Work Samples

M.L. and P-I photographer Grant Haller aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln

M.L. Lyke has won many national awards for her writing, described by judges as “fresh,” “insightful,” and “gripping.” Here is a sampling from her diverse portfolio:

1. M.L. describes a wild super-soaker rafting trip on a Bay of Fundy tidal bore: “Our boat continually climbed and crashed and filled until we were not on the water, we were in it, and of it, no longer able to see our feet, or even the boat beneath us.

2. M.L. writes about autism research for the University of Washington: “No one knows the cure. No one knows the cause. And nothing can blunt the impact when parents get the diagnosis: Their quiet little baby, who’d rather not cuddle and avoids eye contact, has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a chronic neurodevelopmental disability that will require a lifetime of supports and services.”

3. M.L. writes one of the first stories on returning veterans with PTSD for the Seattle P-I: “He is wired, wound tight, a buff, tough sergeant ready to explode inside a strip-mall Starbucks.”

4. Aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, as an embedded reporter at the start of the Iraq War, she discovers a make-shift all-faith well-used chapel: “The fighter jets that screech off the deck directly overhead continually rattle screws loose in the ceiling and deafen conversations about saints and sinners, prophets and pagans.”

5. M.L., putting on a columnist’s hat, visits some first graders to see what’s up with the Pledge of Allegiance, or “pledge de legions,” as one kid calls it: “Note to old people in long robes who make important decisions: Snipping the “G” word out of the Pledge of Allegiance may be a big, fat, dumb idea.”

6. M.L. goes fly-fishing in the Louisiana delta in this travel story for the Washington Post: “I’m a lowly bait-plunking girl turned spin-caster, near-Neanderthal on the evolutionary scale of angling. I’ve stooped to corn and worms and mini-marshmallows in my time. But I was ready to move on, and up, to the fishing elite, that heady class of light-geared anglers who fish not to fill a cooler with carcasses but to achieve high art in the graceful rolling cast and the perfectly placed fly, delivered, like manna, to some lucky fish with elevated taste.”

7. M.L. profiles a troubled woman shot point-blank in the face with a .357 handgun for the Seattle P-I:  “Mary Peters shouldn’t be alive. Sometimes she wishes she weren’t. Life’s not all that great with half a face and a messed-up brain. At least her wit survived the .357.”

8. M.L. explores the mysterious pleasures of Oregon pinot noir in this Washington Post article: “I had come to investigate the region’s celebrated pinot noir — the most elusive of wines, made from the fussiest of grapes, in this subtlest of Northwest landscapes, tucked beneath layered blankets of low gray clouds.”

9. M.L. writes a national breaking news story about PCB contamination in killer whales: “The celebrated black-and-white orcas that draw an estimated 70,000 whale-watchers to these scenic waters each year are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world, according to new research. Blubber samples from 47 live orcas showed PCB concentrations up to 500 times greater than those found in human beings.

10. M.L. digs into research on cybersecurity for the University of Washington’s iSchool: “A spy versus spy plot is unfolding in the shady corners of cyberspace. Down dark alleys, hidden hackers assault computer systems to scrape up credit card numbers and e-mail addresses, plant mass infections in web servers and execute drive-by downloads that push malicious programs onto users’ machines.”

11. M.L. takes a harrowing ride down to Kalaupapa, a historic leper colony and site of great sorrow and beauty.