ABOUT


WHO I AM

I’m an ex-lawyer, a sober alcoholic of 33 years, a Catholic convert, and a lover of books, film, and art.

In 1994, I quit lawyering to embark on the precarious life of a creative writer. Since then, I’ve undergone a long Dark Night of the Soul, emerged transformed, and been formed to mother-forth!

I’ve also become an award-winning author, columnist and speaker. My subjects include addiction, conversion, money, food, womanhood, annoying neighbors, prayer, gardening, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

You’ll find here my books, columns, writing workshops, and media events. As well, you can learn about my speaking and editing services.

This site also serves as my blog, where every so often I open my veins and share my very eventful life.

One day you might read a post on Joseph Cornell’s boxes, the next a profile of Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, and the day after that an account of my solo pilgrimage to Rome, where I spent most of my time creeping along the Tiber at dusk and taking pictures of the lights coming on along the bridges. 

You’ll find reading and viewing tips, travelogues, musings on gardens, food, and contemporary culture. You’ll find my own Personal Communion of Saints  and a description of my cri de coeur approach and sensibility.

You’ll find posts with categories that include “Existential Crises,” “People are Difficult,” and “The Tragicomedy of Our Daily Cross.”

You’ll find my periodically updated list of 25 Great Memoirs and 25 Great Films.  


WHAT I DO

Through writing, speaking, and workshops I foster the “ecstatic truth” of art. I celebrate other artists and thinkers, often unsung, in a weekly column that reaches for the transcendent.

I mentor, help shape manuscripts, and edit. I offer retreats on the creative life, intentional conversation about the spiritual life, and Zoom chats—either on a particular topic or free-form—for groups of any size.

How is that all undergirded? I walk. Read. Play the piano (badly). Pray (ditto, but fervently). Work on my resentments. Collect flowers. seed pods, branches, and leaves.

Visit museums, attend concerts, plays, lectures.

Get invited here and there, travel a bit, and take photos of flowers, trees, and the sky.

But mostly I write. I’ve written on addiction as spiritual thirst,  vocational crises, conversion, food, money, cancer,  unrequited love, prayer, plants and womanhood. 

I’ve written and recorded over 30 slice-of-life commentaries for NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

I write a weekly arts and culture column for Angelus News, the archdiocesan newspaper of LA.

I write a monthly column on unsung saints for MAGNIFICAT Magazine

I write books–lots and lots of books–about my stumbling, tragicomic, journey. Which is, roughly, born and raised on the coast of New Hampshire, twenty years as a hard-core drunk, sobered up, moved West, had a spiritual crisis as a Beverly Hills lawyer, quit my job, started writing, converted, and took my First Communion at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood.

Then the hard part began.


WHERE I LIVE

In a Craftsman bungalow in Pasadena, CA that’s been divided into eight apartments.

Mine, a small ship-snug one-bedroom, features a balcony full of succulents and aloes, a native plant garden, two hummingbird feeders, several ancient camellia bushes that come up to the second floor, a sky full of wild parrots, aching tree-filtered light, neighbors who form a delightful and ever-surprising ecosystem, and a landlord who views OUR HOME as on ONGOING CONSTRUCTION SITE.


WHERE I COME FROM

I had good beginnings, thanks to Allen K. King and Janet M. King of North Hampton, New Hampshire.

And for the last 30 years, LA, baby.

I adore Los Angeles, the city the rest of the country loves to hate. That I get to write of its secrets, paradoxes, wonders, weirdness and wackiness every week is a supreme joy.


WHERE I’M GOING

THE LAMENTATION OF CHRIST, 1305-1306
GIOTTO