If you’re here to find out what made me like I am, you’re probably out of luck. You see, I had a pretty boring childhood. My parents stayed married, my dad earned enough that we lived a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. I was never beaten or abused or neglected and never had a deadly disease. I married young, and seven years later (in my mid-20s) we had the first of four children. And yet, somehow, I keep writing about monsters and bad things happening to good people.
I wrote my first piece of fiction in sixth grade. I don’t remember much about it, other than it was for a contest and the story featured a natural fort made of trees that had grown together that was the secret place visited by the young protagonist. It was in high school, when I took Wilda Walker’s Creative Writing class that I thought there could be something to this writing business. However, after high school I got married and began working jobs I hated, which inspired this poem that was published in The Writer in the early 1990s.
Life on the Clock
The dreariness of tomorrow
Laps onto the shores of today
As I flee
The desolation of yesterday.
A shoulder injury forced me out of machine shop work and into college, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, won numerous awards for features and editorial writing before going to work for The Daily Oklahoman for a couple of years. After that I did public relations work with intermittent journalism until I became a high school English teacher in 2007.
I’m still teaching today, and writing as much as my schedule allows. I live in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, where one of my kids has already moved away and married and another will be college-bound very soon.
Here’s an interview KSBI-TV did with me a while back that you might find entertaining. Or boring.