Speaking About Myself...

Here's a little (possibly biased) information about me: 

 I was born in mid-coast Maine a few days after they expected me, yet just barely gave the doctor enough time to get in the delivery room when I was finally ready.  I'm sure that means something important to a psychoanalyst, but I'd rather not delve too deeply.

Until the age of twelve, I lived in a very old house about a mile from the Atlantic.  The Maine woods are very thick and tangled, and I benefited greatly from the ability to take ten paces into them and be in my own world.  Every place has some magic in it, but I'll go out on a limb and say that Maine has a little more than average.  You may seek a second opinion on that, but I think you'll find that some impressive individuals may back me up on this.

'At twelve, I moved west (all alone, with only a pack of cigarettes and a half bottle of whiskey) and lived in Las Vegas briefly.  That didn't seem quite like a big enough change, so I went ahead and moved to Bullhead City, Arizona, then Mojave Valley, then Lake Havasu.  I managed to keep the travelin' jones in check long enough to finish high school in the latter city.  You may detect a whole Colorado River theme here.  There is one.  I can't explain it.  

 For those of you who want to know what I was up to in school, here are a few observations: I found the curriculum fairly easy, and did well in the standardized battery of tests.  I also found that my primary athletic skills were rooted in endeavors regarding lifting heavy objects and knocking people down.  I had the opportunity to continue to do these things at a higher level, but elected to let those pass and concentrate on my intellectual pursuits (ah, yes, those of you who know me well are laughing now).

I went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for a year, but once again, Sin City and I had a tempestuous relationship.  I adjourned to the comfortable environs of Flagstaff, Arizona for the remainder of my college career.  I learned how to say, "I hold a Bachelor's of Arts from Northern Arizona University.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude with an English Degree."  I enjoyed saying that stuff for a time, but soon found that the words meant little, and I was supposed to actually do something with my life.

I worked for the school system in Page, Arizona (yes, next to the Colorado River, for those of you keeping score).  Soon enough, I had the best job ever: teaching Native American kids to play guitar.  Of course, I am self taught and frankly, a fairly lousy hand at anything much more complex than "Smoke on the Water".  Having started with the electric bass, I am somewhat of a knuckle dragger, though my aspirations still remain high.  The long and short of it was that I lacked any real qualification to continue in my cherished occupation.  As this fact impressed itself on me, I came back around to the essential truth of my existence--that I needed to write.

I wrote a great deal of poetry.  Free verse, Haiku, some pretty good, some pretty iffy.  I wrote the obligatory Conan novel.  I wrote a flawed story about a big blond guy with a funny name that I still cherish, but wonder if I'll ever be able to fix.  I got to work on those 500,000 mythic words that you have to write to get something good out.  Along the way, I was able to get published in several poetry anthologies that I didn't like very much and recieved a little card to put in my wallet commemorating this minor accomplishment.

Next up for the kid, a trip to Salt Lake City, to preside over the doctors saving my father's life by cracking his chest open like a clam, as well as the slow death of my oldest aunt.  I went ahead and wrote another, much larger book about the already-mentioned blond guy.  This one, clocking in at a good eight inches deep in manuscript form, took me a good little chunk of time to complete.  Unfortunatly, I liked it even better, and found it nearly as difficult to shape into a marketable product.

More poetry.  A lot more.  Books and book fragments enough to choke an ox.  I found a job at the Salt Lake City Public Library, much to my own surprise.  Much like my other moves, it seems to have been a complete accident.  Happily, I enjoyed the work, fixing their computers when they ceased to function, and I'm still there now.

I suppose that brings us up to the present.  Here I am, not the smashing bestseller I'd initially hoped to be, but still writing and still honing the craft.  I'm no less in love with the process, stem to stern, as I ever was, though I might be a bit wiser.  I would caution another person who wanted to follow my steps.  I would warn this acolyte of the pen and page that this is a way of disappointment and pain, of hard striving against an ephemeral enemy, that blank white space which always taunts us.  Then again, I would also say that each person deserves to feel the elation of creating something out of nothing.  It is as deified as a heathen like myself can feel.

I find myself here, after so many thousand hours at the keyboard, a hopeful man.  I still feel that my words will get out there, that a book on the shelf will have my name on it someday soon.  Perhaps it's madness, but I will judge that it is an inspired madness, and I cannot renounce it.

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