My two greatest loves are poetry and policing. The tasks of each of these "jobs" hone the senses. For instance, policing requires acute focus on data acquired through the five senses plus the crucial sixth sense of intuition. For me, this required focus on immediate physical detail is crucial both in composing my poems and in being inspired to write. I trust my mind's eye and ear and nose to memorize exactly what Ive seen or heard or smelled while working a shift at my department.
Later, when I sit down with pen and paper, the details will surge forward. This remembrance of exact details fuels my mind. The urge to find and express subtext appropriate to what the poem is trying to become keeps me on the page through subsequent versions. Like many other poets, I write about what haunts me, and I seek to particpate in the most essential and sacred task of literature: to express in words what is inexpressible.
My writing career began in short fiction. It was the love of the short story form that pulled me into my first writing classes. Through the years, I’ve been published in journals and anthologies in both fiction and the personal essay. Memoir is a personal favorite of mine.
Editing requires a thorough knowledge of form and an ability to understand what the piece is trying to become. All of this rests on an impeccable ear for language and an understanding of its mechanics. I consider working with a text as working with a malleable, breathing object. My specialty is working with an author to accomplish his or her vision.
There is no joy like the joy of helping others become accomplished at something you love. My love of all kinds of writing and the joy in the creative journey have served as the inspirations for my teaching in a wide variety of venues, e.g. primary and secondary schools, universities, one-on-one, and in the community. I have taught creative writing at the University of Houston for over six years, and I also teach workshops and master classes throughout the country.
It is a true delight to interact with people of all ages, beliefs, and aspirations. My childhood was one of belief in everyone's ability to achieve what he or she wished. It's my privilege to pass along that attitude.