Feb. 13, 1990: The Story of Tiny and Valera

In the late summer of 1989, I had an idea to approach the University of Central Florida’s student newspaper, “The Future,” about writing a weekly column. I wrote the first one and very humbly submitted it in person to the editor, Scott Altman. Without much fanfare, it was accepted, and so it went for the next fifteen months. Ultimately, many positive experiences grew from these efforts. One esteemed instructor made much of my work and was instrumental in me winning a Scripps-Howard Foundation Fellowship for the column. Thank you, Keith Fowles. Read more


Rare Air Episode 21 and July 2017 desktop calendar

An original desktop calendar for July appears at the bottom of this post.

In my earliest visions for “Rare Air,” I had a general sense of wanting to share nature with others in the loving spirit of some sage advice my late father-in-law Bill Kiefert gave me often, reminding me to stop and smell the flowers. This simple and essential idea goes a long way in defining what I am aspiring to do here… and yet, today I’m aware of a deeper lesson. Read more


Rare Air Episode 13: Tongue Point, Washington

Scroll down for an original desktop calendar for March.

In this minute of Rare Air, you can join me at the Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary in Crescent Bay… part of the Salt Creek Recreation Area where I camped for a few nights with my family back in 2014, while touring Olympic National Park. The spot appears on the map below, snared from the awesome website for The Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway: http://highway112.org.

Throughout time, the areas all along the Highway 112 corridor have been home to people of the Klallam and Makah tribes: Exploring their cultures and histories are wonderful aspects of visiting. Read more


Rare Air Episode 5: Bradley Lake Trail

An original November 2014 desktop calendar appears below.

Thank you for following along here friends. I appreciate any interest in my projects, and this footage representing Grand Teton National Park’s Bradley Lake Trail is very special to me, even though it doesn’t represent my best work. This is one of the first times I set a camera down for a minute to take-in nature, where I had a vague idea of how I’d use the footage to help bring you along. The cameras I had available the day I recorded this (7 July 2012) were a Sony DSC-W290 compact and a Droid Razr. Below, I’m sharing more of my snaps from that spectacular day. The Rare Air footage was taken on our hike up the mountainside, not too far past the crossing of a welcome creek, where Riley and I had cooled off, and I had paused John Muir-style to admire the world’s upness. We achieved an especially lovely spot, and I parked myself with the Sony while Beth, Amelia and Riley took a rest.

Right then, it struck me that I had started something new… and that day, there were a couple more times when I repeated the one-minute documentary session. Unfortunately, at that time, I had not yet learned the very important lesson about disabling a camera’s auto-focus settings. So, even though I had started getting into the habit of methodically capturing good footage, much of what I shot that day and for months afterward isn’t really usable, because of camera auto-focusing. Read more


Angela Sun: Thanks for the Documentary

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Angela Sun is widely known in the worlds of sports and media. Among the very first Asian-American female hosts to appear on the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports, Tennis Channel and Yahoo! Sports, Angela was the sideline host for Season 4 of “American Ninja Warrior.” Among many exciting career assignments, she has hosted “Yahoo! Sports Minute,” the number one online sports show watched daily by millions, and the LIVE pre-game show for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Angela also directed and executive produced the independent feature documentary film, “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in 2013, chronicling her personal journey of discovery to one of the most remote places on Earth, Midway Atoll. With the goal of revealing the truth about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Read more


Rare Air Episode 3: Kalaloch Beach

Captured June 16, 2014.

Time in nature = sacred saturation. Free August 2014 desktop calendar below. Read more


Rare Air Episode 2: Quinault Rain Forest

Captured June 15, 2014.

Time in nature = sacred saturation. Read more


Nov. 21, 1998: Character

In November of 1998, Beth and I were living in our Barrington Way townhome in Glendale, California, which hosted us and our cats nicely enough through a very exciting and challenging time. Going back to Arc of the Poet, that was our critical California move in the so-called “Fame and Fortune” era. While I was extremely thankful at that time to have landed on the staff of Crest National in Hollywood, my film industry dreams were still very personal, and I pressed on to the best of my abilities on every front. Externally, I continued to “swing for the fence” by submitting my best writing up to that point to places like the Guggenheim Foundation, to competitions, literary agents and contacts I thought might take an interest in the projects or the talent behind them. Internally, even at that time which is now almost 15 years in the past, I had identified a “next level” goal: writing a novel. Maybe if I had won that 1999-2000 Guggenheim Fellowship I applied for in late 1998, I would have made more progress.

Today, that objective remains very high on my list, and my nine-year-old son Riley is just one of the writers in my life who is showing me how it’s done. Through his fourth grade class, he is participating in National Novel Writing Month. He took off at the beginning of November and has been piling on the words.

Another real inspiration for me is my father-in-law Bill Martin. His sixth book has just gone off to the publisher – so the first paperback edition of “Rio Pecos Compound” is just a few weeks away. The adventures continue on the “Tales of Mason” website: http://williamfmartin.com

With all of my writing experience, when I look at long-form fiction writing, my vision splinters into a great number of facets. I feel the responsibilities as designer, architect, resident artist, builder and storyteller, for starters. And as these pieces are organized, then comes the time to put them into action. In the past, I have been able to move characters forward within some pretty interesting narratives; solid choice of subject matter is imperative. That is where I have found myself many times over the years, ready and willing but needing to write the right thing.

I have a guess that when the alignment occurs, it becomes sort of sublime. Below is a poem I wrote on 11/21/98. Amid all the outward amplification of myself happening at that time, inside I knew I had to write engagingly and thoughtfully. So many words can go into something – each must hook, tantalize, convey and deliver along the way toward somewhere worth going, for some reason. I usually wonder this: What’s the reason?

by Roger Darnell Read more


May 1, 1994: Foolishness

By the time I’d reached age 28, when I wrote this poem, I had come quite a distance in my sense of how I valued other people’s ideas. I had many individuals I respected deeply, but at the same time, an ever-expanding list of those who had given me counsel that I did not trust, believe nor identify with. And based on my growing list of personal achievements, I was coming to a place where I felt I could sort out these differences pretty effectively for myself, and maybe also provide some signposts for others. This is something I’m pretty proud of even now, 19-plus years later.

by Roger Darnell

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May 17, 1996: The Bridge Holds

I wrote this poem exactly 17 years ago today. It was several months after the excitement of working on NBC’s seaQuest had given way to some different kinds of fun for Beth and me, but about 18 months before we surprised ourselves and everyone we knew by moving to California. This was written in May (always a favorite time of year), and much to my delight, those days were mostly spent handling very fun freelance production assignments (for example, shooting with Randy Baker for NASCAR), rewriting a screenplay for a futuristic thriller, and writing, editing and submitting poetry to top literary publications.

The Bridge Holds
by Roger Darnell

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