Having surprised everyone by coming out of the oven 6 weeks premature, I became my mother’s extra Thanksgiving turkey that year. I remain convinced that that critical month and a half is connected to why English remained so difficult for me in school. I’m a spatial, pattern recognition guy, and can only surmise that the English language contained and still contains too many exceptions for me. With some hyperbole, I’m hoping the current mysterious subject of dark matter succumbs more easily. That said, I get it. We all have stuff to deal with, and for most, it’s not that difficult.
Over my early years I was a good, quiet student. I found chess, baseball briefly (my budding career cut short when I earned a bad grade in English), and then later, tennis, a respite where I didn’t need to worry about proper punctuation, just sets. At times, I did enjoy reading when I was young—something my mother and older brother always seemed to be doing—but usually, I was outside playing something decidedly nonverbal or riding my bike. I still enjoy those things, but now I do always have a book going (writing and reading).
With sports and more confidence, the quiet student became the creative, witty student who now managed to get himself into witty trouble. Humor and idealism and romanticism began to shape my world, as I pressed on to make use of both the logical and creative sides of my brain. Through it all, I’ve faced challenges like everyone else. Some I’ve overcome and some I haven’t.
After a long-term marriage and two beautiful daughters— both who married the same year as a strategy to do me in order to gain their inheritance early (someone lied about my net worth!?)—after the divorce, I began to write every day. Apparently the belief that a “challenging” family prepares one well for being a writer, was not enough in my case. But then the divorce happened, tripping some internal switch, which brought my verbal challenges right back around as surely as a pie in the face. There is a surreal aspect to all this, my second-grade teacher would rightly point out (akin to Peter Seller’s character in Being There who supposedly had “rice puddin’ between the ears,” only to be found advising the president on T.V. Psychologically, there is something to overcoming and achieving something difficult, not in an area of relative strength, but rather and quite clearly, the opposite. Those of you who have managed this in your life, I tip my Indiana Jones hat to you. In Monty Pythons’ immortal words, apparently: Now it’s time for something completely different.
Presently, my beta readers and editors are all too happy to dutifully explain that nothing’s changed! That I don’t understand English (past, present and future tense, or whatever tense I’d like to make up)—so by sticking that word “delayed” up there, I’m being generous to myself. My propensity for homonyms, my ability to “creatively” place words and commas “anywhere” in a sentence, to this day, lives on. Demons can be strong, and, timeless.
Suffice-it-to-say, I require many many edits and versions, as I work to improve my craft. So what, I self-talk, everyone else uses and needs readers and editors and versions and edits.
I have 6 stories (3 series begun) completed to date, as all boats appear to be rising (I’m being generous again) together. The plan is to launch within the year the first book of each series (Novels #1, 5, and 6) at the same time—a tri-series. (Yes, I can make up words with the best of them, too.) Three commercial genres, though they have common elements: psychologically-challenged characters struggling with what I believe are meaningful themes, along with some action, plenty of adventure, humor, and technology…yes, life.
Whether reading comes easily or not to you, I hope the dilemmas faced by my characters engage you in a way that makes their journey both meaningful and enjoyable—as other authors and their characters have proven to be for me through so many wonderful reads. I have gotten to “go” places and “do” things that otherwise would have been impossible without the realm of the written word…and I thank them for that.
With warm regards….Denis