I already knew before I finished The White Lotus that I wanted to write about it. The new HBO series came recommended to me with scant details, but that only seemed to make it more alluring. All I knew going in was that the show was about several different guests that stay at a fancy hotel in Hawaii. That alone was enough to intrigue me, because I like stories with multiple, overlapping threads. My friend simply told me he thought I’d like it, and that was that. No persuasion needed. …


The Ancient Names in our Vocabulary

Photo by Stefano Vigorelli on Unsplash

The more you look back to the past, the more you start to see the present everywhere you look. Nowhere is this truer than in language. What’s always been a source of particular interest to me is the journey words go on through the passage of time. Names that become verbs. Concrete nouns that become proper nouns. Names that become brands, popular meals, or lifestyles. Words that once held very specific, contextual meanings that became vague, casual, or generic everyday terms. The process of naming is fascinating to me. …


If you could go back, would you? Or better yet- what would it mean to you to have a second chance at something?

There’s something so compelling and enduring about these questions, and yet they’re purely imaginative exercises. The moment you answer, you realize with a bitter sigh that you’ll never actually get the chance to return to a given point in your past to try and force a different outcome to the one you got. As the Three-Eyed Raven put it: the ink is dry. And yet we can’t help but imagine how things would have turned out if…


I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog over the past year how I haven’t gone out much since the COVID-19 pandemic. Whenever each lockdown was lifted, I kept on living as if they were still in place. I didn’t go out much before Coronavirus, so the isolation hasn’t hit me quite as hard. In the game of life, I feel like I have a +1 stat boost against cabin fever. But even I miss things. Trying out new restaurants. Playing footy. Getting shitfaced on cocktails. Hitting up the Watershed Cinema for foreign films or The Tobacco Factory Theatre for…


The intent of this little series has always been to reflect on my obsession with preserving the past, which I’ve always gone about in the same basic way: externalizing the memory in a physical form of some kind. Usually it’s something creative and crafty, but sometimes it’s just a simple keepsake from the period I want to preserve. These objects become more than just themselves. They become the embodiment of the time period they’re from.

In the first post, I wrote about the scrapbooks I made at the age of 11. In the second, I wrote about the photos I…


Last week- on August 5th, 2021- it was announced that Lionel Messi would be leaving Barcelona. Three days later, he said goodbye to the club in an emotional press conference that- for me- was one of the most surreal moments I’ve experienced in football. Then, on August 10th, he signed for Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent. As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a Chelsea fan, but this news still conjured up a lot of feelings for me. Naturally, this is an especially painful moment for Barcelona fans, but the football world at large shares in their grief…


Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

In my previous post, I wrote about how I became obsessed with taking photos at the age of 16. I wasn’t interested in photography as an art- I just wanted to take casual snaps of me and my friends so that I had some record of our teenage memories before everything changed. I didn’t research techniques or attempt to understand better how cameras worked. All the pictures I took were of people. My friends and I posing together, playing football, doing something silly, dressed up for prom, getting drunk together on weekends. It’s why I couldn’t show the very pictures…


In my last post I wrote about my obsession with preserving memories by making time capsules for the future. I focused on the scrapbooks and journals I made toward the end of Primary School, when I was 11 years old, in which I compiled things I thought my future-self would enjoy. In many ways I think that was the point- write it all down so that one day I can travel back in time. Everything was made with that future benefit in mind. I wanted to immortalize as much of my youth as possible, and make each memory last forever…


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had an obsession with preserving the past and a fear of losing it. Like many kids, I used to fantasize about what I’d do if I ever became rich, and one of my recurring fantasies was to one day build a private museum that stored the memories of myself and those close to me. I pictured an extensive bunker packed with exhibits of the past. Naturally there would be photos and home movies, but also treasured toys, childhood drawings, old football boots, Tae Kwon-Do belts, trading card collections, favorite books, and…


Last week I finished watching Ken Burns’ recent documentary on the life of Ernest Hemingway, which was honestly a match made in heaven for me. Burns is my favorite documentary filmmaker and Hemingway is one of my favorite novelists.

Whenever I hear that Ken Burns is releasing anything, I get excited. The quality never dips an inch, and each one feels like the result of years upon years of painstaking effort. His 17-hour epic on the Vietnam War took Burns 10 years to make. And just as the quality remains the same, so too does the style. Together, his 30-plus…

Michael J. Vowles

Freelance writer, occasional traveler, full-time ice cream taster. I run a blog at https://tumbleweedwrites.com where I ramble with enthusiasm.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store