WRITER, DOODLER, TINKERER, & COOK
I live in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with my wife, Madeline, and our retired racing greyhound, Bean. I’ve been writing for most of my life, but I’ve only gotten serious about it since I retired from a long, arduous career in accounting in 2008.
By serious, I mean that I work hard at it. I am not a serious person. I never have been. I don’t write about serious subject matter as a rule, and, if I do, I don’t treat it very seriously, so you’re just going to have to take that into account. You can find samples of my writing around this website, which will demonstrate just what I mean.
I won’t make any guarantees. You’re on you own. Once you’ve developed an opinion, I’d love to hear from you one way or the other. Like everyone else I know, I can always use either some encouragement or a course correction. Entirely up to you, of course, but I’m in this because I like to make people laugh and I like to make people think. I like to have people do those same things to me. If you’re of a like mind, I’m right here when you need me.
I grew up in Fort Recovery, Ohio—a rural burg with one stoplight, six churches, and six taverns. I only attended one of the churches. I got a lot of my values and sensibilities there, but my appreciation for the odd duck, the weird and wondrous, and the downright quirky? I got that swilling beer with my friends in those taverns—all six of ’em.
I’ve given up beer since. Now, I like a nice big martini before dinner. A martini is a civilizing influence, and they’ve turned me into an uptown boy over the years. I still appreciate the quirky though, and I still have those small town, church-born sensibilities. It all shows up in my writing, even though I write a lot about fringe elements of society—thieves, charlatans, grifters, and the like. They’re the ones who help you recognize the sweetness when you find it. It’s the same reason I prefer my candy with nuts.
THINGS I’M FOND OF
IN GENERAL: I prefer the sacred to the profane, but profanity to speech that has been sanitized of its full meaning. I prefer art to politics and politics to war. I prefer quiet to music and music to noise. I prefer driving to flying, but, these days, who doesn’t. I prefer red wine to white, scotch to bourbon, and martinis to almost everything else. I like my candy with nuts.
MUSIC: (in no particular order) Norah Jones, Beatles, Emmy Lou Harris, Mark Knopfler, Bela Fleck, Fleetwood Mac, Carlos Santana, Desmond Dekker, Eric Clapton, Dianna Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Alison Krauss, Chris Isaak, Eagles, Maria Muldaur, Neville Brothers, Pink Floyd, Gato Barbieri, Cassandra Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Steely Dan, Dire Straights, Candy Dulfer, Simon & Garfunkel, Joyce Cooling
BOOKS: The Pope’s Rhinoceros by Lawrence Norfolk, The Sotweed Factor by John Barth, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, The Gospel According to John, The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr, and everything written by Elmore Leonard, John le Carré, and Margaret Atwood. I think my writerly sensibilities came from reading Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan, and Ken Kesey early in my adult life. I can get lost in really good science fiction. The best books I read last year were The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben Winters and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer. Like Tom Robbins, I’ve been reading James Joyce’s Ulysses for 35 years. I read a little bit of it each week. I’m on page 23.
FILM: all time favorite—The Time Bandits. I don’t know why. I could watch it again right after seeing it. I would be watching it now if it were on. (I just checked. It’s not.) I love the classic films of the 30s and 40s—the ones that feature a “gowns by” credit in the opening titles and all the men dress in white tie and tails to go clubbing. Luciana Pedraza speaks my favorite movie line of all time in a little gem of a film made in 2002 called Assassination Tango. She plays a thirty-something single mother in Argentina where Robert Duvall has come to kill a retired general. Duval, her husband in real life but taking tango lessons from her in the movie, asks her, “If I were thirty years younger, would I have a chance with you?” She replies, “You have a chance now.” I don’t think it gets any better than that. Best script ever: Casablanca, written on the fly while they were shooting the movie—putting the ‘labor’ in collaboration.
TV: I watch a lot, certainly more than I should. Standouts for me over the years have been The Burns and Allen Show, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Smothers Brothers, Saturday Night Live, Taxi, The Bob Newhart Show, Cheers, Seinfeld, Ally McBeal, Friends, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Californication, Justified, and Breaking Bad.
STUFF I BELIEVE
The God of Abraham created the universe and everything in it. In His time it took no time at all. In our time it probably took a lot longer than seven days.
If you believe that the universe and everything in it, leading up to and including you, is the result of a peculiar set of accidents, I’m okay with that. But, If you also maintain that there are no miracles, then I think you’ve not been paying close enough attention.
Here is how I see the essential difference between the explanations of creation offered by religion and science:
Religion – In the beginning there was God, and God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.
Science – In the beginning there was nothing. Then it exploded.
I think fiction is often truer than reality, and art more reasonable than philosophy. I think science confirms faith in ways only a poet can understand.
I believe that, at a minimum, I should leave the world in a better state than I found it. It’s okay to fail at this, but it’s not okay not to try.