As a writer, photographer, and teacher, I spend time either wandering the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, making beef stew from scratch, or at the computer compulsively entering words into Thesaurus.com. Part farm boy, part city slicker, I inhabit many antithetical worlds and visit wilderness for reconciliation.
I write memoir, personal essay, poetry, prose, and short story. I photograph landscapes and lifestyles.
In 2007, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Montana (UM). In 2011, I earned a Grant Writing and Fundraising Certificate from Portland Community College and Willamette Valley Development Organization.
In 2015, I graduated with an M.A. in English Rhetoric and Composition at Oregon State University (OSU) on a full scholarship. I still had to pay for books and living, but getting a scholarship was a wonderful gift, making this this degree possible. The two years it took completing this degree was an existential ass-kicker.
As a first generation college student, I was lost in the wilderness. No one in my family had a map through education to the other side, so I had to make it up as I went. As I searched for this elusive education, failure seemed to lurk around ever stump and swamp. Knowing what education looked like might have help relieve some anxiety. Now I’m a professional student. I like the wilderness.
My first article was published in 1999, and I had my first photo show and published photo in 2005. However, I didn’t really feel like a writer or photographer until 2008. Currently, I teach writing at Portland Community College and am finishing a book of my adventures through mountains and life.
During my time at UM, my focus was poetry and memoir. While at UM I studied under fellowship and award winners Judy Blunt (narrative nonfiction), Robert Pack (short story, poetry), Karen Volkman (poetry) and Prageeta Sharma (poetry). At OSU, I studied with poet and essayist Chris Anderson Ph.D., and technical and scientific writer Ehren Pflugfelder, Ph.D.
Some other fabulous occupations of mine have been carpenter, retail associate, snowboard coach, farm hand, bartender, window washer, baby sitter, non-profit board member, small business owner, and consultant. I liked carpentry best, probably because I worked remodels and played with power tools and sledge hammers. Break stuff, build stuff, ya dig?
Exploration as Education
I grew up in a two-bedroom house with a family of six. It was five miles on a dirt road to my house, which overlooked cornfields and a lake. We were always wary of them city slickers. Now, my working-class ass is all edjumicated and stuff and I am wary of myself. Go figure.
I’ve lived in Minnesota, California, Washington D.C., Washington State, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon, sometimes in my truck, sometimes in a tent, and other times in a four bedroom house with six roommates, ski-bum style. That was a lifetime ago, before I went back to university to find a girl, a brain, and a future. Because of my travels and the mountains I had already found the soul, the dog, and the truck.
Portland, Oregon is currently called home. Thankfully, I only have three lovely roommates now – my wife and two brindled dogs (Recently, one dog passed away, but I cannot edit the “two” yet. She saved my life and is a big part of my book).