Blogging Walden: 'What's the news?' ... Why we need Thoreau now, as much as ever
It may come as no surprise that a writer living in a small cabin in the woods likes Henry David Thoreau. Despite a lot of recent criticism heaped on the man and his work, I continue to think he was a genius who penned amazing treatises on solitude, nature, justice and self determination.
That's not to say the guy was perfect. But I feel a certain kinship to the naturalist writer who accidentally burned 300 acres of woods when a campfire got out of control. He also had a tendency to annoy people, didn't mind contradicting himself, and could be kind of an ass.
As a self-described part-time hermit, Thoreau's approach makes perfect sense to me, and recently I've been re-reading Walden and putting down some thoughts.
The follow-up finds Yuri Realman settling into his hermit lifestyle, and struggling with his dreams of being a writer. He's pared everything back so he can focus on his work, but still the rejections pile up.
And then his story goes sideways--for a moment--when a misunderstanding winds him locked up in a county jail. It's a week that tests his beliefs and philosophies, while also giving him a little insight into the criminal justice system: who gets sent away, and just how bad is the food..
More stories from the road, and insights into off-grid living. In this issue Yuri visits the wild beaches of North Carolina, the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas, and jail. As his resolve as a writer is tested, his work takes a turn towards the existential.
& Ranch, Issue #1!
& Ranch is the story of Yuri Realman: a guy who abandons his life in Washington, D.C., to follow dreams of becoming a writer. He quits his job and spends a year living on the road, before settling into a small cabin to reconnect with nature and pursue his passion.
& Ranch is part photo-comic, part literary and photographic journal. It's a story about someone taking a risk.
Follow Yuri's adventure as he moves from a cubicle in D.C. to life on the road, exploring Joshua Tree, Texas, Big Sur, ghost towns, and the Pacific Northwest.
As Yuri settles into his new off-grid cabin life, he begins to embrace the natural world, experiment with consciousness-altering drugs and write surreal short stories.
Issue #1 is 6x9, 56 pages.
And a review of the Coleman stovetop-oven
I used to bake bread often, but then again I used to have an oven.
For a while, that was one of the biggest things "missing" in living off the grid. I experimented with building a brick oven, but never really took to using it. I experimented with flat breads, but it just wasn't the same. And so for the past couple of years I largely stopped baking. ... [continues]
Involved: A Max Steel Mystery
Max Steel is a private investigator hired to do what seems like a simple job: Follow a cheating husband, and get pictures. But when the philandering target winds up dead, Max finds himself the prime suspect--and time is running out for him to clear his name (or at least throw the police a better theory).
I'm a big fan of mysteries and noir, and enjoy writing the genre from time to time. "Involved" is a straight-ahead detective story until the end, which takes a dark and fatal turn.
32 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
This whole trek towards minimalism and tiny home, off-grid-living began years ago when I left D.C. and traveled around the United States. I spent almost a year living out of a van, ultimately reconnecting with the outdoors and realizing I didn't need a whole lot of stuff to actually be happy.
These are some of the photos from that amazing 15,000-mile adventure. Not long after, I scraped together the cash to buy & Ranch and have been here since.