Essay appears in The MacGuffin

I’m belatedly reporting here that my essay, “To Suckle on Fear,” appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The MacGuffin, a great journal out of Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. This piece is what is known as a hermit crab essay – an essay that takes the form of some other type of (usually) recognizable document. This one is in the form of a police report because it involves my getting brought home in a police car as a 7-year-old for some relatively minor matter. At the heart of the story, though, and this is what the essay explores, were my assumptions about race, and I apparently had many, as a little kid living in a fearful, toxic culture.

I’m grateful to the folks at The MacGuffin: Editor Steven A. Dolgin and especially Managing Editor Gordon Krupsky for shepherding this through to publication. Thank you!

The piece is not online, but I am trying to find an online home for it. If all else fails, I’ll post it here.


New essay “Last Chance” online at Tributaries

Hey, I just got done digging my car out of the ice/snow and almost forgot that today was the day that a flash essay was going live! It’s called “Last Chance,” and it’s at Tributaries, which is an online section of the journal The Fourth River. Now, The Fourth River is a “journal of nature and place-based writing, published by Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. Chatham University is in Pittsburgh, folks. And I am very grateful that they gave these few moments in time a home there; special thanks to Editor-in-Chief and Nonfiction Editor Sheila Squillante. I also want to give a shout-out to Denton Loving, a writer I met at Bennington, who compiles and puts out a very helpful call for submissions from literary journals. That’s how I heard about Tributaries in the first place. Thank you, Denton!

“Last Chance” is a quick read, but I hope you’ll check it out and savor it all the same. Thanks for your continued support!



Legendary Locals now available at ArtFusion 19464

It’s that time of year when we think of home and childhood and twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. For those family and friends who may have moved away from Pottstown, but might like to take a trip down memory lane, please consider buying them a copy of Legendary Locals of Pottstown (by yours truly and photographer Ed Berger) this holiday season. It summarizes the town’s history while featuring the people who founded and built the town and keep its businesses and institutions running to this very day. ArtFusion 19464 also carries a wide-ranging and eclectic array of gifts in all price ranges – ornaments, jewelry, art, ceramics and interesting up-cycled works. They are located at 254 E. High Street in the heart of Pottstown. Thanks for your support!

“The Gun Show” in The Southeast Review

I’m really happy to have an essay in the current issue of The Southeast Review (Vol. 34.2), among the work of many fine poets, artists, and writers of fiction and nonfiction. The Southeast Review is a literary journal run by the graduate students and a faculty advisor in the English Department at Florida State University. My essay, “The Gun Show,” tells about my first trip to a gun show in King of Prussia, PA back in 2003, against the backdrop of a shooting accident from my childhood, in which my dad, a gunsmith, unintentionally shot our neighbor, who subsequently died. This is part of a larger project – a full-length memoir – about my relationship with my dad, the guns always there. Always.

This journal only puts a few selected pieces online after the next issue comes out, so the only way you would be able to read this essay for the foreseeable future would be to buy the journal here. Thanks for your continued support as I work to get this story out :-).



“Gun-Sitting” up at Hippocampus Magazine

I’m thrilled to report that a new essay of mine, “Gun-Sitting,” is up at Hippocampus Magazine, a really wonderful nonfiction journal based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and featuring writing from around the world. I offer my heartfelt thanks to founder and publisher, Donna Talarico, for getting this story out into the world. It is the first published piece related to my memoir-in-progress about a shooting accident from my childhood. I’ve been working on this story for years, and while it’s a huge relief to finally be sharing it with readers, it’s also more than a little scary to be revealing the particulars of a traumatic experience and its aftereffects, which have trailed me and others around for the better part of our lives. I hope you find this story worth reading and discussing.

I do want to note that the names of the students and the victim have been changed here to protect their privacy.




Reading at The Word Barn

This post does not bring “new” news, but I wanted to document this wonderful event here….

On November 15, 2015 I had the pleasure of reading an excerpt from my memoir to a packed house at The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire. Also reading that afternoon was Peter Anderson, this year’s George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy. It was such a treat to read alongside Peter in this space that has been created by poet, teaching colleague, and friend, Sarah Anderson. Through The Silo Series at The Word Barn, Sarah brings together readers and writers who are passionate about the power of literature in our lives.

To learn more about The Word Barn and the reading, check out this article: A Word Barn Raising.

The piece I read, “The Gun Show,” has been accepted by The Southeast Review and will be out this spring in their next print issue. I am very grateful this piece has found a home at SER.

Legendary Locals of Pottstown available for pre-order!

I am so excited to announce that the Legendary Locals of Pottstown is now available for pre-orders at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Arcadia Books. It will be released Oct. 14, 2013.

Arcadia Publishing, the largest publisher of local history books in the country was great to work with. They came across my Positively Pottstown blog about a year ago and asked if I’d be interested in profiling “legendary locals,” broadly defined, and things just took off from there.

This was an incredibly cool project. The photographer, Ed Berger, and I met so many amazing Pottstown people, who I can’t thank enough for taking the time to share their stories. This is my first book, so I have to keep pinching myself to make sure this is really happening.

I will keep you updated as book signings/events are held this fall so that the community can hear some of the stories of the people in the book and to get the book into your hands.

South Atlantic MLA conference

This past Saturday I delivered a paper entitled, “Escape and Re-Invention: The Automobile in This Boy’s Life and Anywhere But Here” for a panel at the 2012 South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference in Durham, NC.

The panel theme was “Horseless Carriages and Hybrid Mustangs: Travel and the Automobile in Twentieth- and Twentieth-First-Century American Literature,” which was right up my alley, since I had focused on the automobile in American fiction and nonfiction for my graduate lecture at Bennington last January. I really enjoyed digging into Tobias Wolff’s memoir and Mona Simpson’s novel again and learned so much from the other panelists and the ensuing discussion.

My colleagues on the panel were Rebecca Godwin of Barton College and Jason Vredenburg of the University of Illinois. Rebecca’s paper was on “Pickups, Cadillacs, Mavericks, and Jeeps: Traveling the Mountain South in Robert Morgan’s Short Fiction.” It was a special treat to have  Robert  Morgan, who is on the faculty at Cornell, in the audience! Jason’s paper was on “The Early Automobile and the Transformation of Travel in Edith Wharton and Theodore Dreiser.” I appreciated the opportunity to learn from them and came way with several books I’d like to read to enhance my  understanding of this area of literature, which continually ties into my training as an urban planner.

Photo by Danielle Newton

The panel chair was Ben Lowery and the secretary was James Everett, both of the University of Mississippi. Of course, I think it was a great topic, with a lot of rich material to be mined, which also allowed for a lively discussion with audience members, including some of my Bennington classmates: Margaret Rich, Catherine Faurot and Danielle Newton. Catherine and Danielle’s paper, “All My Tears Be Washed Away: Revelations of Displacement in Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball,” was also part of another engaging panel/discussion. Thank you to everyone associated with the Horseless Carriage panel and to SAMLA for a very positive first experience presenting at an MLA conference!

The conversion is almost complete.

I can’t even remember when I first put up During the late 1990s, I think, when I was writing that nanny novel that never sold. I’ve always been one to conceive of a full-scale marketing plan before I even have a book to sell. Business cards used to figure heavily in these schemes, but now WordPress allows me to indulge my more sophisticated website design & development fantasies. (I took the photo in the header and put the text on it all by myself!) I do know that I snatched up that URL back in the day and, sure enough, a few other Sue Repkos have cropped up on the interwebs in the interim. Who dreamed there could be even one more??

It’s taken me months of infrequent work to move the information from my longstanding website to this WordPress site. I hope I don’t have to do this again anytime soon. I have some writing to do.

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