Along the Way


Michael Graff is a freelance writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Garden & GunPOLITICOSUCCESSWashingtonianOur StateSouthwest: The Magazine, and SB Nation Longform. He writes a monthly column for the back page of Charlotte magazine, where he served as editor from 2013 to 2017. Previously, Michael served as a senior editor and writer at Our State magazine, and as the Sunday enterprise writer and a sports writer at the Fayetteville Observer. He has received multiple notable selections in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Essays. Michael earned a bachelor's degree in English from High Point University. 

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in freelance writing, storytelling, back roads, and a big questions that informs a life. 


  • Michael explains what he does and how he thinks of his work.

  • He shares the most profound essay he has written.

  • He reveals the question that drives most of his writing.

  • He considers the topic that all his writing explores.

  • Michael tells a story about his father.

  • He addresses what to do with this life.

  • He describes how he goes about his work as a story teller.

  • He explains why reporting is far more interesting to him than writing.

  • Michael discusses how being an editor informs his work as a writer.

  • He shares how an editor changed his life as an editor and writer.

  • He talks about why he tells stories and what moment he tries to find in his writing.

  • He answers whether he writes for an audience or for himself.

  • Michael explains quotes from writers and photographers about his work.

  • He identifies what he is intense about and what he believes in.

  • He answers whether success is on his mind and whether he feels successful.

  • He talks about his childhood and how it informs who he is today.

  • Michael reveals the most freeing thing he has encountered.

  • He addresses whether he wants to be considered a great Southern story teller.

  • He shares the story he wants told about him.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Memory and Love

To Learn More About Michael


  • What struck you about Michael's comments?

  • What stories do you tell?

  • How do other people describe your work?

  • What story do you want told about you?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page.

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts. 

Further support is provided by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, one of America’s leading urban public libraries, delivering exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. 

And by the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's resource hub and lead advocate for the regional cultural community, providing Culture for All.

Additional support is provided by the UNC College of Arts + Architecture, celebrating a decade of creative education in the arts and design.