Chiles Creative, LLC: Blog en-us (C) Chiles Creative, LLC (Chiles Creative, LLC) Sat, 19 Aug 2023 02:18:00 GMT Sat, 19 Aug 2023 02:18:00 GMT Chiles Creative, LLC: Blog 80 120 Focus on conspiracies, or find out for yourself: a day in the life of an election judge Join me as I check in with election judges working to keep democracy in action. Felony counts: 0.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf democracy election election judge feature writing journalism local news publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Mon, 14 Aug 2023 13:00:00 GMT
Paddle Up - I learn to kayak after growing up on a lake Gather round as I join a kayaking class and add a little narrative essay inspired by the ol' stomping grounds (lake)

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf feature writing journalism kayak kayaking class lake springfield local news paddling class publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen springfield greene county park board update writing Tue, 18 Jul 2023 02:15:00 GMT
They paved a parking lot and put up a garden spot Brendan Sinclair and Liesel McCleary share about their life starting farms around the US, and what led them to an old street in the Ozarks that they turned into gardens

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf farm life feature writing finley farms journalism local news ozark mo publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Mon, 10 Jul 2023 15:00:00 GMT
Just toss a pie in my face: attending clown class and easing clown fears I do what I need for a story. Check out a profile of a clown couple and hear about my dip into clown class.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 clown life cnf feature writing fools gladly journalism local news publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Tue, 27 Jun 2023 02:15:00 GMT
It's not only eating green: non-veggie vendors at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks Check out mini-profiles of a digital artist, a couple running a creamery (and flash-freeze snacks), and a beekeeper

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 beekeeper cnf digital artist farmers market farmers market of the ozarks feature writing flash-frozen journalism local news news publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Mon, 05 Jun 2023 17:12:00 GMT
Pet Portraits! What?! My latest for the Springfield Daily Citizen is a feature on painter Jane Troup! We talked about how her family's financial misfortune paradoxically gave her freedom; how to get into a creative zone, and how she has made a living solely as a working artist since the 1980s.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf feature writing jane troup journalism local news pet portraits publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update working artist writing Tue, 09 May 2023 18:53:30 GMT
What do I do with a half-bottle of glue? A feature on Arrow Reuse Creative You know all those art supplies you picked up with GREAT enthusiasm ... then put in your closet? You can't just throw them away! Someone could use them! In this case, it's actually true - consider donating to Arrow Creative Reuse, which I profile for the Springfield Daily Citizen.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 arrow creative reuse cnf feature writing journalism local news publication recycle art supplies sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Tue, 02 May 2023 18:45:00 GMT
Andrea Ehrhardt works as an artist and helps others do the same Ever felt limited by the myth of the starving artist? I loved interviewing painter Andrea Ehrhardt, who helps people learn how to become creative professionals. Check it out!

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf feature writing journalism local news publication sgf sgf daily citizen springfield springfield daily citizen update writing Fri, 28 Apr 2023 23:15:00 GMT
Steven Spencer is off to document the Notre Dame Cathedral! Check out my latest piece for the Daily Citizen on Steven Spencer, who is photographing the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 feature news notre dame notre dame cathedral notre dame fires notre dame reconstuction publication sgf springfield springfield daily citizen steven spencer update Wed, 05 Apr 2023 16:52:23 GMT
Feature: Jake Wesley Rogers comes home I loooved chatting with Jake Wesley Rogers, an absolute gem and a charismatic and sensitive musician. You can read alllll about it right here.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cnf feature icon jake wesley rogers journalism local journalism profile publication queer sgf springfield springfield daily citizen update Fri, 16 Dec 2022 01:01:11 GMT
Winter update Hey, y'all! So many updates! 

I started a business called Chiles Creative LLC this summer. I write and take photos under that umbrella. I'm official!

  • I still use Mary Ellen Chiles Photography as a DBA (doing business as)

This spring and summer I helped several campaigns with portraits and event photos! These included:

I also continued writing for PrimeWays, 417 Biz, the Chamber of Commerce, and others. 

I slowed down on Ol' Abner, my baseball site. I still took photos at occasional Cards games, but sometimes I like baseball to be a nice escape instead of a job. You can, however, find my interview with Jack Flaherty on OA, and more recent pix on my baseball Instagram.

However, I did start covering more Missouri State soccer. I also got a press pass to cover a Sporting KC match in October (I will add photos to this site pronto, but you can find some on my Instagram.

Due to the uncertainty of campaign work and the high rate of inflation, I decided to add a "day job" of sorts late this summer:

  • I became a school photographer for Shutterfly. As an unschooled kid I had only one experience with picture day (Glendale High, 2002!), but it's been pretty fun. I think I am more patient because of it. 
  • Now, I am adding work as a family studio photographer under the Shutterfly umbrella for the winter. Will I manage? Time will tell! School photos stop until February and I like having a more consistent income stream.

Wait! There's more!

I started doing family photos!

Because I wanted to add another income stream and had never done many family photos, I decided to give it a shot. So fun! You can book here on my website by clicking on "Book Me."

Best Northern Lights? Again? Yes!

  • I updated my site and switched to a different host for an easier user experience. Check it out!​​​​​​
(Chiles Creative, LLC) best northern lights family photos ol abner political campaigns school photos springfield daily citizen update Tue, 29 Nov 2022 03:20:50 GMT
Feature: Louis Chaix rollerblades across the US I just wrote this piece on Louis Chaix, a French hockey player who rollerbladed across the U.S. to raise money and awareness for an illness that caused 2nd-degree burns on 80 percent of his body - as a 6-year-old. Now he's a pro hockey player in Sweden. 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 france hockey louis chaix missouri state news publication rollerblade across america springfield springfield daily citizen stevens johnson syndrome ten vanderbilt research Tue, 22 Nov 2022 01:15:00 GMT
Tapes are back as artists aim to sell physical copies of music I had the chance to sit down with Steve Stepp, owner of National Audio Company, and talk about his business as analog music makes a comeback for artists wanting to sell physical copies of their albums.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 biz417 cassette sales cassette tapes feature writing journalist local journalism nac national audio news publication sgf springfield tapes Fri, 04 Nov 2022 14:17:00 GMT
Feature on Michael Spyres: hillbilly knight and opera superstar! Check out this piece on Michael Spyres, a self-proclaimed "hillbilly knight" from the Ozarks who is now an opera superstar performing all over Europe.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 feature article hillbilly knight journalism journalist local michael spyres news opera tenor ozarks lyric opera paris opera publication sgf springfield springfield daily citizen update Mon, 24 Oct 2022 12:31:00 GMT
Update! Hello! Update for all visiting! During covid times (the initial covid times) I spent a couple of years working at Everything Kitchens. It's a great company and it was a safe place to work during a pandemic, which meant a lot! However, after a bout of plantar fasciitis in winter of 2021 I "retired" from EK and decided to go into business for myself. I recently formed Chiles Creative LLC to serve as an umbrella for my pursuits. 

I have been shooting images for campaigns, including:

Lucas Kunce for Senate

Citizens for Crystal Quade

Fogle for Missouri

Blansit for Missouri


To wit, I have written freelance pieces for the following:

Biz 417


Springfield (MO) Convention and Visitors Bureau

Springfield, MO Chamber of Commerce (in process)


I am also retooling my stores at both and Stay tuned! 


(Chiles Creative, LLC) Thu, 21 Jul 2022 01:54:36 GMT
Best Northern Lights I've just published a website featuring a curated collection of my best northern light photos from 9 months living in the Arctic. Check it out! 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) Sat, 28 Nov 2020 19:21:41 GMT
Earthquake piece published! The stone spires and stained glass of the Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand on a cloudy day.Christchurch CathedralChristchurch Cathedral a week before it was destroyed by the February 22, 2011, earthquake that killed 185 people.

Years ago I dealt with an earthquake while backpacking solo across New Zealand. I wrote a version of the story that won a creative nonfiction scholarship for the River Pretty Writers Retreat. Then, based on recommendations from the editor at Intrepid Times, I revised the piece again to reduce the number of I-statements in order to bring the reader into the scene. I like how it turned out. Take a look and let me know what you think.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) christchurch cnf creative disasters earthquake essay intrepid natural new news nonfiction publication times travel update writing zealand Fri, 05 Jun 2020 17:51:25 GMT
What's new? Minor League Ballplayers Drew MillasDrew Millas

I am working on a series of interviews with minor league baseball players to find out how they have been affected by COVID-19. I'm curious how they are handling the de facto work stoppage professionally and personally. Some have home gyms. Others are working for Postmates to make ends meet. You can find these interviews 1-2x a week on my baseball site, Ol' Abner

** The site name comes from the scenario in which a team is down in the ninth inning but has their best hitters coming up to bat. When this happens, national treasure and St. Louis broadcaster Mike Shannon will boom: "Ol' Abner has done it again!" This is a reference to Abner Doubleday, who was traditionally considered the inventor of baseball. Alas, it ain't so, but the saying sticks.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) ballplayers baseball coping coronavirus covid19 interviews leagues minor news ol abner players publication sgf update Mon, 06 Apr 2020 01:25:03 GMT
Keep calm and __ I saw a homeless man carrying his possessions in a camping backpack and peering at a 4-ounce bottle of aloe vera. His straggly hair crept out of his stocking cap.

I forgot him as I walked to the back of the neighborhood Walmart, scanning aisles filled to the ceiling with shampoo and diapers. Then I stopped at the final aisle.


empty shelf at store during panic of coronavirus I left empty-handed but stopped at the Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the store. The homeless man was there, with his new aloe vera bottle and his old backpack.

"Well, I can't buy anything but ... here's a dollar," he said, and dropped a crumpled bill into a woman's hands. Stunned, the kids and adults stared at him as he walked away.

"Wait, excuse me," I said, running toward him. "Can I buy you a box? What's your favorite?"

"Ah, that's ok," he said.

"No, really, what's your favorite?" I asked, "Or, are there any you don't like?"

"I'll eat any of 'em," he relented, "Whatever you pick."

"These are my favorite, I said, shoving a box of peanut butter patties in his hands.

The scouts and their parents thanked me as a woman swiped my card.

"Well, he gave you guys a dollar, and he couldn't buy anything!" I said.

And I added - to be impish, but it's true:

"I'm not a scout, but we all have to be Girl Scouts right now."


(Chiles Creative, LLC) acts coronavirus courage covid19 empathy girl homeless kindness news of scouts sgf springfield Fri, 13 Mar 2020 21:56:05 GMT
Coronavirus: canceling artist residency I was looking forward to being a short-term village artist at Holden Village (teaching photo and writing classes) starting March 16. However, given the coronavirus and the rapidly changing news surrounding it, I've decided to cancel.

HV mountain 4HV mountain 4 I am extremely bummed as I looked forward to seeing old pals there and pushing myself creatively.

But given the long incubation period and that Seattle is a hotbed for the virus, it just doesn't seem wise to travel there and potentially expose myself and others to such an illness.

As I have been thinking lately: I don't have living grandparents, but other people do.

So instead, I'm in the Ozarks freelancing (photo and text) until May and covering baseball.

John Privitera 2John Privitera 2

Update: not watching baseball because of postponement. But still writing about it at

Mid-May I'm heading to Brooks Lodge at Katmai National Park for a four-month-long hospitality job.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) artist chelan coronavirus covid19 holden news residency state update village wa washington Thu, 12 Mar 2020 20:00:00 GMT
Life update I'm in the Ozarks for a bit this spring working on freelance projects (writing and photography) before returning to the mountains of Washington to be a village artist at Holden Village this spring. Need something? Say something! 

[email protected]

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 event freelance magazine mo news photo sgf springfield update writing Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:50:00 GMT
Back in the city! After 6 weeks in the North Cascades, I'm back for the holidays and a bit of winter here in the Ozarks!

Feel free to look around my site for those northern light prints for the traveler in your life ...

Qs? [email protected]


Parks OfficeParks Office

(Chiles Creative, LLC) holidays lights mo news northern sgf springfield update Mon, 02 Dec 2019 23:00:00 GMT
Sales update I am currently volunteering in the North Cascades! Because of limited wifi, I temporarily disabled my selling options. I will be back to selling photos on November 20, so do look around and dream a bit about where to hang a print on your wall ... 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) alaska arctic lights news northern prints sales update Sun, 06 Oct 2019 21:24:13 GMT
Eight bruises: a Memory of Wiffle Ball, with thanks to NPR's Fresh Air Originally published on my baseball site, Ol' Abner, on April 18, 2019.


Of course, I've been listening to news about the Mueller Report all day like it's a holiday.

I kept listening for the sake of Fresh Air if you will:

a report on pitches from the Tyler Kepner, author of K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches.

This is how pitchers used to scuff the ball or let it be scuffed without throwing the ball away.

You can hear it here.

I was reminded of playing ball with Ben. He was maybe 19 or 20, and he was visiting a lodge in Alaska with some relatives. They planned to float down the river for 6 days but first spent the night at the fishing lodge where I worked.

I sat at the bar with his family.

"He's a professional, you know," his aunt said.

"I bet I can take him," I said.


For Ben was known on YouTube for what he did with a wiffle ball. Cut it and throw it and watch it dance.

My first summer in Alaska I bought a wiffle bat and ball in Anchorage during the mid-season break, and the fishing guides and I played: a power line near the fish cleaning table served as the center field fence.

The guides were impressed by my bat speed.

They didn't know I had spent hundreds of hours playing ball with my brothers and cousin at a field named after a professional player and third cousin, Jerry Lumpe.

My twin and I played catch in our 80-foot driveway every single afternoon. He built a backstop out of netting and PVC pipe. Any hits meant sprinting up and down the driveway while the pitcher searched for the ball in the drainage ditch. If the ball got caught in the wet leaves across the street, the hitter kept running.

Back to Alaska. Ben brought his own bat and balls, in case he wanted to add content to his YouTube channel while playing on a wild river in the far north.

He showed me how he scraped plastic away with a kitchen knife.

This time, our field was the lawn in front of the wooden lodge building, with bases punctuated by stinging nettles.

Helpfully, he announced each pitch before he threw it.

He stood 45 feet away. It wasn't the speed, but the movement.

The ball hung up then swooped down. The next one darted from side to side.

I stood as the rain began to fall, swinging away.

Once, I fouled the ball off.

But I could not get the ball in play.

Neither of us wanted to stop playing.

I was mad I couldn't connect.

But after we went to dinner, which I served to Ben and his family, I stepped away for a second.

I looked in the mirror and counted eight bruises the size of wiffle balls.

But Ben said he would still want me on his team.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) ben aigler fresh air npr wiffle wiffle ball Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:58:17 GMT
Catching Up with Jeremy Eierman Initially posted on my baseball site, Ol' Abner, on March 25, 2018. A few months later Jeremy was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics. A year later, in June 2019, Drew Millas was drafted in the seventh round - also by the A's.


Earlier this year ago I sat down in the Missouri State University baseball players lounge with a shortstop from Warsaw, MO. He’s the best player from the area since – I suppose – his brother, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round in 2011. (Jonny Eierman is now coaching.) My cousin, Jerry Lumpe, a former major leaguer, was from Warsaw, and we used to play on their high school baseball field during family reunions.

Jeremy, 21, played for the USA Baseball National Collegiate Team, and in the famed Cape Cod League, last summer.

He’s rated among Baseball America’s top 20 prospects.

“Do you have a pro team in mind?” I ask.

“Not really, I mean, whatever happens, happens.”

It helps that his former teammate, Jake Burger, went through draft scrutiny last year.

“I was his roommate on the road and pretty good friends and so I kinda saw how it goes and how it works last year,” Eierman said.

He doesn’t have time to worry, and he relaxes with two of the most meditative exercises I can think of.

“My hobbies are pretty much hunting and fishing … like mainly in summer I’ll do some fishing whenever I have a little bit of free time. I don’t really get that much of a chance in the summer because I’m usually playing baseball somewhere.”

Boy, Interrupted

We’re interrupted by catcher Drew Millas who is carrying a bag from McAlister’s Deli and about 80 ounces of sweet tea. He’s wearing a gray shirt and not quite matching pants. He asks if it’s okay to eat in the room while I chat with Eierman. Sure, if he’ll explain his fashion.

“I wear whatever I want,” he insists.

“Confidence is key,” I say.

“And it can be a problem sometimes, obviously. Now this guy, on the other hand,” Millas says.

“I look good,” Eierman says. He’s on brand. Maroon.

“He’s pretty reserved,” Drew says.

“Very,” Jeremy agrees.

“He seems reserved,” I say.

“Oh, I wear whatever,” he says.

“He wears whatever,” Millas parrots.

“I usually come in with a camo jacket,” Jeremy admits.

“No one can find you then,” I suggest.

“Exactly. That’s the goal,” Eierman says.

“So you’re not necessarily interested in getting a lot of extra attention,” I ask.

“No, no, no. I’d rather have none.”

37 Pieces of Flair

But he’ll likely get drafted in the first round of the MLB draft. It helps that he doesn’t mind heckling from opposing fans.

“When you guys were playing TCU (in the Super Regional) you seemed play up the villain character, kind of smirking a lot,” I said.

“That’s just a bad umpire there. That’s all that was,” Eierman says,

Millas defends him. “People go after J-Bone, he – ”

“I go to a different level of competition,” Jeremy says.

Millas explains.

“He did that at Illinois State when they were – he hit a ball to the wall and he thought it was out and started trotting a little bit and they caught it. They were chirpin’. Then he came back with a little flair,” he said.

The flair. Not just in those curly locks.

“He’s got it, it’s in there,” Millas says.

“If I gotta bring it out – the team’s gotta bring it out of me,” Jeremy explains.

So why not have teammates bring it out so it’s always there?

“I don’t know – it’d be tough if we were needling him all the time,” Millas says. “That would be hard just because of how well respected he is.”

Let him count the ways.

“Just everything. He’s a good player, good leader, good role model.”


“Appreciate that, Drew,” Jeremy says with a shy smile.

“Does (Millas) tell you these things?” I ask Eierman.

“Of course I don’t tell him that,” Drew says.

That Guy in the Other Dugout

I switch topics to a different villain. A very likable villain who got poached by the Bears’ rival.

“You looking forward to playing Arkansas and your ol’ nemesis coach, Thompson?” I ask.

“Yeah. I think we’re all excited to go down there,” Eierman says.

Millas asks when the game will be. I say April 17 because I have a night class I may or may not attend that Tuesday.

“How does (new coach Matt) Lawson compare to Thompson as far as the movement of arms? They seem like very different personalities,” I ask.

One is very animated. The other less so.

They are both, however, as my mother would describe me, “Fairly intense.”

“I mean they’re both pretty good hitting coaches,” Eierman says.

“At this point, you kinda have your routine,” I mention.

“Yeah, I mean, Lawson hasn’t come in and tried to change anything drastically so that’s good,” Eierman says.

“That’s good because you’d have a bat in your hands,” I say.

Hair today; thank God it’s gone

Naturally, at one point I ask them to tell me who has the worst hair on this team.

Millas compares Eierman’s curls favorably to pitcher Dylan Coleman’s, eh, nest.

“Coleman’s is way worse,” Drew says.

“Way worse – Dylan’s is bad,” Eierman says.

Millas plays the mediator when I defend Coleman.

“I can see where you’re coming from, they’re both kinda bushy, but that’s controlled, Dylan’s is –

“I can control mine. Dylan’s? He doesn’t trim the sides,” Eierman says.

Besides, the shortstop resembles a television star.

“Jeremy looks like a character from “Stranger Things,” Millas insists.

You judge.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 bears baseball drew millas jeremy eierman missouri state missouri state baseball msu publication sgf springfield Sat, 22 Jun 2019 19:30:00 GMT
When I asked Howard Schultz to wait in line: a tale of baseball as a Starbucks barista, ca. 2015 Initially published on my site, Ol' Abner, on February 12, 2019:


Since he's running for a president - I recall the time I met Howard Schultz:

He was wearing a navy blue hat with a yellow M for Michigan, standing in line at a coffee shop. 

He was about 6 foot and wore a running shirt. Most people ran or bicycled to the local Starbucks on Saturday mornings. I lived at 31st Street and walked down the steps and roads for my 5 a.m. shift every day. It was only 15 minutes to the store on Lakeside. 

I’d seen this man a couple of times before.

The first time he visited he thanked me several times for his double-short latte, 2/3 full. After he said goodbye and the door clanged behind him, I turned to a barista.

"Can you believe how polite that guy was?" I asked.

"That’s Howard Schultz!" she cried.

A month or so later, on that Saturday, he ordered his usual latte and an egg sandwich. Bleary-eyed, I set pastries and coffee cake in the oven, then slid the food into paper bags. I called out the items as I walked to the end of the counter, then returned to my station. The faces changed but the line extended to the door on weekends.

Shortly after he ordered, I took out a sandwich and placed it in the bag.

"That’s mine," he said and started walking toward the end of the counter to meet me.

"No, it’s Ken’s sandwich!" I said and met eyes with a gay doctor in his 50s who visited the shop daily. I dropped off the food. Ken smiled.

"Oh," Howard said.

He returned to pastry counter and waited, standing just a bit back and out of line.

I turned to him.

"This is like when the Tigers’ pitchers made 5 errors in the 2006 World Series. Things don’t always go as we would like."

He looked at me and laughed.

"You know, I was at that last World Series the Cardinals won," he said.

"I was, too!" I shrieked. "But I was in standing room."

I scribbled initials on croissants and spinach feta wraps and tossed them in the oven as we chatted. His sandwich. I heated his breakfast in the order in which it was received.

The oven dinged.

He didn’t ask for it.

"Hold on," he said instead.

He took out his iPhone and began scrolling through photos. He waved at me to leave the oven and come over. He showed me some pictures:

There he was, standing with his wife on the baseball field. Busch Stadium.

There he was, standing with Tony LaRussa.

Standing with an old man in a red jacket.

"Do you know who that is?" he asked.

"That’s Stan Musial," I stammered.

He smiled.

"I can’t believe you were on the field!" I said.

I told him how time had slowed down when Fernando Salas threw wildly to second base, and when Matt Holliday got picked off third, and when the ball fell to the field beyond the reach of Nelson Cruz. It was like when McGwire played. 

"We were both at the game!" we said.

Howard smiled at me.

"Now we have that in common!" he said. 

And then, he picked up his breakfast.


"I can't believe you made him wait!" a barista said later.

"You made him wait?" my supervisor said. "You should've just heated his food first."

I never even considered it.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) baseball writing game 6 howard schultz ol abner publication seattle starbucks world series Mon, 10 Jun 2019 19:30:00 GMT
I got a letter published in the May 20th New Yorker! Wonder if this will help my next round of MFA applications? :)


DSC03300The letter! DSC03300The letter!

(Chiles Creative, LLC) aurora aurora borealis letter new yorker northern lights omg publications Tue, 04 Jun 2019 02:25:13 GMT
Survived the Arctic In December I went to Alaska to see if I could manage an Arctic winter. I made it! It was very challenging. I worked as a northern lights guide in a tiny village 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

I took notes.

In other news, I am working on turning my thesis into an ebook. My thesis was a collection of short essays about working in Alaska fishing lodges.

Stay tuned …


(Chiles Creative, LLC) alaska arctic bettles cold hospitality job seasonal survive Thu, 09 May 2019 19:11:19 GMT
"You get to do this" - a chat with Jack Duffy Originally posted on my website, Ol' Abner, on January 13, 2019.

I sat down with Jack Duffy last spring. Soon after, my computer crashed.

After rewriting my term papers, I finished my Master’s and moved to Alaska to work for four months. This year I also dealt with a few episodes of depression that made writing - or publishing - pretty difficult. I'm doing better, though, and I returned to the Arctic this winter for the adventure. 

You can find some glimpses of life here on my Instagram. I'll be back in the Midwest - and Hammons Field - in April. Still, I always meant to publish my conversation with Duffy - if I could find it. 

This month, I dug out an extra hard drive. Eureka.

At the time of our chat in April, Duffy was planning to play in the Coastal Plain League in Wilson, NC, during the summer. He did. For a while.


Duffy plans to keep playing baseball as long as he can, keeping an eye on professional ball after graduation. Still, his parents run an HVAC marketing company in Kansas City. If baseball doesn’t work out, he will join them and his brother in the family business.

His mom is "The face of the company, and my dad helps her out," Duffy said.

Jack has worked for them during the summer, sorting files like photos for advertising campaigns, among other things.

I wondered if having entrepreneurial parents helped him think about marketing himself as a high school player.

"There were definitely some people that helped me," he said, mentioning Prep Baseball Report and Perfect Game, USA

"You’d go to camps and they’d push your numbers and talk about what kind of skills you had. But for Missouri State I reached out to Coach Guttin, and he told me to sign up for one of their winter camps and come in here and so they could get a look at me."

He committed as a junior.

"I felt like it was a really good situation with what they had to offer me and the facilities and the coaches that they had here. I’d say I made a pretty good choice based on how our year went last year. I just feel like the coaches here do a great job."

So, though, they may not have written his ad campaign, I assumed his business-savvy parents helped him learn resilience.

He agreed. But there was more to it.


Jack was in 5th grade when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It definitely gives you a different perspective on a lot of different things whenever you go through something like that, and see your mom go through something like that. You’re pretty up close and personal with everything that she’s going through."

10 years old.

"It was pretty serious but at the time they kind of kept that from me because they didn’t want a kid that young really knowing that much stuff about it," Duffy said.

He’s close with his parents and has adopted their food habits, even in college.

"One of the things that she started doing was turning her diet around and taking stuff out of her diet, so we ate pretty healthy a lot of the time," Jack said.

He still tries to eat well.

"I kind of adopted that kind of diet and eating throughout high school. I stopped eating a lot of fried foods and didn’t really drink much soda and candy and all that – it was just a lot of grilled stuff and healthy food."

She’s been cancer-free for a while now, Duffy said.

Still, he was able to concentrate on being a child. His parents made sure of it.

"They definitely did a good job of trying to keep my life pretty much the same as what it always was before they found out about it, just so I wasn’t stressed out and worrying and knowing everything that was going on," Jack said.

Life now

Even now, he tries to stay upbeat during the highs and lows.

"I definitely try to be more optimistic and positive about a lot of different situations  and sometimes it can be difficult to think  that way but I just try to stay in that mindset," he said.

He still appreciates playing baseball.

"You have to think about, like, you get to do this. Not a large group of people get to continue playing baseball after high school so you have to think about the fact – not along the lines of 'Oh, I have to go to practice today' – but it’s a privilege to be here and getting to play this game still."

That sounds like Aaron Meyer. I told him I’d heard the same philosophy from his former teammate, who missed the end of his senior year with a serious knee injury. Meyer is now a graduate assistant with the team.

"Meyer’s the person that comes to mind when he says that, like before the game," Duffy said: 'You get to be here you get a play game against people.' They talk about how fast four years goes by and I’m thinking, 'it’s four years.'"

Now he’s a junior.

A Bad Turn

Duffy had to take Meyer’s advice to heart after suffering a torn ACL while running out a ground ball during summer ball.

He’s now five months post-operation and intends to be ready when the Bears start play in February.

He calls the rehab "intense."

"You have to push yourself if you want to actually get anything out of the rehab and get back to sports in a timely manner.”

Still, he admits to envying his teammates who got to play scrimmages this October.

"While sitting out for the fall, there were numerous times where I’d be angry or jealous at the fact that I wasn’t able to be out there with everyone else. But there’s a positive in that, too. It really helps you to have an appreciation for the game and helps you realize some of the things you may have taken for granted before."

He said he's focused on healing his knee by the time the Bears start play on February 15 in Texas.

"Right now I’m definitely working to get my knee back to 100% so that I can even play," he said.

A healthy Duffy in right field will help Missouri State with the junior's other objectives.

"My main goal for this year is to win a lot of games and multiple championships," Duffy said.

As always, his mom’s cancer battle continues to inspire him, and his own comeback.

"With my mom, it always helps me. I may not always directly see it, but the perspective gained from her battles is always there," Jack said.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 aaron meyer baseball bears baseball jack duffy missouri state missouri state baseball publication sgf springfield Mon, 14 Jan 2019 02:15:00 GMT
Photos chosen for juried exhibit at airport I’m honored to have four pieces selected by a jury to be displayed at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. This show is titled “Wanderlust: Travel-Themed Photography Exhibit.” Photos will be on display for three months beginning November 19, 2018. The event is co-sponsored by Springfield Regional Arts Council and the Springfield-Branson National Airport. My photos will reflect summer experiences in Alaska, focusing on water, mountains, and fishing.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) airport alaska bw color exhibit fishing juried mo mountain photo photography photos sgf springfield srac Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:30:00 GMT
Northern Lights Photo Exhibit I have an exhibit coming up at the Coffee Ethic in Springfield, Missouri, in November and December 2018. It will debut on First Friday - Nov 2, 2018. I am showing photos of northern lights, all taken in September of this year. Check it out!

(Chiles Creative, LLC) at coffee downtown ethic exhibition lights missouri northern photo springfield Mon, 22 Oct 2018 13:29:00 GMT
Scholarship I was awarded the prose scholarship at the River Pretty Writers Retreat for a creative non-fiction essay about living through the aftershocks of the Christchurch earthquake on February 22, 2011.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) award christchurch cnf conference earthquake new nz pretty retreat river scholarship writers writing zealand Mon, 08 Oct 2018 19:30:00 GMT
Summer job in the Arctic I spent four months working as a bartender and northern lights guide (when dark) at Bettles Lodge in Bettles, Alaska, 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I had spent a month there during peak northern lights season in March 2013 and was curious to see how summer compared. It certainly provided writing and photo material ... ! 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) alaska bettles for grist hospitality industry job lights mill northern seasonal service summer the Thu, 04 Oct 2018 19:30:00 GMT
Meet the first African-American Homecoming queen Although published after I graduated - in line with Homecoming festivities in October - I interviewed Sheila Bouie-Sledge and wrote about her experience as the first African-American Homecoming Queen at MSU. I wrote this while working as a graduate assistant in Editorial and Design Services, though the byline credits only the "Missouri State Alumni Association."

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni editorial and design services missouri state publication sheila bouie-sledge springfield Thu, 04 Oct 2018 18:30:00 GMT
"Master Mary" This May I completed my Master’s in English, with an emphasis in creative non-fiction writing, from Missouri State University!

Next up - Alaska!


(Chiles Creative, LLC) accomplishment alumni celebration cnf english graduation masters missouri news state Sat, 19 May 2018 16:30:00 GMT
I finished my thesis! I completed my thesis for my Master's degree! This is a collection of essays based on working seasonally in Alaska. I kept a blog while working there and took notes, though I did not envision a final product. I do wish I'd written more in a journal so I could better remember how I felt about the events. But, I found that the more I wrote the more I recalled, so let that encourage you in your pursuits. 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) alaska big cnf completetion degree masters news thesis Thu, 01 Feb 2018 20:45:00 GMT
In honor of rescue pets ... I recently donated 10% of my December profits to the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri


(Chiles Creative, LLC) adopt don't shop dogs give humane society pets rescue Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:34:00 GMT
Publication - Wired magazine Big news: I recently had a piece included in a Wired magazine article about sexual harassment in the workplace

(Chiles Creative, LLC) news publications wired wired magazine Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:45:00 GMT
Photos featured in 417 Magazine I have worked as a freelance photographer for 417 Magazine, a publication that covers events in Springfield, Missouri, and the surrounding areas. I contributed to the Fall Festival cover story, which was published in October 2017.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 fall festival freelance magazine springfield springfield mo Tue, 24 Oct 2017 19:45:00 GMT
Event Photography: Ozzie Awards I photographed the event, "Flights of Fancy featuring the Ozzie Awards," for the Springfield (MO) Regional Arts Council in October 2017. I shot candids of honorees and attendees during the eighth annual celebration and fundraiser.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 arts council event news photography regional springfield srac Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:00:00 GMT
Publication: OneMind newsletter I was recently published in the OneMind newsletter. The organization supports people affected by traumatic brain injuries. In December 2013 I sustained a concussion and dealt with symptoms for two years. I shared my story in hopes of helping others feel less alone. 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) brain health brain injury brain recovery concussion recovery tbi Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:45:00 GMT
Catching up with Aaron Meyer: "Injuries make you feel how lucky you are" Originally published on September 25, 2017, on my site Ol' Abner.

You remember Aaron Meyer. As a senior second baseman for  Missouri State, he tore his patellar tendon running to first base last April. We'd never spoken, but I watched from behind home plate. Late that night I wrote one of my favorite essays ever, and with his encouragement, I shared it widely.

"I walk everywhere now"

I visited him at Hammons Field a few weeks ago. He needs a semester-long internship to complete his sports administration degree, but he's spending this year working as a student assistant. He helps out at men's soccer and football games, and he works with the baseball Bears.

We sat down in a conference room. A couple of pitchers lifted weights down the hall, strengthened by heavy metal blaring over the speakers.

Meyer does physical therapy three times a week and hopes to regain full mobility within three months.

I asked him about that injury.

“I can’t compare it to anything. It was the absolute worst pain of my entire life for about a minute. And then I kinda went into shock, and I didn’t feel anything except when they tried to bend it,” he said and laughed.

Then came surgeries. April 27. May 15. June 11. July 13. Complications, and visits with infectious disease doctors. Antibiotics every eight hours for two months. He described a hematoma removal as “one of the gnarliest things you’ll ever see,” but he smiles. He has a video, but I feel faint at the very idea.

So, how is he, anyway?


“People take the tiniest things for granted, and I don’t think I ever will again in my life. It’s being able to do something as easy as bending your leg – and I tell myself every day there could be 100 things worse. So, I’m very blessed to be where I’m at now.”

Home for summer

He planned to spend the summer coaching with Bears graduate assistant coach Geoff Jimenez in the Show-Me Collegiate League in Ozark, Missouri, but had to return to Belleville, Illinois, to recover instead.

“I don’t think I could ever thank my parents enough for the support and everything they did for me. They had to put up with me. I don’t think it was a scheduled summer at home, but the more I see them, the better.”

He also had strangers reaching out to him on Twitter and Instagram, and old friends bringing meals.

All that time gave him room to think about theology, and sit and wonder about what used to be, and what happens next.

“My original dream was always to play Division I college baseball. And after I checked it off the list, my next goal was to play professional ball.”

Meyer was talking to “more than half of the MLB teams,” but got injured about six weeks before the draft. His best buddy, Jake Burger, was drafted in the first round. They text nearly every day.

But Meyer also loves coaching. He works with Missouri State hitters and infielders, and he helps local high school players prepare for college ball.

“Some people feel like they have to go to their job every day. Now I get to come here every day, and that’s how all the players are. I mean, you get to do this. You’re getting some - if not all - of your college paid for and you get to play college baseball.”

He’s still working to get into playing shape. He’d love to play independent ball, but he doesn’t worry about the past.

“In the last four years of playing ball here, I didn’t take anything for granted. I laid my heart out there every single game and … I wouldn’t have gone back and done anything different. Injuries happen, and it just happened to be a long-term one,” he said.

I say he must be tougher now, then stumble to recant it.

"You can say that," he said and smiled.

He's looking at master's programs for fall 2018, but his next goal is no less inspiring:

“When I can run, I’ll run everywhere.”


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 aaron meyer alumni baseball interview missouri state missouri state baseball msu bears publication springfield mo Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:15:00 GMT
Interview with a Ballplayer: Part 2 of 2 Originally published on my site Ol' Abner on July 26, 2017.


If you missed it, check out part one. Ryan Casteel plays first base for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, and a month ago we chatted.

So, I asked. How do you deal with failure, anyway?

"You can hit a ball on the screws and it gets caught at the wall or a line drive out, like – you gonna be mad? You did all you could do and once it leaves the bat there’s nine versus one," Ryan Casteel said.

I'd never thought of it that way.

"I think you just have to be able to realize that when you did something good and you’re not rewarded – that you did something good and you go on."

I told him it seemed like he had it figured out. He laughed.

"I haven’t figured it out! I still get mad, believe me, but it makes it easier," he said.

I mentioned I’d spent some time in a college dugout this spring, and that the coaches were always telling players to "Stay up."

I wish I had someone encouraging me at my job all the time, I told him, and I laughed.

But it’s different in the minors, I’ve noticed. Sure, I might hear someone yell "Boy!" on a foul ball, but not during every at-bat, like they do in college.

"The coaches are always encouraging us but the pro level is different in a sense – there’s less, like, cheerleading going on in the dugout," Casteel. "This team is a little older so we know we have to stay up, whereas with the college guys you’re dealing with 18-21-year-olds, and in all reality, they haven’t dealt with the same adversity these older guys have dealt with."

And when he doesn’t hit the way he wants?

"I tell myself 'you just gotta compete better next at-bat,'" he said.

And there are more at-bats, after all. For now.

"We get close to 500 plate appearances a year; you’re obviously not going to compete well on every one of them.  I think if you have a 'you versus the pitcher' mentality, and you’re really competitive you can get away with not having your best swing that night and still having success," he said.

After I took the photo I looked up Casteel on social media, and I noticed he’s a religious guy. Sure, I read Sports Spectrum as a kid, even though every issue featured Reggie White or David Robinson, and players talked about the emptiness winning brings. So, what does faith really mean to a professional athlete?

"It makes it easier if I go 0-4; it keeps that perspective that God’s got a plan and if it’s meant to be it’ll be," Casteel said.

I took a breath and wished I had the same ideas I used to have.

"But at the same time, that doesn’t keep me from working to achieve what I want to achieve – does that make sense? I don’t just sit back and hope things happen - I try to make things happen," Casteel said.

Okay. That I can understand.

As I mentioned, Casteel's wife – who earned a degree in human development, with minors in business and theology – works as a personal assistant during the off-season.

(I’ve done the same thing in Springfield and Seattle.)

So, Ryan focuses on training year-round, coaching a bit during the winter, too.

I have to ask.colleg

Do you ever get tired of playing baseball?

He laughs.

"No, I don’t. I’ve been like that forever."

He mentioned he played basketball, too, as a kid. Lately, I’ve been reading about kids specializing in sports at a young age, so I asked him what he thought.

"I recommend that kids play every sport they can play. My only regret is not playing football in high school. In all reality, I probably wouldn’t have been very good at it,” he said, and he laughed again.

"I regret not trying," he said.

 It’s funny, though. I wanted to write about Casteel because I wondered how players still go on chasing dreams when it doesn't come easily.

The thing is - he tries.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) arkansas travelers baseball hammons field minor leagues ol abner player interview publication ryan casteel springfield Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:45:00 GMT
Credentialed baseball photographer! This summer I covered the Springfield Cardinals as an independent photographer! This the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. I worked on game stories and candid dugout photographs for my baseball site,


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 baseball candids cardinals photography sgf sports springfield Wed, 02 Aug 2017 20:30:00 GMT
Interview with a Ballplayer: part 1 of 2 casteelcasteel Originally published on my website Ol' Abner on July 24, 2017


I took a photo of this ballplayer in June and I wondered how he got here. So I wrote this:

"Can he hit a curveball? How many times has he taken cuts at batting cages attached to mini-golf courses? Maybe he doesn’t like to carry change, those quarters clinking in his pockets. I wonder if he had to miss the family reunion for a tournament when he was 15.

Does he read The Atlantic? Does he ever think about playing in Japan instead of a Double-A team in Arkansas? I wonder if he ever gets tired of playing long toss and whether he chews on ginger candy so he doesn’t get motion sickness during 12-hour bus rides."

(Excerpt, "The Ballad of an Unknown Ballplayer." 29 June 2017.)

I guessed, but I was curious about the truth. So, I added the photo to Instagram and asked for an interview. A couple of days later we chatted on the phone for about 20 minutes. His team, the Arkansas Travelers, had just finished batting practice prior to a game against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in Little Rock.

Ryan Casteel, 26, is a first baseman playing in his eighth professional season, his second in the Seattle Mariners’ organization. He's advanced as far as Triple-A with the Colorado Rockies.

“I’ve had good years and I’ve had some unfortunate injuries, but when you work so hard from such a young age, the dream never really dies,” he said.

Buses are easier with busses; his wife travels with him to games within the division. She works as a personal assistant during the off-season, and he trains year-round.

“We don’t have any kids, and we really have no responsibilities, so it’s easy,” Ryan said.

I brought up a recent Missouri State player, Jake Burger, who was drafted 11th overall by the Chicago White Sox this June. I mentioned that we, the fans, expect him to reach the majors right away. Maybe it's the $3.7 million signing bonus, or maybe it was watching him hit a ball over the scoreboard.

“I think the misconception is you get drafted, then you’re in the minor leagues for three or four years, then you’re in the big leagues,” Casteel said. “I think the average age to actually break into the big leagues is 25-26. People see Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and they think that’s everybody, but I’ve played with guys who didn’t get called up until they were 30.”

I wondered if he gets discouraged. He doesn’t.

“If you get discouraged you’re just doing yourself a disservice. You gotta enjoy it. I know a lot of people would give a lot to be able to do what we do – whether it’s Double-A, Rookie ball. They’d give anything to play professional baseball.”

And he’s been close to the majors.

“I thought I was on the fast track. I was in Double-A when I was 22 years old in Tulsa, had a good year, and the next year I went to Triple-A. I was hitting .380 in June and I’m thinking ‘Man, I’m gonna be in the big leagues soon’ – and then I got hurt and then you realize how the game really works.”

And if you get called up to the majors after all this time, and you only have 20 at-bats to prove yourself?

Casteel says he channels the pressure, and with good reason:

"If you can’t handle the pressure you can’t play in the big leagues,” he said. "You got 30,000 people watching you play every night and you’re trying to win – if you don’t perform you’re not gonna be there too long."

Next up, in part 2 of our conversation: handling failure, how faith affects him, regrets, and the age-old question - do you ever get tired of baseball?


(Chiles Creative, LLC) baseball interview minor leagues ol abner publication ryan casteel Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:45:00 GMT
The Ballad of an Unknown Ballplayer Originally published on my site Ol' Abner on June 29, 2017.

ryan casteelryan casteel

I can look him up. He’s already given me his number.

It’s on his jersey.

I didn’t notice his expression until after I clicked through my camera to get rid of shots filled with clouds and foul poles, jersey buttons and blurred faces.

Did he get drafted in round 36 after graduation but decide to play on the dusty fields of a junior college in Texas instead? I wonder if his high school girlfriend found someone else.

Can he hit a curveball? How many times has he taken cuts at batting cages attached to mini-golf courses? Maybe he doesn’t like to carry change, those quarters clinking in his pockets. I wonder if he had to miss the family reunion for a tournament when he was 15.

Does he read The Atlantic? Does he ever think about playing in Japan instead of a Double-A team in Arkansas? I wonder if he ever gets tired of playing long toss and whether he chews on ginger candy so he doesn’t get motion sickness during 12-hour bus rides.

I suppose I could ask.

I didn’t. But I looked him up after writing this and realized he’d been drafted seven years ago.

Round 17. Cleveland State CC. Cleveland, TN. He was picked by Colorado but now he’s in the Seattle Mariners’ organization. He’s played in AAA. Injured, traded, and released at different times.

Does he wonder if he will make it?

Years ago someone told me the fun is in the fight. But I don't know how you stay content in the work without losing sight of the end goal.

"At least you tried," I could tell Ryan Casteel. Okay. I could tell myself.

But what about -

so keep trying.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) hammons field minor league baseball minor leagues player player interview publication ryan casteel Fri, 30 Jun 2017 19:45:00 GMT
First press pass!

This spring and early summer I covered the Missouri State Bears on their journey to the NCAA Super Regionals in Ft. Worth, Texas. I earned my first-ever media credentials for independent photography during the postseason. 




(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 bears missouri msu news pass photography press sgf springfield state Thu, 15 Jun 2017 20:30:00 GMT
Volunteer at the speed networking event and help teach students how to engage professionally As a graduate assistant at Web Strategy and Development at Missouri State University, I wrote about opportunities for alumni to help current students. This piece is about volunteering at a speed networking event.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni events bears missouri state publication sgf springfield Web Strategy and Development Mon, 22 May 2017 15:30:00 GMT
Catch the Missouri State Chorale in the Southwest I wrote about the Missouri State Concert Chorale's Southwest Tour!

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 concert chorale graduate assistant missouri state missouri state university msu springfield springfield mo Tue, 02 May 2017 05:15:00 GMT
Aaron Meyer, a Senior I originally published this on April 25, 2017, on my site Ol' Abner.


He cracks the ball and races down the basepath, lunging to avoid the Missouri pitcher’s tag. And he falls to the ground.

I don’t know him, Aaron Meyer, but I can imagine that as a child he wrapped rubber bands around his glove and tucked it under his mattress.

Perhaps he flung a tennis ball against the garage door, fielding the ball barehanded and throwing it across his body. Then he did it again.

I assume he played Little League, donning his favorite player's jersey and wearing stirrups pulled up to his knees. Maybe he asked his parents to hit him grounders over and over again. Catch and throw; catch and throw.

Then, as a teen, he led his Illinois team. He led them. He did it with ground balls and long toss; sliding practice and BP. They took bus rides and talked music and girls. He sifted through offers from colleges and took his ACTs. Cap and gown, and a chance to play at Missouri State for a legendary coach.

He was the school's Rookie of the Year. The next year his Bears made the College World Series. As a junior, he started at second base and hit in 20 straight games. Maybe he wondered if he could play after graduation.

This year I saw him play, a guy with blonde curls and a dimple, socks pulled to his knees and a penchant for turning ground balls into double plays: Eierman to Meyer to Paulsen.

Then tonight.

He walks up to his song. Ayokay: Kings of Summer.

Run with the feeling

of being alive while we’re still young

He stands, digs his cleats into the dirt, and watches the ball fly from the pitcher’s hand. He swings, and he runs, and he collides with that pitcher on the tag.

And he falls. He stays face-down in the grass with clenched fists. The PA system pounds 80s rock into his ears.

His teammates – roommates, best friends, brothers –  stay close and say he's gonna be okay. Maybe they say they're sorry. Maybe they don't say anything. A trainer gently rubs Aaron's back.

He has games to play: three more at home; a couple more road trips, and a conference tournament. Maybe they'll keep playing after that, even as his third baseman gets drafted and puts off rookie ball for a visit to Omaha.

But right now, he can’t move. The trainers summon a stretcher, and aides lift him onto it. They leave on a gurney.

And then this:

Even as his quad screams with pain. Even as he sobs. Even as he breathes. Even as he leaves his beloved diamond on a stretcher. Even as he wonders.

He lies on the stretcher face-up, and he hugs his trainer, his teammates, his coach. The aides slowly move the gurney through the red dirt behind home plate. He raises his fist to the crowd as they clap and roar. The aides gently push the gurney by his home dugout:

This place -  full of gum wrappers, and sesame seeds, and paper cups, and friends. Roommates. Brothers. His place. Theirs.

His teammates pat him on the arm and the chest. The aides carefully guide Aaron out of the stadium.

And perhaps this night he cries, and he curses, and so does everyone who loves him. Soon, rest, and rehab, and worries, and resolve.

But he does not weep alone.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 aaron meyer alumni baseball missouri state missouri state baseball missouri state bears msu bears publication springfield Sun, 30 Apr 2017 19:30:00 GMT
Photos featured in 417 Magazine I worked on several freelance projects for 417 Magazine last summer, including stops along the Ozark Trail and a handful of Missouri state parks. Check out my contributions to the Great Trails issue! 


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 freelance johnson shutins missouri news parks photography sgf springfield state Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:23:00 GMT
Alumna returns for induction into Public Affairs Hall of Fame As a graduate assistant, I got to interview notable alumni of Missouri State University. This piece centers on Judith Nowland, who works with Global Citizen and has visited 80+ countries. 

(Chiles Creative, LLC) alumna citizen bear global citizen judith rowland missouri state missouri state university publication sgf springfield Fri, 10 Mar 2017 06:45:00 GMT
Alumnus set to film inauguration trip with Chorale As a graduate assistant, I wrote about Blake Richter, an alum who accompanied the Missouri State Concert Chorale on its trip to sing at the presidential inauguration in January 2017. Here is the piece I wrote before the trip.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni concert chorale inauguration 2017 missouri state msu chorale publication springfield Mon, 09 Jan 2017 06:45:00 GMT
Holiday Survival Guide: with help from Mary Poppins As a graduate assistant at Missouri State, I wrote this whimsical piece about surviving the holidays with humor intact. Note the Mary Poppins references!

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 holiday survival guide missouri state publication springfield springfield mo Tue, 13 Dec 2016 19:45:00 GMT
Actress from Missouri State student film earns role in "Pacific Rim 2" In this piece, I interviewed Missouri State student Josh Pfaff about his film "Counting to 1000" and its female lead, Cailee Spaeny, who had just been cast in "Pacific Rim 2."

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 cailee spaeny counting to 1000 interview josh pfaff missouri state pacific rim 2 sgf Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:15:00 GMT
Philosophy is the foundation for alum’s career in human rights In this recap, alum Andrew Shaughnessy discusses how studying philosophy has helped him advocate for better health care access.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni missouri state philosophy publication shaughnessy springfield mo Tue, 01 Nov 2016 01:00:00 GMT
Philosophy alum begins judicial internship I wrote about Missouri State alumni Thomas Limbrick, who was looking forward to starting a judicial internship in the Missouri Supreme Court. He credited his philosophy degree from MSU for helping him succeed in law school and beyond.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni graduate assistant missouri state publication springfield thomas limbrick Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:45:00 GMT
Encourage current students with BearTalks As a graduate assistant, I interviewed Christy Dempsey about opportunities for alumni to help current Missouri State students.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni beartalks christy dempsey missouri state publication springfield Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:45:00 GMT
Go “Into the Streets” and help the Ozarks! Here is a short piece I wrote about alumni helping with cleanup and other volunteer opportunities during the upcoming "Into the Streets" Service Day.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni into the streets missouri state publication service day springfield volunteer Tue, 13 Sep 2016 18:00:00 GMT
Watch the Bears at no risk Here is a piece I wrote encouraging Missouri State fans to watch the basketball team live.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) alumni basketball missouri state publication springfield Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:00:00 GMT
Alum works third Olympics Here is a piece I wrote in graduate school about a Missouri State alumni covering the Olympics for NBC Sports.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni brad woodall missouri state nbc sports olympics publication springfield Fri, 02 Sep 2016 17:00:00 GMT
Help students flooded with emergencies Aly Gatwood lost her home in a flood, but the generosity of others helped her stay enrolled at Missouri State.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 be a bear citizen bear floods missouri state publication springfield t-shirt design Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:30:00 GMT
Publication: Oscar Taveras I wrote this column about Cardinal outfielder Oscar Taveras shortly after he died in an automobile accident. It was published in the Springfield (MO) News-Leader in November 2014.


(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 column news news leader oscar taveras publication springfield Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:34:00 GMT
Missouri State alumni earn Olympic bids As a graduate assistant at Missouri State, I wrote about alumni competing at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 alumni missouri state olympics publication springfield Thu, 21 Jul 2016 18:00:00 GMT
Publication: Jerry Lumpe column One of my favorite people was Jerry Lumpe, a former major league baseball player and my third cousin. He used to play ball with his young cousins on a field named after him. I wrote this tribute to commemorate him in April 2015.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 column cousins family Jerry Lumpe news news leader publication springfield Tue, 07 Jun 2016 20:45:00 GMT
First-ever publication (besides newspaper columns) I recently got my first-ever publication (besides newsletters and newspapers). I wrote about gambling with addicts in Alaska for Cargo Lit, an online travel journal. This is nonfiction prose poetry.

"I just started throwing money on people ..."


(Chiles Creative, LLC) alaska bay bristol cargo cnf gambling lit publication Wed, 11 May 2016 20:45:00 GMT
Alum shares highlights of Chorale at inauguration As a graduate assistant in the Missouri State's Web Strategy and Development Office, I wrote about an alum who served as videographer during the MSU Concert Chorale's performances in Washington, D.C., in January 2017.

(Chiles Creative, LLC) 417 concert chorale inauguration missouri state missouri state university publication sgf springfield Fri, 15 May 2015 14:30:00 GMT