What I do, and who I am

What I do:

I help people build brands, reach audiences, market products and services, and get found online. How? By writing powerful, persuasive copy for websites, catalogs, email, sales letters, advertising, and more. My experience is deepest in the education, energy, ecommerce, small-to-medium business, and specialty food sectors. See my FAQ page for a more detailed list of services.

Who I am, in 13 random tidbits:

  • I’m a dual national of the U.S.­ and France. I was born in Paris, lived there until age four, and grew up in New York City.
  • I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont. Burlington has been my home for most of the last 30 years. I live a five-minute walk from Lake Champlain, Adirondack views, and the best four-season sunsets in the world. I still love New York—but I don’t miss it that much.
  • I watched far too much television as a kid. As a result, I have an abiding love for great advertising and a parlor-game-level recall for good (and bad) ad jingles.
  • I believe in the truth, beauty, and utility of the serial comma. But I’ll bend that rule for clients.
  • I believe in the power of words, art, and music to change the world. Science and technology are important—but on their own, not nearly enough.
  • I don’t believe music and other content should be free just because they’re on the Internet. Creative work is valuable, and should be valued.
  • I’m a songwriter and musician—trained as a cellist, self-taught on guitar and piano. In the 1990s and early aughts, I played a custom electric cello, a ’78 suitcase Fender Rhodes, and a black-and-white Tele in a rock band. Currently I play with a “pure improvisation” group that includes trumpets, cellos, flugelhorn, and bass. Occasionally we perform with improvisational dancers. Apart from writing, music is the pursuit that gives me the most joy in life.
  • A few of the acts I’ve played or recorded with: Construction Joe, Ensemble V, The Scheisters, Michael Chorney, Hollar General, Magic City, Anaïs Mitchell, Michael Nau, The Pants, Twiddle, The Saturn People’s Sound Collective, The Essex Green, and The Architects.
  • Music and language run deep with my family matriarchs. As a kid, I’d crawl under my mother’s baby grand to watch the pedal rods rise and fall as she played Chopin, Beethoven, and Brahms. Her mother—my grand-mère—once wrote a complete operetta in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan, just for fun. As for vocab, Mom remains second only to Merriam-Webster, which I still suspect Grand-mère secretly wrote.

  • As young men, both of my grandfathers narrowly escaped disaster. One survived a run-in with the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918­–19. The other was on a 17-car train that derailed and plunged into a riverbed in Nevada—only he was in a rear car, which teetered on the brink. So, I consider myself lucky to have been born. And I prefer to ride in the back of trains.
  • Then there’s my great-grandfather. He was a silk merchant from Lyon, France, who crossed the Atlantic well over 100 times by ocean liner. He wanted to be a passenger on the Titanic’s maiden voyage—but was on the wrong side of the ocean at the time. So he settled for buying a ticket (never to be used) for the return voyage, set to depart from New York City. 
  • I feel lucky that I inherited a love of language and music, and not a tendency for close brushes with the Grim Reaper.
  • I think real stories like all of these—joyful, nostalgic, funny, exciting, even terrifying—are what make life, people, and brands interesting. They add tension, hope, emotion, and relevance.