As a kid, when grownups would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I did not know how to respond to their polite curiosity. I did not have a plan. I had no idea of what I “wanted to do.” I’ve never had a career in the traditional sense. My formal education is sporadic. I have not completed, nor is it likely that I ever will complete, a four-year degree. Yet – out of a sense of curiosity and necessity – I’ve done much to educate myself on college campuses and through personal study as a lifelong learner.
Even today, when meeting someone new and confronted with the inevitable question of “What do you do?” I don’t have a ready reply other than “Lots of things.”
My first job out of high school was as a packer for a moving company in Northern Virginia. It didn’t last long. I had neither the stamina nor the enthusiasm for it. My first job was also the first job I got fired from. After that I worked in a car wash/gas station. For three weeks I drove a taxi around DC and Northern Virginia,, until I couldn’t take it anymore.
An item in the classified section of the Washington Post led me to a mud-filled construction site and the lowly position of laborer.
From construction laborer I moved up to carpenter and cabinet maker, and for a while I was a general contractor building houses and doing residential and small business remodeling in Oregon. I built one of the several houses I’ve lived in over the years.
In 1981 I made the decision to be a writer – a much different thing than a construction laborer, but something that requires a lot of work.
I wrote for three weekly newspapers and a small number of magazines, mostly about woodworking.
A chance remark of a friend led me to acquire licenses to practice massage therapy in Oregon and Washington. I teach kinesiology (the study of muscles and movement) at Oregon School of Massage.
I’m introverted and introspective. I can often be seen just staring out a widow, deep in thought. Occasionally, while walking from one room to another, I’ll pause as though I’m lost. I am, of course, but not in a physical sense. My wife, Robin, will say, “There you go again, thinking.” Sometimes I share my thoughts on this blog. Many times I don’t, usually because it’s so time consuming to transcribe those thoughts into a viable arrangement of words on a page.
Anyway, I have followed my curiosity and apply myself to what interests me and what is necessary to do. Although I didn’t foresee as much, it turns out I have a modest body of work to look back on. Here is some of it.