Podcast: Asheville Movies and Wicked Weed with Edwin Arnaudin

This May 6, 2017 Torg Stories Podcast edition is with Edwin Arnaudin, a freelance writer for publications such as Asheville’s MountainXpress and Citizen Times.

Edwin is working on a piece for Xpress about our documentary film, On the French Broad River, and so I asked him to join me for a conversation about Asheville and freelance writing. We also talked about what was then the breaking news that the popular local craft brewery Wicked Weed had been sold to Anheuser-Busch.

edwin podcast.jpg

Our On the French Broad River film screens Asheville’s Grail Moviehouse at the following times:

  • Wednesday, May 24th 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 27th at noon
  • Sunday, May 28th at noon

Click here for more information including location and how to buy tickets.

Click on the player below to listen to the podcast or look for it on iTunes.

You can connect with Edwin on Twitter by clicking here or check out his movie site here.

Thanks for reading and/or listening!



Welcome to Torg Stories!

Torg Stories is a place for me to write about what tugs at my attention. I spend a lot of my time thinking about writing and the teaching of writing, content creation, and coaching basketball. Over the years, I’ve directed four films, had three books of fiction published, and won several screenplay awards. I’ve organized some of the topics I write about into the following categories:

  1. Youth Basketball Workouts and Player Development
  2. My family’s French Broad River Adventure
  3. The Craft of Writing and Teaching Writing

Like Holden Caulfield says in The Catcher in the Rye, “The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It’s more interesting and all.” Rather than chastise myself about too many digressions or what could be seen as a scatterbrained approach to my work, I’ll say my writing here embraces an interdisciplinary way of thinking that allows for more of life to come in from the outside and get onto the screen. A big hope for this space is that it might allow us to learn from each other and share a good story or two. Like this one time, me and my family–having never rafted on our own in our entire lives–rafted 149 miles of the French Broad River…

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

Charlotte, Bill, Izzy and Megan Torgerson with Hot Springs, NC in the Background

A bit more about me: I’m a native Midwesterner who was born in Logansport, Indiana and a person who moved to Illinois to go to college, back to Indiana to teach and coach, to North Carolina for graduate school, to Georgia for more graduate school, to New York City to teach at St. John’s University, to Connecticut to escape the crowds, back to New York City to escape the commute, back to North Carolina for the mountains, back to Indiana to coach, and now we Torgs are getting ready for another move back to North Carolina. Next fall I will begin a lecturer position teaching composition at Appalachian State University in Boone. A few things I learned the past year:

  1. I found it impossible to meet my expectations for the kind of English teacher, basketball coach, husband, and dad I wanted to be balancing all of those responsibilities.
  2. I want to be free in the late afternoons to spend time with my wife and daughters, whether it’s playing hoops, working out, doing homework, creating content, or going on family adventures.
  3. We Torgs feel at home in the mountains of North Carolina.

Below, you’ll see a bit of what I’ve been up to over the years:


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

Short Documentary: Christopher’s Garden

Torg Stories latest project is a documentary film entitled “Christopher’s Garden.” The film focuses on Christopher Mello, an Asheville, North Carolina artist who has spent thirteen years hybridizing a new blue poppy.

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film trailer music by Jeremy Vogt


The film was created in collaboration with musician Jeremy Vogt, cinematographer Alex Arcara, photographer Cindy Kunst, and Asheville librarian Zoe Rhine.

Photograph of blue poppies in Christopher Mello's garden in west Asheville, North Carolina by Cindy Kunst.

photograph of Christopher’s Garden by Cindy Kunst


The short documentary of 11 mins and 30 secs is currently being submitted to film festivals. A longer cut of the film will also be sent to film festivals a day’s drive away from Asheville, North Carolina where the film was shot.


Christopher Mello

Christopher Mello of Asheville, North Carolina


As director of the film, I have also begun work on a piece of writing about Christopher Mello and his garden. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post.


Bill Torgerson

So Much Will Be Forgotten

I’ve been struck by how much of what my daughters do and say will be forgotten. I saw this documentary two nights ago called Stories We Tell. Director Sarah Polley interviews as many people as she can about her mother, and eventually Sarah finds out who her father is for sure and the story is partially about her interactions with that story. It’s also about how the stories we tell differ, about how we all have our own take on something that happened.  I write this morning, as the sun rises on an early fall Connecticut Sunday morning, in part because Sarah had a lot of pictures and video footage of herself growing up. I hope to do better creating a small trail of words and pictures that tell the story of my kids.

stories we tell, documentary, Woody Allen, Jim Gaffigan

As a father, I think, I will never forget that. And then I do. The film Stories We Tell reinforced something I already know. When a story is told about an event in the past, it gets remembered differently depending on who you ask to remember. I can’t even reliably remember what has happened to me. Part of what has put me in the chair to write this morning is that I want to do more writing about my daughters. I want to get myself into a rhythm of setting down some of what they do and say. I also want us (yes, I hope they will some day be interested,) to have a record of some of their life.

I haven’t even got to the second documentary I saw that set me in the writing chair this morning, but I’ve thought of a book that also contributed to the topic I want to undertake (my girls!) and the book is Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat. The title comes from something one of Gaffigan’s five! kids wrote about him. Gaffigan is one of my favorite comics, especially the bit he does on bacon. His book is episodic, and it goes hard for the silly laugh. And he does get me to laugh, but what I want to do that he’s done, is to do more writing about being a father, a son, and a husband.

The final shove into the writing chair (and I do sit here a lot writing what I don’t want to write) was the film Woody Allen: A Documentary. I saw it on Amazon Prime, and I think you can watch it on Netflix. From the movie, it seems like Allen has been writing almost everyday since he was sixteen. I wrote almost everyday for ten years. Then there started to be publications. Schedules changed. There was more editing and promotion and travel and requests from work. And the regular morning writing has become less regular. Which is fine for some people, but I think I need be an almost everyday writer. Even if it’s just my old standby number of 800 words. I get that number from author of Write to Learn, Donald Murray. The number doesn’t matter. It’s the starting off writing that does.


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