It’s that time of year again. A time for reflection and a time to celebrate of some Texas Monthly‘s best writing in 2018. From one writer’s reflection on his boyhood and the wisdom imparted to him—personally—by rock legend Steve Miller; to an indelible profile of the Jackie Robinson of rodeo, Myrtis Dightman; to a years-in-the-reporting story about false accusations in one of Texas’s most headline-grabbing crimes, there’s a wealth of great storytelling to dig into below. The following are presented in no particular order:
The Astronaut Who Might Actually Get Us to Mars The improbable journey of Franklin Chang Díaz, who immigrated to the U.S. at eighteen, became an astronaut, tied the record for most spaceflights, and now might hold the key to deep space travel.
Growing Up With Steve Miller Eleven years ago, the man who topped the charts with ‘The Joker’ and ‘Rock’n Me’ took a thirteen-year-old guitarist and would-be songwriter under his wing. More than a decade later, he’s still teaching me lessons on how to be an adult.
The Love Story That Upended the Texas Prison System In 1967, a 56-year-old lawyer met a young inmate with a brilliant mind and horrifying stories about life inside. Their complicated alliance—and even more complicated romance—would shed light on a nationwide scandal, disrupt a system of abuse and virtual slavery across the state, and change incarceration in Texas forever.
The Girl Who Told the Truth A decade ago, Gabby Sones accused her parents and five others of running the most depraved child sex ring in Texas history. Now she’s ready to clear their names.
How Houston Lost Its Mind Over a Trump Shirt Outside a cookie shop in one of Houston’s most idyllic neighborhoods, a West University Place council member spied Trump’s name on a teenager’s shirt and yelled a few of the president’s worst words at her. Then the internet found out. It’s springtime in the age of hysteria.
The Jackie Robinson of Rodeo Five decades ago, Myrtis Dightman broke the color barrier in professional rodeo and became one of the best bull riders who ever lived. But his imprint on the sport was only just beginning.
Mom, in Touch My mom’s handwritten notes were an abiding feature of my childhood. They offered wisdom, encouragement, and comfort—and they continued to arrive long after her death.
The Doting Boyfriend Who Robbed Armored Cars Beginning in 2015, Houston was plagued by a series of brutal armored car robberies that bewildered FBI agents for nearly two years. To finally bring down the unassuming mastermind behind it all, the agents had to stage an elaborate trap—and catch him in the act
Schlitterbahn’s Tragic Slide Jeff Henry often said that his goal in life was to make customers of his family’s legendary water parks happy—“to put a smile on their faces, to give them a thrill or two.” It was a beautiful vision. Until it went horribly wrong.
The High-Stakes Race to Create the World’s First Artificial Heart World-famous Houston surgeon Bud Frazier spent decades developing a revolutionary device that could save millions of lives. In this exclusive excerpt from Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart, he attempts to implant it in a human for the first time.
Who’s Killing Buck Birdsong’s Cows? Life on the ranch was hard enough already and full of uncertainty. Then a string of dead calves turned up, and everything pointed to murder. But why? And how? A Longview mystery.