I have placed the first Found and Lost story in a cache. It’s out in the world, eager to find its readers.
I’m at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA, where I teach creative writing at Goddard College’s low-residency MFA program. I’m staying in one of the houses on officer’s row and woke this morning at dawn, excited for a morning run in the fog. Fort Worden is a magical, strange place, a state park that’s a former military base overlooking Admiralty Inlet on Puget Sound. There’s a hill with decrepit old concrete bunkers and gun emplacements, a Dr. Seussian series of stairways and platforms and pits covered in moss and surrounded by trees. It’s a gorgeous ruin, a place built for warfare that was never used to kill anybody, now overgrown, otherworldly. The path that encircles the hill combined with the park grounds makes for a good 45-minute run (I’m sure many runners could do it in 30 or fewer minutes) and this morning I especially enjoyed the mist hanging in the boughs of doug firs.
Admiring Point Wilson near Wilson Admirer
As if to insult all this natural beauty, I ran plugged into my iPhone, listening to Metallica’s Garage Inc.
and Mastodon’s Crack the Skye
. As I crested the hill I pulled up the geocaching.com app and hit “Navigate to Neaby Caches.” While James Hetfield and co. crammed their cover of Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy” into my skull, I watched the little pinpointy arrow thingy get closer to a cache called Wilson Admirer
On Monday I announced my Found and Lost geocaching project with no idea how the actual stories would look. The comments and emails I received helped me think about ways I might quickly and cheaply create these chapbooks. I quickly decided that whatever form the stories were to take, they couldn’t be too precious; the production values by nature had to be low and the design had to withstand the elements and hippies’ backpacks.
"Juan," the first installment of Found and Lost, on my desk at Hugo House.
Brian McGuigan at Hugo House has been tremendously helpful, offering suggestions on how I might introduce the stories to the world. More importantly, he introduced me to Hugo House’s laminator and a program for Mac called Pages. I used Pages to lay out the story, then made copies, cut out the pages, and laminated each page. The “binding” is actually the travel bug tag chain. I bought the travel bugs at REI using my spouse-of-an-employee discount. The result is an inelegant yet sturdy little story designed to withstand a trip around the world.
This morning I made a number (I’m not saying how many) of the first installment in the Found and Lost series, called “Juan.” As I put assembled them I got the same giddy feeling I would get when I was in elementary school binding my little books at my dad’s civil engineering office. There’s something incredibly gratifying about writing, designing, producing, and now distributing one’s own book.
Producing "Juan." Note the fly laminator.
My next step is to find geocaches where I can plant them, then activate the travel bug codes so I can trace their progress online. All of this has been ridiculously fun.