Filed under: Authors
Home was the perfect storm of language.
My mother, a single parent with a BA in English, believed that good taste was nothing more than what was appropriate. Nudity at a skinny dip was in good taste; formal wear on Opening Night was in good taste; words, properly used, were no different and completely without taboo. Conjugation and declension will never again be so appealing to a five-year-old boy. My adoptive father, a forty-seven-year-old New York bachelor, brought the original cast recordings of everything Broadway into our Dallas, Texas bungalow. Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Loesser, Bernstein, and Sondheim unwittingly banded around the turntable, teaching me how to tell a story, jerk a tear, or crack a joke.
I was a furniture salesman, an antiques dealer, a lighting consultant. I was an artist's model, a handyman, a landlord until my now-wedded partner, Dale, and I found The King and I—a rotten tub of a wooden boat sinking on a Texas lake. Then, I became a boatwright until we were yachtsmen setting sail for adventure across the heartland. My writing career was born on the Arkansas, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Ohio rivers with reports of our progress sent to a minuscule platform of a hundred loyal subscribers who, at journey's end, insisted, "You must write a book."
But writing a book because one can pen a good email is like opening a restaurant because one can set a pretty table. Writing is work.
Winning Entry: River Queens
Contest Won: North Street Book Prize 2019, Honorable Mention