PhD, Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts
BA, Comparative Literature, Brown University
I was born in Scotland, raised in upstate New York, and have lived in California, Florida and (mostly) New England. My first experience in Maine was as a back-to-the-lander in the 1970s, which involved buying a few acres of scrubby woodlot and attempting to turn it into an organic farm. My former partner and I built our own cabin and barn, dug our own well, and lived “off the grid” before I even knew this phrase existed. After seven years, though, both of us longed for new adventures. We restored a classic 27-foot wooden sloop and, not content to sail around Maine, decided to head south for the Bahamas. This shakedown cruise ended the relationship, but I did learn a lot about sailing and acquired increased respect for the destructive power of nature.
I had always planned to get a college degree, but motive and opportunity never seemed to coincide until I had a bit of money from the sale of the farm. With typical impetuosity, I applied to Brown University and was accepted, much to everyone’s surprise, especially my own. In terms of scholarly development, I was able to combine a longheld passion for literature and languages into a Comparative Literature degree. After taking a course in medieval studies, I was hooked. This became my specialty at Brown and my area of expertise at the University of Massachusetts, where I earned my PhD. My book on popular culture and religious theater was published in 2006 and I have recently completed a translation of an encyclopedic poem by a fourteenth-century Italian astrologer whose views on the natural world were considered heretical. I have taught at Unity College since 1997 and find it to be a great fit for someone with my unusual background, shaped by nature and culture.