Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Michelle Roberts


Content By This Contributor:

HEL-YES-MET: Sacrificing looks for brains

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

So I need to buy a bike helmet, and I’m not exactly a helmet guy. I mean, I’m anti-brain injury and all that – I’m totally pro-brain. But helmets are just not for me. I know some dudes actually look good in a helmet ...

Downtown Drama

seeing Harrison Ford in downtown Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the year 1990, I broke the law. Kind of. Well, maybe I broke the law. Actually, maybe I didn’t break the law. OK, after some quick research I’ve realized that in 1990, I didn’t actually break any kind of law ...


remembering how I used to roll

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Yes, I have read the famous poem about the red wheelbarrow. And the rain water. And the chickens. And how so much depends upon ...

Bright Lights, Small City

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

So I thought my life would turn out differently. You probably did, too. By now, you and I were supposed to have moved to a big city, rented an apartment with tall ceilings and at least one brick wall ...

Block and Awe

you can’t just sit back and hope your neighborhood stays neighborly

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Looking back, I wish there’d been more stickball. And gangs of 11-year-old kids defending their turf. And little newsie caps. Lots of those ...

The Clog of War

stick with it until your worries drain away

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

When it was over, relief washed over me like a gush of clear water rinsing the dirty suds from a dinner plate. When it was over, a knot of muscles between my shoulder blades magically untied itself ...

Puddles and Ships

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

He picks out a few good peanut shells before I throw the pile into the trash. Five or six large ones without cracks or holes. He wants the seaworthy peanut shells ...

4 Ways to Complain About Winter 2019

‘tis the season of weather-related problems – remember to mix it up

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

This winter, as you may have heard, has been bat-crap crazy. Soul-crushing cold gave way to roof-crushing snowfall which gave way to basement-destroying flood water. Any day now, we can expect ice demons to rise up ...

Snow and Behold

this winter has been ... um ... who cares anymore?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I believe the weather outside has transcended the physical reality we all share and experience here in northwestern Wisconsin. The weather has escaped its normal confines, and it has clearly invaded ...

In the Sick of It

coping with winter sickness, one complaint at a time

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I don’t get sick very often. At least, not in the classical sense. I might have a day or two here and there when my throat is scratchy or my nose is running, and I randomly utter things like, “Ugh. I think I’m getting sick.”

My Best of the Worst

Do you think your struggles are the worst?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the grand scheme of one’s life, is this a noteworthy accomplishment? Is this one of the few remarkable tidbits I’d like people to remember about me? Is this a deed I hold dear to my heart? Am I proud of this?

On the Paper Trail

a stranger's lost to-do list sparks many, many questions

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Winter is an important time for me. Because wintertime is the time in which I found a handwritten shopping list on the floor of a grocery store. It was late at night, Dec. 13 (a Wednesday), and the store was almost empty ...

Unleash the Extension Cords

’tis the season for judging your neighbor’s holiday decor

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

The holiday yard over-decorator has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. Their plastic-packed yards, while revered by some, are largely considered gaudy and gratuitous. “Why turn your yard into a spectacle?” people ask ...

What’s Pine Is Pine

family memories during the jolliest time of year

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

There used to be a place on the north side of Eau Claire where you could go out into the woods and cut your own Christmas tree. I don’t remember much about the place except you bought the tree from ...


exploring the tools we use to get by

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

My dad showed me how. He said look at your compass. Look at the direction you need to go. Pick out a tree in that direction. Walk to it. Then do that again and again until you’re out of the woods. And in general, if you’re trying to walk in a straight line through a rectangular patch of trees, this is good advice ...

Halloween Dreams

if you’re gonna scare, you might as well scare big

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Let’s hear it for the good people of the Chippewa Valley going all out on Halloween decorations. I raise my cauldron of foggy potion to you, good sirs and madams, for you are out there frighting the good fright ...