Frost Heaves

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

(Albert Einstein)

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Frost Heaves is set in Southern Vermont, a physically harsh and rural environment paradoxically within a few hours’ drive of the urban centers of Boston and New York. In this setting, an eclectic mix of characters are forced by proximity to interact, to negotiate community, and to confront the realities of their own individual strengths and weaknesses. It is a place that encourages retreat, even escape, but, as the characters in this book must realize, the quaint and bucolic lifestyle imagined in this place is disrupted daily by the fact that a human is, in the end, another part of the natural world and a part of the larger social organism. Though these stories are individually complete, in the book collection they are also connected by theme, character, and setting, and with an understanding that individual experience is a shared human story sometimes only barely perceived as overlapping, cohesive, and common. The book’s structure is both seasonal and cyclical, with each section of stories (each close third person point of view, focused on the experience of a protagonist) introduced by a story that shifts point of view in rapid succession, connecting the community of voices to place.

Heartland Book Festival Appearance

I will be speaking next week, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at the Heartland Book Festival in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The subject of my talk is “Universe and Human: Creating a Community in a Collection of Short Stories.” Frost Heaves is such a collection, and I hope to lead a discussion (and offer a few exercises and strategies) to think about how we can invent a new reality and better place through literature. The event is scheduled for 11-11:45, and I’ll be at the Festival both Friday and Saturday to sign and sell books and talk about writing. Hope to see you there!

Bronze Award for Frost Heaves!

Frost Heaves has been awarded third place in the Feathered Quill 2019 awards competition for short story collections.


– “The setup, location especially, when it comes to this book is very well done. I am a person who lived in the NW Corner of CT my whole young life and that broken asphalt, the ice, snow, etc., certainly brought my mind right back to that time. Along those same lines, for those “sunshine” state dwellers, you perfectly laid out the setting to the point where people are immediately pulled in. It takes a lot of work to “show” a book to the point where it plays like a movie in your head, and you have done just that. Your eclectic characters also made these stories mesh well. There was no “dull” point where the characters were ever alike, which made for an intriguing read. And when they mixed with the natural world, the “movie” yet again began to play in one’s mind. Good job!”

“Time Travelers” Wins Gold!

My essay, “Time Travelers,” which is part of my memoir (Strangers in the Village), was awarded the first prize–Gold Award–for best Family Travel essay of 2017 in the Solas Travel Writing Awards competition. Thanks to Tina Mitchell at The Turnip Truck(s), who asked me to write a piece for their “Abundance” issue and published the essay first! You can read the essay right now at the Solas Awards website.