Whenever I join a writing group I introduce myself as a recovering academic. I was raised in an academic family and earned a doctorate in medieval art history, mostly because my advisor was too startled by my thesis to reject it. What I was really interested in was story-telling, particularly stories about sensing the presence of haunting memory. Never comfortable in academia, I occupied border territory, boundary space, paradox, liminality.
In 2011 I had a life-changing experience with memory when I made an unexpected trip to Vietnam and confronted my own buried experience of coming of age during the American war there. Soon after, I began working with a veteran to write his story and then my own. The result is Seeking Quan Am: A Dual Memoir of War and Vietnam.
In 2016 I became a Reiki Master, making official my long-standing interest in how energy flows, or doesn’t. When I am asked how my Reiki practice and my interest in war in general and the war in Vietnam in particular converge I say they are the same. I am not a war buff. I utterly lack an interest in battles and strategy. I see the flow of energy, how it surges forward, fueled by young male passion and old male cynicism. I see it collide and explode, leaving wreckage in its wake. I see its longterm effects. I know that, later, I may be able to take the fragments of that energy and reweave them into something ‘re-human,’ something deeper, closer to myth and wisdom.
I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, a land of glaciers and wine. I love to garden and eat dark chocolate. I travel and then to come back home and think about it. I am an Aries and act it. The R. in my name is for Raglan. I carry a Moleskine notebook with me wherever I go.
The name “The Memory Stone” is inspired by a card I found in a church in France. It was handwritten and sitting on a ledge. It read, in French, “One can trust the memory of stones. Stones know how to preserve the mark of the living.