I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1951. The October of my eighth grade year, my family moved to northern New Jersey, just outside New York City. That event had a major influence on my life because we moved from a semi-rural suburban community to a semi-urban bedroom community of a large metropolitan area—too vastly different cultures. I think I remember so much of growing up because after the move, I contrasted my provincial experience with the new normal, and found the differences shocking.
We moved in 1964, during the middle of a turbulent decade marked by seismographic changes in pop culture, religion, politics, race relations and science. I rode the “British Invasion” into the American Space Race. Ripples of change that would have diminished as they crossed the New Jersey border into Pennsylvania became tsunami-like culture shifts in suburban Jew Jersey, so close to New York City.
I am still fascinated viewing my formative years through that prism.
I live on a lake in Ringwood, in the Ramapo Mountains, in the extreme north part of New Jersey, just across the state line from Sterling Forest, Sloatsburg and Tuxedo, New York. When I tell people I live in New Jersey, they envision beaches, the shore and that riveting, eye-watering ride down the New Jersey Turnpike through the refineries near Rahway. My New Jersey is different—summers spent outdoors on the lake or winters ice skating on sometimes near−perfect ice. Our town finally installed its first stop light last year and there is no such thing as “driving around the block.” Sixty-five percent of my town is protected watershed, forbidding the overdevelopment that usually accompanies urban sprawl.
Writing background and influences: During the summer of my junior year in college, I started writing for a small weekly newspaper published in northern New Jersey. In my senior year, I was asked to be the sports editor of the college newspaper. I was given free rein and a small photography budget. After I graduated, I returned home and wrote for the local weekly until I was noticed by the Bergen Record, the northern New Jersey metro daily. I reported on and off for eleven years until business travels outside the country made scheduling a problem and I reluctantly let my press card lapse.
A few years ago, I started writing small pieces for ezines and got serious about finishing a novel which I intend to get traditionally published. An earlier manuscript will probably wind up being self-published as an eBook (after heavy editing), sometime after my tree-book novel is published.
I currently work for Thomson Reuters in the information publishing business. I find that I need some sort of writing outlet since my current employment is in the printing and production end of very narrow-marketed technical books. Although I find working at the extreme cutting edge of digital publishing and print on demand (POD) fairly interesting, I need an additional outlet and creating personal prose is a healthy outlet.Much of what I write about is based on memories growing up and how those experiences contrast with current events. I admit that I risk sounding like the old grouch who walked uphill to school both ways and mowed acres of lawn for a fraction of the minimum wage but I think that I can bring a certain, unique semi-rural and semi-urban perspective to my tales. Unlike the country mouse and his city cousin, I’ve had a foot in both universes.