Tonight, an object lesson for students in the age of social media. (Actually, I’m surprised this story has remained ‘off blog’ for so long since my friends are ever-so-happy to hear it told.) In 1999, I worked as a teaching assistant for Michael Lewis while a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate… Read More


As the nation tried to collect itself in the hours, minutes, and days after the terrorist attacks, our president rightfully spent a great deal of time and energy reassuring the public. What I didn’t believe, though, was the insistence that we could adequately monitor digital communications in order to find out if there were looming threats.… Read More


After months and years of research, I’ve finally started outlining So Far Appalachia, my next book project. The early part of the writing process involves organizing my anecdotes, inserting them within chapters, and arranging the chapters in a way that will elicit the reader to consider certain themes. It looks like this:… Read More


We know that the best way for humans to change their behavior patterns is through tracking mechanisms. If you want to lose weight, you have to count (somewhere) what you are eating. If you want to get stronger in the gym, you have to count what you are doing. Without that tracking mechanism, we lose… Read More


I think thematically. As each year comes to a close, I spend December sitting with the work of my previous year. I sift through what I’ve created, I look at what I didn’t create, and conceptualize what I want my next year to become. I’ve always been methodical and particular in my thinking, but I’ve become much… Read More