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June 27, 1948
I live in Port St. Lucie, Florida with my wife, Madeline, and a retired racing greyhound named Bean. Bean is now 70 in people years, and I am 10 in dog years, so we've reached a kind of parity in decrepitude that is oddly satisfying. I frequently wish I could be as good a person as he is a dog. He may have the same feelings about me. I don't know. He doesn't talk much, but he does seem always anxious to know where I am and what I've been up to.
I've been writing for a long time in spite of being discouraged from the pursuit at an early age. My 4th grade teacher, Sister Mary Samuela, was not content merely to grade one of my early contributions to American Letters, but felt compelled to tell my motherI had an “overactive" imagination.” Unfortunately, Mom, a true saint in her own right, was not one of those mothers for whom love of children outweighed even the slightest criticism by a nun. The result of this was that I toiled for many years as an accountant, a profession where my creative instincts, while applauded if they happened to save someone a few dollars in taxes, were more usually regarded with a great deal of suspicion.
I grew up in Fort Recovery, Ohio—a rural burg with one stoplight, six churches, and six taverns. I only attended one of the churches, Mary Help of Christians Catholic. I got a lot of my values and sensibilities there, but my appreciation for the odd duck, the weird and wondrous, and the downright quirky? I got that swilling beer with my friends in those taverns—all six of 'em.
I've given up beer since, well, mostly. Now, I like a nice big martini before dinner. A martini is a civilizing influence. Martinis have turned me into an uptown boy over the years. I still appreciate the quirky though, and I still have those small town, church-born sensibilities. I like to think it shows in my writing, even though I write a lot about fringe elements of society—thieves, charlatans, grifters, and the like. They're the ones who help you recognize the sweetness when you find it. It's the same reason I prefer my candy with nuts.
When I'm not writing, I'm tinkering at art and probably thinking about fishing. I hardly ever go fishing, though, because I just don't like to get my tackle wet. It's the same reason, ironically, that I don't play golf.