Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Mike Paulus


Content By This Contributor:

Miss Direction

hey, not all those who wander are lost (almost)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

My wife is so good with directions it frightens me. On the other hand, I’m so bad with directions it frightens her. If you were to superglue a blindfold onto my wife’s eyeballs, throw her into a helicopter, fly her into the heart of the Amazonian jungles ...

Halloween Scenes

stories of yore from Octobers in Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

A boy in 1980s Eau Claire is so excited by his He-Man Halloween costume he can’t stop looking at it. It includes a stiff plastic mask with a thin elastic string tied around the back, with holes for each eye and each nostril ...

Skin-Crawling Local Tales

an extra-spooky take on Volume One's storytelling series

Mike Paulus, photos by Luong Huynh

At Let’s Be Honest – Volume One’s grownup storytelling series – some of the area’s best writers and yarn-spinners take to the mic for a night of personal stories told live. For each installment, multiple ...

The Best of Me (2016)

this year’s Best of the Mike Paulus Poll was something else

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

The votes are in, the polls have been slammed shut, and the tallies have been tilly-tallied. So it is with great pleasure and excitement that I present to you the results of my 2016 Best of the Mike Paulus Poll.

Dixit: Have a Blast With Some Deep Thinking

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Dixit is a game that gets me and my kids thinking in new ways – right there at the kitchen table, it can trick you into abstract thought through beautiful pictures and rousing, competitive play ...


still feeling the rhythm of my old band classes

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Deep in Northwestern Wisconsin, you will find the tiny town of Webster. Just outside of Webster, out in the woods, there is a house. In the basement of this house ...

Little Bits of Grace

new Michael Perry book compiles best Roughneck Grace columns

Mike Paulus, Raquel Dorf, photos by Andrea Paulseth

If you ever called him a “celebrity” to his face, area writer and humorist Michael Perry would probably reply with his trademark humility, his deep voice murmuring something about pig farming or raising chickens. Over the years ...

Watch Bon Iver Perform New Music on The Tonight Show

Mike Paulus

Bon Iver appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night (Sept. 14) and played 8 (circle) from their new album 22, A million – set to release on Sept. 30. This was the second time the track was heard live by audiences ...

Trailing Off

chasing shadows along an old Wisconsin railway

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

They say the crews of men who built the railroad tracks running through Northwestern Wisconsin would dance. As the legend goes, their hand tools were manufactured down in Chicago ...

The Biggest Thing in All the World

a hard gaze back at highways and summertime skies

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

My little pickup truck blasted down Highway F, swooping around the curves and diving into low spots as the world evaporated all around me. I was driving too fast. And when I say evaporated, I mean it.

Get Ready: Water Street Bridge Opens Sept. 1

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

According to Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., the Water Street Bridge will be open for traffic after a ribbon cutting ceremony on ...

Bon Iver Mural Appears in the Heart of Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, photos by Eric Christenson

Appearing this week on the side on The State Theatre, right on S. Farwell Street – running through the heart of downtown Eau Claire – you can see a large mural in progress. Eagled-eyed Bon Iver fans will recognize the artwork and symbols – echoing images released by the band on social media over the last week (and in this teaser video).

Star Tribune Travel Section Profiles Eau Claire

Mike Paulus

This Sunday (July 31) the Star Tribune’s travel section will feature a front page spread on one of the Midwest’s day trip hotspots: Eau Claire. ‘Tis true. Hot on the heels of the city’s profile in Time Magazine ...

UPDATED (8/3): Tubing Prohibited in Eau Claire Until Water Testing Complete

Mike Paulus

On Thursday at a special press conference in Phoenix Park, city officials addressed a sewage leak in the Eau Claire River, near the confluence. On Wednesday the leak had prompted the city to prohibit tubing and other water recreation on much of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers within the city limits.

Swat in Hell

something really bugs me about summer in Wisconsin

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I have hairy forearms. You wouldn’t stare at them if you were seated next to me at a restaurant or anything, but close inspection, you’d discover I maintain a robust, masculine forest or arm follicles. The same is true for my legs. So if I’m sporting a T-shirt-n-shorts combo ...

Anting and Raving

when ants get organized, retreat is the only option

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I was super-freaked by the sheer variety of these ants. The diversity. Small ones. Big ones. Really big ones. Fat ones. Cute ones. Black ones. Brown ones. Reddish ones. And a certain kind of ant I only saw once or twice but will never forget because they were black like the absolute absence of joy ...

Time Magazine Features Eau Claire

Mike Paulus

In this week’s issue of Time Magazine – hitting newsstands soon but online now – you’ll find a robust story on ... Eau Claire. Yep, the iconic magazine is featuring our little chunk of Wisconsin, covering the city’s recent economic and cultural developments.

Strawberry Moon

when rare events build common ground

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

In the days leading up to the last full moon, children were seen meandering through the downtown farmers market holding cardboard flats piled high with strawberries ...

You, at Night in the Summer

echoing across your neighborhood skies all season long

Mike Paulus, design by Janae Breunig

Maybe you like to go to bed early. Read a little until your book falls from your hands and you fumble for a bookmark then snap off the light. Maybe you stay up late ...

Eau Claire Ranked Amongst Nation’s “Least-Stressed” Cities

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Chillax, cats and kitties. Eau Claire popped up on yet another list of “best / worst / least / most fill-in-the-blank cites in America.” Take it as you will, but SmartAsset.com has named Eau Claire as the 5th ...

Will Downtown's Street Speakers Switch to Local Music?

Mike Paulus, photos by Eric Christenson

It's an idea we've all had (and re-had) over and over (and over) for at least a decade: The speakers lining downtown Eau Claire's Barstow Street should play local music ...

Bygone Derby Days

my racing days are long over, but their lessons linger

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

I achieved one of the few truly great victories in my life back when I was but a foolish youngster, mesmerized by the high speed, high risk, highly splinter-ridden world of Pinewood Derby Car Racing ...

7 Cheesy Wisconsin Cheese Stats

Brian Sheridan, Mike Paulus

If you haven’t been on the edge of all your Wisconsin agricultural news, then you’re missing out some cheesy new numbers published by Wisconsin AgConnection. In short we're shredding it ...

Public Private

finding a secluded space in the middle of the city

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I thought I was all by myself. Just me and the dark springtime water rushing along the banks. But a man came rambling from the trees ...

Snowflakes and Cereal

cold mornings are still bright mornings

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Sunlight filled the backyard. We were going to have a good day. Probably. The sky swelled with electricity, a wall of screaming blue yanked up behind a mess of tree branches towering ...

The Spurn Lane

lessons learned on the cold, harsh highway of life

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Like most people who have just narrowly avoided a car accident with one or more idiot drivers, I got huffy. Very huffy. The people I wanted to yell at were well on their way down the road, happily clueless to the rage they’d induced. I felt so helpless ...

Why the River

local waterways show us strange things in the spring

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I’m pretty sure we saw a full size bed floating down the Chippewa River last week. My wife and I had just driven onto the Madison Street bridge when she immediately saw it. And since I have the eagle-eyed eyesight of a very old, very handsome, very blind eagle who can no longer fend for itself ...

Worth Its Weight in Cold

this winter still has a lesson or two to teach

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I took my kids to a playground near our house on a Saturday towards the end of February. In most seasons, the playground is a little dead on Saturday afternoons, and we’ve usually got everything ...

Sleeping Queens: play your cards to awaken napping nobles

Mike Paulus, photos by Serena Wagner

This is the one game both of my kids (6 and 9) almost always want to play. They’re sometimes finicky when it comes to games, cycling through short phases of what they like, but Sleeping Queens ...

Passenger Rail Photos From Eau Claire in the mid 1950s

Mike Paulus, photos by John Anderson

We caught sight of these terrific passenger rail photos on the You Know You are From Eau Claire When... Facebook page. They were taken by John Anderson, who grew up in Eau Claire in the '50s and 60's before leaving in 1967 ...

Taste of the Valley to Return This Summer

Mike Paulus, photos by Nick Meyer

"On Sunday, June 5th, Phoenix Park will be transformed into a festival grounds celebrating the culinary arts. Festgoers will be treated to local musical entertainment throughout the day and the kiddos ..."

We Use Shovels Here

snowblowers are for people with no sense of place

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Well, it took a while, but the Chippewa Valley has finally gotten what I consider to be real shovelin’ snow. That is to say, we’ve finally gotten snow that probably won’t melt on its own within a day or two, excusing me from having to physically remove it from my driveway. The most recent “snow event,” as the city is fond of saying ...

So Very Cold: You may have noticed that wintertime is now

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

It was 19 degrees this morning, so I opted to put on a thick flannel shirt instead of a coat. “A coat?” I thought. “Let’s not go crazy here. I mean, it’s only going to get warmer as the day goes on, right?” So I left my coat hanging there by the door ...

Looking Ahead 2016

2016 will be huge for the Chippewa Valley – here’s some stuff we’re looking forward to covering

Eric Christenson, Mike Paulus, Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

There’s a lot in store for the Chippewa Valley in 2016. It’s certainly an exciting time to be here in the middle of all of it, and we’re just as psyched as you are for all the cool things happening around us. So let’s take a quick breather, shake out 2015’s cobwebs, and press in on what ...

Dark Winter Light

the cold curiosities we find hiding in the night

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

It’s so bright outside. In the middle of the night. I clicked off the little lamp on my nightstand, and now the bedroom windows are blooming with light. The shades are shut, but still it comes through. I think of movies where alien ships land in the backyard. But this is different.

Brewing Projekt Sets Sights on Cannery District Building Renovation

Mike Paulus

Some great-looking news from William Glass, owner of The Eau Claire Brewing Project LLC, (“The Brewing Projekt”) and founding owner of The Fire House in downtown Eau Claire. Glass is looking to negotiate the purchase of a property located at 1807 Oxford Avenue, near the small batch brewery’s ...

Tristan Splichal studies the cello and the mixing deck

Mike Paulus

Many musicians strive to master multiple instruments, often spanning different musical genres and skill sets. Some take it a notch further. Take Eau Claire eighth-grader Tristan Splichal, for instance, who’s just as comfortable with bows and strings as he is with phasers, flangers, and beat matching ...

Monroe, Wisconsin

in the very beginning, I got there first

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Somewhere in my parent’s house, deep in a box in the basement, there’s a newspaper clipping. A grey and white photo and its caption. It shows a young woman on the very first day of 1976. She looks tired. She looks like she wasn’t really ready for a newspaper photographer to show up at the door, ask her to smile ...

The Sappiest Time of the Year

keeping it real on the Christmas tree scene

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

OK people, before we get off on the wrong foot here, let’s make one thing clear: I love real Christmas trees. I truly enjoy having a real pine tree in the house as winter begins and snowflakes gently float past the windows like gossamer angel feathers, nestling upon the sleeping earth and gathering into soft little pillows ...

Local Holiday Cover Tunes (2015 Edition)

Mike Paulus

As you read this, Volume One is proud to be hosting 2015's collection of classic Christmas tunes covered by a bunch of local and formerly local musicians – We Wish You Eau Claire-y Christmas ...

Blue Ox Music Festival to return in June, announces performers

Mike Paulus

Heads up! In a press release this week, the Blue Ox Music Festival has revealed it's 2016 dates and a partial lineup, returning June 9–11, featuring the likes of Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush, Pert Near Sandstone, Blitzen Trapper, and Whiskey Shivers. Tickets are on sale now. Check out the details:

Keith Olsen wields his cards in world contest

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

How many of you can claim to be ranked fourth in the United States at ... well, anything? Well, if you happen to be 11-year-old Pokémon player Keith Olsen, you just raised your hand. The Altoona 5th grader traveled to Boston late last August to compete in the 2015 Pokémon World Championships ...