Background and activities
My background is somewhat more eclectic than the average academic, and perhaps even more so when it is considered in a Norwegian context. I am an American who grew up as a military brat and am myself a veteran with ten years of military experience and all the appropriate commendations. I’ve worked in administration and office technology for more than 20 years and been responsible for providing support and organization for considerably larger staffs than we have at the Department of Language and Literature, again with the usual commendations. I’ve been responsible for training and working with people in a variety of environments ranging from military to private sector to state departments to the offices of a United States Senator to a Research-1 level university to other academic organizations.
I’ve served as mentor, tutor, literacy volunteer/advocate, and crisis counselor for a certified crisis line. I’ve served as editor for a print literary journal, and editor-in-chief for an electronic literary journal. I am addicted to my hobbies, and those hobbies spill over into my writing and my other interests. I have been teaching and mentoring in the fiber arts for more than eight years, and am responsible for the creation and continued existence of two organizations in this field as well as an informal and unrelated book club, the latter of which has been in existence for the past eleven years. I seem to tend to gather people who share my own interests into small and interactive groups—and take great pleasure in seeing their own enjoyment in the growth of their knowledge and skills—but I also work very independently with those activities which engage me.
I am at heart a writer; my Master’s is in creative writing with an emphasis in creative nonfiction, and my doctorate is in American literature. However, I’ve discovered that I approach literature from a slightly different mindset than most academics who focus on literature, and the creative insight contained within a text, and its artistry, is of more interest to me than the usual academic theoretical approaches.
I’ve developed, piloted, and executed a variety of courses in face-to-face, hybrid, and purely online environments, and have mentored others in the online environment. I’ve worked with three universities (FSU, SNHU, and NTNU) and at least two other academic organizations. Teaching experience ranges from the usual first-year writing courses which are required in the North American environment to remedial academic writing in the Norwegian environment, and from creative writing to survey or thematic literature courses across a variety of levels.
My particular areas of interest fall in three different but overlapping areas: creative writing; American literature, especially American women writers and literature of the American South; and fiber arts and textiles. In practical terms, this means that current projects include creative texts (most often within creative nonfiction), and literary analysis work with a Southern writer of special interest to me, Mary Johnston. Woven into both of those is an ongoing attention to textiles, fiber arts, and representation of textiles within the texts with which I work, as well as consideration of the fiber arts in general and in terms of cultural representation, development, history, and study.