why i write

I’m drawn to the essay’s fluid form. I love both writing and reading essays. But, not all essays. I’m attracted to certain minds, Joanne Beard, Lauren Slater, Phillip Lopate, Leslie Jamison, Jessica Hendry Nelson, Brett Lott, Dinty Moore—I could go on. So many wonderful writers working in what has become known as the fourth genre these days.

I love writing essays because an essayist gets to have opinions. She writes her musings on movies, literature, friendship, family, history, travel. Yet, few essayists stay inside any particular narrow place. Essayists meander. But not off the subject. Always, there is a thread, and that thread is the writer’s mind— the reason a reader follows the writer on her journey. In school settings, the essay is usually broken into pieces: argument, persuasion, personal, analytical, personal, memoir—when really the essay is all of those pieces. and more…



  • Auvillar’s Secret – finalist Tiferet Journal, 2016 Writing Contest
  • Houses – Nominated for Best Of The Net, 2014; nominated for Pushcart Prize (published in Ascent)
  • Pilgrimage – Short Nonfiction Award finalist, 2014 Maine Literary Awards (published in Ploughshares)
  • Hiding – Notable Essay, Best American Essays 2013 (published in Ascent)
  • Circling My Father – Winner Michael Steinberg Essay award 2010 (published in Fourth Genre)


featured post

On Kelly Cherry’s Girl In A Library

I wrote this piece a few weeks ago, hoping to place it on a blog with a larger audience than my own. That didn’t happen, and in the meantime, Kelly Cherry has won lifetime Achievement award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I’m not the only one who loves this writer’s work. One recent morning, I picked up Kelly Cherry’s Girl in a Library, a book of essays that speaks to the intersection of life and literature. I first met Kelly when we were both in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and we gravitated ...
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