Rafting the Mississippi

  It isn’t a big raft. In terms of cubits, it’s a two-by-four. But it has a big back yard, a mile wide and 1800 miles long. And it became the summer palace for a big thinker who has no … Read More

Mark Twain, Fabius and Troublesome Creek

If you travel at all around Mark Twain’s boyhood stomping grounds, you’ll likely cross the Fabius River. There are three branches, paralleling Troublesome Creek as they all wind their way to the Mississippi. The Fabius rivers are named not for … Read More

Prolificrat

My bookshelf welcomes Hannibal’s favorite son; his complete autobiography serves up riveting entertainment that cements his legend. He reveals as much about himself as Walter Williams could dig up about the rest of Northeast Missouri. Twain wallows in more than … Read More

Crossing the Lexicon

“…ours is a mongrel language,” Mark Twain said about the world’s most expansive tool kit, “which started with a child’s vocabulary of 300 words and now consists of 225,000; the whole lot, with the exception of the original and legitimate … Read More

Souls Along the Road

My newest book–Souls Along the Road–is hot off the press! More “on the road” adventures blending local characters and mom-and-pop food into an archipelago of tasty stories, diving deep into America’s cultural fabric, finding badass good Samaritans and traces of … Read More

Rafting the Mississippi

The days were getting warmer when I got a call from a good friend alerting me that an adventurous soul was about to experience the dream of every American river rat. He’d built a raft, and was looking for crew … Read More

The Genius of Clemson

Samuel Longhorn Clemson said it: “Our long national championship is over.” Well, it was a football fan, mistaking the ghost of Mark Twain, and replacing his real name with a footballized name, lamenting mighty Clemson’s defeat, and misquoting our most … Read More

Bringing the Backroads to the Classroom

Just spoke to 70 fourth graders. Captured their attention with my prairie chicken dance. We talked about finding wild Missouri.  Their eyes got even wider when I told them about joining a producer from Saturday Night Live to raft the … Read More