November 25, 2018 § Leave a comment
A freshly-minted short story (one of the first to appear post-A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing) is out in Western Press Books’ wonderful new anthology, Manifest West: Transitions & Transformations. The story is titled “Gunnison Gorge.” It concerns a lonely traveler who gives a ride to a mysterious couple on his way to a remote fly fishing river in a wilderness area of central Colorado. He worries that the woman may be in some kind of trouble, and believes himself well-positioned to do something about it.
To read “Gunnison Gorge,” at least for now, you have to order the anthology. But that’s a great thing to do anyway, especially if you want to support literature and/or are interested in writing about the contemporary American west!
November 4, 2018 § 3 Comments
On this key midterm election day in the USA, I’m so thrilled to be heading back (after voting, of course) to one of my favorite corners of planet Earth, an area of vast and stunning wilderness encompassing the islands, waters, and mountain ranges of the southernmost reaches of the South American continent.
We’ll be stopping over for a few days in Buenos Aires, but the real adventure begins in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, as we board the Stella Australis, a small (150-200 passenger) Chilean-run cruise ship, and set off into the stark and storied landscapes and seascapes of Tierra del Fuego.
We’ll visit the legendary Cape Horn, making a landing if the weather allows, and then follow in the wake of Charles Darwin’s Beagle and use zodiacs to explore various fascinating features, including fjords, tidewater glaciers, a penguin colony, and pristine high latitude temperate rainforests of this spectacular convergence of land, sea and ice, we’ll be on the lookout for whales, sea lions, penguins, albatross and many other fascinating bird species.
Next, we’ll stay in the amazing Tierra Patagonia hotel at the foot of the dramatic granite spires and horns of Torres del Paine National Park. Here we’ll have several full days of hiking and/or horseback riding amidst one of the world’s most striking landscapes, in a part of Chile with some of the lowest human population densities on the planet.
This rich and diverse ecosystem is of particular interest to us because it includes an apex predator, the elusive puma, and its primary prey, the charming and highly entertaining guanaco. What a magnificent opportunity!
This will be my fifth time on this particular National Geographic itinerary, and I’m thrilled to be heading back. One of the advantages of being a writer is that it’s a multi-disciplinary pursuit—and a trip like this provides great material.
I’m a big fan of history, geography, ecology, and biography as disciplines that enrich any travel experience, and it will be my privilege to share some of those wide-ranging interests with the National Geographic group.
Talks will focus on the history and geography of the region and the lives of explorers and adventurers who went on to make important contributions to humanity and the planet—and whose early lives were shaped by their journeys to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. My final talk will be more personal in nature, about my parallel careers as a novelist and travel guide, the links between travel, writing, and environmental awareness, and what I call the “geographic imagination.”
All in all, it promises to be an unforgettable experience. This is a really fantastic part of the world and I highly recommend you get there if you can. I could be convinced, by the way, to organize a custom trip or two if anyone’s interested . . .
May 13, 2018 § Leave a comment
Very much enjoyed the new review of the collection by Evan Williams in the Spring 2018 edition of the venerable literary magazine Main Street Rag. It’s not available on-line, but here’s an excerpt:
“Each story is an exercise in high adventure. Cessna prop planes, dugout canoes, rattletrap sports cars, and hipped-out VW vans transport characters across America to Grateful Dead concerts, and up the Amazon River in search of a new species of frog. The author’s attraction for the outdoors in inescapable, with each installment a trip to another country, or occasionally, a mind trip on LSD . . . Weed writes as a realist, never coddling his stars. Teeth are kicked out, and hearts are broken. Perhaps gritty is the optimum word to describe his treatment of behavior and consequence, where even the innocent are not insulated from the impact of their decisions, nor the decisions of unkind others. In A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, no one is granted immunity from life . . . Provocative and memorable, this collection strikes all the right chords.”
You can see how this is a review to make an author happy. The collection just came out in paperback: click here for instructions on how to order!
March 28, 2018 § Leave a comment
Thought I’d share this link to a few photos of seascapes, landscapes, and cityscapes from the recent Brattleboro Museum & Art Center Cuba trip! These were taken in Havana, Trinidad, Cienega de Zapata National Park, and the Bay of Pigs.
February 8, 2018 § Leave a comment
Honored to be on this list, which also includes Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793, Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, Not Buddy, and Ann Rinaldi’s Numbering All the Bones. An excerpt of the review on Homeschooling Teen website, the list’s publisher:
“This novel has everything a teen could hope for in a historical fiction book, including elements of magic, a journey across the sea and enough conflict and suspense to keep the pages turning. Moreover, the novel provides excellent, although indirect, commentary on current events.”
Find out everything you need to know about Will Poole’s Island here.
November 2, 2017 § 2 Comments
It’s been a few years, and I’m thrilled to be returning to one of my favorite regions on the planet with National Geographic Expeditions’ Exploring Patagonia program. This season I’m slated to accompany two trips: one in November, 2017 and a second in January, 2018. We’ll be cruising through Tierra del Fuego in a small, expertly crewed, Chilean-owned ship, the M.V. Stella Australis. We’ll embark from Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, round Cape Horn, and make our way up through the Magdalena Passage and the Agostini Sound, taking advantage of daily Zodiac landings to explore Hornos Island, Wulaia Bay, glaciers, and penguin colonies. Fantastic!
The Stella Australis will then drop us off in Punta Arenas, Chile, and we’ll head up to the stunning wilderness of Torres del Paine, where we’ll have daily opportunities to wander, both on foot and horseback. We can expect to see guanaco, rhea, Andean condor, many other bird species, and possibly even a puma or two. But it’s the vastness and sublime beauty of these wilderness landscapes that is the true highlight here. This part of the world is one of the least densely populated on earth, and it’s never short of inspiring!
I’m excited to be leading the educational aspects of the program in my role as National Geographic’s “featured expert.” Other than informal group interactions the main element of this task is to give a series of illustrated talks: an intro to the history and geography of the region; Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle; American artist and adventurer Rockwell Kent; Ivon Chounard, Douglas Tomkins and “los Fun Hogs.”
I’ll also be giving a brand new talk that I’m thrilled to debut in Patagonia, in which I’ll attempt to make sense of the links between travel, fiction, place-based writing, all in the context of this strange hybrid career of mine.
If you’re signed up for either of these trips, I look forward to traveling with you. If not, stay tuned: there are likely to be similar opportunities in the future!
August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed my conversation with James Scott on the latest episode of his terrific series of literary conversations known as the TK Podcast. James is a bestselling novelist (The Kept) and an excellent interviewer, with a real knack for asking questions about writing and life that lead to interesting places.
We talked about travel, the writing life, the binary nature of solitude, National Geographic, short fiction, how to sequence stories in a short fiction collection, the Cuba Writers Program, Ingmar Bergman, drug writing, Green Writers Press, Denis Johnson, The Grateful Dead, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Paul Bowles, and much, much more. Highly recommended if you’re a writer and/or a fan of literary podcasts! Here’s the link.
June 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
“The blackout was a revelation. It happened at around eight PM, in Trinidad, Cuba, on one of those moonless tropical nights that fall so suddenly you barely notice the dusk. This was several years ago—before the loosening of travel regulations that occurred under President Obama—and the number of American tourists remained small . . . At the time of the occurrence described in this essay, I was traveling to the country with cultural tourism groups at least half a dozen times a year.”
Click here to read the full essay.
May 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
Honored and very pleased to report that A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing has been chosen as a finalist in the 2017 International Book Awards (Short Story category).
It occurs to me to mention that for a certain kind of person, this collection would make an excellent Father’s Day gift! You can order the beautiful hardcover first edition at IndieBound, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble — or request it from your favorite local bookstore! (ISBN# 978-0997452877). Read all the latest reviews, and check the upcoming events page for a reading or signing near you!
May 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed this wide-ranging conversation with the perceptive Art Hutchinson at Fiction Writers Review. We discussed, among other things, extreme sports, the supernatural, foreign and historical settings, pushing the boundaries of conscious perception, and why the inner landscape is something fiction can do better than any other art. Read the whole interview here!