In addition to my academic work, I write essays, fiction and poetry. I also travel a fair amount and sometimes write about that.
I write about tech and ethics on Substack. Check it out and subscribe below!
- Why are so many Gen Z-ers drawn to old digital cameras?, an essay about how we use technology as part of our search for meaning. First published in The Conversation, February 2023.
- How ‘Living Architecture’ Could Help the World Avoid a Soul-deadening Digital Future, an essay on beauty in design, communicating some of the ideas of Christopher Alexander. Published in The Conversation, August 2022.
- Finding Heroes In A Messy Digital World, an essay on the difficulty and urgency of recognizing heroes in the world today. Published in Noema Magazine, April 2022.
- Notes On Lanzhou, a lyric essay sharing my experience teaching in Lanzhou, in northwest China, in Fall 2019. Published on Medium, November 2019.
- On Repeat: Running Ultramarathons, an essay on the joy and meaning of repetition. Yes, repetition can be boring, but that's not a bad thing. Published in The Smart Set, October 2019.
- Why would anyone choose to run a 100-mile race? – A reflection on joy and suffering in ultramarathon running. Published in America Magazine, April 2018.
- Floaters – There’s a bunch of junk in my eyes. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. Published in Soft Cartel, February 2018. [PDF]
- Business Cards – Shuffling through my keepsake business cards, I reflect on the places I've been. Published in Across the Margin, October 2017.
- Lines of Spines: What is a Library? – A meditation on what libraries can be today, rooted in Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore. Published in The Smart Set, June 2017.
- Running and Worldmaking – We make worlds in everything we do, and running is no different. Here I reflect on the strange world of ultrarunning. Published in Sinkhole, March 2017.
I started writing my first novel in eighth grade. I didn't have much of a plan; I just wrote. I abandoned that story at 10,000 words, but I kept on writing other things. I wrote a number of short stories throughout high school and college, and later came back writing novels. I self-published a couple of these novels, which you can find below. It's a dream of mine to "make it" as a novelist (i.e., make enough money to support myself entirely through writing), but in the meantime I'm having fun exploring new worlds and learning how to tell better and better stories.
Some of the storytelling tools I've found most helpful are the Story Grid methodology and the tips in Matthew Dicks' book Storyworthy.
In Overyear, Reed is almost twenty, and he doesn’t appreciate the elders of his village Eidolon pestering him about starting a trade, getting married, and—worst of all—taking his Overyear, a coming-of-age tradition in which a boy has to spend a year in the outlands. Reed doesn’t have much patience for old traditions and stories. So while most boys take their Overyear by age fifteen, Reed never did—and now he fears it’s too late, anyway. But all this changes on the night of the village’s biggest festival when a monster appears in Eidolon and spirits Reed away. Thrust into a world of waiting dangers, Reed must confront his deepest fears just to survive. As Reed begins to forge a life of his own, little does he suspect that the fate of the whole world depends on him. Overyear is a story of adventure and gentle magic in a world shaped by its mythological past. Fans of Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik and Philip Pullman will fall in love with the characters and world in this novel.
The Eternal Parade tells the story of Evan, a recent art school graduate who, out for a walk one day, gets dive-bombed by a red-winged blackbird. Soon after, a mysterious band of 18th-century Japanese nomads appears at the door of nearby church looking for a place to rest. Evan is attracted to these travelers, and he becomes friends with one of them—whose name is, incidentally, also Evan. As the two get to know each other, they learn that they have much more in common than just their name.
In Koan, María Teresa has been arranged to marry Guillermo, the son of a wealthy businessman. That wouldn't be so bad if she didn't already have feelings for Álvaro, one of her oldest friends. When she's struggling most, María Teresa turns to the Church in hopes of a miracle. Things take a turn for the worse when she turns up pregnant, pointing her finger at the parish priest. A family and romantic drama set in 1980's Madrid.
- The River God – "Our town used to have a river god. Most towns did. And like most river gods, ours is dead now." Published in Alexandria Quarterly, August 2017.
- Luisa – A lovelorn man goes on a melancholic trip for work. Published in Literally Stories, April 18, 2017.
- Inventions – A young boy attempts to outdo his cooky Uncle Sigismund, an infamous failed inventor, but things don't quite go according to plan.
- Zepp's Diner – A lonely diner owner meditates on his life and the curiosities of his city, Saint-Michael. Published in Marquette Literary Review, issue 3, 2011. [PDF]
- Geological Time – Published in Chantwood Magazine, issue 10, September 2017
- Occult Furniture – Published in Chantwood Magazine, issue 10, September 2017
- The World in a Box – Published in Fwd: Museums, June 2017
- Three Poems from Madrid – Published in Straight Forward Poetry Journal, Spring 2014
If you had a year to yourself, with no obligations and unlimited money, what would you do? If you're like most people, you'd go off and see the world. I'm the same way, but I believe that travel should not be relegated to hypothetical situations—I myself specialize in traveling on a shoestring. Fortunately, the academic lifestyle lends itself to travel.
Popping ears, awkward situations, biting fear, boredom, aha moments, snoring hostel roommates, museums, graffiti, long plane rides... I love everything about travel (though I don't always appreciate it in the moment).
When I go abroad, I tend to journal extensively. And draw. And take photos. Read about my travels:
- Spain – I earned my MA while living in Madrid, and I decided to chronicle my time as a Spaniard in short, free-verse poems.
- Poland – I studied abroad for a semester at the University of Warsaw, blogging all the way.
- South America – The summer after my sophomore year, my friend Diego and I took a two-month trip around South America. I wrote up an eight-part account of our journey, published as Facebook notes. Read Tales from the Other America here:
- Mexico City – I studied abroad for a summer at the Mexico City campus of Tec de Monterrey and wrote a series of short essays on my experience.
- Europe – When I graduated from high school, I sold my car and went off alone to Europe for a month on a sort of art history pilgrimage. I kept a journal on my first time away from home.