Professor of Creative Writing
MA Literature + Creative Writing | MFA Creative Writing
I have a passion for the art of language – have loved words ever since my sister taught me to read and write when I was just three years old. I’ve been writing ever since, earning two Master’s Degrees in Literature and Creative Writing, serving as editor of several literary journals and magazines over the years, and ultimately, teaching. I’m currently developing an MFA in Creative Writing at LCAD. Recently, I received the high honor of PRIZE AMERICANA for my book-length poem Untended Garden (The Poetry Press, 2015), as well as the NANCY DEW TAYLOR PRIZE for Literary Excellence in Poetry (2014), and the KICK PRIZE for poetry (2013). My poems have been widely published internationally, and anthologized in such places as Human and Inhuman Poems(Knopf/Everyman), Poets Against the War, and WTC Remembrances. My fiction, reviews, and essays have been published in such places as the Anthology of Los Angeles Short Fiction (Red Hen Press), and the award-winning book, John Fante: A Critical Gathering. I was also a professional Art Director, graphic designer, visual artist, and musician. For seven glorious days I recorded my original musical compositions for A&M Records in Los Angeles. My installation art has been featured in several gallery showings. I am constantly inspired by my LCAD students and colleagues – their ideas, their creativity, their passion. To earn a living at what you love is a blessing. To be able to do it at such an enriching place as LCAD is the ultimate career.
Chair of Creative Writing
MA English | MFA Film: Screenwriting
I grew up in Lake Elsinore, California. Local legend had it that when Cortes explored the area, he sent a cabin boy down into a valley to scout fresh water. Three days later the boy returned, skin pale, hair ghostly white, and on the brink of death. Cortez asked the boy what had happened, what he had seen. The boy replied, “Hell, señor!” and dropped dead. In honor of the boy’s death, Cortez named the lake after his dying words — Lake Hell Señor — which by and by became Lake Elsinore. I didn’t find the town to be Hell exactly but rather the ideal place — with its mystery and intrigue — to fall in love with the world of the story. I left Lake Elsinore to study English at CSU Long Beach and then film and screenwriting at Chapman University, and now I spend my days teaching and my nights writing. Professionally, I work as a screenwriter and script doctor. Many shorts I have written have toured the festival circuit the world over. Currently, I live in Lake Forest with my wife, my two kids, and my dog. The dog was adopted; the kids were not — but they could be. Serious offers should be sent by certified mail.
At sixteen, I was the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history, a starter and leading goal scorer for Duke. At twenty, my career was over. The women’s pro league folded and I wasn’t good enough for the national team. So I got a new life: since writing and reading were the only things I loved as much as playing, I went to the University of Notre Dame for my MFA in creative-writing. I received the Nicholas Sparks Prize, a post-graduate grant that gave me a free year to write and hatch plans. Not quite ready to be done with the game, I set off with friends to make a documentary about pickup soccer around the world, playing with anyone from prisoners in Bolivia to women in hijab in Iran. (You can check out the trailer for our award-winning doc at www.pelada-movie.com.) This experience also became the material for my book, Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer (St. Martin’s Press 2012). I’ve also contributed articles to The New York Times, Sports Illustrated.com, and The Atlantic. I continue to read, write, teach, and, of course, play pickup.
MFA Creative Writing | MSc Social and Public Communication
When I was nine, the things I liked best in the world were writing rambling stories, tennis lessons on Toronto’s weather-cracked courts, and playing “school” with the kids across the street. In high school and college, I didn’t write as much, played less, and studied more boring things. In 2005, I got an MSc in Social and Public Communication from the London School of Economics, where I learned about rhetoric and got excited about words (and school!) again. After a decade-long career in communications, I returned to school for an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. I moved to SoCal in 2013, and although I do miss Canada, this has been the perfect place to reunite with all my childhood loves: writing, tennis (year-round!), and, of course, being a teacher. My first novel, Catch My Drift, will be published by Goose Lane Editions in Spring 2018. I have published short stories in North America and the UK, and my short films have screened at festivals worldwide. In my free time, I volunteer with WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization for underserved teen girls in LA.