Jonathan Maseng, CA

Premium Writer

Jonathan is a Los Angeles-based author and producer. His work has appeared in LA Weekly, Newsday, The Jerusalem Post Magazine, The Jewish Journal, and SB Nation, where he writes regularly about baseball. He is also a playwright and screenwriter whose projects have included Lifetime’s Project Five, ABC’s Somewhere Between, and the critically-acclaimed theatrical production The People vs. Kastner, starring Bob Odenkirk, Paul McCrane, and Alan Rosenberg. He attended Bennington College and CCNY and holds a degree in English. Once upon a time, he sang opera at Lincoln Center, but these days he sticks to karaoke.

As a Story Terrace writer, Jonathan interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.

Kayaking the Colorado

“When you get in the water, it’s gonna be cold,” said the river guide. It seemed, at first, to be an absurd assertion. It was 110 degrees in Las Vegas that day and standing on the shore of the Colorado River just over the Arizona border, it felt even hotter.

I couldn’t imagine anything feeling cold in such heat. The bottled water my brother and I had brought from our hotel room on the strip had turned room temperature in just fifteen minutes outdoors. When my foot slipped beneath the water though, the chill was immediate and shocking. I watched as the other people on our tour yelped and squealed as they waded into the river.

Once, the Colorado was warm and wild, a turbid, flood-prone river whose waters would get as warm as 80 degrees in the summer months. After the construction of the Hoover Dam, all that changed. Today, the river below Black Canyon is a cool 54 degrees year round.

My brother, Jordan, looked to me as if he’d suddenly been struck by regret. It had been his desire to escape the land of slot machines and strip clubs that had brought us to the Willow Beach Marina, twenty miles from nowhere. “Cold enough for you?” I asked and slapped him on the back as I climbed into our tandem kayak.

He eased himself into the front seat and sighed in audible relief as he placed his legs inside the warm, yellow body of the Kayak. “Now this,” he said, eyes scanning the rocky canyon walls, “this is what I was talking about.”

Up ahead, a herd of Desert Big Horn Sheep were grazing by the waterside, their tan bodies blending in among the rocks. The cold, clear waters of the river flowed gently around us, punctuated by the occasional rolling waves of a pontoon passing slowly by as people drank beers on deck. It was perfectly peaceful and calm.

It suddenly occurred to me that the trip was as much for me as for my brother. A part of me needed to be there, in that magical river in the midst of a vast desert. As the morning sun shined down upon me, and I plunged my paddle into the water, I knew we’d made the right choice.

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