I grew up in the cornfields of west-central Illinois – let me amend that to say that I was not born in and raised by feral cats in a cornfield, but rather I “came of age” in the land that opportunity forgot. In reality, I was born in Oklahoma, the land from which opportunity escaped before coming to Illinois, where it was ceremoniously caned before being chased out of the state. So as you can see, pursuing lost causes was already in my future.
That said, I roamed the rectangular city blocks of Galesburg, Illinois, in my wayward youth, attempting to live out the American dream in a paved-over swamp in the cornfields, with double-digit unemployment, and the smell of hog poo that hovered in the air like a warm blanket of fecal love. By the time I graduated from High School, I’d determined that my goal in life was to live somewhere else – anywhere else – and preferably, as far away as I could get. I joined the Army Reserves so I could earn substandard pay while defending my country from the Nicaraguan and Grenadian Communists. To add adventure to my life, I married and moved to Hawaii, where warm summer breezes blew through our overpriced condo, and lizards and flying roaches infested our kitchen at night.
While dodging slurred threats of drunk, Hawaiian policemen at the liquor store where I worked (which no longer exists), I studied computers at Hawaii Loa College (which also no longer exists), before moving to Fredericksburg, VA to study computers (which now exist only in landfills or museums). From there I worked at Orion Enterprises for 22 years as an IT administrator until my job passed into non-existence, after the funding that supported the company disappeared as well. For some number years, I was self-employed, which is not for the faint of heart. The prospect of being your own terrible boss, who makes daily outrageous demands on my time and efforts (Do that laundry! Make me a sandwich!) is humbling. Since then, I now work full-time in IT support, in a large building filled with people paid well more than I am.
All the while, I have pursued a writing career that has promise, but not a paycheck. Yet hope, like my allergies, springs eternal, and I strive to stay off the tracks of the non-existence train and to improve.
That said, I have always been a fan of fantasy fiction, having enjoyed the greats (Lewis and Tolkien) as well as more contemporary authors (Brooks, LeGuin, etc.) and have been published in the 2014 Rappahannock Voices anthology, published a short book of Children’s stories (Princess Rachel Adventures), a first book of a fantasy series (The Grail of Culloden), and competed in the Golden Nib (short story contest) during which I took second place in the first tier the last two years, and a first this year (2016). Likewise, I am blogging on a fairly consistent basis, to keep my writing skills sharp as well as to stay engaged with the Riverside Writers (a chapter of the Virginia Writer’s Club). I live in Fredericksburg with my exceedingly patient and tolerant wife and sweet but horribly rotten children.