I write because sometimes even the most expressive music cannot say what needs to be said. Whether poetry or nonfiction, I want to immerse you in something fascinating, uplifting or unexpected.
Prize Winning Writing
NEWS FLASH Dec. 2023 – My essay in the North Carolina Literary Review was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, the writer’s equivalent of a Grammy!
My first writing award (with prize money!) came from the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. My essay “Violin Shop: Behind the Velvet Counter” received Honorable Mention and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review. Chief Judge David S. Cecelski described it as a “lovely evocation of a master craftsman’s world and of little moments of great beauty.”
This essay is now free online in the North Carolina Literary Review, Winter 2023 issue. From the link below, go to page 68.
In February, there was a reading by the prize winners at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro. I had to pare my essay down to under 15 minutes and was amazed at how much concentration it took to speak clearly while engaging with the audience, who was really with me, snapping their fingers with encouragement and even emitting some oohs and aahs!
Letting Frogs Pop into Existence
My very last public excursion into Duke Gardens before the Covid lockdown prompted a story which was published by Elsewhere, A Journal of Place. Read it here:
Writing or Writing?
Through high school and college, my writing was staid and perfunctory. Graduate studies in musicology found me searching for ways to put into words soaring musical expression, as well as the artistry of shape and form. One of my favorites was comparing architecture with the music of early Baroque Rome, finding parallels of structure and expression. It was only after moving to North Carolina that I had the Eureka! moment that elevated prose to the level of fine art. It was the short chapter in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath that describes a turtle crossing a highway. I recognized the musicality of his prose and how it made his subject come alive. I began to read for something beyond mere plot and found myself attempting to elevate the prose I wrote about violins for our violin shop newsletter. My descriptive skills and word choice had new standards – how many different ways could I write about spruce and maple boxes made the same way for over 300 years?
Public permission for deeper expression with words came in 1991, when an extroverted old guy recited poetry in the dining hall of a conference center. His dramatic recitations infiltrated my dreams, and when I awoke on my birthday, I asked myself if there was a poem in me. I was startled when words flowed out into my journal with a power that was nigh to a manifesto. When I read my poem to the older poet in the dining hall, he knelt and anointed me a newly-minted poet. My stories began to leak out, including the emotional moments, and evoked my inner lyricism. A door had opened.
In recent years, I evoke places and time periods of stories I have lived in what has become termed creative nonfiction. And wrestle more transcendent moments into poetry. Subscribe to my Blog to keep up with my latest. Thanks.