I‘m often asked how I work. While the answer varies with what I’m writing, and at what stage of the process, a few things hold true throughout. This photo represents one of them: chaos. I had wanted to use this as an illustration for nonfiction book–a piece of possibly literary journalism about the Arkansas River–that will be out in the spring, but there just wasn’t a place for it. So. allow me to describe it here. My notes have been torn from the reporter’s notebook and are spread out desk to dry, because the notebook was soaked when I flipped my kayak in Browns Canyon. There’s some change on the motel room desk, and the room key, a bottle of water, an empty cup of coffee and an apple for a snack. There are pills and a bottle of Tylenol. There’s the ice bucket, which I had used the day before to stretch the neck gasket of a new dry suit. Next to the ice bucket is a red Nalgene flask about half full of bourbon. From the photo, you can pretty much imagine how my day on the river went.