Winner of the RCWMS essay contest

I’m not religious, but I think of my father-in-law, the brain tumor remnants they’re killing with chemicals and lasers. I’m not comfortable with prayer. I’m too insignificant in these galaxies and eons, dinosaurs, and Sanskrit—too giant in this world of atoms, moss, a single grain of creek bed sand. All I know how to do: please, I ask. I try not to beg or whine.

Finding and Keeping Creative Success

Post on The Writer’s Block for the Loft Literary Center

Now, most days, I love and need to write, and yet sometimes, doing the actual writing is like skating on marshmallows.

The Education of Fishing

Essay in Gray’s Sporting Journal July 2012

Heather Fishing Goodman. Something about it didn’t sound right, though I liked its ring.

The Philadelphias

Essay in Philadelphia Reflections: Memories of the Keystone State published by The History Press

In 1982, Security Elevator Company moved to Fairmount Avenue, a few blocks from the then abandoned and vandalized Eastern State Penitentiary and across the street from vacant row homes.


Second place in national contest sponsored by Thomson Press

When I first met Robert, his most recent memories were of jail. He hurled his tight long braids and tattoos at everyone. And yet, early on, he began to take great risks, making jokes during class, kidding me and some of the students he knew could take it.When we brainstormed for our second paper, he filled the page, a blue ink web, smeared by his arm, so that he wore a new tattoo. Even after the allotted time, he scribbled and scrawled. Once he knew he belonged at Dunwoody, he cut loose, would even jam in his seat a bit as he wrote, move his hips, and jive with his elbows at 8:30 in the morning in the middle of July in a classroom with factory windows.

Eleven Great Guide Tips

Published on in September 2006

Never put the rod together before getting on the water. Not only does this keep you from worrying about breaking your rod tip, but additionally you have a greater chance of seeing flora and fauna and perhaps a glimpse of wildlife. The best advantage though, is that it forces you to pay attention to whatever bugs may be rising. I’ve often watched my father catch an insect in his hand, examine it, and then compare it to the flies in his box.
Guide: Pete Goodman (Dad) fishing in Pennsylvania for trout


Published in Whistling Shade in 2005

In the light of our last day my brother and I are once again engaged in the old fight of who caught the bigger fish. For once I hold the trophy, and we are splashing in the glacial water, shoving our fish further out in front of us so they appear larger in pictures that Dad is taking, while Mom laughs with tears on her cheeks. Instantly I recognize this moment: we are again eight and ten, thrilled by fish slime and skipping rocks; reveling in the doting eyes of our parents, the sunburn on the back of our necks, the laughter spilling over streams, and the swimming with trout.