My heart and Home is Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where my father was born a ninth-generation Mennonite in the middle of Amish country. I grew up surrounded by the countryside my family had farmed and roamed since the early 1700′s when they came to the U.S. to escape religious persecution in Germany and Switzerland. My people were Harnishes and Mylins, Herrs and Landises, the Anabaptist stock that gives Lancaster it’s distinct and strangely alluring flavor. My father settled in the quiet river hills of the county’s “southern end,” along a creek that I now consider something like a family member, the Tucquan. It’s taste and smell are part of my permanent vocabulary.
Despite these deep roots in one place — or perhaps because of them — I get around. I’ve lived on both coasts and I’ve traveled through more countries than you can count on six hands. But I’m happy to hang my gloves in Brooklyn’s Red Hook these days.
I work for The Center for Religion and Media at New York University where I edit their publication, The Revealer, founded by journalist Jeff Sharlet in 2003. My articles on Anabaptism, hospice, religion and end of life care have appeared at Guernica, Killing the Buddha, AlterNet (where I also blog), Religion Dispatches and The Nation. A full list of articles can be found here. I teach journalism at Drew University.
I am currently writing a book about how we die.
I can be reached at otherspoon[at]yahoo[dot]com.