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© 2018 by Tom Joyce

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Published in 2009 by Rashani Réa ]

Who’s Rashani?”

        The sheet of paper had been handed to me thirty seconds earlier by Michele Ryan—equal parts transpersonal therapist and spiritual teacher—in her office overlooking the winter green California hills above Tomales. There were only seventeen typewritten lines on the page held between my thumb and forefi...

July 9, 2017

[Published online in 2011, the excerpt above was taken from the 2004 story below.]

Thirty feet below the corniced lip of a narrow crevasse, I’m dangling like a limp marionette from the end of a nine-millimeter rope, staring in numb awe at a rippling splinter of luminescent blue ice—the size of a ten-storey building—jutting from the dark recesses of a rift in the Hotlum glacier. An...

[Published in 2014, the incident took place on 20 October 1991, in Oakland, California.]

At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the water in wood begins to boil, and then evaporates just before combustion begins. You can watch it safely in a hearth—simple physics, or the Gift of Prometheus, depending on your point of view. But you will never really understand fire until it speaks to you.

...

[Published in 2000, this is an expanded account of the Mt. Kailash kora of 1994, first described in The Last Place on Earth.]

Crossing an intimidating span of cantilevered logs splayed twenty feet above the churning gray Karnali River, I pass a stone marker that informs me I am leaving the Kingdom of Nepal behind and entering the People’s Republic of China. My feet touch down in o...

[Published in 2009, based on experiences at the Burning Man festival in 2007.]

Just past Gerlach, a gritty mining town about 100 miles northeast of Reno,
past the Indian taco and Philly cheese steak stands, past the taxidermy displays of beheaded antelopes and glassy-eyed pumas, past the wilted posse of leather-clad bikers and tramp stamped girls in cowboy hats, there’s a sign at...

[Published in 2003, Jordan Rosenfeld, ed., based on events that took place during the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, Sa'udi Arabia in March of 2001.] 

Thirty-five is the number we’re hearing on the radio. Thirty-five dead at the Jamarat yesterday. Thirty-five trampled or crushed or suffocated or cardiac arrested during rammi, the ancient ritual of stoning Shaytan that precedes the end...

[Published in 2008, Death Ride won "Best in Category–Sports and Challenge." The event took place in July of 2001.]

It’s not about your titanium Lightspeed, Ultegra triple, or Mavic rims. It’s not about possessing another gaudy arm patch, or slamming beers at another post-ride party. It’s not about the hundred-mile weeks you’ve logged, or the vertical feet you’ve religiously cranke...

[Published in 2000, the events in this story took place in September 1998.]

In late June of 1921, two members of a British reconnaissance team set out from the Tibetan village of Tingri to survey the northern approach to a mountain determined to be the highest point on Earth. One of the mountaineers, George Mallory, made mention in letters to his wife of a Buddhist monastery he an...

[First published in 1989 by the Institute for Research in Metapsychology, this piece was included in a 2003 anthology on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in 
Beyond Trauma, Victor R. Volkman, ed.]

It was endless nights, trying to stay awake, stay alive, counting the hours until dawn, the days, the months, utterly alone, trusting no...

[Published in 2000, the events in this story took place in September 1997.]

In the northern Greek province of Macedonia, protruding like a bone spur from the last finger of Chalkidiki, Agion Oros, the Holy Mountain, rises above the Aegean in the primrose mist of a September evening. According to Christian legend, this narrow peninsula was sanctified by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who...

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