The Real Bio
My first published work was for a small daily newspaper in Texas in 1957. It was an article about Civil Defense. But at the time I was writing mainly fiction and some poetry, and finally in 1959 my novelette in twelve chapters, Honeysuckle Cottage, was published in a small private edition. Two novels followed in 1960 and 1962, but neither one found a publisher. I returned to newspaper work on an underground rag called Calumny, all the while writing fiction and poetry on my own time. Around 1966 I began experimenting with writing for the stage. After writing a handful of one-acts and one full length play, my one-act “Pleasant Sundays” was produced in Austin, Texas in 1972, at the small but well-funded Laboratory Theater. Encouraged, I moved to New York City and wrote another full length play, The Rodeo Stays in Town for at Least a Week, which was produced off-off-Broadway at The WPA Theater and received lukewarm reviews, including one in Cue Magazine. In shortened versions, that play went on to be produced in NYC at The Riverside Church Theater, The Ensemble Studio Theater, and in a screen version that aired on WNYC TV. It was also produced in Los Angeles at Creative Visions. The Ensemble Studio Theater also produced (in a staged reading format) another full length play I wrote titled New Mexican Rainbow Fishing. This play was later, in 1984, produced successfully at The Peterborough Players (in New Hampshire) and then in 1987 at the Nat Horne Theater in New York City’s famous “Theater Row” on 42nd Street. I revised it further, renamed it Echo 4 Mi., and in that form it was produced in North Carolina at The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater (SART) in 1991. About that same time, I was returning to writing fiction, but had written non-fiction articles (for the money) for several national publications including Dramatics Magazine, Youthbeat (a Sunday newspaper supplement), Challenge Plus (a science magazine) and proprietary corporate publications in the advertising industry. Once I began submitting short stories to magazines, my first acceptance was in 1992 (The Sun). Having written and shelved a novel in the early 1990’s, I began work on another novel, Homunculus, which was eventually published in 2009. I also had stories published in Crucible, and in The Chrysalis Reader, both literary magazines, and an excerpt from a novel-in-progress in an online journal. Throughout all of this, I wrote poetry whenever I was inspired to do so, but never submitted any of it until I sent three poems to Aries Journal of Art and Literature in 2012. They published one of the poems, “Noisy House with Tiny Lights.”
That is my real bio. If it makes me sound very old, be aware that I was only in second grade when that first article was published. And to be fair, Honeysuckle Cottage was “published” by my fourth grade teacher, who had her assistant type it up with carbon copies and asked me to create the cover art. But I wanted to share my writing history in the way I personally see it, and not diced and sliced to make it appropriate for whatever entity happens to be asking for a bio. The reason I felt the need to share this is that, as someone who goes so very far back as a writer, I lately feel so out of touch with so much of the current prevailing attitudes about writing. Today I read about a self-published writer who started a crowd-funding campaign to support her writing, and when met with criticism for it, she lashed out bitterly (and quite self-destructively) online for all the world to see. I feel like I’ve arrived not just in another time, but on another planet, another universe. My task, I’m starting to believe, is not to continue struggling to integrate myself with current trends, but to actively remove myself from them, because while I might never make a decent buck that way, well, I’ve never felt the bucks were decent anyway.