Born into two teachers’ professional poverty in Arkansas, Pierce Presley soon learned to love words, math, explosions, contact sports and computers, and his life has been a learning process. Somehow he missed the loving authority part though. After high school, he took a stab at college, where he learned he did not want to be an engineer, and then joined the Marine Corps on the theory that if it didn’t kill him, it would make him stronger. After more trouble, earning a Good Conduct Medal by a mere 15 days, and topping out at Lance Corporal, he went back to college to become a storyteller, and chose the crack cocaine of storytelling: journalism. Around this time he joined SPJ, because it meant he could drive ridiculously long distances and learn from journalism greats while hyped on coffee. After graduating, he joined the staff of the Benton County Daily Record in Bentonville, Ark., home of Wal-Mart. He learned a lot from his peers and editors and enjoyed the heck out of being a part of a 14K paper that regularly beat the pants of a regional and a statewide, but his wife wanted to finish her degree in less than a decade, and so they moved. There he temporarily joined the Little Rock bureau of the Associated Press and learned an absolute ton, but the financial woes of 2001 put the journalism job market in the toilet, and he spent a year unemployed and had his first child. He then joined Arkansas Educational Television and became a threefer: a publicist, a television person and a government employee. Fourteen months later he left to concentrate on getting his master’s in journalism from the University of Memphis through an online program and recovering his sanity–oh, and to have his second child out of work. He has since worked as a copy editor and learned a new respect for that strange breed, a teacher of home- and hospital-bound children and remembered why he isn’t a teacher, and lately has been temping as a graphic designer and desktop publisher in the Maryland suburbs of DC where he now lives. He is trying to change schools and finish the master’s that wouldn’t die, get a freelance career going amid his personal chaos and/or find a permanent gig in the only job he loves, or loves him: journalism. Oh, and he’s moving to San Antonio soon.