I am instinctively drawn to literature where reality is just a little off the beaten track. It’s not exactly fantasy; it’s more like the magic realism, where the unconscious world takes form and shape, and ideas walk, talk and breathe, and where the language is so poetic or taut that it bounces you, like a trampoline, into a slightly altered state, like a low dose of acid. I’m drawn to quirky, gently absurd, slightly dark humor, but never nihilism. And sometimes, I just like a good well, written book.
When it comes to reading, I have broad taste, from Tolstoy to Louise Erdrich to Phillip Pullman, but when I try to write reality-based stories, I go a little brain dead. I save realism for my essays. I have been a full professor of writing since 1993 and founded the visiting author series, The Writers Project with five years of funding from NEA. In 2018, I was promoted to Distinguished Professor and received the Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity.
My magical realist novel, Blue Woman Burning is due to be published by Red Penguin Books in the Fall of 2021. My stories have appeared in The North American Review, Eclectica, and The Collagist among others. I was was a finalist for the Franz Kafka Award issued by Doctor T.J. Eckleburgh Review as well as the Black Lawrence Chapbook Contest of 2015 and The Talking Writing Award for humorous writing advice. My story “The Opal Maker” was named top fifty of 2015 very short fiction publications by Wigleaf.
My collection of short stories Strange Appetites was named People’s Choice Award for 2016 by Adirondack Center for Writing. I also collaborated on the novel Feeding Christine by Barbara Chepaitis (Bantam 2001) and wrote the libretto for Billy and Zelda, an opera commissioned and performed by OperaDelaware.
I graduated from Oberlin College and earned my Doctor of Arts in writing at the University at Albany.