MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2016
Having grown up in Brunswick, Maryland, a small town on the banks of the Potomac River, nestled beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains, I've been strongly influenced by the natural sights and sounds in this part of the country, in particular, by the plethora of birds. There is a great patience one acquires in watching birds; there is also a great satisfaction in witnessing their feats of flight, in seeing how delicate each creature seems but ferocious in their drives for food, safety, and freedom.
At the University of Baltimore, where I received my Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing & the Publishing Arts, birds once again attained a particular point of interest for me. Wallace Stevens' poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" was a talismanic piece used by my instructors in learning to view different perspectives and to investigate objects and emotions from all sides. On campus at the University of Baltimore, a statue of Edgar Allen Poe sits in the quad. "The Raven," arguably Poe's most famous poem, deals with the nocturnal appearance of a bird, a raven, and the emotional imbalance of a character straining for peace. Seen in this light, the bird represents the balance of life, a balance often upset by winds, by movement, by most anything acting as a catalyst for change. and it is these qualities of change, of perspective, of balance that I'm pursuing with a collection of short stories, each with a bird making an appearance or holding some influence over the main character.