The photograph on this page is from the summer I conquered my fear of water and learned to swim. If I look confident, it’s because there’s nothing like overcoming a fear to put a smile on your face.
I am standing outside my cabin in the Carmel Highlands looking at the vast blue Pacific and believing I will never leave. This is a picture of an “I think I can” moment. Behind me are jobs as a radio talk-show host and TV news anchor. Two vice-presidents at NBC News have offered me high-paying positions to give up my lifelong dream of becoming a writer and go to work for them. During lunch at 30 Rock, they tell me that even if I'm lucky enough to get a story in the New Yorker, the fee would be a pittance compared to what they can pay. Remarkably and as kindly as I know how, I decline. I have just read Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. I want to know what Buddha knows in the way he knows it—and not second-hand as a correspondent.
If I believe I can do this, it is because I have had parents who sacrificed everything to put that smile on my face. The best schools, a middle-class roof over my head, never a doubt as to where my next meal was coming from. I do not want to let them or myself down.
Also, I have read Kipling’s “If” and felt personally challenged by it. I feel ready to make one heap of all my winnings, risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and if losing to start again at my beginnings never to breathe a word about my loss.
The picture on this page is a portrait of Mini Me. The short-pants boy-self in Babette’s Feast to whom the general says, “Tonight we two shall settle our score. You must prove to me that the choice I made was the right one.”
I don’t like the idea of posting younger pictures of yourself—if doing so is vanity for a mix-up of genes that were never really yours to begin with. Possibly, there is some vanity in what I’ve said here, but I hope the quantity of that vice is small in comparison to the rest of what I’ve said.
My nonfiction has been published nationally in places like Reader's Digest, Playboy, and the Christian Science Monitor. I've won a couple of awards--first prize for fiction at the Agnes Scott College Writers Festival, for instance. And I was lucky enough to receive the Paul Bowles Fellowship in Creative Writing while working on a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Georgia State University. But these resume-type things say only what I've done. They don't tell much about who I am, which is why I've turned to this somewhat unconventional bio to introduce myself.
My full-length novel and a story collection will be published soon. A few short pieces from that larger work are still floating around on Amazon’s Kindle platform. But don’t read them yet. I was just dipping my toe in the water. It’s time now for a good long swim.
Thanks for visiting my website. It's nice to see you here.
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