Along with fiction, I’ve created work across various media–syndicating public radio, editing and producing an audio literary magazine, writing travel pieces, reviewing books and music, and occasionally writing something a bit more personal. I’ve collected a few pieces here.
Secrets of a Childhood Home
I’m not inclined to write about myself, but when I published The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked me to write a piece about my childhood and the place that inspired the book. My late father was very fond of this piece–I think he liked it better than the book itself. And thus, it’s now one of my favorite pieces as well.
Tall Tales and Cocktails
I put together an extensive book tour for my novel, hitting around 40 venues over a two-month period. Part of the pleasure of that trip was connecting with friends I’ve made through the Decatur Book Festival. I convinced the folks at the Bitter Southerner to let me write about the journey in this 12-part series.
Circle of Friends
One of my first audio projects was a one-shot holiday special for National Public Radio. In 1992, I produced, Circle of Friends, based on Remar Sutton’s book “Common Ground”. It was hosted by Oscar-winner Cliff Robertson, featuring George Plimpton, Kurt Vonnegut, and many others. The only known recording of Southern chef extraordinaire Princess Pamela is here too. Here’s the entire program:
A Profile of John Hiatt
I grew up a vinyl junkie, listening to all the hard rock bands teenage boys listened to in the 80s. Then I happened on a John Hiatt record, and was transformed. I listen to a lot of classical and jazz these days, but John Hiatt taught me the power of a perfectly written song. Here’s a little piece I did on him.
Porches: The South and Her Writers
In the late 90’s, I produced Porches: The South and Her Writers, a 13-part series for public radio featuring some of the more important literary voices in the south. I researched, interviewed, wrote, and engineered these programs. They were financed by Amazon.com, a contract I negotiated while the company was preparing for their IPO.
The project was formative for me. I spent nearly two years driving through the south, interviewing over 40 authors and scholars, several of which became lifelong friends. Of all the interviews, the one that remains most cherished was my talk with southern icon James Dickey. Recorded in November 1996, it was his last recorded interview before his death early the next year.
The Spoken Word
In the early 2000’s, I produced a public radio series called The Spoken Word which was distributed nationally. This one features Ann Beatty, David Kirby, and Barbara Hamby.
Verb: An Audioquarterly
In 2005, I relaunched an old audio project of mine. Verb: An Audioquarterly was a literary magazine in audio format. I published some fantastic writers, including Robert Olen Butler, Ha Jin, Tom Lux, Peter Case, Stuart Dybek, and Tom Franklin. It predated the wash of podcasts, but the content is perfect for that format. I was discussing the project with Stuart Dybek and Tom Lux at a party one evening and Stuart mentioned that he’d written a song in response to Tom Lux’s poem My Malaria. He bemoaned the idea that there’d never been a forum for the piece, so I asked him to record it for our first issue, and paired it with Tom reading his thirty-year-old poem.