Memoir

Ashes in California

Ashes in California

EMLYN CAMERON

After his father dies, Emlyn Cameron returns to his hometown in California, which is menaced by COVID-19 and massive wildfires, to unpack their relationship while sorting the contents of his father’s storage unit.

This is a beautifully written and touching essay about the life and death of the brilliant, kind, and infinitely creative Charles Cameron — a man we here at PenDust Radio knew and loved very much. We are honored to publish his son Emlyn’s eloquent words.

Red Ferry, Blue Ferry: An Irish Lesson in How You Can’t Get There from Here

Red Ferry, Blue Ferry: An Irish Lesson in How You Can’t Get There from Here

MICHAEL FALLON

Michael Fallon’s visit to Ireland’s Aran Islands is a very funny “you-can’t-get-there-from-here” story. He arrived by ferry from Galway. Though everyone spoke English, he could not learn how to return to the mainland to catch his flight home. “There’s no ferry that goes to Galway,” he was told. But how did the ferry he took from Galway get there in the first place? How would he get home?

A Crack Up

A Crack Up

VIRGINIA EVANS

Virginia Evans wrote the first draft of her novel in 61 days. Seven days a week, she was at her desk with coffee by 5:00 am. She wrote 98,000 words while working three part-time jobs, with two children at home under age four. Then she defied the odds and managed to secure a literary agent. All of that turned out to be the easy part.

Finding the Lost River

Finding the Lost River

MICHAEL FALLON

First, cancer endangered Michael Fallon’s life, and then it threatened to take his voice from him. He learns that to survive and recover from cancer, you must find that place in yourself which is the source of inspiration and strength, that deep river of being that — even now — flows through you. This is the uplifting story of how he found “the lost river” and got his voice back — with the help of memory, imagination, and a sip of Garnacha wine.

Driving the Section Line

Driving the Section Line

SARAH K. LENZ

This touching memoir recalls a journey the author took with her father along the rural back roads of central Nebraska, visiting the significant landmarks of his life in what he called his “nostalgia tour.” He reflects on his life as a failed farmer, and she remembers flashes of alcohol-fueled abuse. But an unexpected detour turns out to be the catalyst for a surprising moment of redemption.

Trash Can Blues

Trash Can Blues

JERRY VIS

In the early-1950s, against his wishes, Jerry Vis’s father sent him to a strict Adventist boarding school in Virginia. In this humorous memoir, he recalls a school that was definitely not to his liking or fitting his character, where he was dubbed Jerry “Vice.” He remembers one particular Dean who doled out outlandish punishments, but who Jerry came to respect. Nudity and trash cans play a role in this funny tale of how he painted himself into a corner — and out again.

Rafael, Titicaca, and How My Son Got His Name

Rafael, Titicaca, and How My Son Got His Name

ROBERTO LOIEDERMAN

Some name their first child for a relative, some for a prominent person. Some choose a name that’s in vogue. Roberto Loiederman named his first child for an unforgettable cocaine dealer he met while crossing Lake Titicaca. This is a story of wanderlust, a passionate love affair, and the most unusual way Roberto’s son got his name.

There is Something I Must Tell You

There is Something I Must Tell You

MICHAEL FALLON

When Michael Fallon was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the throat, he burst into tears and wondered how he could possibly tell his wife the devastating news. This was followed by uncomprehending rage and radiation treatments in the belly of a massive, whirring machine that focused a beam of invisible light on his tumor. Yet he wanted to save something of value from what was happening to him and to share inspiration with others who must face and endure challenges of their own.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

ANNILEE NEWTON

Annilee Newton answered a Craigslist job post with a photo of herself drinking wine — a bold move that will eventually lead to her becoming a professional wine taster. This amusing memoir takes us along on Annilee’s journey to learn the intricate art of wine tasting. We travel with her to Mississippi, France, and Texas. We learn that place affects the taste of wine—both the place where the wine is made and where the wine is drunk.

Bob and the Beatniks

Bob and the Beatniks

JERRY VIS

In the mid-1950s, Jerry Vis attended a strict Adventist college near Washington, D.C. On the sly, his eccentric Uncle gave him this insightful advice as he departed for college: “To become your own person, learn how to think for yourself, not what others want you to think.” Jerry intuitively follows his Uncle’s advice and makes friends with some… unusual characters.

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