The Woman on a 50-State Challenge (#2 of 100 Interesting People)

Boise, IdahoThe man walked down the aisle of the plane looking for an open seat. He paused as he approached our row, eyeing the middle seat between me and another woman. I spread out in my seat and shifted my laptop, hoping he would not want to sit next to someone who was going to work throughout the flight. I wasn’t feeling very welcoming; it was a boring business trip, to Idaho, of all places. What fun could I have in Idaho?

After he moved on toward the rear of the plane, the other woman leaned over to me, smiled, and said, “I really was hoping he wouldn’t sit here because I wanted the some extra room; but still, it makes me wonder … What’s wrong with me, that he didn’t want to sit here?”

I could not pass up an introduction like that. Continue reading

As a Woman in the South, You Need Only Three Things

The summer of my 22nd birthday, I went down to Lumpkin, Georgia, to help my granddaddy with his annual “Liquor Kicker” campaign. Granddaddy was the Baptist preacher in Lumpkin, and that Sunday morning he preached a fire-and-brimstone sermon so loud, so long, and so bombastic that even the demons at the gates of hell feared for their futures.

After church, Granddaddy, Grandmother, and I pushed an old Winn-Dixie shopping cart around town, door to door, asking people to give up their liquor bottles. Grandmother seeded the cart with a bottle of bourbon, like putting a dollar in the tip jar before a performance, saying in her Georgia drawl, “People is more likely to give up their bottles if they see someone else done give up theirs first.”

Back at home at the end of the afternoon, Granddaddy went to take a nap, and Grandmother and I went to the kitchen to dispose of the liquor we had collected–bourbon, vodka, rum, beer, wine, and even some moonshine. She took each bottle out of the cart, removed the cap, sniffed the liquor, and then put the bottle either on the counter or on the table. When she had finished dividing the bottles into the two groups, she pointed to the liquor on the counter and said, “Now, Christy, you pour all them bottles down the sink.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, “but what about the bottles on the table?”

“Them?” she asked. “Them’s the good ones. I’m puttin’ ’em in the laundry room where your granddaddy won’t never find ’em!”

“Grandmother! Wasn’t this whole liquor kicker campaign his grand idea? How can betray him?”

“Not exactly, hon,” she explained. “As a woman in the south, you need only three things: someone who loves you; the know-how to make him do what you want him to do; and wisdom … to make him think it was his idea.”

From “The Summer that Grandmother Got Her Shine Back,” soon to be available on Kindle and Nook in the short story collection Pecan Pie, Cigars, and the One and Only Secret to Happiness.

Life Is Like Colorado (#1 of 100 Interesting People Challenge)

ColoradoWhen a man sits next to you on a 6:50 AM flight and orders shots of whiskey, he will not be boring. He will be either entertaining or obnoxious. “Luke” runs a printing press, plays in a band, has traded classic guitars, and is studying to get his degree in web development—although he might change his major to political theory. How can a man with such varied interests be boring?

He was eager to share his story when I explained that I am a storyteller Continue reading

Twin Cities Storytelling: “Stories of Growth,” May 3, SlamMN!

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The first Tuesday in May, at Kieran’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis, is the next installment in the SlamMN! story slam series. Come listen to my story, “The Unorthodox Habits of Brother John,” and help me decide whether to include this story in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks).”

Email me at for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.

The 100 Interesting People Challenge

When we played duck, duck, goose in Mrs. Bridges’ first grade class, the other kids pumped their arms as they ran around the circle. I spun my arms in front of me like propellers, certain that they would make me fly faster than an airplane. Being the slowest kid in my class never shook my faith in my propeller arms.

During Homecoming Week in high school, when the other kids wore sunglasses on Hats and Shades Day, I wore a window shade. They wore camo shirts and pants on Camouflage Day, and I painted my face and wore branches on my head.

When my composition teacher assigned us to write a “how-to” paper on pet care, for which other kids wrote about how to walk their dogs, I wrote, “How To Bathe Your Pet Mosquito.” Continue reading

Twin Cities Storytelling: “Fraud,” April 16, Cheap Theatre

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The day after tax day, a storytelling event on the theme of “Fraud.” Hear Delta Giordano, Charlie Fowler, Noel LaBine, Joan Calof, and me. I’m giving a preview up my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine.”

Email me at for tickets.

Facebook: Reuniting Old Flames, and Reigniting Old Infernos

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If you like Facebook because it reunites old friends, look at how it reignites old enemies.

When Kentucky’s archrival Louisville lost in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, I posted the snarky comment, “Go, Morehead State! Everyone wins when Louisville loses.” “Michael,” an old high school friend with whom I had connected on Facebook but had had almost no interaction, responded with several strongly worded posts defending Louisville. I sparred with him, but I reminded him that I was saying this all in good fun. I thought that was the end of it.

The next day, “Alan” posted an unprintable response to Michael on Continue reading