Taffy was born in the spring of 1979, wrapped in swaddling clothes and promptly fell asleep for three days. He spent his formative years being read to by his mother, tormented by his older sister and visiting his father in the garage. In fact he associates the smell of sawdust and motor oil with the elder Taffy to this day. Young Taffy’s parents worked way too hard to put him and his sister in a private school that Taffy didn’t appreciate until a full decade after he transferred to a large public high school (which coincidentally coincided with his parents’ divorce). He wasn’t long for public school, though, and dropped out after three semesters to finish his final credits in night school. His parents were disappointed, his grandparents were upset, and Taffy was too angry to care.
Taffy had devoted much of his high school years playing in a punk band which released several records and toured the U.S. and Europe and organizing protests on behalf of human, animal, and environmental rights concerns, and that continued into his early 20s. After a false start at Ivy Tech and a detour through the IUPUI School of Massage Therapy, he enrolled in IUPUI’s New Media program. In the fall of 2001, Taffy moved to Bloomington to finish a degree in Telecommunications with a minor in Communications & Culture. While in Bloomington he worked as a bouncer, massage therapist and prep cook, served as the general manager for the student radio station WIUS (now WIUX), contributed to the Indiana Daily Student and joined another band that would release several records and tour the eastern half of the U.S. In the midst of this he took some classes and graduated in December of 2005.
Our hero returned to Indianapolis to find that there was no work to be had in his field so he returned to the retail job he held between high school and his transfer to the Bloomington campus and started hustling for any work he could get, producing DVDs for a local mixed martial arts promoter and writing for a local weekly and nationally distributed music and lifestyle magazines. Following a disappointing summer tour, Taffy took an extra week off work and sent another round of clippings out in an attempt to drum up work and caught the eye of the new editor of INtake Weekly, Sherri Cullison. Sherri kicked Taffy a little bit of weekly freelance work, then a little more, and a little more, until INtake brought him into the office full-time to produce special guides and do whatever the hell else needed done. That started a wild ride at the Indianapolis Star that lasted almost four years and included numerous bar and dining guides, a few front page stories, videos than you shake a stick at, and the genesis of more than a few lasting friendships. In fact, Sherri and Taffy got so close that she stood in the groom’s party at his weddin’.
While at the Star, Taffy became more involved in the local mixed martial arts community and began pursuing training more seriously (after boxing and kickboxing casually since high school) with Integrated Fighting. In September of 2007 he found the premiere issue of a new MMA magazine, FIGHT! The quality of writing, photography and design set FIGHT! apart – it was the first martial arts magazine he’d ever been able to read straight through. He called managing editor Matt Brown and told him that he would be freelancing for FIGHT! and asked him where to send pitches to. Taffy’s first story appeared in the third issue of the magazine and his work has appeared in nearly every issue since, including numerous cover stories.
The toll of a job, freelancing, and planning a wedding took it’s toll on Taffy and in 2008 he took an indefinite sabbatical from the playing music and going to shows. That summer Taffy married a sweet, mildly OCD lass on a rainy day and a few weeks later moved into a 100-year old Irvington farm house with her. The couple lives with two cats and two dogs and hope to populate the home with Tiny Taffys in the not-so-distant future.
In April of 2009, FIGHT! hired Taffy to create and implement a content plan for Fightmagazine.com, and he worked on the site part time until August, 2009, when he left the Star to take a full time position as Online Editor of FIGHT! Magazine. His day job gives him the flexibility to continue to pursue meaningful local stories, some of which will appear on his blog, some of which will appear in various central Indiana publications, so stay tuned to see what Taffy does next.