Verge Article About Aiken

Recently, I wrote a column for Verge about appreciating your hometown and its history. You can catch it on page 11 in this month’s magazine issue. Check it out and leave your thoughts here.


Literary Adventures, Part 2: “The Staff Part-ay”

Where did the orange one come from? Or the yellow for that matter?

On Thursday night, I met the awesome staff of Verge. Amid eating venison chili and too many pillow mints, I found it interesting to place names and faces with stories, with styles. I always find it exhilarating to meet writers, though usually I meet fictional writers. Though I write both fiction and nonfiction, I think there are some differences between the type of people who write fiction and those who write journalistic stories. I imagine the mesh between the two would be Ernest Hemingway, though no one can be exactly like Hemingway, part-crazy, half-the-only-sane-one.

Fiction writers tend to be more subdued,  awkward with public speaking unless they are storytellers. As in, they memorize and tell stories for money. Mostly, writing is done alone. Though sometimes I’ll sit in a coffee shop to write, I am usually still alone. Or writing alone in my room. The only time we talk to others is when we publish something.

Journalists tend to be more social, I feel, perhaps because we go out to interview people in order to write our stories. We get used to speaking to others, holding an engaging conversation. If we weren’t able to elicit conversation from almost anyone, we’d be terrible at interviews.

These are just some of my thoughts. I had a really great time at my editor’s flat which was downtown. Before, I did not even realize that some people lived downtown. Now I know quite a lot about downtown Augusta. As of last year, I hardly ever went there, but now I go at least once a week and learn more each time.

Even past my demanding you to, if you have not check out the Verge, I will give you yet another wonderful opportunity to. Simply click here. You’re welcome.


Literary Adventures, Part 1: “The Release Party and the Drunk Artiste”

Wednesday and Thursday night were spent surrounded by artist types. Some of them were artists– of all kinds, including writers, poets, and painters. Others were artistes who do not per se create art, but appreciate art at a level to fit in with the artist community. The sort of pretentious people who are extremely interesting and irritating.

On Wednesday, I ventured out to Broad Street to a local bookstore which was small but cool. Called Book Tavern. There the Verge held the Inkling release party. Stacks of the magazines sat at the front for the attendees to peruse. If you haven’t read it yet, particularly my story, go get it immediately or read it here online.

The first few minutes I spent shaking the hands of those I did not particularly recognize.

Hi, I’m a writer. My name is…..

After meeting and greeting, I talked to an artist and poet I’ve known for some months. Although I’d seen her perform several times, rarely had I talked with her. Good times were had, discussing literature and the creative process. She even introduced me to her friend, who flirted with me intensely. After about fifteen minutes, I accidentally let slip I was a senior in high school, the awkwardness of which was magnified by the fact that she taught English at a high school.

That night, I briefly spoke with my editor whom I had never before met. She seemed younger than I anticipated but just as nice as she seemed in her e-mails. Maybe that was her character: grandmother kindliness but young spunky-ness. When we wrapped up that event, some of us floated over to Sit-a-Spell where we were having an open mic. More importantly, we celebrated Catherine the Great’s birthday. No, not the Russian one. The poetess from Augusta.

After we performed and clapped and snapped, we ate cake. It was fun and enlightening to meet new people.

Now, about those artistes I mentioned. You can spot them from a mile off. They like to wear loud earrings and nose rings and sport tribal tattoos. This evening, I recognized one such man. I had met him before months ago at my first open mic. He sits fresh in my memory because he sat on the floor trying to drum the guitar but failing. Perhaps the first time I met him, he was beyond stoned.

The second time I encountered this greased-ponytail-wearing fellow, he was instead rip-roaring drunk. Not even drunk in the especially funny way or even in a mean way, but instead that “oh dear, he is very drunk” drunk. Which I think is the worst, since he spot it only as a drunk out of context. At a party where every person is drinking, every person is this drunk. Everyone, however, is too drunk to notice. The awkwardly-drunk drunk appears in inappropriate situations: super markets, elementary schools, and open mics.

As he stumbled out the door halfway through someone’s performance, knocking over an expensive guitar and fist-bumping everyone he saw in the process, I realized why it is important to distinguish between artists and artistes.

Artists work on their craft and exercise some talent over what they do. Artistes wonder around with a ukuleles tucked under their arms, get drunk off free wine at magazine release parties, and videotape poets on his cell phone, bent on the floor for a better angle.

You see this a lot in the artist community, though. People who smugly LOVE art. They’re the same people who will scold you for not listening to the Devilish Egg’s new album the day it comes out. “What? You’ve never heard of them? Well, I expect not. Not very well-known, but basically, the best band in the world. They’ve been out for- what- five years? Still, can’t believe you’ve never heard of them.”

“Sorry. I haven’t.”

“Well, you should. I’m in the band.”

He and his Uke may make up the elusive band which plays what they describe “hard rock with rap influence and a twang of new-age Banjo.”

Besides encountering the drunk artiste, I had a perfectly lovely time. Later today or tomorrow depending on my levels of laziness, I will tell you all the fine adventures had the Verge New Year’s party.

What I learned last Wednesday, though:

Don’t serve free wine anywhere. You will attract alcoholics. And artists


Short Story: “Bait For the Dammed”

As many of you know, I write for the Verge. Recently, the magazine published its annual fiction addition in which I had the good fortune of being published. I went to the release party and our New Years gathering the following day. Boy, do I have some stories to tell. But my fingers are weak and my mind numb from school. Perhaps in the strength of the morning, I will recount those tales to you so you can share in my strange but wonderful literary adventures.

Until then, read the short piece of fiction I have published.

“A journalist from the North learns there may be more behind a boring story about a dam when his truck breaks down in the South Carolina backwoods.”


Read the story via the online magazine here:

Of course there are other great works in there as well, so read them all. If you don’t live in the CSRA, you can always read it online!