Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Tall and Small Tales

(originally published on Medium at @hisern)

Interview with a Pastor’s Wife

Location: Baton Rouge Mileage: 2,243 Meal: Pecan pie Music: “Trouble” by Nina Simone * minor details have been modified, as requested, to protect innocent identities* After driving for hours through the fields of Louisiana’s highway 49, Baton Rouge suddenly emerged from the riverbank, its towers gleaming in the afternoon sun.  I drove over the bridge and followed the chirp of my GPS’s monotone voice through hopscotch neighborhoods and dog wood

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Shreveport: A little family heritage detour

Location: Houghton, Louisiana (a few miles outside of Shreveport) Mileage: 2,192 Meal: Dirty Rice Music: “Don’t Fence Me in” by Rosemary Clooney Gone were the days of cruising along an empty freeway with nothing to keep me company but a lone cactus and my wandering mind.   Small towns, welcoming whitewashed churches, and forests so lush I wanted crawl inside them, bordered the two-lane highway between Austin and Shreveport.  My speed

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The Institution

Location: Austin, South of Congress Mileage: 1899 Meal: Tex Mex and a shot of tequila Music: “She Talks to Angels” by The Black Crowes Although I was mainly staying with Stevie for the unique conversations he offered, I did have a secret hope that he could also introduce me to some of his patients at the mental hospital where he worked. Part of the hope was to better grasp and

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Interview with a Mom…and secrets to a Happy Family Life

Location: Austin, Texas Mileage: Music: “That’s right, you’re not from Texas” by Lyle Lovett Meal: Grits and Quail, no butter spared (do I need a weigh in along the journey?) The landscape once again shape shifted before my eyes and West Texas vastness turned populous…well as populous as small town Texas can do.  Peach Orchards dotted the farmland canvas and I stopped to pick up a fragrant basket for my

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The Road to Nowhere

Location: A long road to Fort Stockton, TX Mileage: 1544 Music: “Life for Rent” by Dido Meal: Too many helpings at a Texan Buffet Anytime you travel you always get asked the same perplexing question: “Where are you from?” Nowhere. Everywhere.  I don’t know how to explain my movement over the years.  “My parents were carnies,” I lie.  “We traversed the earth.  I also spent a lot of time in

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Interview with a Soldier

Location: Tucson (by way of Fort Huachuca) Mileage:971 Music: “Zero” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Meal: IHOP special I waited for Tess against the wall of a back booth of IHOP eagerly awaiting tales of the former athlete, West Point scholar, and Army captain. A tall slender girl with sparkly earrings came in, looked at my position in the booth a bit awkwardly, and sat down.  I later learned that

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The Road to Tucson

Location: Tucson Mileage: 922 Music: “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire Meal: Bad roadside ceviche that I hope doesn’t have a parasite The trip between Los Angeles and Tucson is eight hours of hot dusty driving.  At one pit stop en-route I managed to lose a gas cap and my Mac Powercord.  At another stop I decided it would be a good idea to order roadside ceviche. (The aftermath

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The Female Hollywood Producer

Location: Hollywood Mileage: 415 Meal: Mocha Lite Frappaccino Music: “California Stars” by Wilco I drove up from beach bliss to Hollywood to meet my friend Rebecca in her indie production company’s new office. Long before before she got her second masters in film and even longer before she started making movies Rebecca had been my dearest compadre during our MBA exchange program Santiago, Chile. Rebecca gave me a big hug and

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Interview with a Surfer

Location:Manhattan Beach Mileage:392 Meal: Corona beer Music: “Wave of Mutilation” by The Pixies Upon hearing I wished to interview a female surfer, a Manhattan Beach bartender called me with a recommendation.  “I know a pro,” he said.  The pro’s name was Jenn and she came to meet me at a local Mexican dive bar straight from bikram yoga class.  Her muscles were still pulsating from her practice. “I gotta do

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Surfing Through Life

Location: Manhattan Beach Mileage: 392 Meal: Fish tacos Music: “Hope” by Jack Johnson     In Manhattan Beach everything supports surfing. Liquor stores provide board rentals, car are sold with surf racks intact, and it’s totally acceptable to plan your business meetings around the tides. I was staying with my friend Ethan, a surfer since age four, who did exactly that. “If I have a break at 3pm why wouldn’t

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Getting Started

Location: San Francisco Mileage: 0 Music: The Kinks “This time tomorrow” Meal: Whatever is left in my fridge Today my Pacific Heights apartment is a war zone, filled with piles of power cords, sensible shoes, non-sensible shoes, atlases, journals and multi flavored packs of beef jerky. Tomorrow I will make all the piles fit tidily in my car to embark across the country, the first step in my adventurous writing

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Why am I doing this?

As modern US women, we have so many options to live life, it is almost paralyzing.   I have am currently living non-traditionally by most standards, but have shape-shifted multiple time flirting with convention and non-convention.  Ten years ago I was on a different path.  I was madly in love, ready to get married, stay in a ‘sensible’ job, and have 2.5 children and a golden retriever.  But when the man

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