Biographical Notes


FullSizeRender When I graduated from high school in 1954, I was functionally illiterate. I planned to spend my life as a fry cook and jazz musician. But Linda Hook, my first girlfriend, said she didn’t want to make out with someone who couldn’t read or write and who didn’t go to college. So over the summer I learned to read and write, and I got provisionally admitted to University of California, Riverside. Linda had another boyfriend by then.
I ended up as a psychology major because my advisor, Dr. Eisman, was a psychologist. I couldn’t look up psychology in the dictionary because I thought it started with an “s.” It didn’t seem to matter. Dr. Eisman had a rat lab and wore a white lab jacket. If being a psychology major would get me a lab jacket like his, I was all in. I eventually got my Ph.D. and attended University of California, Berkeley on a post-doctorate. My academic life included some teaching, lots of administration, and in the 1970s, serving on the President’s Council on Productivity, serving as a speaker for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for a short while consulting on American Indian higher education for the Department of Education. In the late Seventies, I had the good fortune of designing and running my own college on the campus of Grand Valley State University—an experimental college called Thomas Jefferson. After eight years and total burnout, I consulted with businesses for the next twenty years.
When I retired at age 55 on a subsistence income, I tried jazz again, but the thrill was gone. After several false starts, I decided to try the one thing that frightened me most—writing. My first story "Okies" won the Raymond Carver Fiction Contest and I thought, Hey, this is easy. As it turned out it was the hardest and most enjoyable thing I have ever done.
In the last twenty years, I’ve published a novel, A Howl for Mayflower, and four collections of poetry, Season Tickets (Pima Press), Love Takes a Bow (Imago Press), Panning for Gold (Imago Press), and Just Before Sleep (KYSO Flash Press). In addition to the Raymond Carver Fiction Contest, I have placed in the Martindale Fiction Award, and won three first-place awards for short stories in Sandscript. Many of my poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, San Diego Reader, Aethlon, Blue Collar Review, The Carolina Review, Sandscript, Poetry Nook, Serving House Journal, and Loft and Range. I have also been featured author in the KYSO Flash journal.
My story "Happiest Black White Man Alive" was chosen by Robert Olen Butler to be included in The Best Short Fictions 2015 (Queen’s Ferry Press). The same story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Serving House Journal.
I am currently working with Clare MacQueen, founding editor of KYSO Flash Press, to produce a full-length book of haibun (a combination of prose and haiku) called New Shoes. And I’m working on a second book of short fiction pieces called Prayer Wars.