This website is primarily constructed for the benefit of my creative writing students at Long Beach City College. For more information on creative writing courses at LBCC visit the LBCC English Department webpage.
How I Got My Start
I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Azusa, California where I learned how to fish, play the accordion, skateboard, and ditch school. I was not a good student—the Nuns at St. Francis Catholic School tried their best. I was a high school drifter and dropout—the counselors at Gladstone High School tried as well. Coming from a working-class family, it seemed like my future would be manual labor. However, I always felt I had time to prepare for my future—when I was young, it seemed like all I had was time.
In 1993, I started thinking about an education, so I enrolled in a summer business class at Citrus College in Glendora, California. It was the turning point in my life. Community College was my second chance—a fresh start! After three years of general education, Business classes, and English classes, in 1996 I graduated with two Associate degrees—in Business and in English. I was also accepted into California State University, Long Beach and won a CSULB Future Scholars’ Award and scholarship—I had come a long way since St. Francis.
When I started college at CSULB, I entered as a business major, but I still had a desire for reading and writing. It seemed like I always wanted options—two doors to choose from, so in my second semester, I declared myself a double major in Business Administration and English. In 1999, I graduated with honors from CSULB with a B.S. in Business Administration: Marketing and English: Creative Writing.
In my last year as an undergraduate, I submitted poems and an application for the Masters of Fine Arts at CSULB. I didn’t think I would get in—they only accept six applicants a year—so I also applied for work at a local Internet service provider. Fortunately, I did get hired, but to my surprise, I was also accepted into the MFA program at CSULB. The two doors were open again—choose work or hide out in college for a couple more years. I decided to hide out.
While earning an MFA, I was curator of the poetry series, Poets on Exhibit, at the University Art Museum, poetry editor for the campus literary journal, Rip-Rap, and an instructor of creative writing. My poetry has appeared in The Louisiana Review, Lummox Journal, Shrimp!, Pearl, among others, and my work is anthologized in Incidental Buildings & Accidental Beauty: An Anthology of Orange County/Long Beach Poets. In 2001, I earned an MFA and began my teaching career.
Since graduate school, I have taught English Composition at CSULB, Pasadena City College, and Long Beach City College. In 2003, I joined Long Beach City College as a full-time English instructor.