Writing & Education
I have been a writer since I was eight years old, when I first tapped out a brief Indiana Jones "fan fic" (a term I wasn't familiar with until many years later) story on my mother's typewriter. I don't remember what the story was about, and if there is a surviving copy anywhere, then I promise that if it comes to light I will post it on my blog.
My parents were officers of The Salvation Army, which is an ordained (ministerial) position and required our family to move every two-to-four years or so. Because of the constant changing of schools (I went to at least eight different schools in seven cities), it became very difficult for me to make friends. I took solace in reading, and I read everything from the Hardy Boys "Case Files" books to Emerson and Thoreau to Shakespeare. Inevitably, stories became a big part of my life in jr. high and high school. I continued my love for story through classes at Roberts Wesleyan College, where I graduated magna cum laude with dual B.A. degrees in English Literature and Humanities.
While at Roberts, I continued to write. As a sophomore, my short story "Sitting" won the "Best Prose" award in the inaugural edition of the college's Journal for the Arts, which earned me a place on the journal's editorial board my junior year and as the journal's editor my senior year. Several other of my stories and poems were published in the RWC Journal for the Arts, and are available online here as well.
During my high school and college years, I worked at various summer camps in Upstate New York (on Seneca Lake), Ohio and New Jersey, at first as a dishwasher/kitchen aide, and then later as a lifeguard, boating instructor and waterfront director. My experiences at these camps have given me a lasting appreciation of nature, which is reflected in some of my writing.
Shortly after college, I took a five-week backpacking trip to Europe and kept a journal most of the time while I was there. (I have always had a sporadic relationship with journaling, as anyone who traipses through my old blog posts would no doubt discover.) I spent about three weeks traveling the continent mostly alone, visiting Berlin, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Zurich, Amsterdam and Paris, with brief stops in a few other places. Then, I spent a couple weeks in England with some friends from the camps I had worked at, and enjoyed the sights of London and surrounding areas, including a reverse pilgrimage to Plymouth.
After a long hiatus from academia, I am working toward an M.A. in Literature from the Mythgard Institute, which is part of Signum University — a new online university that I truly believe will someday grow into a major educational powerhouse. One of my classes at Mythgard inspired me to write a parody of C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a Twitter feed.
I continue to write regularly. On May 10, 2012, I am launching my first online serial novel, Freedom Plot, which will be sold as a complete ebook once it has run its course online (which I expect to take about six months). I have another novel — a middle-grade story about seasteading — for which I am actively seeking literary agency and publication. Some of my short stories and poetry are available from the menu above.
I was born in Philadelphia, but I've lived in Upstate New York most of my life (excluding a couple years in Ohio as a kid and a couple in Massachusetts as an adult). I love the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of both metropolitan amenities and rural escapes. My favorite drive is up NY-14 along the western edge of Seneca Lake, overlooking the vineyards of world-renowned wineries; double the pleasure when the sun setting, causing shadows to stretch long and far over the lake valley.
I was married for just over 11 years, during which I partook in the conception of two beautiful daughters. The marriage didn't work out, but the daughters seem to be doing just fine. I see them often, and much to their chagrin, they see me as well.
I now live in Central New York and am working on the whole "independent artist" thing.
About the same period that I was married, I worked at a major financial institution as a communications writer/specialist/project manager (the titles changed over the years). I was there throughout the financial collapse, and many of the things I learned and experienced while there helped me solidify my personal philosophical outlook as a libertarian.
My experience at the bank also gave me an insight into how messy life is, and how things are never quite as clear cut as they seem. While I would love to see central banking and The Federal Reserve go away, at the same time it's hard to agree with many of my libertarian and liberal friends who think that the big banks just exist to screw everyone over. I worked with, and still know, many great people who advocate strongly for customers and individual rights, despite the problems that have occurred over the last several years. I left the bank in Feb. 2012 under mutually beneficial conditions.
Having grown up in an evangelical family, belief in a Christian god was assumed from a very young age. I started questioning a number of those beliefs in college, and ultimately came to the conclusion around 2007 that I am agnostic. However, I think the term "agnostic" has some connotative problems and doesn't quite explain my beliefs. Thus, I have been toying around with a concept I like to call "mesotheism" — a "middle belief" in god — and someday I will finish the essay I started on the topic.
I mentioned above that I am a libertarian, and when I used it I meant the political sense (as in strictly limited government and almost unlimited personal freedom). For a long while I was also a libertarian in the metaphysical sense, as in someone who believes in ultimate free will of the human soul. Having learned more on the topic, I am probably closer to a compatibilist, but the jury's still out. I am certainly not a determinist, and I think deterministic attempts to justify morality are silly, as I showed in my review of Sam Harris' Free Will.