Speech | A Writer's Journey, delivered at the Lewis & Clark Public Library, December 2016  

First-time novelists are often faced with questions about the truth of their books. There seems to be an unfair assumption that first books are inherently autobiographical in nature. I’ve watched colleagues and friends struggle against this phenomenon, but I’ve managed to avoid it nearly entirely. I believe this is because my debut novel is set in Alabama in the 1920s and 30s, at the dawn of rural electrification. It takes place on a farm and in a prison, and it’s written predominantly from the perspective of a man. On its face, it’s obviously not autobiographical. . . . That said, I am still there. My life—the deeply personal details of the thirty-seven years I’ve been around—imbues this book. I am everywhere, in fact, a subtle, pervasive haunting.

Essay | In the Air, Election Night 2016, American Short Fiction, November 2016 

We are over the Rockies, Denver to Helena, a tiny plane half full. I get the second whiskey because the flight attendant asks if I want another before she closes out her till. No flight attendant has ever asked me this. I will always have another if offered.

Speech | "To Hell With It" - Ursula K. Le Guin and Her Place in the Literary Scene, delivered at Helena College, October 2016

Ursula was recently inducted into the Library of America, what the New York Times calls “the closest thing to immortality between hardcovers.” Usually restricting itself to dead, male greats such as Melville, Twain, and Hawthorne, Le Guin is only the second living writing to receive the honor. The library wanted to re-issue some of her well-known and much-loved science fiction, but Ursula fought for a collection of more obscure work. “There’s some innate arrogance here,” she says in an interview with The New York Times. “I want to do it my way. I don’t want to be reduced to being ‘the sci-fi writer.’ People are always trying to push me off the literary scene, and to hell with it…. I won’t be pushed.”

Story | MaygoldThe Common, Issue 5, May 2013 | August Pick 2014

The first pest to make itself known in the orchard was the stinkbug, malevolent and focused. It worked at the sap in the fruit, sucking the water from the flesh, leaving behind gnarls and distortions—catfacing, Mona heard it called, though the injured peaches she plucked from her 
trees’ branches looked nothing like a cat’s face, but more a woman’s, withered by sun. . . .

Story | Sorry KidStoryglossia, Issue 19, April 2007

He wasn’t any good at it either. When she’d broken her arm at the park near their house, a sunny summer afternoon, after second grade, some freak fall from the monkey bars that gave her a compound fracture, bone boring out of the skin, he’d rushed to her, then turned away when he saw the damage, vomiting, unable to switch off the hardwire, to find a ground.