As much as I loved playing sports as a kid, specifically the basketball, baseball, and football of my 1970s, I wasn’t a great athlete. Maybe a three-tool player in those games, I ran fast, had good hands, and hustled. And hustling may not even count as a tool. Yet I lacked power and accuracy in throw and shot, and never developed the swagger the best athletes take to fields of play. As an adult, at the risk of sounding cocky, I may be a three-tool player as writer, editor, and publisher. However small-time I am. I don’t sign many autographs, but I’m passionate about all three. As a writer, you connect with readers one at a time, and you keep crafting a sentence until it sounds right. Over time, I’ve developed an editorial eye to help other writers, and I’ve been lucky enough to publish some of their work.
I taught a bit the last couple years. A creative writing course at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College and some academic writing courses at Mid Michigan College. In both places, I tried to be more editor than authoritarian taskmaster, encouraging honest voices and the use of concise language. I’ve long written by ear (dangerous when using pencils), so I encourage students to write like they talk.
Most of my professional writing has focused on higher education, often in the form of magazine features and online profiles. I’ve written about two Olympic gold medalists, three astronauts, and many accomplished faculty, students, and alumni from two of my alma maters. Working for the Purdue engineers, I provided the editorial lead on more than 40 different magazines. I’ve also written nearly 50 features for the Purdue Alumnus, including 13 cover stories.
As an editor and publisher, my best contribution is likely Sport Literate, the literary journal I founded in 1995. The small journal continues to be a unique offering on the literary landscape, earning several national accolades. We’re also working on an anthology featuring 35 of our best essays from two-plus decades.
In April 2016, The Cauldron, sponsored by Sports Illustrated, published my take on the Bulls-Warrior debate, though it’s mostly some shared memories of those great bygone Bulls. My friend Steve Mend and I followed up that with a short film on Adolph Kiefer, a 1936 Olympian who had been America’s oldest living Gold Medalist until his death in 2017. I’m particularly proud of my byline on a couple stories about Rock Steady Boxing, the Indianapolis-based gym that’s training people with Parkinson’s to fight their disease through non-contact boxing.
With a little help from my friends, namely Erin Ingram, an extraordinary designer, I ventured further into the publishing field in recent years. Pint-Size Publications, the 23-year-old nonprofit that launched Sport Literate, released its first single-author title in 2016. In 2017, we produced a chapbook with the work of three poets. The Sport Literate Reader, that anthology to come, is going to be big and and really good. I hope you’ll watch out for it.