This must be the place: And it’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Lately, or more so in recent years, I find the only way I can drown out the constant barrage of noise and division in our country is when I put on my headphones, throw on some music, and let my fingertips flutter away on the laptop keyboard.

This must be the place: Ten years later and all I got was this crappy T-shirt

This past Saturday morning, I awoke in the top bunk of an RV in downtown Sylva. I got up and looked around the space. My friends were still asleep in the other beds. Time to head back to my humble abode in Waynesville. 

This must be the place: Scribbled notebooks and wild typewritten pages for your own joy

Sliding into the booth at Waffle House, I cracked open Larry McMurtry’s novel All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers. Taking a sip of my coffee, I dove into the world of Danny Deck and his life in Houston, Texas, and greater America in the early 1970s. 

The friend everyone needs

Let’s be honest for a minute. Most of us lie to our friends on a fairly regular basis and are, in turn, lied to by them. Furthermore, that’s the way we want it. It is an unwritten contact that we rely on to keep our friendships burnished to a nice sheen, as well as a way for us to continue to perpetuate certain kinds of delusions that make us feel more comfortable in various areas of our lives.

This must be the place: Home is where we wanna grow

Crossing the threshold of Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack in West Asheville recently, I scanned the space looking for my old friend, Heather. And there she was, sitting on the patio, sipping a beer and looking over the menu deciding how hot she was willing to order her chicken tenders. 

This must be the place: With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run

Last Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the shooting massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

It’s been on mind all this week, between new reports remembering that day and also my own personal thoughts. I was 14 years old and in eighth grade on April 20, 1999. It was spring break. My parents, little sister and I piled into the old minivan in Upstate New York and headed for Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

A bucket list full of dreams

Late in life, my mom created a bucket list. It wasn’t in response to her cancer diagnosis, but once she passed away, the list became serendipitous. 

One item on her list said, “Take a trip to Africa.” 

This must be the place: Ain’t it funny how you feel when you’re findin’ out it’s real?

After a long week and weekend grinding away, I had to bust out and disappear into the woods. And yet, I looked out my apartment window on Sunday afternoon and it was pouring rain. 

This must be the place: Where are you from, what do you do?

This past Saturday, I went on a first date. It had been a very long time since I’d actually gone on a date, let alone a “first date.”

But, there I was, trimming my beard in the bathroom mirror and making sure I brushed my teeth one more time before I headed out the door and into the unknown night. 

A time of waiting and yearning

I’m sick of looking at a pair of stylish winter boots sitting beside my bedroom door. I have other cold-weather shoes, but these gray boots seem to go with almost every outfit and also stay dry in the wetness that has become the meteorological norm as of late. Each time I pull these boots over socked feet, I’m reminded that spring has still not quite sprung. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.