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…

Books

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 was a big fan. May his soul rest in peace!

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.

Films

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

 

French Broad River Keeper is his Title: Torg Stories Podcast

I want to make a movie about the French Broad River, and so on this week’s Torg Stories podcast, I talk with Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper. Carson works for an organization called Mountaintrue

You can listen to the podcast on the player below or on your iPhone by clicking here for the iTunes link.

Click player below to listen to podcast from this site

editorial note: I uploaded the raw file without the intro and music

Hope you enjoy getting right into my conversation with Hartwell!

***

For the first time ever, this week’s episode is also available as a video podcast:

I think my interest in making this movie probably has its origins in all the years I spent dinking around in a john boat on the Tippecanoe River in Winamac, Indiana. Now I live in Asheville, North Carolina where you can’t go anywhere without seeing a kayak or canoe on top of somebody’s car. I wanted to get on the river and as my wife and I looked at the cost of our options and what might fit us best, we decided on a used whitewater raft. We could be together as a family. The raft could do both the calm and more rowdy stretches of the river. To start the process of making the film, I knew I wanted to learn about the river, the community that uses it, and the social and political issues that surround it.

Carson and I talked water quality, Duke energy and their coal ash pits, the work he does as riverkeeper, and his favorite spots on the river.

If you’ve got ideas for how you could help with the Torg Stories river movie, please let us know in the comments section. I also hope you’ll take the time to share the post via social media or by email if you know of those who would be interested.

I hope you enjoy this week’s conversation with French Broad Riverkeeper, Hartwell Carson. Thanks for listening!

Check back or click around on the site for more updates on our French Broad River movie project.

 

 

 

Asheville, French Broad River, Hartwell Carson, Torg Stories, podcast, Mountaintrue

Life in Asheville: Launch Trampoline Park

It was a rainy summer day in Asheville, North Carolina, and my girls kept after me to take them to Launch Trampoline Park. Because one of the girls won a complimentary pass at the local high school basketball camp (Hot Shot Champion!) they’d been before with my mom and wife. This would be my first time to Launch. It’s located at 24 Walden Drive in Arden, North Carolina, south of Asheville on Highway 25 / Hendersonville Road.

We Made a Video Review Below

I checked online about how much tickets cost.  They have some online coupons that you can sign up for. The good thing about checking the website was I realized they have specific jump times. We decided to jump for an hour from 6:15 – 7:15. I think you could get by with 30 minutes for $8, but I recommend an hour’s time for $14. Any more than that would have been too much for my girls, ages eight and ten.

Launch Trampoline Park, Asheville

the line for the obstacle course

I didn’t buy myself a ticket, but once I got there I could see that I would have a good time, especially dunking on the basketball hoop and doing the obstacle course. However, I would have had to overcome the fact that at 45 years of age, I would have been the oldest person jumping by at least a decade.

 

navigating the obstalce course

Navigating the Obstacle Course

There were only a few small negatives to consider:

  • Maybe the $14 is just a bit expensive? I felt this way more before going than once I got there.
  • The line was pretty long for the obstacle course. I think they might be able to send the next person onto the course a little sooner.

 

Launch Trampoline Park, Asheville, North Carolina, Things to do, family, Life in Asheville, tourism

Whew, all this jumping is tiring!

Reasons we recommend Launch:

  • Very fun!
  • My youngest especially loved the dodge ball. The referee did a good job.
  • Great exercise
  • Super clean facility
  • Friendly Staff

I do more “Life in Asheville” posts on this site.

We just started a Life in Asheville Facebook page. Click here and “Like it” if you’re interested in our Blue Ridge Mountain town in Western North Carolina.

If you have favorite things to do in Asheville or Western North Carolina, let us know about them as a comment below. Please consider subscribing and/or sharing this post.

Thanks for stopping by the Torg Stories website!

Armpit Travel and Beer Poems: Torg Stories Podcast with Editor Peter Gregutt

I met Peter Gregutt when he worked with me as an editor on a piece published in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress titled “How Christopher Mello Sows Peace and Community in his West Asheville Garden.” 

In addition to listening above, you can click here for the iTunes link or just search for “Torg Stories” in the Podcast App of your iPhone.

When I learned Peter had climbed volcanoes in Guatemala, trekked the Himalayas, and spontaneously took a boat to Africa, I wanted to get him on the podcast. I was interested in his time in New York City studying English at Colombia, that he’d spent decades as an editor, and I admired his clever phrase Armpit Travel as a way to capture some of his experiences on the road.

Armpit Travel, Peter Gregutt, Travel, Mountain Xpress

***

As a way into our conversation, I asked Peter to read from the introduction to his collection. Here it is:

 

My Slime, Your Dime, High Time

Some folks “travel” via flickering images that dance across the screen. Others prefer to plant their ample posterior on a cushy seat in plane or train or air-conditioned motor coach and watch the world pass by beyond the glass.

And then there are the Armpit Travelers, those intrepid souls who strive to sniff out places a less ardent sort might choose to skip entirely in favor of a visit to the proctologist’s office.

Guided only by their own nose or gut, these indefatigable wayfarers aim to see the world — to taste the motley pleasures of the road and touch the very essence of experience — while ducking the troublesome encumbrance of paying for it. (Inevitably, of course, one does pay, though perhaps in blood and suffering in lieu of legal tender.)

To some, the words “budget travel” evoke visions of bland, greasy food; filthy, flea-infested beds; bathing in frigid water thick with icky microbes; and long, arduous bus rides that seem to go from nowhere to nowhere else. But to the true Armpit Traveler, the rewards of the road don’t stop there.

Beyond thrift, beyond grit or grift, beyond sanity, even, there lies a further storied realm whose streets might well be paved with gold if only they were paved at all. And to those with ears to hear and a nose that isn’t overly particular, that unceasing siren song may ultimately prove as irresistible as the last unprepossessing-looking person who’s still lingering in the singles bar at 2 a.m., blurry but determined, and casting inflammatory glances your way…

No travel agent orchestrates the Armpit Path; no map can aptly delineate its putative treasures. No, it’s up to the self-annointed pilgrim to discern and pursue the elusive way, guided only by the kind of enigmatic inner prompting that drives the arctic tern on its annual pole-to-pole journey and makes lemmings take their fateful leap…

But to the curious, the damned, the misfit or the annelid, a hint or a whistle or a tissue of outright lies just might prove to be the fire that lights the fuse, the fire ant whose mordant mandible incites the sluggard’s reluctant posterior to forward motion…

And to any and all who thus succumb to the blandishments and ballyhoo presented in these pages, I bid you a hearty bon voyage, albeit tempered by the slippery wisdom of an old Scottish proverb: “What may be, may not be…”

Thanks for checking out this edition of the Torg Stories podcast!

Coming soon: French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson and Grail Moviehouse owners Steve and Davida