If you're here to find out what made me like I am, you're probably out of luck. For the most part, I had a boring, uneventful childhood -- no child abuse, no incest with my sisters, no Huck Finn-type adventures. Things were pretty calm at my house. But I still managed to escape with a rather warped mind. Go figure.
you really want to blame something for the way I am, here’s a list of items that
have influenced me over the years.
I was born in Stillwater, Okla. in 1966 and we moved to Enid, Okla. about a year later. In 1979, I met Kim Hager in the band room of Longfellow Junior High School. She says I wouldn't go away, I think she just couldn't pull herself away from my shy-boy charms. At any rate, we starting "dating" -- as if you can really do that in junior high -- in November 1980, got married in 1985 and have been together since then. We've got three little munchkins, Alex, Sara and Amanda. A fourth child is due to arrive very soon.
In 1983-84 -- when I was a high school senior -- I first got the writing bug. But, instead of going to college, I stayed home and got married. Home life was okay, but the next decade was miserable as far as work. I worked in various machine shops, moving to Oklahoma City in 1993 in pursuit of more money, and hated every minute of it.
I wrote during this time, completing many poems and short stories and five novels. But there was no real success in what I was trying to achieve -- a career in writing. During this time, I had a poem published in The Writer that pretty much summed up my life view:
Life on the Clock
The dreariness of tomorrow
Laps onto the shores of today
As I flee
The desolation of yesterday.
In 1995, things changed. The machine shop I was working in was not very safe. I was working on a massive old vertical lathe where I had to tighten the chuck jaws with a three-foot ratchet with a cheater pipe on it for leverage. The gears of the ratchet stripped often, the screws on the chuck would break ... it was horrible. Then one day, the ratchet's gears stripped and I found myself on my back on the cement floor with a sore shoulder. The shoulder still crackles and pops and gives me some problems. That was the end of my machine shop career.
And the beginning of my college years. I was 29 years old then. At first, I majored in English education at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Then I realized I would rather write than teach people about literature, so I switched to journalism. I got my BA in December 1999.
I worked for some newspapers in college and for a while afterward, including the largest paper in the state, The Daily Oklahoman. However, the pay was horrible, so I started looking for other ways of earning a living.
I now work in the human resources department of Conoco in Ponca City. I write about employee benefits, which isn't the most exciting topic in the world, but the pay is much, much better than in the newspaper biz. I also still do freelance journalism whenever I can, working for various newspapers. I miss regular newspaper work, but my current job gives me personal time and money that I never would have had if I had remained with a newspaper.
I've completed seven novels and have published several short stories and poems. Now that I have more time, I'm concentrating on writing fiction again and am back to marketing my most recently completed novel, Shara, while working on a couple of other novel-length projects. I've also begun work toward a master of liberal studies degree through the University of Oklahoma.