Saturday, April 29, 2017
Subscribe to our RSS feed:
You know you know you know

Don Mitchell Archive

Don Mitchell

Beaten by a Fairy

October 30th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

“I got beaten by a fairy,” I said to David, the New York City Marathon finish line director, after I crossed the finish mats, wondering if I was going to puke. A worker put a medal around my neck. I talked instead of puking.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

Looking Good!

October 15th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

The New York City Marathon’s coming up November 1st. I ran NY in 2002 and 2003 and so I thought I’d post my 2002 marathon piece today, and my 2003 one in a few days. I’m a 5+ hour marathoner now, but vanity (or pride?) compels me to say that I used to be a decent runner. I ran 20 marathons, some ultras and a lot of short stuff.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

Tsunami

September 30th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I wrote this some time ago and had no thought of posting it, but because the tsunami that hit the Samoas has been in the news and in my thoughts today, I dragged it out, made cuts, and offer it as a first-person tsunami account.

On Monday, May 23, 1960, in Hilo, Hawai’i, I was nearly killed through my own foolishness, and then, not an hour later, I began rescuing people who were already dead. I was 16.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

.308 Winchester

September 18th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

The summer after my father lost his business in the great tsunami of 1960 we were cash-poor. I was just 17 and managed to get a job with the Hawai’i State Department of Fish & Game, which oversaw much of Mauna Kea, a large mountain with a lot of wildlife on it, out of a ramshackle camp at Pohakuloa.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

Pictures of Makis

September 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

In the white shimmering overexposed one he’s looking through his chrome camera at Niagara Falls in late December. This was before black cameras were the common things they are now, so the only black in the print is Makis’ face, though little of it shows above the fur collar and below the knit hat. It’s 1978.
 
In another he’s holding what we christened the world’s largest chicken, a stupendous fowl as big as a small turkey. He cradles it in the crook of his arm as if it were a baby. We couldn’t decide whether to boil it village fashion or to roast it whiteman style. In the end we roasted it because we had neither bush spinach nor coconut milk, and anyway, what’s the point of bogus village cooking?
(more…)


Don Mitchell

Badass Pink Chevy

August 18th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY -

Prologue: I’m getting worried about the Simon Smithson Effect (SSE). This afternoon I was fiddling with this piece, which is a companion to the earlier “I Don’t Brake for Mongoose,” both belonging to a larger work called “The Dump,” when in comes an email from the guy in Hilo who’s been using my trailer, telling me that this morning at sparrowfart, when he was least expecting it, he was stopped by a cop and told to register the trailer or face a $100 fine. SSE? WTF? LOL! Read on.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

My Rolex

August 1st, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I put on my forty-year old stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual when I need to impress someone. I take it out of the drawer and shake it a few times to get it running, snap the metal clasp in place, trying not to catch any arm hairs in it, and I’m cool. Guys nudge each other – check out the old dude with the Rolex. Wonder what he deals.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

Heavy Duty Natural People

July 22nd, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I kept thinking about having a vasectomy because I had lived in a place where there was a population problem, big-time, and I’d been taught by Paul Ehrlich as an undergraduate. I believed that population control should be everyone’s first priority, and that by foregoing reproduction, I was doing my part.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

A Thousand Words: Posing

July 8th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I’ve had the nude picture of me hanging in my back hall for years. It’s smaller than the one Willow had in the show, and it isn’t decorated. Even though it’s not obviously me, I never brought it into the living room, or even to my workroom. I wanted it up because I thought it was a great image, I was close to Willow, the photographer, and I didn’t want to insult her by not having any of her work up in my house. But I thought if I started talking about it I’d end up revealing that it was me. And then Willow, whose image it really was, would be pushed out of the frame and the whole thing would degenerate into my telling stories about what it was like being her model. And because that picture was more of a collaboration than any of our others, I didn’t want that to happen.

On a simpler level, I also didn’t want to be talked about as that guy who puts up pictures of himself naked.
(more…)


Don Mitchell

I Don’t Brake for Mongoose

July 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY -

I’m writing this in rural western New York, where out my workroom window I’ve seen deer, woodchucks, hawks and, once, a weasel. Last week a fox I hadn’t seen before came to check things out. I let these animals alone though I admit to throwing sticks at the woodchucks, who eat my phlox, and I warned my chicken-raising neighbor about the weasel. The plants and animals I look at seem to belong here, but most of them, even the birds at my feeder, have their origins somewhere else. I don’t think of them as invasive, but they are.

I grew up in Hilo, a town on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and I go back there every year, to live for a while in the house I grew up in. In Hilo you can’t help being aware of the tension between invasive and endemic species, and I don’t mean as metaphor for tourists and locals. Ordinary folk talk about it and (more…)