I started writing at the age of six, but didn't take it seriously until I was forty. The thirty-four years between were spent trying to deny that writing was my calling, and that I should be writing, not teaching high school, or working in a gas station, or writing curriculum, or being a graduate student, or selling stuff, or trying to gain employment in the corporate cogonomy.
But during those thirty-four years, I produced hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of work. I couldn't see it then, but I was learning: learning the art and craft of writing. In 2001 I went homeless, brought low by some really horrible people and--most of all--my naivete on the general state of humanity. It was during this pivotal year, when I'd lost everything, that I gained everything, just as a great Jewish prophet once proclaimed would happen. I found my calling. It could no longer be denied.
I moved from Colorado, where I'd lived for forty years, to Southern California. After one more brief stint as a teacher, I quit, devoting myself entirely to my true work--my writing. To pay for my calling, I tutor. I'm really good at that, too. I've been blessed twice.
I started Melody and the Pier to Forever in February of 2004. As it nears completion, I find myself continually amazed by the joy the story has brought me, the truths, the glories, the complete annihilation of the anomie and angst that nearly destroyed me nine years ago.
My influences are few, but powerful. Erich Fromm most likely tops the list, followed by J. Krishnamurti, followed by Jesus of Nazareth and Lao-tse. Please note these aren't fiction writers, but philosophers. No, no philosophers: engagers-of-life. The real kind, not the New Age variety so often seen clogging the shelves at the local corporate bookstore outlet. The truth is, I rarely read fiction. It takes real and authentic greatness to get me to open any fiction work; and thus I've not opened many. Of fiction writers, I can name JK Rowling, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Larry Niven, Philip K. Pullman. That's about it. If you'd like to talk about bigger influences than these, up there with the engagers-of-life I mentioned, it would be far better to look at people like (but by no means limited to) Beethoven, Mozart, Hadyn, Mendelssohn, and Bach, as well as contemporaries U2, Moby, Enya, Angels and Airwaves, Conjure One and Delerium. Their music and words guide me and inspire me as much, or more than, any of those on the printed page.
Thanks for dropping by.
Shawn Michel de Montaigne