Welcome to Torg Stories!

Dear Reader,

Thank you for stopping by the Torg Stories site. I’m an ex-basketball coach and English teacher turned writer, filmmaker, podcaster, and professor. Originally from a small town called Winamac, Indiana, now I split my time between Asheville, North Carolina where I live with my family and New York City where I teach First Year Writing at St. John’s University in Queens. Torg Stories have found their way into the world taking many forms including…


Click here for Torg books for sale on Amazon

Indiana, basketball, love, divorce, winamac, Indiana, Pat Conroy, book club

Pat Conroy called The Coach’s Wife“One of the best books about basketball and coaching I have ever read with a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book groups talking about it for years.”

Thanks to Pat. I learned a lot about writing from reading his work, and I’m thankful to be able to keep hearing from him via his books.


MIdwestern Gothic, novel in stories, Winamac, Indiana, basketball, Flannery O'Connor, William Torgerson

Horseshoe is Midwestern Gothic collection of stories with themes about love, sin, guilt, and redemption.

romantic comedy, eighties, John Hughes, Say Anything, Olivet Nazarene University, basketball, college writing, winamac, Indiana, book club

In Love on the Big Screen, Zuke is a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-80’s romantic comedies.


morel mushrooms, hunting, Indiana, France Park, Bill William Torgerson, Martin Torgerson

The Mushroom Hunter is about my father and his buddies’ passion for hunting morel mushrooms.

Click here to watch “The Mushroom Hunter” free online.

More Torg Stories films: Christopher’s Garden and For the Love of Books


Warning! Section 9 Whitewater on the French Broad River

The French Broad Riverkeeper’s Guide contains the following warning:

The stretch of river from Barnard to Hot Springs is home to class III and IV rapids. This section of water should not be taken lightly and must be scouted by all boaters.

If it were just me, I could accept the possibility that I would be thrown from a boat and held underwater for some time by the current, after which I would surface and swim to a safe spot. However, it’s not just me on this trip on the French Broad River. My daughters ages eight and ten have been rafting too, and worrying about them in this section of river has kept my wife Megan and I up at night.

rafting, Marshall, Hot Springs, Section 9, Barnard

Thanks to Sandy and Blue Heron Whitewater!

We were relieved when Sandy, one of the owners of Blue Heron Whitewater, offered to guide us through this section of the river. At nearly the same time, we were excited to get an offer from Lee Thonus, an avid kayaker who has written about this section of the river for American Whitewater, to shoot some film of my family as we made our way through what is known to paddlers as Section 9.

Blue Heron Whitewater is located at the intersection of Highway 25 and Little Pine Road north of Marshall and south of Hot Springs, North Carolina. Click here to visit their website.

French Broad River, Section 9, Asheville, kayaking, rafting, Hot Springs, Barnard, Stackhouse

The Torgs on Section 9 of the French Broad River

Some of the still photographs of us on this section of the river were taken by Carly Sterne. Thanks to Lee and Blue Heron for supporting our project and helping us through this section of the river!


Miles 76 to 92: French Broad River Movie Progress Report

We parked behind Southern Rafting on Riverside Drive and put in the river about mile 76. We portaged around the dam on the left. There is a grassy embankment just past the “Danger” signs that hang across the river. We felt nervous about going under the warning signs and getting that close to the dam.

We knew portage was possible because of the explanation in the River Keeper’s Guide to the French Broad. We’d also heard two people, Yukon and Bean, say that they had done this at a talk they gave at the Asheville REI store. Those two rafted the French Broad and camped at night rather than go home every night like we are. We are considering a night of camping before we finish up the river.

We were fortunate that the water in the river was barely moving, more like a still lake than a river. On other days, the current was stronger.

Once out of the river, we had to carry our raft up a pretty steep hill, walk along the railroad tracks for approximately 15 yards, and then we carried our raft back down to the water.

The first mile or so down the river was very difficult because of all the rocks. We spent a lot of time out of the boat trying to get over and around the rocks.

Since we started at the headwaters in Rosman, NC, these were the first significant rapids we saw. We got stuck on a rock in a rapid called Poop Shoot for a bit, and we went over some ledges several feet high.

We intended to take out of the river at Rollins Access. Upon arriving to the general area, we couldn’t figure out where it was. We parked our van at a business with big trucks that seemed to have a lot of extra parking. It was Sunday, and so we weren’t too concerned much would be happening there. We then drove back to the put in to do our trip.

It turned out we were mistaken about where we thought the access was and we took our raft out of the river in someone’s yard. The set up was that peoples’ houses were on one side of the road and they owned the land along the river. We didn’t actually encounter the home owners but a nice man told us where the park was. I don’t think the access area gets much traffic.

We should have kept driving past the business just a little bit further. Rollins Access is recognizable for its metal picnic tables and a small pavilion. You couldn’t get a boat in here. The yard we used to get our raft out was easier where we took out than this access would have been.

Salvage Station, Asheville, French Broad River, things to do, outdoor seating

Awesome: we stopped by the Salvage Station on our way home.

Got questions, comments or ideas for our project?

Love to hear from you!

Click here to find the Facebook page for our movie.

Please consider sharing this post via email or social media platforms.

Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!

Miles 60 to 75: French Broad River Movie Update

We put our raft in the French Broad at Mile 60 at Bent Creek River Park on Brevard Road across from the North Carolina Arboretum. The Blue Ridge Parkway crosses the river here and there is access from the parkway to the arboretum.

Our plan was to travel up to Southern Rafting just before the Weir Dam at Mile 76. We obtained permission from Southern Rafting to park in the lot but it also looks like people park off the pavement on the gravel road that runs along the river. There were lots of cars.

Here is a video report of our trip:

Got questions, comments or ideas for our project?

Love to hear from you!

Click here to find the Facebook page for our movie.

Please consider sharing this post via email or social media platforms.

Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!