The Ticking Of The Clock

In this bonus episode, Words Out West’s own Jay Kettering looks back to a time when everything was a mystery—especially time.

Jay Kettering: How I Learned To Tell Time: part 2 of his audio trilogy Notes From the Huntley Project (radio play)

(Dramatic reading by Missoula actors David Mills-Low, Rebecca Schaffer, Will Tilton, Jessica Adam, and Aaron Roos)

Only one thing is for sure—time is on his side.

A Mysterious Relationship

In this episode, our season finale, Words Out West’s own Jay Kettering writes about a mysterious relationship.

This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

Jay Kettering: The Position of Mona and Vi (short story)
(dramatic reading by Missoula actors David Mills-Low, Rosie Ayers and Robin Rose)

Two women are passing the time with casual conversation until the topic turns to the question of why they are sharing the same space.

Personal Landscapes

In this episode, Mark Gibbons, Shaun Gant and David E. Thomas explore their own personal landscapes. One ventures to where there are no fences, one observes an explosion of life in her own backyard, while another stays close to the tracks.

Mark Gibbons: Open Country (poem)

You can smell the sage.

Shaun Gant: Waxwing Party (poem)

Words take flight.

David E. Thomas: Early August After A Dry Storm (poem)

A walk across a bridge becomes much more than a weather report.

Fleeting Nature of Time

In this episode, David Allan Cates, Sheryl Noethe and Robert Lee mull over the fleeting nature of time. One takes a nostalgic leap of faith, another explains how life never stops, while another makes a plan for when he’s a ghost.

David Allan Cates: Blue (poem)

A long dive into cold water reveals much more than the impetus for stepping off the cliff.

Sheryl Noethe: Flux (poem)

We get the good news that nothing ceases to exist.

Robert Lee: A Better Idea (poem)

A husband is assigned an impossible task.

Grab Bag

In this episode, we hear from Shane Wheeldon, Freya Jones and Chris Sand, three writers who are hard to put in a box. Therefore, it’s our first installment of the Grab Bag.

Shane Wheeldon: Sumina, The Invincible Spirit (poem)

The hero is tasked with slaying the evil one. Hold your breath and aim for the heart.

Freya Jones: Caged (poem)

The poet takes us in two directions.

Chris Sand: Cow Cow (song)

A song that gives Old McDonald a run for his money.


In this episode, writers Sheryl Noethe, David E. Thomas, and Sarah Aronson are in the process of searching. One is searching for stories from strangers, another seeks magic from a natural phenomenon, while the other is tracking those who want to get to their destination in the quickest way possible.

Sheryl Noethe: Bus Stranger Fingers (poem)

The poet recounts a conversation on a Greyhound bus and finds out there may be a math problem.

David E. Thomas: Road Trip to Total Eclipse (poem)

We find folks gathering to share in the mystery of a shadow.

Sarah Aronson: Desire Lines (poem)

The poet follows the tracks going across the lawn, and the tracks in her mind.

Sheryl Noethe: Questions On An Airplane (poem)

Here there is both the fear of flying and fascism.

Bold Women

Beth Judy
Beth Judy

In this episode, a writer documents a real life, and in this case, a real glamourous life.

Beth Judy: Myrna Loy: More than a Movie Star (chapter #9 from: Bold Women in Montana History) (non-fiction)

Friends had advised her that the last name Williams was too plain. A friend suggested the name Loy, saying it came from a Chinese poem.


In this episode, writers David E. Thomas, Sarah Aronson and Mark Gibbons meditate on self-reflection. One ponders which technological time-zone he belongs in, another celebrates the things that cannot be understood, and the other uses the mirror behind the bar to reflect.

This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

David E. Thomas: Legendary Glimpses in Eddie’s Club (poem)

Sometimes a glimpse is not enough, and sometimes it’s way more than you need.

Sarah Aronson: And Other Bodiless Powers (poem)

The ancients said anything you can’t understand is cause for celebration.

Mark Gibbons: Old School (poem)

The poet attempts to separate the men from the Millennials.

True Love and its Many Forms

In this episode, writers Shaun Gant, Mark Gibbons and Sheryl Noethe reflect on the many forms that true love takes, like an enduring marriage, the flicker from a candle’s flame, and even a drug-induced coma.

This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

Shaun Gant: Aloof (poem)

True love finds someone in waiting.

Mark Gibbons: First Date (poem)

We find someone who puts the “true” in true love.

Sheryl Noethe: Fiesta Saggitariana (poem)

True love takes on an alternative endurance test.

The Nature of Love via the Love of Nature

In this episode, writers Brian Laidlaw and Sarah Aronson have come to understand how the nature of love can connect to the love of nature.

Brain Laidlaw: Returning to the Sycamore (poem)

A good old-fashioned love poem?

Sarah Aronson: Flight Patterns (poem)

When love becomes a washed-out road.

Brian Laidlaw: The Reckoning Ball (song)

The tea leaves have a lot to say about the end.

Sarah Aronson: Flatland (poem)

When you’re born in Alaska …

Sense of Sound

In this episode, three writers have tuned into their sense of sound. The sound of memory, the sound of solace, and the sound of place.

Jay Kettering: Doreen (as read by Nathan Adkins) (short story)

The narrator gets broken down and rebuilt by a place. More specifically, by the sound of a place.

Chris Sand: Radio Works Fine (song)

It’s about dudes and their hard-luck lives, but how we can overcome.

Robert Lee: Sounds You Can Feel (poem)

A man hears the passing train cars of his youth, and as time chugs along, he keeps his eyes on the tracks and wonders where they will lead him.

Drinking and Addiction

In this episode, writers David E. Thomas, Sheryl Noethe and Mark Gibbons are talking about booze, and the effect it has from the view of a bus seat, a bar stool, and a lawn chair.

This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

David E. Thomas: Eddie’s Club (poem)

A history lesson of Missoula’s iconic bar on the corner of space and time.

Sheryl Noethe: Why I Suffered the Ruined Man (poem)

A moment in time on a Greyhound bus.

Mark Gibbons: Driven (poem)

We get served up a cold one by someone who may be older than she looks.

Pathways to Self-Discovery

In this episode, writers Chris Sand, Freya Jones and Robert Lee are on the path to self-discovery. While on their journey, they run into things like girl traps, peacocks and rattlesnake juice.

Chris Sand: Honky From Montana (poem)

A man figures out who he is, by working out—who he isn’t.

Freya Jones: Girl (short story)

We find someone, who at the age of four, has already had to learn how to fight back.

Robert Lee: Hard Ball Champs (poem)

We meet a nice kid, along with his only fear.

Puzzles of Human Relationships

In this episode, writers Kevin Canty, Shaun Gant and David Allan Cates have put together puzzles—all made up from the pieces of human relationships. One will tally the cost of family, another the toll of an affair, and the other ignites romance.

Kevin Canty: Where the Money Went (short story)

A man tries to sum up what’s happened to his life, and now has to face just how much it’s cost him.

Shaun Gant: In the Evening (poem)

Insects buzz and love is beckoned.

David Allan Cates: Clean Break (short story)

We find a couple questioning their infidelity. The narrator, however, finds out he has an even bigger problem.

Welcome to Words Out West

Welcome to Words Out West, a podcast where we hear voices from the literary landscape of Big Sky Country and beyond.

We spotlight both established and emerging writers of the contemporary West.

A rapping cowboy, a river guiding novelist and a bus-riding Poet Laureate are just a few of the folks we’ll hear from on Words Out West.

Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.