Trust does not come easy to me, and I cannot hold hope in my hands. But I know that Spanish moss can blow into the sky and soar a bird in flight, or dive into the sea and surface a dolphin. Holding tight to nothing, I could become anything, could become everything, could even become nothing at all. — “Born Beneath Pedro’s Sombrero”
As a fiction writer, I am particularly drawn to the strange and absurd. Born Beneath Pedro’s Sombrero: Tales of Trauma and Triumph from the National Association of Tourist Attraction Survivors is no exception. The stories in this thematic novel focus on fictional characters who grew up in or are otherwise connected to tourist attractions in the United States, from Dillon, South, Carolina’s South of the Border to Roswell, New Mexico’s International UFO Museum. To give this collection (mock) credibility, I have also created as the book’s “editor” a character closely associated with the National Association of Tourist Attraction Survivors, herself a survivor of Tourist Attraction Trauma.
In 2001, I received an Albion College Faculty Development Grant funding travel and research for this project, which I used towards two extensive trips across the United States and visits to many a tourist attraction.
In May, 2009, “Raised in a Corn Palace” from this collection was awarded the Paul Somers Prize for Creative Prose from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature and was subsequently published in MidAmerica.
In April, 2014, I was awarded an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council on the basis of “Born Beneath Pedro’s Sombrero.”
Please visit the National Association of Tourist Attraction Survivors page for more detailed information about the featured stories in this collection, and to help discern whether you too may be a victim of Tourist Attraction Trauma.