Bad Luck, Hot Rocks

'Conscience letters' and photographs from the Petrified Forest National Park. Continue reading...

Bad Luck, Hot Rocks, the book, is forthcoming from The Ice Plant (Fall 2014).

#hot rocks

petrified wood, not petrified wood, polished

#conscience letters

1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 2010s

Specimen from the conscience pile

A widow with nothing but heart break. 


Houston, Texas

View of the ‘conscience pile’ at Petrified Forest National Park

Sept 1, 1983

Dear Sir,

Enclosed are three stones that […missing text…] take full responsibility [for my] actions. I am truly sorry for this act and I thank God for convicting me of it. I do feel peace with God for returning these stones. Please forgive me.


Thomas [last name]

[street address]

Pulaski, WI 54162

My conscience has bothered me ever since I picked this up, I am sending it back to the park.

Dear Ranger: I am sorry for picking up a piece of petrified wood and am returning it.


Specimen from the conscience pile at the Petrified Forest National Park.

Dear Sirs

This is what i took, and I’m sorry I took it.

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