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Congratulations to Brandon Losier, a senior at Ball State University, whose essay “How to Run  Away” is the winner of the Deep Wild 2020 Undergraduate Student Essay Contest. Brandon’s essay is a moving account of a young man’s struggle with loneliness and depression, and the temporary but real solace he finds when he “runs away” from his entanglements to wild places. The essay will appear in the 2020 issue of Deep Wild Journal, forthcoming this summer. He will also receive $100 and five copies of the journal. Here’s an excerpt:

The first time I decided to run away, I did it in the middle of the night. I had never done something like that before, but would start doing it regularly, especially once I had a car. But that night, I didn’t have a car. I didn’t even have a learner’s permit. I couldn’t even buy T-rated games yet, much less plan a getaway. My parents’ words had finally driven me away, in the same way that any rebellious teen eventually must strike off, but most rebellious teens aren’t being blamed for nearly making their parents get a divorce.

I had stormed into my room, the thunder of my silence rocking the walls and shaking the curtains. I shook with shame and fury. I waited hours, just existing in my room like a tumor, needing to get out for the survival of the rest of the house. But I couldn’t go anywhere.

Until the moon came out…

To order your copy of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, the journal for people who love wild places and good words, visit https://deepwildjournal.com/subscribe/

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