How to Save a Loggerhead

Voldemort was not an amenable turtle, at first. He thrashed his right front flipper in defiance at the humans who wanted to touch him as he held his injured left flipper close to his body. He craned his head over his shoulder, his mouth open, and his eyes seemed to squint in frustration. “He was starving,” Boylan said, “and he was really pissed off.”

Source: Garden & Gun
Published: Aug 1, 2019
Length: 13 minutes (3,300 words)

For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night

What’s the major difference between renting a movie at Blockbuster and streaming it on Netflix? As Justin Heckert reports for The Ringer, as the last Blockbuster video stores close, the people of Alaska won’t just miss the blissful comfort and simplicity of family movie night. They’ll miss the human interaction that can be the best part of visiting the video store in person: the colorful people, the jokes, the laughs, and the delightful camaraderie of discovering a shared favorite film at the checkout counter.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Jul 19, 2018
Length: 37 minutes (9,282 words)

The Photographer

Justin Heckert profiles Anthony Carbajal, a 28-year-old photographer with the inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Before the disease slowly robs him of his ability to move, to swallow, and to breathe, Anthony is making the most of now by inventing hacks to allow him to make photographs. “I like to live in the present,” he said, “About 90 percent of the time, I’m looking forward to the time I do have.”

Published: Dec 21, 2017
Length: 14 minutes (3,539 words)

Fire on the Mountain

The surreal story of the worst fire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 100 years. The fire, which was started by kids playing with matches, began small and crept across the Smokey Mountains to threaten residents as they slept in their beds. Ultimately it took the lives of 14 people, displaced 14,000 more, and consumed 2000 properties in under 24 hours.

Source: Garden & Gun
Published: Jul 1, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,530 words)

How the World’s Heaviest Man Lost It All

Paul Mason ballooned to 980 lbs. eating to forget childhood abuse and horrific loneliness. Mason lost 700 lbs. after bariatric surgery and discovers that, despite the experiences now available to him with newfound mobility, happiness remains elusive; dramatic weight loss does nothing to treat the underlying depression and emotional trauma that caused him to eat to excess in the first place.

Source: GQ
Published: Mar 8, 2017
Length: 22 minutes (5,620 words)

“BRAAAM!”: The Sound that Invaded the Hollywood Soundtrack

How Inception changed the way we listen to movies.

Source: Longreads
Published: Dec 8, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,902 words)

‘Gosh, It’s Beautiful.’

How did a boring Nintendo game from 1987 become the most coveted cartridge ever?

Source: ESPN
Published: Dec 2, 2016
Length: 13 minutes (3,293 words)

How a Son Survived Being Injected with HIV by His Father

Twenty-four years ago, in an act of ghastly malice, a Missouri father plunged a needle filled with HIV-positive blood into his baby son’s vein. No one expected the son to live—but he thrived.

Source: GQ
Published: Apr 28, 2016
Length: 21 minutes (5,424 words)

Bill and Doug Got Married

What a difference 10 years makes: Justin Heckert’s 2005 Atlanta magazine feature about two men in Georgia whose marriage was not recognized by the state.

Published: Jun 30, 2015
Length: 8 minutes (2,100 words)

Susan Cox Is No Longer Here

A group of volunteers helps make sure people are not alone when they are dying:

I sat in the room with the volunteers. Every three hours one of them would leave, and someone else would appear in the doorway. Amanda, Denise, Martha, and others. Noon, midnight, 2 a.m., 6 p.m., a rhythm.

They had found NODA in various ways. Amanda Egler read about it in a news app on her phone. Her grandmother had died the previous year, and it was fresh in Amanda’s mind that the death had been something of beauty, that her grandmother had been conscious until the very end, thankful that a constant flow of people were in her presence, sitting with her, the room never empty. Amanda read about NODA and considered what it might be like to die alone. “This is something very simple, but so important,” she said. “Because everyone is going to die, and to give three hours of your life, at the end of someone else’s, seems like the right thing to do.” She went to the first NODA volunteer meeting, just to listen.

Published: Dec 3, 2013
Length: 32 minutes (8,100 words)