LSMBefore I was an essayist, a biographer, or a teacher, I was a reader. As a kid, I loved fantasy novels and books about horses. As a teenager, I fell in love with East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Part of its appeal was that its protagonist, Adam Trask, “was born on a farm on the outskirts of a little town which was not far from a big town in Connecticut.” That also fairly accurately describes the place where I grew up, in Farmington, not far from Hartford. We still had a barn on the last acre of what had been a farm, though my family had given up animal husbandry long before I was born. Close enough. The coincidence invited me to read with the magical belief that the book was somehow about me. Though it quickly became apparent that this was not literally the case, I found that East of Eden was about me anyway. Perhaps the mark of good literature is that any of us can find ourselves within it.

After high school, I followed Adam Trask’s example and headed west to California. There I earned a BA in English at Stanford University. I remained in the Bay Area for the better part of my twenties, working mundane jobs in Silicon Valley, between academic pursuits that took me abroad. I spent one year at Magdalen College, Oxford University as an undergraduate, and then earned an MSc in Medieval philology from the University of Edinburgh. Later, I spent a year in Reykjavík studying Icelandic language and literature on a Fulbright grant.

Along the way, I married a New Mexican, and in 2005 we moved to the high desert of Albuquerque. Here, I completed my MFA in creative writing at the University of New Mexico, and began teaching high school English. I am currently at work on a biography of pipe organ builder Charles Fisk.