Since I'm a writer, you're going to get the full story monty.
Here it is:
I have been writing since I was a little kid. Early writing activities included multiple attempts at getting published in Readers Digest's "Life in These United States," writing comedy radio show scripts which I produced on a cassette player in my bedroom, and parodying stories in the style of authors I admired at the time, including Richard Brautigan, Paul Fussell, James Herriot, John Irving and Douglas Adams. Note: I know they are all dudes. It was a phase. Please know that I love women writers. I also spent hours memorizing comic record albums by Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, The Smothers Brothers, Monty Python, Woody Allen, and Eddie Murphy.
I spent childhood summers propped up on a bar stool at the Ukavets Club in Scranton, Pennsylvania, watching my grandparents enjoy nickle glasses of beer, smoking two packs a day via second-hand smoke, and listening to old men tell war stories. I loved every minute of it.
In high school I joined my high school creative writing club for a minute, but was asked to leave after writing a horror poem in the style of Poe's "The Raven." What can I say? I had been reading Stephen King, had recently seen Psycho, and was working out my newfound fear of being stabbed to death while in the shower.
After I dropped out of college at 19, I waited tables and wrote for fun. I also painted and drew pictures which I sold, but mostly that time in my late teens and early twenties was spent feeling like this (never underestimate the confusion of the late teens and early twenties):
Then I got married, had children, replaced writing for fun with sleeping for survival, got divorced and began writing for work (web content, online high school and college course content, scientific textbook ad copy, and editing for other authors).
When my kids were about this big
I went back to college as an old person and earned my BA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts' ADP program, under the mentorship of the talented Matthew Goodman.
Some years later, after I had remarried,
I went back to school to earn an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida International University. I had the good fortune to study with Julie Marie Wade, Debra Dean, Les Standiford, Lynne Barrett, and John Dufresne . While there, I won the FIU Provost's Award for Best Creative Project, the FIU Creative Writing Award in Nonfiction, the Kentucky Women Writers' Betty Gabehart Prize for Creative Nonfiction, and the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction.
I was also the fiction editor of Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, and the graduate coordinator for the FIU Writers on the Bay Reading Series. In 2016 I was the Writer in Residence at the Appomattox Regional Governors School in Petersburg, VA, where I taught workshops in advanced fiction writing and developing persona in creative nonfiction.
I have garnered close to fifty publications in national literary journals, including The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Fourth Genre, Arts & Letters, as well as numerous other print and online journals, and several anthologies. News for January 2019: have a piece forthcoming in McSweeny's Quarterly Concern, taught a craft talk at Writers in Paradise Writers Conference, and won the 2019 GCLA New Writers Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2019 Florida Book Award Gold Medal for General Nonfiction.
I sometimes teach classes and workshops. Special interests include unreliable narrator, function of the implied narrator in fiction, point of view, writing about family, developing persona in creative nonfiction, satire, parody, lyric essay, humor writing, the development of the essay from mid-twentieth century to present, and figuring out what makes damn-good short stories so damn good.
Right now I'm reading a lot of war history. I don't know why. I'm also studying great speeches. It beats the heck out of scrolling on Instagram.
For health and relaxation, I lift weights and listen to music. My favorite hobbies are people watching, poodles, biohacking, and growing my hair and chopping it off. I dream of one day owning an empire of laundromats.