Confession: I smell every book that I buy, and sometimes those I don’t. This habit started with the Time/Life books my father used to buy for the family when we were children, which emanated worlds I could only fathom for the words and images carefully laid out between their covers: Ancient Greece, Historic India, the World of Manet, and my personal favorite just because of the title “The Okefenokee Swamp”—an impossibly-named geographical area when you try to pronounce it at eight years old. One day a crisp image of an ancient Roman coin so thrilled me that I leaned into the book and breathed it in. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle as much as the next person, but there is nothing like the smell of a good book!
At the time, I had no idea what genres were: non-fiction, fiction, poetry, journalism, if I could read it, it fascinated me. With comical overambition and naiveté, I decided I was going to write a “book” when I was ten years old. I gathered a stack of paper and a pencil and promptly blanked before I could even settle a topic. More encouraging was an enthusiastic English high school teacher’s decision to send one of my poems to a youth anthology, leading to its publication. It was certainly not a great poem–but I was all in on words-as-vocation after that. As anyone who has been writing for a while knows, persistence from the outset pays off in skills and insights later on. After high school, I studied journalism and broadcasting, then, not ready to jump into the so-called real world, I hurried into master’s and doctoral programs in U.S. History in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. After receiving my doctoral degree in U.S. history, I spent the next several years teaching history, first in Richmond, Virginia, and then, with library science, in the Washington, D.C. region. In addition, I work as an archivist, curating educational websites and exhibits using cool archival stuff. Non-fictionally speaking, I have published a range of historical works, specifically focused on ethnicity, nationalism, and interfaith relations, as well as articles on digital curation and archival marketing. As far the fiction and poetry, I have most recently published poems and prose in Eyedrum Periodically, JUMP, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, The Amethyst Review, and Chronos. I’ve served as poetry editor with JUMP and at the Open Arts Forum, venues for modern poetry. With my partner Roger Doyleas artist, I have written four books of poetry, “Wrecks,” “Poems of Yellow in Gray,” “The Lot of Sisyphus,” and “At Home in the Pen.” Additionally, I have one completed novel, “Go Lightly,” and another in the works. You can find information on publications available via Amazon in the Books section of the site, or just check out samples of my poetry and fiction here at DropdownWorks.