I grew up in Pittsburgh P.A. until I was six. Though I left the city at a young age (in 1971), the power of the place (which in the late 1960s was still a major producer of steel) made a strong impression on me, in at least two ways: There was the might of Pittsburgh's industry, with its blast furnaces still producing great amounts of smoke and fire; And there was the strength of the city's topography, which is muscular in the way West Virginia is Ė a veritable corduroy of land, with the Allegheny and Mononghehela rivers cutting down through it to come together, at the Point, as the booming Ohio river.
When I was six we moved to Cape Cod, and it was that place that formed me for the next twelve years (and continues to). I attended public schools there, and was educated largely by the nature of the village of Woods Hole - by its proximity to the sea, by the great currents booming through Woods Hole passage, and by the village's interesting citizenry. I spent much of my time in Woods Hole (when not in school) sailing, or wandering the woods, streets, and playing fields of the village with my friends. It was a true village boyhood.
I was subsequently educated at Middlebury College, the University of East Anglia, the California Institute of the Arts, the Sea Education Association, Antioch University, and the Bread Loaf School of English. I took my B.A. in English at Middlebury in 1987, and my M.A. in English at the Bread Loaf School of English in 1995.
I have been employed variously over the years. I will say when pressed that I am a house carpenter and writer, but if given time, I will explain that I have also taught high school English a great deal (in Mississippi, New York City, and Massachusetts), and some college English, but also high school geology, oceanography, physics, history, Spanish, and Latin; that I have worked as a political consultant (in Massachusetts politics); that I have worked in London as an editor of academic journals; that I have worked as a paid hand and mate on large schooners; and that for some years I was the proprietor of a literary services business in Seattle (editing freelance), among other things. I have also been known to take a role in a play for one Equity company or another, when time allows. One of the best jobs I've had was teaching juvenile delinquents at an isolated island school for three years. And the absolute best job I ever had was teaching sailing in the latter summers of my growing up on the Cape.
At the moment I live in western Massachusetts with my wife and children, and make a living as a writer and a carpenter, and think about what the next challenge might be, although having a one-year old may be challenge enough for the sturdiest.