I’m not at all sure what an “author’s bio” ought to say. The thing I’ve most wanted to do, all my life so far, is to write fiction: good yarns that are true to their characters. Yet all kinds of concerns — family, work, study, activism, distraction — have butted in front of that. I’m the husband of Lisa, dad of Eli and Francie, son of Jan and Morris and brother of Cristy, Jenny and Heather, the Program Director of the Henry George Institute and a member of the Belfast Area Friends Meeting… yet, dear as they are to me, those things aren’t pertinent here. A novel lives, if it does, in its own time and place; if it’s true, it’s true without reference to facts. My imaginary friends, Robin and Melinda, Sarah, Sean and Odis, are as real to me as they can possibly be. It’s been a treat to spend all this time with them: embezzled time, pledged elsewhere.
I’m an obsessive do-it-yourselfer. Surely I must have passed on to my (beautiful, awesome) kids the possibilities and pitfalls of approaching life in this way: I built my own house, did all the wiring and plumbing, making and correcting many mistakes; I created my own websites, their glitches and kludgy bits honestly hand-coded in. I fantasized about the luxury of having the weight of a major house behind my literary efforts, but that’s vanishingly unlikely in this day & age, and that’s OK by me. However this project turns out, I can’t blame anybody else for botching it.
Today, Eli is finishing up his freshman year of college. We’ve lived here in Waldo County, Maine since he was two months old. Lisa’s parents, Carl and Jo, gave us a couple of acres to build on. Roots can take firm hold in this ground — yet part of me has never left New York City, where I lived for nine essential years. Yet and still, I grew up along the Sassafras River, and that really is the sublimest place on earth. Robin’s destiny will transplant him, as mine did, but Odis gets to stay. I envy that.
Then there’s Melinda. Quite a piece of work, she is! Fictional characters have to start somewhere. They can’t help resembling some person-in-the-real-world — but the imaginary-friend journey isn’t worth taking if the character doesn’t end up becoming Who She Is. One more thing about me, by way of introduction: all my life, I have fallen in love with musicians — even more than with the music itself. I am fascinated by the compulsion to make music, to express one’s deepest love and self through sound. I used to be (a small) part of the scene at the Village Gate, on Bleecker Street, before it closed. Now and again a musician would ask me what I played. “I don’t,” I’d reply, “but I listen.” Nobody ever suggested that wasn’t important.