For most of my adult life, I’ve worked with words. First, I wrote them as a journalist for The Associated Press and later the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I started my career at two small newspapers when I was a teenager in Marked Tree, a small town in northeast Arkansas. For almost seven years, I took my craft to a school in another small town where I taught English and started a student newspaper.
In mid-life, I’d say the words, “I do,” and later bring a little girl who had just learned to walk and talk into our country and home. Annie is in college now.
Over the years, I’ve won numerous awards, among them Arkansas’ top investigative-reporting award twice for articles that led to two consecutive university presidents’ resignations. One went on to plead guilty to a felony in federal court; the other, to a misdemeanor in state court.
My writing has appeared in newspapers around the world, including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. My freelance work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Hadassah Magazine, Angie’s List, English Journal, The Des Moines Register, and other publications.
I began my career as a teenager writing for my hometown weekly, the Marked Tree Tribune. I’d start work in the mornings and often still be rolling papers for mail distribution the next day at 3 a.m. Later while attending Arkansas State University, I wrote part-time for the daily Jonesboro Sun.
My first job out of college was as an intern at the AP in Little Rock. I would quit and return there twice more before I transferred to Illinois. I worked in the Chicago bureau for almost 20 years and briefly in the Atlanta and Louisville, Ky., bureaus.
At the AP, I interviewed a wide range of newsmakers. Among them were a welfare mom who sent her nine children and then herself to college, three now-former presidents, death-row inmates, and the suspected Tylenol killer.
I interviewed a young Donald Trump when he was in Chicago for a meeting of the dying USFL. I first met Bill Clinton when he was presidential candidate George McGovern’s advance man and sported an Afro hairstyle. I later interviewed Clinton more than once when he was Arkansas’ governor and at one point covered him on the presidential campaign trail.
Other notable interviews were with the likes of former President Jimmy Carter, the late Ann Landers, and authors Anne Lamott, Scott Turow, and others.
Over the years some stories made me smile; others made me sad, angry, confused. On this blog, I will look back at some of those stories.
I also will share clearly labeled fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and book reviews. I welcome suggestions.