These agents always seem to want a bio. I don’t know why. It reminds me a lot of college, where the first question out of everyone’s mouth was always “Where did you go to school?” Then they immediately go to that city for conversational impulses . . . “Did you know so-and-so” and “Have you been to such-and-such?” And low and behold, you have a friend of a friend’s friend in common, and then you’re supposed to be best buddies. It all seemed so fake to me, but I guess it’s just how it works, and the bio has the same purpose, so that when that agent gives me a call saying they can’t wait for my manuscript we can reminisce about how we both loved “Spaceballs.” (So what does that make us? Absolutely nothing!)
Maybe this is why I sometimes don’t fit in well.
I was born in Washington State, the eastern, desert side, where my father was a professor at Washington State University. I remember the cougar in the cage that looked like it was designed by an architect from ancient Greece, incongruously set beside the freeway. We moved a few times growing up, so that I have experienced the mosquitos of Minnesota summers and the endless waiting for the sun to reappear that characterizes Minnesota winters. I spent my high school years in Gladstone, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. We returned last summer and I very much enjoyed seeing my family and drinking Breakside, Gigantic, and Cascade Barrel House ales. Having watched too much Miami Vice, after high school I decided that I wanted to attend college in Florida. I arrived at the University of Miami with aspirations of a criminal justice degree. Alone for the first time in my life, I was introduced to a whole new community: it was 1990, and the Hurricanes were playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Eventually I settled on a degree in English, and I have been tending bar ever since. In Orlando I met my wife, my life, Kimberly, and acquired my first beagle. We married in 2004 and now we have a family of four–legged trumpets. Their names are Woodstock, Penelope, Emily, and Humphrey Bogart. Although my interest in the trombone came to nothing, I love music, everything from Bob Dylan to Def Leppard, and from Eminem to Jerry Jeff Walker. I live in Dayton, Nevada, where I enjoy snowboarding in the Sierra Nevadas, paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe, disc golf wherever, and attempting to get on paper from 300 yards with my Winchester Model 70 Featherweight. I am an excellent co-ed softball coach, and my favorite sports teams are the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Hurricanes. Some of my favorite authors are Faulkner, Hemingway, LeGuin, Lloyd Alexander, Cormac McCarthy, Henry Miller, Malcolm Lowry, and Laurence Durrell. I have been writing fiction since I was in the sixth grade, and strangely, my themes have not changed all that much. I have never been published, but I am hoping to change that soon.
There, how’s that for some conversation starters?