March 24, 2015
Someplace, a magazine about small town America, offers dispatches from the road
by Claire Kelley
A new online magazine called Someplace: Stories from Small Town America has begun publishing dispatches from the road. The publishers are Charles Day and Ellie Robbins, who met while working at Melville House. In 2014, they decided to buy an Airstream camper and travel around the country. Someplace is a project that they are working on together to document the people and stories they encounter.
We travel to small towns and spend anywhere between a few days and a few months meeting people and gathering stories. Each issue of the magazine is themed on a single town. Because of this exploratory, nomadic style of journalism, we have no publishing schedule. We publish issues when they’re ready. And no issue is intended to be an exhaustive study of a place. These are collections of stories we wanted to share.
The inaugural issue is about Joshua Tree in California, and features two short video documentaries—one is about a male hairdresser who collects historical beauty-industry items in Wonder Valley, and the other is about members of a modern day gold mining club who demonstrate their prospecting methods.
The first issue’s features include analysis about a renewable energy plan in Southern Californian deserts, photographs of dilapidated homestead cabins, and some background on women and minorities who settled in Joshua Tree. There’s also a profile of Ed Rosenthal, a poet who got lost in Joshua Tree National Park. “It was worth dying to have my experience,” he says. “And I had the bonus of living.”
A few other interviews round out the issue, including one with Daniel Cronkhite and his wife Janet, who own and run Sagebrush Press Bookstore in Yucca Valley:
“We opened the first location of the bookstore in 1991. Back then it wasn’t nearly like it is now out here. We had half the number of traffic lights. When I opened up, the police parked across the street on a dirt road. I was wondering what they were doing, and they were wondering what I was doing. They came every day for about two weeks. We found out they thought it was a front, because nobody would open a bookstore in the desert.”
Sign up for the Someplace newsletter to get the next issue, which is about “Vanishing Louisiana.”
Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.