Storyknife #2 Halfway There

It’s a rare day when the phone call comes. The phone call. The one that marks a before and after. When the phone rang that day for me, I remember glancing at my phone and seeing a number I didn’t recognize and “Alaska” as the caller’s location. Immediately, names started cycling through my head. Who did I know in Alaska at the moment? There was Elise. And Elisa. Possibly Jonathan. Maybe Brenda. Megan and Darren. Many of the field biologists with whom I’ve helped or written about spend summer field seasons in Alaska. Read more

My Year of Tracking Twain

For four months now, I’ve been tracking Mark Twain’s movements around Hawai‘i. Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of his departure from these Islands.

During Twain’s time in Hawai‘i, I made visits to the same islands as he during the same weeks he visited. Just 150 years later. I went to O`ahu, Maui, and Hawai`i Island. I tweeted about it. I texted about it. Blogged. Facebooked. Instagrammed. Read more

Tracking Twain into Hawaiian Language Newspaper Archives

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Mark Twain was back on O‘ahu, after five weeks on Maui and three weeks on Hawai‘i Island.

When I was on O‘ahu a while back, I met James E. Caron outside Morning Glass Coffee in Manoa Valley. He’s tall—taller than I am—with grey in his beard and bushy eyebrows. Bushy eyebrows? Why is it that everyone I met on this Tracking Twain reporting trip reminded me of Mark Twain? Read more

Tracking Twain into a Volcano

It’s lunchtime at Volcano House inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sitting in a rocking chair, I gaze out a wall of plate glass windows at Halema`uma`u. Two miles across the rocky landscape, lava erupts from a hole in the ground 4,000-feet above sea level. I have to remind myself of that. That below me an opening in the earth’s crust is dispensing a stream of molten rock that’s burbling up little more than a stone’s throw away. New land created right before my eyes. This isn’t something you see every day. Something not many in the world experience. Read more

Tracking Twain: Finally, I Met Mark Twain

Celebrity. What makes it? I’ve thought this often since a friend’s boyfriend left college a credit or class or paper—there are many stories out there—short of graduating and went to Hollywood to become Brad Pitt. Actually, he was already Brad Pitt, but in Hollywood, he became the famous—and wealthy—actor Brad Pitt.

Our society likes celebrities so much that some of us even like to dress up as them.

We have no shortage of celebrities on Kaua‘i, some live, some visit. I met my latest on a dark night in a back room. Read more