ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FROM THE AUTHOR
I was born in DeSoto, Missouri, in the summer of 1947, the youngest of four children. My father completed the eighth grade and quit school to help support his family. My mother completed ninth grade and was told that she was needed at home. I am grateful that my parents valued learning and education. I am grateful that they liked to read and my home always had plenty of books and magazines and newspapers.
I have always considered it a gift to have grown up in a small Midwestern town in the 1950s. I have never wanted to change that. Since I am a believer in exceptionalism, I think DeSoto was an exceptional place, at times a magical place. The adults who were there as I grew up were fine people, and I am always proud of the adults that were made from those high school graduating classes in and around my year of 1965.
I agree that our parents were the greatest generation, but we Baby Boomers have cared about our communities and our country, and we have done our best. We’re still doing our best to leave something of value or beauty or meaning behind.
I gathered my formal education from the elementary and secondary public schools of DeSoto, Missouri, Jefferson College, the University of Missouri, and Southeast Missouri State University. My non-formal education was accumulated as a newspaper delivery boy, a grass cutter, a lunch ticket puncher, a factory laborer, a quality control technician, a hod carrier, a towboat deckhand, a pool hall assistant manager, a plumber’s helper, a rock band manager, a bartender, a secondary math teacher, a furniture delivery man, a cross country coach, a shipping warehouse order filler, a consultant to an educational software company, a help desk person at an insurance company, a college math teacher, a seed merchandiser, a bank courier, and an author. My informal education was collected in group interactions pursuing interests I chose or interests that were chosen for me. The learning continues, intentional or not…
Speaking of formal education. I remember…
as a kindergartner standing in the corner of the fence watching faces and waiting for my high school sister to walk me home after school. On most days, when I saw her coming, I had to wipe tears from my face. I don’t know where I got abandonment issues.
in first grade giving my milk money, two pennies, to a classmate who was crying because her toes hurt from a ballet demonstration she had done. I hope it helped.
getting in trouble in third grade for throwing a boy’s baseball on top of a three-story school building. I had told him twice during recess to play catch, or “not catch,” as the case was, in a different direction so that when he missed the ball it wouldn’t roll through our basketball game. I had to stand behind the classroom door for punishment. I felt a strong sense of injustice.
wanting a football helmet for Christmas in fourth grade, but when the teacher told us to draw our hoped-for gift in art class, I drew a cowboy outfit. It was the only thing I could draw that looked real, and I wasn’t into impressionism.
in fifth grade asking a good friend’s mother if her son could spend the weekend with me. When she asked me where I lived, I gave her the address and directions, and pointed to the portion of town that occupied the “wrong side of the tracks.” She said, “Oh. Over there? No. I don’t think he’ll be able to spend the weekend.”
in a seventh-grade basketball game, rebounding an opponent’s missed free throw and putting it right back up at the wrong basket. Luckily, I missed.
I live with my wife, Arlene, and our Russell Terrier (Shorty Jack), Zeke, near St. Louis. I am an avid sports fan and follow Mizzou football and basketball, St. Louis University basketball, the Cardinals, and the Blues. When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading, watching movies, streaming British TV series, shooting pool, planting things and watching them grow (including trees, shrubs, flowers, and ideas). I love my wife. I love my dog. I love the outdoors. I love learning. I love a meaningful conversation.
The best way to tell you about me and my writing is to tell you what I believe.
I believe in the uniqueness of each person and that, if given the equality of opportunity, the individual is the best architect of his own destiny. I believe that societal problems are best remedied by small groups, preferably starting with the family; that government should protect people without getting in the way of their lives; that Americans are not guaranteed happiness, but the right to pursue it; that society is both a benefit and a burden that requires giving as well as receiving; that acceptance of cultural diversity includes acceptance of a diversity of opinions; that change is not automatically good; that displaying a devotion to country is a virtue; that individual differences can be served without sacrificing excellence.
I believe deeply in love, loyalty, individualism, self-reliance, liberty, ambition, hard work, competition without trophies for everyone, and that action as well as words is a form of expression.
If you share these beliefs, you might enjoy crawling into the pages of one of my books.
Why do I write? I write to escape and be entertained. I write to communicate and connect. I write to better understand the world and the human condition. I write to leave something behind.
My writing is shaped intentionally and innately by the beliefs I value most, the beauty of love, the requirements of loyalty, the benefits of individualism and self-reliance, the pursuit of liberty and happiness and good health, the struggle for integrity and order and justice, the necessity of ambition and hard work and competition and achievement, the search for growth and virtue and spirituality, the power of reason and cooperation and compromise. I write to strengthen hope... both mine and yours.
"I write to strengthen hope...
both mine and yours."