The power of a shared place: revisiting my conversation with Rust Belt Boy author, Paul Hertneky

Bridging the gap: a Pittsburgh bridge. Image courtesy of

Place is powerful.

This should come as no surprise to you that I feel this way. There’s power in a place’s sights, sounds, and struggles. We are shaped by our native places. We share a kinship with people who stomped the same stomping grounds of childhood. (Don’t believe me? I will immediately become besties with anyone, the world over, wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey.)

What better time to muse about our native places than Father’s Day? (OK, maybe Mother’s Day, but I’m biased.) As we in the U.S. approach the holiday with trepidation–how many gas grills can one man need?–I suggest another kind of gift for the father or father figure in your life (no, I don’t get a cut here):

I was thrilled to come across Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood.
And I was even more thrilled that the author, Paul Hertneky, agreed to talk to me about his native place (just a couple hours east of mine) outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For those who missed it, or who would like to revisit it, here it is, my…

Author Q&A with Paul Hertneky of RUST BELT BOY: Stories of an American Childhood

Blogger Recognition Award (woot woot!)




I never win.

Raffles, bingo, coin flips–the universe generally tilts away from me.

So, I was surprised and honored to be nominated by Riya at High Noon Journal earlier this month for the Blogger Recognition Award!

Riya is a fairly new blogger charting the course of her life as a twenty-something. I admire her for detailing her journey as a young woman, currently living in China, far from her native India. Riya talks about her upbringing, what spirituality means to her, how to live a good life, and just what good luck is. With luck, we will be seeing much more from her in the coming year.

For my part, I feel lucky that Riya stumbled upon my blog. Thank you, Riya! Read more