Print/Web/Corporate Writer & Editor
I’m passionate about writing and at pinpointing the heart of every story I write, be it an inspirational piece that lingers in the reader’s mind or a serviceable “how-to” article that finds a place on the reader’s refrigerator.
My favorite subject is whatever I’m working on at the time. Each fresh assignment is as intriguing and important to me as the last. I’m insatiably curious and devoted to learning. I love delving deep into research, discovering just the right tidbit to make a story sing.
I am a generalist journalist. (Witness the varied subjects I’ve covered throughout my career!) The topic might be about an intriguing personality (Frank Gonzalez) or a unique destination or a time-honored craft. It could involve a tricky surgery on a singer’s vocal cords a police officer’s talent for drawing suspect sketches, or the wellness trend of children’s dance/movement classes. Whatever, my telling of the topic de jour generally evokes an “aha” moment of recognition in readers for a story that they find uplifting, useful, and sometimes both.
I’m inspired by people who thrive despite setbacks and circumstances.
I’m thrilled when I can point out travel details that help readers embrace a destination’s unique character.
I admire people of boldness and creativity.
I get a kick out of presenting a different twist to the same-old, same-old gardening piece.
I live to uncover facets of a celebrity that aren’t typical of the usual tabloid fodder.
I take pleasure in highlighting the how-to’s of a craft that simultaneously helps and honors its fans.
I marvel at those who quietly live lives of servitude and selflessness.
I love to tell the story, all stories.
I am honored to be a part of spreading insight, wisdom, and joy in the world through stories, whatever the medium or topic. I love sharing pivotal moments, turning points, epiphanies, and crucial times sometimes hidden among the mundane.
My attention to detail has led to the discovery of some surprising, delightful, and intriguing revelations from the people I’ve interviewed and the places I’ve been.
–Country music star Naomi Judd’s barn features many of her stage costumes and her closet (an entire room the size of a bedroom) boasts her fashionable outfits which hang just above neatly positioned color-coordinated shoes. Accessories reside in a middle-of-the-room island with drawers neatly dividing pieces by color and type.
–Ken Burns fabulously articulates his views and hopes and goals for the role of film documentaries in today’s society, which isn’t at all surprising. The surprising part is that, at the end of these beautifully rendered mini-speeches, Mr. Burns kindly asks what the interviewer thinks and then listens as if he truly wants to know! (“Ummmm, ditto,” I responded, so mesmerized by his brilliant comments I was rendered speechless.)
–Security at the Country Music Association Awards rehearsal at the Grand Ole Opry will kick you out if the event’s director asks them to once he realizes you are with the media and you have accidentally overheard him muttering under his breath and badmouthing the prima donna attitude of one of the performing stars.
Perhaps more than celebrity encounters, I’ve enjoyed the extraordinary people I’ve met who call themselves ordinary.
–Butch Robbins, a veteran who lost both legs and an arm when he stepped on a land mine in Vietnam. He came home to farm and become an auctioneer and taught himself to walk without benefit of rehab services. (The first time he drove, he used an umbrella to press the gas and brakes!) And he flirted, flashing an engaging smile and sparkling eyes, refusing to let the world pity him.
–Charles Davis, former NBA player—Michael Jordan once said Charles was a player who could hold his own against him. Charles returned to Nashville even before he “made” it in the NBA to help kids in the mean-streets neighborhood he grew up in.
–Samuel Mockbee, the MacArthur genius grant award recipient, was the architect known for designing and using way-out-there materials, such as hay bales, for his low-income housing. I have the dubious distinction of being one of the last people to get his thoughts about his work at the Rural Studio before he succumbed unexpectedly from a leukemia recurrence.
–Oseola McCarty, the laundry woman in Hattiesburg who frugally saved a relatively large nest egg and decided to give it to the University of Southern Mississippi. She never graduated from middle school. People from all over the world were moved by her selfless act, including Ted Turner who gave away a few million of his own due to her inspiration.
–The faithful fans of the Peabody Hotel and its legendary traditions. Taking my family to this famous Memphis landmark and having my 9-year-old twins serve as the Peabody duck masters was among the best job-related perks I’ve ever experienced. The kids enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame when they were recognized on Beale Street afterwards.
–The Americana descendants, relatives of Confederate folks who moved to Brazil after the Civil War. Sporting all shades of skin from lily white to mocha brown to jet-black, these people convincingly celebrate their ties to the American South. To them, the controversial Confederate flag is not divisive, but a symbol of friendship. Their outlook helped me see how perspective and attitude are everything. Tolerance and understanding should be the goal.
–Elvis. No, I didn’t meet the King. But I covered the University of Mississippi’s first conference on all-things Presley. The event included impersonators (including El Vez from Mexico and Elvis Herselvus, a female version). We toured Graceland and made a motorcade-escorted bus trip to Tupelo. Since my stepmother lived in Oxford, Mississippi, at the time, I took my 6-month-old twins with me on the trip. Each carrying an infant, my mom and I bopped up to Graceland Too, a broken-down antebellum home owned by Elvis Aaron Presley McCleod and his father, “the world’s #1 Elvis fans.” The father and son duo offer tours of their Elvis-enshrined home 24/7 to any and all. My stepmother took one look at this bizarre gothic only-in-the-South house and declared: “You are not taking my grandchildren in there.” There was also a sermon about Elvis from artist Howard Finster, who claimed to have received a visit from Elvis from beyond the grave. Howard asked Elvis: “Can you stay a while?” To which the ghostly king reportedly replied, “Howard, I’m on a tight schedule.”
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