Category Archives: Death

My great-grandmother called H.L. Mencken an “idiot” and he responded

Going through my grandmother’s things recently, at the old folks home, my mother found a letter that H.L. Mencken sent to my great-grandmother in 1926. Short and expressing genuine bewilderment, this letter references a point of conflict that Mencken simply calls “this Becky Bolling bilge.” (Preliminary research hasn’t revealed what this was.) The letter, signed [...]

Last Shots

This is a personal essay I wrote for a magazine a few years ago. When my grandmother died yesterday, I came back and revised it some. In memoriam: Caroline Yundt Bethea ** Last Shots: When and where will yours occur? Considering a family’s final shots. My uncle retired from tennis when he was twelve, having [...]

Billy Redden, the Banjo Boy from Deliverance, Speaks

My oral history of the filming of Deliverance is coming out in the September issue of Atlanta magazine. In the process of reporting it, I spoke with Burt Reynolds (hirsute star), John Boorman (short-fused English director), and Billy Redden. Redden played Lonnie, the somewhat deranged looking banjo savant. Turns out, he doesn’t know how to [...]

Persistence Hunt: The Film Trailer

The chase begins August 13th.

GROWN MEN CHASING ANTELOPE: The Persistence Hunting Film Campaign

Yesterday, I spoke with New Hampshire’s “Word of Mouth” radio, hosted by Virginia Prescott. We discussed my recent Outside magazine feature, “Fair Chase.” If you haven’t read it, this is the teaser: On the plains of New Mexico, a band of elite marathoners tests a controversial theory of evolution: that humans can outrun the fastest [...]

Winning Feels Good

Chris Jones, a man who has twice won magazine journalism’s highest award, recently wrote an honest (and polarizing) meditation on losing. It appeared on his blog, Son of Bold Venture, a great resource for writers—young, old, aspiring, established, cynical, naive—on writing. It begins: “I wish I didn’t care about awards, but I do, very much. [...]

The Fast and the Curious: Part Two

The Daily Beast likes my persistence hunting story in the May issue of Outside. That’s cool, because the hunt is continuing this summer. A crew has been assembled to produce a documentary film on the guys’ second attempt at making antelope-human history on the plains of eastern New Mexico. Stay tuned. This August, it’s gonna [...]

Dept. of Sisyphean Tasks

Last August, I traveled to Mosquero (“swarm of flies”), New Mexico, to watch nine elite distance runners—two with marathon personal bests six minutes behind the world record—attempt to run down the second fastest animal on earth. This pursuit of pronghorn antelope, called persistence hunting, is chronicled in the May issue of Outside magazine, and available [...]

Dept. of Pleasant Surprises

Just learned that my story about the death of John Celmer (“Final Exit“)—which appeared in the March 2010 issue of Atlanta magazine—has been named a finalist in the “Reporting” category of the 2011 City and Regional Magazine Association (CRMA) Awards. Atlanta magazine, where I’m a contributing editor, picked up six finalist nominations. Winners will be [...]

Holyfield’s Latest—and Perhaps Last—Fight

This past Saturday, forty-eight-year-old Evander Holyfield fought his fifty-sixth professional boxing fight. In his twenty-seven-year career, he’s fought an average of twice a year, though that frequency has slowed considerably over the past decade, as many have called for the retirement of the former four-time heavyweight world champion. He’s lately landed in the headlines most [...]