I'm a writer and journalist from Western Pennsylvania. I've written essays, many about class and culture, for Guernica, Oxford American, and The Rumpus, and my reporting has appeared in the Atlantic, Esquire, Forbes, and Spin. I'm currently at work on No Place for Disgrace, a memoir about love and identity set in the American suburbs. My tumblr is a collection of notes and images — some of my own, and some from others. For a more detailed archive of my work, you can visit my website.

In July 2011, I worked with friend and illustrator Mike Reddy on a daily web series of illustrated short stories called ‘Altered States of America.’ When the series was done, we put together a proposal for a book-length version called ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ and shopped it to several publishers. No publishers took it, so I’m gonna share the preview with you fine folks before relegating it to obscurity on a hard drive somewhere. PDF preview here: http://bit.ly/1o8WVaV

Online eulogies for America’s vacant shopping malls are nothing new. Deadmalls.com, for example, the oft-cited authority on the ill-fated pleasure domes that dot the 50 states, has been operating since the turn of the century, going live as the rampant fear over Y2K still lingered in the nation’s collective memory. And while the legions of shuttered malls filed in the site’s archives have only grown larger over the last decade and a half, the practice of photographing and reminiscing about the dead malls where many of us spent our youth has become a rather ubiquitous form of shared nostalgia in our online lives. That same retail-centric nostalgia also acts as a salient reminder of the shopping mall’s endangered status as a once-indispensable fixture of suburban life.

READ MORE

Thomas Harris Newton, my dad, home on leave from his tour of duty in Vietnam. In this picture, he’s standing in my grandparent’s living room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was called up in the draft. Unlike other men his age, however, many from wealthier families, he didn’t have the protection of college to keep him from the draft. He was already working in the printing industry, repairing web presses, learning how to lay out type, etc. Luckily my dad came home from Vietnam, a detail I think about much more often now that I have children of my own.