Big Canoe Writers

Words and Wit for the Ages

Clayton Fain’s Last Ride

March 5
by Travis H. McDaniel
Clayton Fain's grave marker

The author at Clayton Fain’s grave marker in the Hiwassee Cemetery, Ducktown, Tennessee.

My eyes strain to locate the marker as I pick my way through an overgrown thicket of briers, vines and saplings. An earthy odor fills my nostrils, and I begin to wonder if I have correctly followed directions. Finally, I make out what appears to be the object of my quest.

Scrambling on my hands and knees through the final 20 yards of tangled vegetation, I reach a gravestone well-camouflaged by vines and privet. A feeling of melancholy settles over me as I realize in all probability nobody has visited this gravesite since placement of the military marker here in 1974. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Old Days

March 9
by Travis H. McDaniel

October 15, 2083 – Atlanta, Georgia
A sullen frown wrinkles the frustrated writer’s brow as he tears up yet another draft of a research article and flings it towards the waste paper basket sitting in the corner of his posh Buckhead office. The renowned freelance journalist, Alexander Carlton Ellis, known to friend and fans alike as “Ace,” sits at his desk, irritated at his inability to pull himself out of a slump, now in its third month. What he needs is a great story idea to put him on top again.

Ace has been in the game for over forty years, covering human-interest aspects of major international topics. He made a name for himself early in his career with hard-hitting stories relating to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Arab-Jewish conflict, the melting of the Greenland Ice Cap and the final clearing of what once was the great Amazon rain forest. He thought the catchy title for his rain forest article, “Amazon Green, vs. Chop-Sticks for China?” worthy of an award by itself. Yes, there were a million stories to be written, and Ace was proud of the fact he had always been out there on the edge … read the rest of this story online in Cynic Magazine

Pocketknives and Slingshots

August 22
by Travis H. McDaniel

It’s easy to see why I loved pocketknives when I was a boy.  They were solid, had a nice heft to them, and the bone handle felt good and smooth when I turned the knife over and over in my right front pocket.  Other pockets might hold things like an “aggie toy” that helped win marble games, a lucky creek rock to rub whenever I made a wish, my favorite arrowhead, and other invaluable stuff like that.  And another thing about a pocketknife, it’s just the right size to take to bed with you every night.  Little boys like to sleep with at least one of their valued possessions.  But of course, you already know all these things if you were born before World War II and lived in the country, or a small town like I did.

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Encounter on the Flathead

August 10
by Ken Reynolds

Encounter on the Flathead and other Recollections is a collection of 27 true stories from the author’s life.


available in the books by local authors section at the

Foothills IGA in Marble Hill

Copies also may be purchased directly from the author

email Travis at

telephone at 706-579- 2694

Read the August 2011 Smoke Signals article about Travis and his new book

Read more about Travis on the Authors and Bios page

I Remember Danielsville

October 24
by Travis H. McDaniel

Except for Sundays, we went barefooted nearly all the time from May to September. We drank Double Cola, RC or Pepsi from the ice-filled metal cooler at Mr. Hoyt’s store. On Saturday nights we bathed in a # 3 washtub filled with water heated on the kitchen stove. We caught white-face bumble bees in our hands (they’re the ones with no stinger) from the wisteria-draped trees in Mrs. Cox’s front yard.

(First published in Georgia Backroads Magazine, Winter 2008)
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