Why Old Men Plant Trees

Magnolia grandiflora. Even the name is beautiful, isn’t it? Never mind the fragrant blossoms with petals like white satin, or the shimmering green leaves, rusty on the underside. My wife Mary Leigh frets about the litter of big leaves and fruit, but I say no one complains about picking up after a successful party. Oh, […]

Book Trailer

There are book trailers! Who knew? Certainly not me, wandering the savannahs of the Internet on my knuckles with my laptop in tow, like the apes in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. But my publisher, NewSouth Books’ Suzanne La Rosa, thought it would be a good idea for me to produce one. Of course, […]

Pit Bull as Metaphor

Meet Sam. He’s a rescue. The vet’s guess is he’s ten, a pit bull–Lab mix. He weighs 80 pounds. When a neighbor coaxed him off the streets of Fisher Park, where we live in downtown Greensboro, Sam weighed 43 pounds. His kidneys were shutting down. He had scars on his legs, shoulders, neck, and muzzle. […]


  Words did not come easily to my mother. Yet there we stand, embowered by her eloquence.While Mom was diffident in the way of country people, you can see from the picture she could make anything grow. In an academic career spanning one undergraduate and two graduate schools, I could bring home nearly any straggly, […]