Dad’s Eye View: 52 Family Adventures in the Twin Cities: Available in bookstores around Minnesota in May 2011, and for pre-order on-line

The dad’s eye view is a little above and behind the kids’: above, so you can scan the horizon for danger and excitement; behind, because adventures are best led by the kids.” So says writer and amateur photographer Michael Hartford, who has followed his twin boys and their mother up historic water towers, down secret streets, and through Twin Cities landmarks, both lauded and little-known, with vintage camera in hand. over the years, the destinations have changed, from zoos to markets to museums, but the point has remained the same: to play and learn and explore together.

In Dad’s Eye View, Hartford describes fifty-two of his family’s favorite Twin Cities spots—one for each week of the year—and dares other dads (and moms) to explore them with gusto. Shoot sparks at the Bakken Museum, track foxes along the Mississippi River gorge, climb ropes at French Regional Park, and measure your success not by the time it takes you to get in and out but by the number of questions your kids ask: How many books are in this library? Why were mills built here? Seek out adventure and savor it, with Dad’s Eye View along for inspiration.

Short Stories

My stories have appeared in print and on line (once as a podcast), in places like Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. Failbetter, Going Down Swinging, and Pseudopod.

Most recent:

A few highlights:

Peer Review, Media Virus #1, August 2009

Joseph K. ran a publishing house in the shadow of the Castle.

Among the Moabites, Cherry Bleeds, September-October 2007; featured on Pseudopod, episode #98

The first time Wilson saw them was when he opened the medicine cabinet one groggy morning in search of aspirin and his toothbrush. Between the familiar can of shaving cream and the plastic tumbler that held his toothbrush, lying on his crushed and twisted tube of toothpaste as if it were a luxurious pillow, were two tiny people. They were no bigger than his thumb, and a little pinker, lounging in a tangle of spindly limbs. One of them lifted its head from the toothpaste and he slammed the door shut.

The Oologist’s Cabinet, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #20, June 2007

It was a mahogany chest almost as tall as me, with intricate scenes of birds in flight and willow trees sighing beside winding rivers inlaid in teak and ivory. When the doors swung open and folded back against its sides, they revealed a warren of drawers and slots and yet more doors, many with yellowing index cards affixed to them behind gold-colored plates.

Bank Holiday
, Lily Review, April 2006

This morning I came downtown to meet my agent. He keeps an office in one of the towers across the street from the bank; through his window I can see the revolving doors that spin into the spacious lobby, and the mahogany desk in the sun lit corner office on the tenth floor. While my agent speaks, I look over his shoulder at the suit coats and Italian shoes streaming in and out of the portals of commerce.

, JMWW, Winter 2005

The doctors said, when she was born, that the gills would eventually fade away on their own. Nothing to fear, they said; no more unusual than the rare child born with a tail, or a dense pelt of fur, or a single sharp tooth jutting from its new pink gums. We carry, after all, the genetic memory of our furred and finned and feathered ancestors in our twisted strands of DNA; dreams of ancient seas are bound to surface now and then.

Call Me Pearl, Ballyhoo Stories, Spring 2005

We were working that summer for Herb’s dad, Ray Dwyer, who owned an antique shop in St. Paul. Herb grew up in the shop, surrounded by highboys, vanities, and mirrored coat racks. From the time he was ten, he knew furniture like most boys know bicycles and baseball cards. I swear he could tell a genuine Stickley table from a reproduction, blindfolded and bound to a chair, just by smell.

Pieces, Small Spiral Notebook, January 2005

I find my mother’s pink Pyrex mixing bowl at the antique store on Fairview Avenue. It’s in the hands of a fat woman in a blue down parka, and she’s holding it upside down, squinting at the sticker on the bottom.

Sunshine Over Helsinki, Failbetter, October 2004. Listed as a Notable Story of 2004 by storySouth’s 2004 Million Writers project.

No one in Helsinki saw his weather reports. They didn’t need his two-minute segment, twice a day, nestled between the football scores and children’s cartoon based on the Finnish epic “Kalvala”; they could just look out their windows, stand on their stoops, and know to wear a coat today. The reports were for Finnish expatriates, nostalgic for Baltic winds and icy sidewalks, or for a handful of students learning the words “lumi” for “snow” and “pilvi” for “clouds.”


  1. […] living in Minneapolis with his wife and twin sons. A list of his publications can be found here; his daily photoblog (which relies on such ancient technologies as black-and-white film, smelly […]

  2. […] the same panache they bring to all their stories. You can read the story at Cherry Bleeds, and find other things I’ve written if you’re so […]

  3. […] the Moabites is up now on Pseudopod. You can read the story at Cherry Bleeds, and find other things I’ve written if you’re so […]

  4. […] I’m not a poet. I’ve had a few short stories published, but I haven’t tried my hand at verse for nearly twenty years. Poetry is a whole […]

  5. […] in small literary journals. Many of them are available online, for free; you can see the list here. I suppose that the free versions undercut my low, low price for the whole collection, but note […]

  6. […] Kindle sale! Tx, @sonya_unrein More info at […]

  7. […] occasionally go through my publications history to see what’s still alive. And the attrition rate is pretty steady; the vagaries of […]

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