Welcome to Torg Stories!

Updated June 1, 2018

Torg Stories is a place for me to write about what tugs at my attention. I hope that we can have some digital conversations about topics that interest of both. Here are a few of the main topics explored so far on this site.

  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, 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:

Books

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.

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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.

Films

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

Does God Change Lives?

If you asked me point blank whether or not if in the history of creation God had ever answered a prayer and changed a life, I’d say yes. Pin me down for some evidence or an example, what then? Do I go with Jonah’s cry of distress from inside the belly of the whale (how can that be?!!!) or the time when I was a kid when the family was on a 300 mile round-trip drive to watch the Hoosiers play basketball in Bloomington, and dad pulled off the road because our car had overheated?  I prayed that the car might start working. Dad waited for a few minutes and started it back up. We didn’t have a problem the rest of the way. As a child in the backseat, that’s how I thought prayer worked with God: send up the request and expect immediate results.

Since then, I’ve seen that most times a mechanic has to fix the car. I’ve got to change the flat. In my twenties, I was married and divorced. When my first wife and I were separated, I prayed and even fasted for the marriage to be saved. I’ve watched those who I perceive to be believers and good people pray for addictions or cancer to be overcome. My first marriage ultimately failed. In other cases not mine, addictions seemed to win out, and young children’s earthly lives were not saved. I came to believe that God and prayer worked in some other kind of way that I couldn’t understand. As I entered my thirties and life post-divorce, I chose to focus on the physical and intellectual gifts I perceived God had given me, and I tried to use them in this world the best I could. For about a decade, I lived as if God never intervened in any life. I lived as if prayers were never answered and lives were never changed. Admittedly, I continued to pray some prayers in spite of myself. A series of events have unfolded the past few years that have opened my mind to new possibilities. That’s what I hope to share here in the coming weeks and months. I’ve met someone who claims God can change lives, and he offers up quite the story as evidence. I know this man as Fern, and part of what I’ll share with you is his testimony. Below you can listen to our first conversation.

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http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2391831/height/325/width/325/theme/legacy/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/

Click on player above to listen from this site.

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Fern Remembers Stealing the US Marshal Airplane

As a part of hearing my friend Fern’s testimony, in this podcast episode he remembers the night he stole a U.S. Marshal airplane.  This is a point in Fern’s story that he has come to think of as a sort of flight to redemption, a night which eventually took Fern to prison where he began a process to start a new life. Fern and I start off by discussing an article I found published on January 18, 1990 in several newspapers around the country including the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel. The headline reads, “Marshals Plane Stolen.” I appreciate Fern’s honesty as he shares this difficult story as a way to illustrate how he believes God has helped him change his life.
http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2441485/height/325/width/325/theme/legacy/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/

Click Above to Listen Via Flash Player

Play it from the host site

iPhone and Mac Users Listen Via iTunes

podcast cocaine prayer prison US Marshal Christ redemption testimony

 

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