I was raised in Lake of the Woods County in northern Minnesota, where my earliest jobs included writing a column at The Northern Light, working as a curator's assistant at the Lake of the Woods Historical Society, and helping direct a children's community theater. I've studied writing at Augsburg College, Hollins University, and the University of Minnesota, and as a part of the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series in 2004-2005. I've taught writing at the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, the International Music Camp Summer School of Fine Arts, and The Loft Literary Center, as well as through the SASE Wings program at Intermedia Arts.
My awards include fellowships and residencies from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the McKnight Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Yaddo, and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. My poetry, fiction, plays, and reviews have been included in magazines such as The Hollins Critic, The Rio Grande Review, Pleiades, Glimmer Train Stories, Puerto del Sol, Cerise Press, New South, Phantasmagoria, The Emprise Review, and Provincetown Arts, and my chapbook of poems, Fun & Games, was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press. My life-and-works essays on Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and Tess Gallagher have appeared in the American Writers Supplement (Volumes XXIII & XXIV), and I am a fiction reader at the online literary magazine Our Stories. In 2017, I wrote two series of books for hi-lo readers (targeted at grades 5-8) for Full Tilt Press, Origins: Urban Legends and Origins: Whodunits). They will be released under the name C.M. Johnson in fall 2017.
Currently I am collaborating with composer/performer Julie Johnson, St. Paul, MN-based new music ensemble Zeitgeist, and actor/director D.J. Mendel on Crocus Hill Ghost Story, a performance project based on my new short story "Crocus Hill." The project has been sponsored by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Knight Foundation. Performances will be in October and November 2017 at Studio Z in St. Paul. Tickets can be reserved here.