I’m a 57-year-old, married father of two teenagers -- a boy and a girl. I've always been very introspective, even to the point of being self-conscious before I learned to reel it in. And I've thought a lot about different aspects of our lives, which have transformed into more cohesive themes over time. The past is like a movie in my mind, and in it there's no shortage of material to draw from. Turning to writing early on as a way of getting better in touch with my thoughts and feelings, I believe good writing is organic and alive, fluid and always evolving. I also think there are more layers to our existence than the surface reality that consumes many people's lives, specifically the unseen/unknown extensions of the physical world inside and all around us. I see life with a sense of wonder that has alternately left me an awestruck dreamer, and inspired me to be an adventurous (but calculated) risk-taker. I learned the hard way that love isn't an ideal that can exist in a vacuum, isolated from everyday life -- and taking it for granted is the easiest way to lose it -- while on the long and sometimes painful journey to a better understanding of myself.
I was very restless by the time I started college, leaving after my first semester to work and save enough money to travel through Western Europe on a Eurail Pass, for three months that turned into five. It was the great adventure that I had hoped it would be, but trying to resume a more normalized existence afterward was of course anticlimactic, and hard. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, I experienced a full range of emotions while attempting to get my life back on track "in fits & starts," and some of the deepest soul-searching of my life took place during this period.
Going back to what is essentially a commuter (not community) college this time, I encountered some kindred spirits while also working as a "beer-tender" at the campus bar; I experienced comaraderie there that I hadn't during my first, live-in attempt at the other college, and eventually graduated with a BA in English. I then worked my way into a job as a newspaper reporter in the Florida panhandle, but was expected to be a One-Man Bureau for three semi-rural counties. As a cub reporter living far from the office on the outskirts of their coverage area, I became disillusioned with journalism and headed back to South Louisiana which I was also homesick for. Feeling lost and alone after a subsequent, misguided attempt to get into veterinary school while other people my age were starting careers and families, I thankfully found others of my kind once again (including my future wife) at the Louisiana Dept of Social Services where I spent the next eight years working my way up in four different positions with them. Then about 20 years ago I left state government for the potential to (eventually) make more money I'd need to support my growing family as a Staff Adjuster at a large insurance company, later becoming an Independent Property & Casualty Field Adjuster when Hurricane Katrina hit. These different jobs taught me a great deal about human nature because they all involved dealing directly (and often in-person) with a variety of different people.
I used to see my life as being mostly in front of me, then one day I realized I was looking backwards instead. Though the ability to access the past gives me a better understanding of how my life gradually seems to have come together, the accumulated experiences I've had also allow my mind's eye to more clearly focus on life's deeper meaning in real time, These days I strive to be more self-aware of and fully engaged in the present, where I can better distill the essence our existence and (hopefully) further evolve as a writer. And I'm compelled to take an audience on a flight through my imagination, enticing them to "think a little and feel a lot" while exploring universal themes, especially spiritual (but not necessarily religious) ones. The ability to evoke emotion with words and/or pictures -- that remain long after the person who dreamed up the ideas they project has long since departed this earthly realm -- is a magical thing that science will never be able to fully explain. And isn't a little mystery a big part of what makes this sublime miracle we call life endlessly fascinating?