Welcome to Torg Stories!

The Latest from Torg Stories:

We at Torg Stories are excited to announce that our film On the French Broad River has been accepted to the Queens World Film Festival in New York City.

The film will screen on Sunday morning March 19th, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in the Zukor Theater at Astoria Kaufman Studios. Click here for more information about the festival.

trailer features music from Jeremy Vogt and Erika and Shawn Wellman

The seventy-five minute documentary On the French Broad River follows the journey of we four Torgs as we raft 147 miles from Rosman, North Carolina, through class III and IV whitewater rapids, all the way to Douglass Lake in Tennessee. With environmental themes related to water quality and best management practices within watersheds, this film is about the river, the people who use it, and the social and political issues that surround it. Utilizing interviews with those connected to the environmental organizations RiverLink and MountainTrue as well as with experts in the fields of biology, wildlife conservation, and geology, this is an educational and heartwarming film for the whole family.

On the French Broad River Torgerson French Broad River Paddle Trail Asheville Rosman MountainTrue RiverLink

Charlotte, Bill, Izzy and Megan Torgerson on their Star Inflatables raft

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

Welcome to Torg Stories

Seven years ago I made the switch from high school English teacher and basketball coach to writer and professor.  Since that time, I’ve been blessed to have been hired to teach First Year Writing courses at St. John’s University in New York. I write novels, scripts, publish a podcast, and have just sent out my first documentary film for consideration at several film festivals.

Cherokee McGhee Press has published two of my novels. The first, Love on the Big Screen, tells the story of a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-eighties romantic comedies. In writing that book, I drew upon my early dating experiences, my time riding the bench of a small-college basketball team, and my devotion to 80s films such as Say Anything and Sixteen Candles.   My adaptation of that novel won the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Screenplay Competition.


80s Movies music John Cusack John Hughes Say Anything Olivet Nazarene lovea scene from the novel by artist Keegan Laycock


Horseshoe is my most recent novel and is set in a fictionalized version of my hometown, Winamac, Indiana. It’s a place where everyone knows everybody else’s business.  Writer Bryan Fuhurness endorsed the novel by writing, “What Sherwood Anderson would have written if he had a sense of humor.”

William Torgerson 80s romantic comedy Winamac Indiana Say Anything Cusack High Fidelity faith God healing service


I ask my students to write a hybrid research paper we call a Scholarly Personal Narrative. I think of Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man and Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking as examples of this sort of text that combines a personal story with scholarly research.  The students also create short documentary films, follow Tweets in their area of interest, and compose ePortfolios as their final writing project.

In order to consider my professional life, I use a metaphor gifted to me by a former professor: Writing Floats on a Sea of Conversation. Given that, I invite you to respond to anything you find here as the first lines of what could be a rewarding conversation.  You can get in touch with me via Twitter @BillTorg or write me an email at William.Torgerson@gmail.com

Mushroom Hunter Press Release

The Mushroom Hunter–Torg & His Buddies Have Hunted Morels for Over 50 Years

Selected to Appear at Indy Film Fest

July 20th & 24th, 2013

 The Mushroom Hunter is a documentary short of thirty minutes that tells the story of Martin “Torg” Torgerson and his buddies who have hunted morel mushrooms for over fifty years. The film splits time between basement scenes of storytelling among friends with a local hunt to France Park near Logansport. Hunters share stories including rattlesnake sightings, confrontations with land owners, one hunter’s bout with Lyme Disease, and memories of fellow hunters now passed away. The Mushroom Hunter is a film with themes related to friendship and the challenges that come with getting older.

morel mushrooms, documentary film, Winamac, Indiana, Indianapolis, France Park

On taking part in the documentary, Martin Torgerson reflects, “I’m thankful for the permanent record of our years hunting mushrooms that will be available for the rest of our lives and for the lives of our children and our children’s children. More than just stories of mushroom hunting, the film reveals valuable themes about camaraderie, bonding with family and friends, and the great outdoors.”

Mushroom hunter Vic Heater of Winamac, Indiana looks back on years of hunting with his friends and explains, “The only ones able to hunt, and it’s a sad thing with our older friends, are Torg and me.” Heater explains why he still hunts even after a battle with Lyme Disease that can make for tough going, especially when there are hills. “I’ve got 11 grand kids and when we go into the woods, we can keep alive the thrill of the mushroom hunting and keep alive all the tales I’ve gathered with Torg, Casey and the guys. We have many memories, and it’s kind of nice to share them with my grandkids. I want that to last forever.”

The score for the film was written and performed by Jeremy Vogt.  “Vic and Torg are such memorable characters,” says the Indianapolis based musician. “They really took me in a unique way to a place I’d never been through their quirky personalities.  I had heard of mushroom hunting before, but I never knew the cult following behind this pastime and some folks really take it to another level.” Jeremy explains that he was interested in working on the project because, “I’ve wanted to do a very organic, very raw, set of songs, and this film just had all of the elements for me to realize that style.  Honestly, I’ve always been interested in scoring films, writing sound textures, and composing music to become part of the scenes in a film with a sort of spontaneity.”

“We are really excited to be showing The Mushroom Hunter,” says Indianapolis Film Festival director Craig Mince. “The film really speaks to one of those treasured experiences a lot of us ‘Hoosiers’ grew up with.” The festival screens films from all over the United States and from more than 50 countries around the globe. This year the film festival celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The Mushroom Hunter was partially funded through the website Kickstarter and has financial backers not only from Indiana, but also states including New York, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and California. The film will screen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Saturday, July 20th at 8:30 p.m. and Wednesday, July 24th at 4:15 p.m.


Bill Torgerson is the son of The Mushroom Hunter who gives the film its title. He’s an Indiana native and former basketball coach who now is a professor in the Institute For Writing Studies at St. John’s University in New York. His novel-in-stories Horseshoe is set in a fictionalized version of his hometown of Winamac. His debut novel was Love on the Big Screen about a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-eighties romantic comedies.  His screenplay adaptation was awarded the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.


Jeremy is an Indianapolis-based musician who has opened shows for artists including the Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows, and John Mayer in venues such as The Vogue, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Verizon Wireless Music Center. Jeremy has released two albums: Villains & Vocoders and People in Strange Places.


Martin is a 1956 graduate of Winamac High School who coached basketball and taught English for over thirty years at schools including Logansport, Caston, and Winamac.


Vic is a 1958 graduate of Winamac High School, served in the Air Force, worked as a carpenter, and then as a foreman at Winamac Steel. He has four daughters and eleven grandchildren.


Casey Jones is a 1950 graduate of Lucerne High School and worked at schools including Metea, South Caston, and Caston as a teacher, coach, and athletic director. In the film, Casey reads an except from his article “A Tale From the Mushroom Woods” published in the Pharos Tribune March 29, 2012.

morel mushrooms, documentary, Winamac, Indiana, France Park, film festival


Kenny Hattery, Casey Jones, and Vic Heater

Additional images and quotes from those connected to the film are available by contacting Director Bill Torgerson at <William.Torgerson@gmail.com>.

PDF of Press Release

One Sheet For The Mushroom Hunter