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7 Days of Nature Photography

7 Days of Nature Photography

Earlier in the year, my brother Jason Koons tagged me in a challenge to do 7 days of nature photography on Facebook. I always meant to share here, but never got around to it. So, several months late, here we go!

 

Day 1

Day 1: Nature Photography

It was raining today, which put me in mind of this picture from Berry College in 2009. I love the way leaves look in the rain–each drop like a small galaxy.

 

Day 2

Day 2: Nature Photography

When we…Continue Reading

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Color in Afghanistan

Color in Afghanistan

Short piece I wrote for funsies/World Nomads recently.

When I told people I was going to Afghanistan, they looked at me like I’d gone mad. I was twenty-one, 5’2”, and grinning while I said it.

Our Afghan driver took a small group of us outside Kabul one day, to the valleys around Istalif. Freed of the city, our dust and dung coated lungs began to work again.

“Are you sure we should do this?” my sister asked in harried Pashto when the paved road became a dirt path became a rocky riverside became an actual river.

“Yes, yes!” he said. “It’s worth it!”

We emerged at the base of a canyon and tumbled out of the car. On our…Continue Reading

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A Year Abroad: Scrapbook Highlights

A Year Abroad: Scrapbook Highlights

Among other things, my family has given me the Hoarder Gene. Thus whenever I am traveling, I collect scraps (tickets, maps, miscellany) to store away forever. After I studied abroad in 2012, I wound up with a whole box of various bits and pieces, and little idea what to do with them.

In spring of 2014, as I neared the last six months of my time in Bath, England, I happened upon a charming photo album on sale at Paperchase. In retrospect, I think it’s actually meant to be a wedding album, but at the time I had two thoughts: 1) Hipster paper, and 2) Cheap!

I began my first for real scrapbook in an attempt to justify keeping all…Continue Reading

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The Launch Party: On Agents, Publishers, and Community

The Launch Party: On Agents, Publishers, and Community

Last July, I volunteered to co-edit the Bath Spa University MA Writing for Young People anthology with Irulan Horner. I don’t think either of us realized quite how much work we’d be doing, though we were warned. Over the last ten/eleven months, I’ve worked from afar extensively with our mail-out team, developed a website and social media strategy with Lindsay Schiro, and edited, edited, edited the little book that became Beautiful Lies. (Also, I’m going to humbly approach the #bragtable and mention that the title was my idea – based on a David Almond quote – and I am very proud of it.)

The anthology combines work from the 19 writers on my…Continue Reading

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Photography: Iceland

Photography: Iceland

Add another country to my list: Iceland!

I recently discovered that with IcelandAir, you can stopover in Iceland for up to a week on your flights across the Atlantic. So on my move back to the States from England, I arranged to stay a few days in Iceland. It rocked. I’m totally going back.

Below are a few of my favorite pictures from my short trip. Enjoy!

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10 Questions to Ask When You Create a Fictional Culture

10 Questions to Ask When You Create a Fictional Culture

The way I build worlds is by collecting cool stuff from the history, myth and people around me. I blend these details with my own imagination, and create my own cultures. Culture is a vital part to realistic worldbuilding.

Normally there are a few particular cultures that interest me at a given time. I read whatever I can find about them, their environment, their traditions and their myths. The interesting details filter into the new world I’m creating (example: at one time, Venetian widows could only remarry on the stroke of midnight).

In the long term, there is nothing more inspiring and challenging than visiting foreign cultures yourself (especially if you can get far beyond your comfort zone to do it). This is…Continue Reading

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My Top 10 Most Inspirational Places in the World

My Top 10 Most Inspirational Places in the World

10. Mont St Michel, France

Before dawn, when the tourist buses haven’t arrived and cats rove the alleys with bleary-eyed delivery men—that is when Mont St Michel is alive. You stumble half-asleep through its medieval streets, and in the cold and the dark it’s not a tourist trap, it’s timetravel.

You stand on the old walls, look out at the treacherous marshes and watch the tide come in. At first the water hardly seems to stir, but then you look away, look back, and the ground’s vanished.

When the monastery opens, and you elbow past the late-comers to an empty nave, echoing with the footsteps of long-gone monks, you feel it again: The aliveness of it, as if the island only…Continue Reading

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