Michael Davis

Journalist, fiction writer, teacher.

Michael Davis

My writing has appeared in over 42 magazines and websites. I write fiction, narrative and journalistic nonfiction, work as a freelance writer and copy editor, and teach composition and fiction writing.



Machines Can’t Teach Us to Be Human

I spent the first two years of high school at a posh all-boys Catholic academy in southern California and hated it. The question of girls, never far from my thoughts, wasn’t getting any answers there and the corresponding all-girls school across town was run like a medieval mountain convent, which is to say, like a fortress.
Splice Today Link to Story

The New Puritanism Isn’t Without Precedent

A witch hunt accomplishes three things at once. It discourages overly ambitious and threatening upstarts. It provides moral justification for eliminating rivals. And it adds to the prestige of the witchfinders. Every organization has Puritans who love a good hunt. If they’re not explicitly charged with upholding virtue and rooting out evil, they usually grow into that role by dint of character and personal history.
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Convicting Kyle Rittenhouse Shouldn’t Be Easy

When I was in high school, I was a member of the Boy Scouts Law Explorers Club. This meant that five of us, two times a month, were permitted to attend various trials in progress, interview a range of state employees, and sometimes meet for discussion and cookies in the office of the semi-retired lawyer who sponsored the group.
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Biden’s Obsession with Optics

In 2014, when New York Times editor Sarah Jeong’s racist twitter posts surfaced, the paper unleashed a masterful display of rhetoric to justify not letting her go. No such luck for her colleague, Quinn Norton, who didn’t have the same professional and cultural cachet and immediately got the axe for some comparably awful tweets.
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Costumes of the Moment

We may justify their self-indulgent publicity stunts as progress, as evidence of their visionary greatness, but from the ground it seems more like myopia, hero-worship, delusion, and lack of perspective.
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The Ashes of the Trumpocene

Sam Margurite, owner and manager of Healthy Office Solutions, acquired the nickname Magpie, or Pie, early in his career for his tendency to appropriate paperweights and other small interesting objects from the offices he was paid to clean. No one, perhaps not even Sam, remembered who first called him that, odd bits of prior education and improbable cultural references always bubbling up from his employees at strange moments.
Nonconformist Magazine Link to Story

Not Everybody Can be a Cheerleader

Biden owes the Left but can he deliver and still lead effectively? We’re all fundamentally the same. We want quiet enjoyment, mobility, access to technology, an education that won’t turn us into indentured servants, and the opportunity to find a job that isn’t overly dreadful. We want to live reasonably well in the time we have.
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Politics Can Be Civil in Spite of the Media

The punditry will always interpret events in terms of the worst narratives already shaping our political discourse. A week before the second presidential debate, I went on a partial news fast. I restricted myself to afternoon viewings of the New York Post, The Spectator, and The Washington Post’s opinion page.
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How Does America Recover From This?

I still stubbornly believe in a non-cynical version of America, but after Wednesday’s debate, I wonder if I’m just delusional at this point. The disturbing and illiberal nature of the first 2020 Presidential debate has left me shaken along with a lot of other Americans. This display of unthinking, undemocratic shouting has reinforced my sense that the marketplace of ideas in the U.S has gone away with the decorum that supported it.
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The Illusion of American Deterioration

Reading Chris Floyd’s “Thirty-Six Hours Past Judgment Day” reminded me that I can be sympathetic to opinion pieces that are well-written, even if I don’t agree with them. I’m a writer, I can recognize when someone has talent, and sometimes that’s more important to me than what he or she is actually saying.
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Watching Political Conventions is Like Worshiping the Dead

As the pandemic drags on, colored by fires, hurricanes, racial violence, unemployment, mass evictions, and political spite, certain themes now dominate American discourse. All three are hyperbolic emotional distortions containing, at best, one part fact to three parts dread. We may suspect this is because such themes are defined and exacerbated by a hot-take media in love with overheated narrative at the expense of objective reportage.
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Two Women

And, of course, there are the things you don’t talk about, not with anyone. Experiences indescribable. Decisions insupposable.
Terror House Magazine Link to Story


Michael Davis

I've been a professional writer since 1998. I was lead writer for the Los Angeles Diversity Project; a freelance writer / editor privately and through the Gotham Writers Workshop; and my writing has appeared in over 40 magazines and websites. Samples of my work can be found here and on my website at

My writing has appeared in Descant, The San Joaquin Review, The Jabberwock Review, The Black Mountain Review, Eclipse, Cottonwood, The Mid-American Review, Full Circle, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Georgia Review, Storyglossia, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Willow Springs, The Normal School, Arcana, The Superstition Review, The New Ohio Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly, The Atticus Review, Isthmus, the Earlyworks Press Short Story Anthology, Redline, Forge, The Writing Disorder, Small Print Magazine, the Ginosko Literary Journal, The Blather, Pain Talks, ReVue, Literati Magazine, Student Voices, Human Parts, Ink & Coda, Visitant, Terror House, West Trade Review, DecomP, Oracle, Nonconformist Magazine, and Splice Today. My first book of stories, Gravity, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2009. My second collection, Cruel Stars, came out in 2017.

I have a BA in English from the University of California, Irvine, an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Montana, an MIS in Information Technology Management from University of Phoenix, and a PhD in English from Western Michigan University. I hold an Expert TESOL teaching certification from the American TESOL Institute and an ABA Paralegal Certification from the University of California, San Diego.

I’ve taught English at Stamford International University (Bangkok, Thailand), The Gotham Writers Workshop (online), Tallinn University (Tallinn, Estonia), Butte College (Oroville, CA), Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), San Joaquin Memorial High School (Fresno, CA), University of Missouri (Columbia, MO), University of Montana (Missoula, MT), California State University Fresno (Fresno, CA), and Fresno City College (Fresno, CA).

I have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Hayden’s Ferry Review (2003), The Mid-American Review (2004), Storyglossia (2007), Isthmus (2014), and Forge (2015). My awards include the Editor’s Choice Award in the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Contest (2004) and the George Garrett Fiction Award (2008). My story, “The Man in Africa,” was voted one of the Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2007.

My fiction has been reviewed in Five Star Literary Stories (2008), The Southeast Review (2009), and Third Coast (2010).



  • Investigative Journalism
  • Corporate and Legal Research
  • Legal and Business Writing
  • Copyediting
  • Corporate Ghostwriting
  • Story Doctoring
  • Writing Instruction
  • Online Content Writing
  • Explanatory Journalism
  • Narrative Non-fiction