Bing Bingham is a storyteller who used to work as a freelance writer, photographer and public radio producer. For him it’s always been about story—particularly ones involving hope and humanity.
For 25 years, he roamed the Pacific Northwest, northern California and Nevada gathering news and features on rural and agricultural issues for many different outlets. His credits extend from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and National Public Radio to numerous regional and local magazines, newspapers, radio stations and websites.
During his time on the road, he found himself in many remote and isolated high desert towns.
Inevitably, after fulfilling his contract with whatever news organization he was working for, he’d head to the local cafe for a cup of coffee before returning home or moving to his next assignment. There he’d chat with the locals and they’d tell stories.
These were the stories of the heart, the ones he loved.
They were stories of the rural American West by local people, about local people. Some were funny or embarrassing while others would break your heart. But all of there were told by real people who wanted nothing more than to live out their lives in the place they’d chosen.
These tale tellers weren’t newsmakers. In many cases, they’d go out of their way to stay out of the public eye.
Some of these stories made their way into various newspaper columns and public radio commentary. To get permission from the subject of the story, many times Bingham needed to change the name or conceal the identity of the person involved due to embarrassment or ‘neighbor-issues’.
It was during those years on the road where the concept of the fictional Dusty Dog Cafe where locals gather to cuss and discuss the news of the day over an endless cup of coffee was born.
These days, Bingham is still gathering stories of hope and humanity in the rural, American West for his Dusty Dog Cafe blog, podcast and various books. He lives on a small ranch deep in Oregon’s high desert with his wife and three very dusty stockdogs.