest and a cultish Film program, MOTM’s big-dreaming-stepchild Forum assembled two days of panel discussions and … Continue reading A Community-Charged Creative Clambake at Middle of the Map Forum

Where to Get the Latest News on Google Fiber in Kansas City

I’ve recently begun contributing to Google Connects KC, a site that collects and comments on the latest news regarding Google Fiber’s ever-impending arrival in Kansas City. The blog is a project of several technologically inclined groups: the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, the Social Media Club of KC, and the Mayors’ Bistate Innovation Team (which recently stepped out of the picture), along with help from folks … Continue reading Where to Get the Latest News on Google Fiber in Kansas City

To Have And Have Not

My mom asked me over the phone what I’d been reading. “To Have and Have Not,” I said. “It’s not very good.” My dad sprang into range of the speakerphone, his English-professor gears kicking in, “But it’s an important novel in the development of the Hemingway hero. Hemingway, you see, believed that a man alone hasn’t got a chance.” Dad was paraphrasing the main message … Continue reading To Have And Have Not

Video: Wet Hot Absurdist Summer

A couple of months ago, my good friend Crystal K. Wiebe approached me to create an online video to get the word out about an event she has helped organize to benefit two great local causes: KKFI 90.1 FM and the KC Fringe Fest. Dubbed Blue Summer Eclectic, the fashion show and music extravaganza takes place on Saturday, May 15, at the Uptown Theater’s Conspiracy … Continue reading Video: Wet Hot Absurdist Summer

Book Review: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Having spent the beginning of my life in small city in the middle of the Texas prairie, I’m accustomed to long drives through the country, across barren stretches of land where the only human structures between towns (and often within those towns’ borders) are typically farm houses, barns, churches and other random buildings in various stages of abandonment and decay.

The world of Marilynne Robinson’s 1980 novel Housekeeping, which is set in rural Idaho in the 1950s (though is overall evocative of a much earlier time in American history), brought to mind my own travels across rustic middle America — specifically that act of wondering “what happened there?” as I would pass a tilted, weathered old habitation out in the middle of a field in a place that, for me, has no name.

The setting of the novel, the fictional town of Fingerbone, is the figurative end-of-the-line for many of the novel’s travelers. The opening of the book describes a catastrophic derailing of a train: Edmund Foster, the story’s prime mover (his rather arbitrary elocation out west sets into motion the family’s rise and fall in Fingerbone), plunges to an irrecoverable, watery grave along his fellow passengers when the train he’s riding skips its rails and goes over the edge of the Fingerbone lake bridge to be swallowed whole by the water.

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