Writing—Like every other writing in all of history, I began writing out of revenge! When two seminal stories from my childhood didn’t meet my expectations after decades of waiting for new installments, I cussed for months. Then one day, in the throes of disappointment, I said, “If you don’t like it, then write your own.” Really though, who was I, but a disappointed fan? And then with a few extra minutes while at work, I put pen to paper and jotted down a couple fictional sentences. Some more followed until I had a gigantic book on my hands. Unknown at the start, this notion of writing took hold. I’d put the work away while more pressing issues possessed my time, but little by little I found myself obsessing over stories that never happened and people that existed only in my head. It sounds loony, but these obsessions end with a story’s conclusion. That’s when I find satisfaction in those introverted hours away from people, real life, even myself.
Like most science fiction writers, I have never been to space. I do, however, relate my terrestrial adventures to my characters. Outside of writing, I enjoy hiking and camping. Fishing on the open ocean in a kayaks. Climbing rocks, chasing snakes and jumping off of bridges. These may not seem enough like outer space to use as examples, but it’s not the act in general, it’s the feeling of the moment. Hanging twenty feet up by one hand on a tree limb as the wind blows, the leaves rustle and the trunk creaks lets me know just how dangerous life outside my ontogenetic realm can be. I don’t put myself in danger for writing material. That’s just not smart. I push myself a bit farther than initial fear demands and come away with a personal satisfaction of seeing or experiencing something just beyond the boundaries common sense has drawn.
I write the old fashion way—pencil and paper. It’s twice the work, but it gives me a chance to examine several pages at a time. As I transcribe my cursive writing into binary code, which my screen displays as English text, my stories go through their first rounds of editing. It’s outmoded and people gasp when they hear it, but wait, it gets worse. I type on a Dvorak keyboard. There are some earlier posts on how that’s gone, but basically it’s a done deal. I can no longer type proficiently on a normal keyboard layout.
My literary influences? I don’t really have a single author I can look at as my primary influence though Dean Koontz is the one who I thought I could initially imitate. Wrong. But I look up to all authors that have the balls to write a story, put it out for criticism and see their project through to the end. I might not like some tale or genre, but I’ve got to give credit where it’s due and any writer that crosses the threshold and becomes an author has my respect. My literary hero is Boris Pasternak. I don’t think anyone in modern times has suffered more for their work. He was a poet in Soviet Russia, won a Nobel Prize in literature for Doctor Zhivago and spent the rest of his life under house arrest until he died of cancer. If he can defy the archetypes of communism, I can endure some critics. I find it interesting how he, and his contemporaries, wove real physics into their work. Not details chiseled from a ten minute Wikipedia search, but a fundamental understanding of Newtonian physics.
No cats, no dogs, though I do have lizards, squirrels, opossums, raccoons and scores of bird species visit my modest, suburban backyard. Dogs are loyal, cats seem contemplative, but it’s those moments among wild animals that inspire me the most. When will writing become by full time occupation? I don’t know. Right now it feels like my second full time job. My wife is wonderfully supportive. She puts up with the long winded explanations when I get a new story idea or imagine some sciency fictional thing to write about. My two small children couldn’t care less. But they’re not supposed to. The little ones, however, keep me grounded. Otherwise I might get lost in space or dive brains-first into the zombie apocalypse.
One last thing about me if you can stand to read this much. I like jokes. Any kind of jokes. I like people who can tell a joke. I like people who can take a joke. So much of this world is run by humorless people. Sometimes I find it best to sit back and laugh rather than get caught up in manufactured drama. If you have a joke you’d like to share, please feel free to post it. I can laugh at most anything, but I might not make the funniest stuff public ; )