Call to Order/Hasty Bio

cropped-monagan-portrait-2-e1452604302434-1024x704This site is devoted to my by now quite long writing life. It is a place where I will be able to compose new things, reintroduce old ones, revamp pieces that didn’t quite work the first time, re-order seemingly random essays into themes and generally try to make sense of it all (like wondering why “reintroduce” and “revamp” don’t need a hyphen but “re-order” does). I will also blog from time to time, offer reviews of movies, TV shows, books and consumer products, and even sell some of my own books.

As for who I am, I have been a writer and editor for more than 45 years. I began working for a daily newspaper as an intern in the summer of 1969 in Meriden, Conn., and then joined the staff full-time following my graduation from Dartmouth in 1972. I stayed there until 1975, when I quit to write freelance magazine stories. I didn’t write very many, but I did enjoy myself immensely, and my golf handicap got down near the single digits (although I hit all my drives with a 2-iron).

In 1977, I started freelancing for Connecticut Magazine and went to work there as a staff writer, assistant editor and editor until quitting in 1980 after a fight with the owner of the magazine (a fight that could only end the way it did). I then embarked on a very sketchy period, again freelancing and writing humor books, The Neurotic’s Handbook, The Reluctant Naturalist and Poodles From Hell. There weren’t many glittering highlights, but one was during Book Country 1982, when the front window of Scribner’s Book Store in Manhattan was filled with The Neurotic’s Handbook and I manned the Atheneum booth out front and traded witticisms with passers-by.

When I got married in 1984, things changed rather abruptly. And when our first child was born the following year, I set out like a young Nantucket whaler on a very, very long voyage to points unknown, learning the ropes as I went, surviving on hardtack and water. My voyage took me to Hartford, where I wrote speeches for the governor, and then to Connecticut Magazine, where I settled in as editor in 1989, and where I labored until 2013. Unlike the whaler, during this period I returned home every night to tell bedtime stories to the children (three of them), write checks to educational institutions and, just before I fell into bed, gnaw on a little hardtack.

During this period, I didn’t have much time for extracurricular writing, but I did produce a couple more books – How to Get a Monkey into Harvard and Connecticut Icons – and, in 2011, a musical, Mad Bomber, for which I wrote the book and lyrics.

I’ve left a lot of things out (the names of my family members, the nature of my fight with the owner of Connecticut Magazine, how I spent most of my time in that 1975-1977 period, etc.), but this will have to do for now.

3 thoughts on “Call to Order/Hasty Bio

  1. Hi Charles,

    I wanted to reach out to you about a project I’m working on. Could you please shoot me a line at and I can give you more details? Sorry, I couldn’t find a better way of reaching you!



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