I believe that writers are born, and I was lucky enough to fall in with parents who provided a fertile literary atmosphere that nurtured my natural desire to write poems and stories. Our house was a mini-library, containing many of the classics, as well as numerous contemporary authors. And the blustery New England winters provided endless opportunity to read the works of Dickens, Twain, Homer, Plato, Socrates, Sinclair Lewis, Hemingway, Steinbeck, The Book of Knowledge -- even a full set of The Encylopedia Brittanica. All of those writings which I absorbed in my youth profoundly moved and influenced me in countless ways.
After devouring the family library, it was time for me to head off into the world for an academic and practical education. I arrived in San Francisco in the summer of 1961, just in time to experience the tail end of the beatnik intelligentsia, with their North Beach coffee houses and sometimes incomprehensible poetry readings, and to witness the incredible gathering of the Flower Children in the Haight-Ashbury. That fall, while attending San Francisco State College, I found myself in the midst of the anti-war movement and a political uprising that left at least one campus building in flames.
A writer observes people and events. Even the most seemingly mundane person or happening can be woven into an exciting plot through the craftwork of a writer's imagination. For me, it is the unpredictable intricacies of the relationships between people that offer a never ending supply of material upon which to build a story, but it is up to the writer's skill to make the story worth reading. It is this very skill that must be constantly nurtured and consistently honed by the writer. After all these years I continue to read Dickens, Twain, Plato, Hemmingway, Steinbeck, and other literary icons and they all still move and influence me.