I was raised in Upstate New York in the small town of Napanoch. When some people hear you are from New York, they immediately have visions of skyscrapers or the Statue of Liberty. However, Napanoch is a rural town a few hours north of the city with spectacular Shawangunk Ridge views. This landscape inspired most of the terrain in my writing, where the forests are thick with winding trails.
While attending Ellenville Central Schools, I would often lie that I was “from Ellenville” because Napanoch was virtually unknown. As it turns out, Ellenville is equally obscure (a point lost on me in my youth). Still, it was here that I first became interested in writing as I had several remarkable and enthusiastic teachers.
The first great storyteller in my life, however, was my father. He could command a room with humorous and disgusting tales of his life. I lament that so many good memories were lost with his death as no one could retell the tales quite the same way he could. He showed me that the best stories are personal.
I considered writing my passion but took the advice that a degree in something else would afford me the luxury to write in my free time. The concept of not writing to write more might sound counter-intuitive because it is! It turns out graduate school affords you little free time.
However, after shelving my writing aspirations for a couple of decades, I suffered a terrible loss. It was a pain unmatched by any other loss I had endured up to that point, and in all the sorrow, I made a promise that I would finish the work I had started years earlier. I channeled my grief into creating something new, hoping that in some small way, something good might come from the unfathomable despair. I hope to continue in this promise with many more stories to come!