Volume One Staff

Mike Paulus

Online Editor

Content By This Contributor:

Winter Houses

from warm to cold, from cold to warm

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Winter houses. Lonely walls standing up squarely against the snow and the gasping cold. Our walls. Our houses. And us inside them. What are we doing in here?

Silent Nights

Christmas memories glowing in the dark

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

We sang “Silent Night,” standing up on the shiny marble steps, up in front of the church. For our parents, brothers, and sisters. For our teachers and the priest. And I guess we sang for the big Jesus hanging high up behind ...

This Is All Your Fault

placing blame for this Winter’s untimely arrival

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Everybody hold up – hold on just one second. Stop talking. Take a deep breath. And answer me one simple question ...

The Holidays Are Here: Let Magic In

Mike Paulus

My kids go nuts the first time it snows each year. Early in the morning, I can’t wait to whip open the curtain hiding the big patio door windows and see what they ...

What the Snow Doesn’t Care About

some thoughts for my midwestern friends and acquaintances

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Sitting by a church door, looking out at the dark parking lot, we are waiting for people to arrive. So we can open the door and let them inside. This lady and ...

Photo Feature: Grave Matters

an intimate look at Chippewa Valley cemeteries

Mike Paulus, photos by Tina Ecker

So many different worlds are fenced into a graveyard, rooted deep into the earth, surrounded by our cities and towns, tucked between our fields and ...

The Darkest Holiday

Halloween is the best and that’s that

Mike Paulus

Pale dead weeds flank the wrought iron gate. Dark, dirty windows gape at you from the rickety walls. The roof has many angles and lots of little places to hide. The house stands three stories ...

Welcome to Autumn, Chippewa Valley!

Mike Paulus

This is one of the very best times of year to be living in the Chippewa Valley – and one of our most important seasons ...

Steak and Fake Lobster

breaking bread with my family supper club style

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Poor man’s lobster. It’s more than a great name for a funk band. Poor man’s lobster is what my mom usually ordered when ...

Take Your Seats

What does high school really teach us?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Everyone reading this loved high school, right? High school was one long pizza party, correct? None of you were awkward or stressed out or plagued by a string of social embarrassments broken up by occasional cannon blasts ...

Hiding in the Woods

What’s out there waiting for us?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

There are a good many things hidden out in the woods of Wiscosnin. Old things. The things we’ve forgotten. The things we’ve stopped caring about. But new things, too. The things we keep private ...

The Bullet

aka the carnival ride i never rode

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

I never ever rode the thing. I was too scared, and my little paper tickets were too precious to waste on something I wasn’t sure I’d like. Far too precious to waste on something that could kill me. Discounting the Ferris wheel, it was ...

Wheeling & Dealing

nothing drives me crazy quite like driving

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Raise your hand if you have family or friends living in the Twin Cities. OK, keep your hands up. Now, raise your hand if you have family or friends living about two or three hours from the Chippewa Valley. Good, just keep those hands up. Now, if you find it kind of annoying to visit those ...

Backseat Soundtracks and Sisters in the Summertime

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Taylor McCumber

As I wasn’t much for reading books back then, I had two options. I could annoy the living hell out of my older sister. Or I could listen to my Walkman. It was a ...

2018 Vanguard Awards - BJ Hollars

Mike Paulus, video by Joel Pearish

Author, UW-Eau Claire Professor, founder and director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild

Photo Feature: Summer at Cirenaica

artsy endeavors in the woods of Wisconsin

Mike Paulus, design by Eric Christenson, photos by Justin Patchin

Nestled within a patch of hilly woods amid the farm fields just outside of Fall Creek, you’ll find a small lodge called “Cirenaica.”


August is a time for tangled branches and rebellion

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Maybe it’s because we never had sidewalks. Or a curb or a gutter. Everyone’s lawns just rolled right up the blacktop, no fancy concrete to separate the two ...

Second-Hand War Stories

how I sold a chunk of my childhood for seventy bucks

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Like many men my age, as a boy, I was required by federal law to love Star Wars. For those of you who are too young to remember these laws, it’s time for a history lesson ...

Sinking to New Levels

some men have greatness thrust upon them in the bathroom

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

My bathroom tried to kill me last week. And by “kill me” I mean “bludgeon me right in the face.” And by “bathroom” I mean “an old cast iron sink basin.” And by “tried” I mean “I narrowly escaped a trip to the ER.” And by “to” I mean “to.” Basically ...