Who am I? Good question. I’ve spent my life asking that very same thing.
I was born in Washington State, the product of two hard-working, hard-headed individualists who still managed to be hippies. I spent the first few years of my life on a chunk of rock known as Blakely Island; it was a pilot’s-island resort occupied by retirees, trust-fund vacationers and the odd malcontent who thought of society as something which needed avoiding. My earliest memories are of rocky beaches and gigantic fir trees, of pancakes cooked on a wood-fed iron stove and angry winter storms…the beauty of which was best observed from behind a pane of thick glass.
My childhood was full of the beauty and reality of nature. We didn’t have a television; electricity was a luxury my father oversaw the installation of. Mail service came twice a week if the weather was good, delivered to a shack the size of an outhouse which sat at the end of our runway. Getting to school meant hopping on a bush plane or a crew boat; if the weather was bad, I didn’t go.
I moved to the mainland in 1987 and came down with a massive case of culture shock; even a town as sleepy as Bellingham was an intimidating metropolis to a kid who was used to spending a whole day without seeing another human soul. I adapted somewhat, but the need for occasional solitude is still very much a part of me.
I ended up in high school, shedding some of my awkwardness when I discovered what we now call geek culture. I spent my weekends pretending to be things I wasn’t, usually a vampire or a werewolf; my parents didn’t like this and I didn’t like them for it. I grew my hair long, smoked cigarettes and chased girls. Sometimes I caught them, which was a delight and a whole new set of problems. There was some rebellion and angst in there as well, but I try not to think about that now.
I moved out on my own, settled in with a sweetheart and got myself a job. I played at being urbane and sophisticated in the big city – Seattle, to be precise – but I decided I didn’t like it so I stopped. I stayed with the sweetheart despite massive amounts of advice to the contrary.
My twenties were spent as many others have spent theirs; loving dangerously, drinking copiously and arguing constantly…in essence, I went to war with the world and lost. Somewhere in there the sweetheart became my wife and then my ex-wife. Along the way I screwed things up and learned from having done so, even if the lessons took a while to stick.
Eventually I turned down the volume on my life, moved to the country and started over again. I met a good girl I liked and invited her to live with me; the surprise when she accepted is still hard to quantify. I tried to write a novel on a whim and discovered I had some talent at it.
At present time I’m a divorced thirty-something white guy sorting through the wonder and wreckage of a life best described as “other”. I’m an atheist who finds divinity in simply being alive. Somewhere in there I plan to write crime fiction despite having never been a criminal. I try not to get in my own way. Most days I succeed.
Who am I? That remains to be seen.