Hello, and welcome to my writing website, the purpose of which is to share excerpts from my creative nonfiction, which ranges from reportage to personal narrative. Much of my published reported nonfiction concerns American culture—for example, American women bodybuilders, professional gambling in Las Vegas, Southern debutantes, crime, and criminal investigation. Four of my pieces have been selected as “Notable Essays” by the editor of the Best American Essays series: “Going Plastic in Costa Rica” (Antioch Review, 2005), “While I Was Stalked” (Shenandoah, 2006), “Crazy in Love (Women and Shoes)” (Massachusetts Review, 2010), and “Big Love” (Hudson Review, 2015). Another essay, “Trail of a Kiss” (New Letters, 2010), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. More recently, I was awarded the Thomas Carter Prize in nonfiction by Shenandoah for my essay “Return Engagement: The Haunting of Hamlet and Dale Earnhardt Jr.” I’ve also received the 2017 Meringoff Prize in nonfiction, from the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers for my essay “Body Doubles,” an interview-based narrative that tells what happened when a bomb in a St. Louis parking garage injured the unintended victim, a lawyer whose Acura was almost identical to that of the intended victim, also a lawyer. My essay profiling serial / Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph was featured on NPR and other national media. On the less serious side, Bikini Is a State of Mind, co-written with three friends, was optioned by a Hollywood director. Although we missed getting a movie out of it, we had a great time writing, promoting, and celebrating it.
I’m currently researching sexual harassment on college campuses, a topic I’m especially passionate about and that you can learn more about at the link above. My other current projects are described on my “Biography” page.
“The game’s afoot” A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare
Like the age-old feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, the enduring rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers makes for great drama. Macbeth’s career began with promise but ended in ruin—not unlike Pete Rose’s. Twelfth Night’s Viola’s disguise as a boy to enter into a man’s world is echoed in Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ challenge to the pro golf patriarchy when she competed in the Los Angeles Open. Exploring parallels between Shakespeare’s plays and famous events in the world of sports, this book introduces seven of the best-known plays to the sports enthusiast and offers a fresh perspective to Shakespeare devotees.
The Davidson College Cambridge Program
In the summer of 2019, I was the Resident Director of Davidson College’s Cambridge Program, which is housed at Emmanuel College, a part of Cambridge University. Students spend five weeks in the program, the third week dedicated to their travel of choice and the other weeks spent in lecture and discussion classes. Some of the most distinguished historians and literary scholars in England come to lecture on subjects pertaining to late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British history, literature, and culture. Discussion sessions are led by younger faculty—“tutors”—who also travel with the students on field trips to such sites as poet John Clare’s house in Helpston and the Sir John Soane museum-home in London. I was privileged to have an exceptionally good group of twenty students on the trip, and we’re all grateful that we got to go in the summer of 2019, before the Coronavirus outbreak. Highlights of our summer included a Fourth of July cookout in my back yard, complete with a junior fireworks display, and an afternoon of punting on the Cam River.