I was born and raised in Northern California. It was a fantastic place to grow up: the Sierra Nevada mountains were on the horizon; the American River Canyon was right below the house. Many a day, and sometimes nights, was spent down there. I was lucky to have parents who always questioned the party line. I also grew up with a huge map of the world on my wall.
When I got old enough, I checked myself out of high school, slaved away in some manual labour jobs (including on the railroad, but mostly digging trenches and hauling lumber around construction sites), and finally bought a backpack and travelled the Pacific. It was my first visit to where I now call home, 35 years in the past when my hair was half way down my back, and much thicker.
I lived in the UK for almost 15 years, and my grown daughters are still there. Then Alaska … what an incredibly beautiful place! I had a favorite glacier, as you do. I got to watch bears and eagles, as well as a year in the total dark (or light) of the arctic. And (back) to New Zealand, now three passports in hand, in a way only those circles tend to happen in life.
I started my PhD in 2012 and really got back into writing. Every chunk of the thesis was published in a peer reviewed journal. I submitted my thesis less than three years after starting, and achieved my goal of publishing an edited book before final approval. Since then I co-edited six other books, and sole authored two of my own. I carried that discipline over to fiction writing, which I find much freer and funner, as well more effective in being able to explore ideas, values, and the concepts that ground us in our ‘reality’.
For a more personal introduction, read my memoire/confessional of a part of my life spent in the United Kingdom. Comprised of vignettes (that which can be written on a vine leaf), poetry, and a few short stories written in an Irish pub, On an Island Surrounded by Water is an effort to acknowledge both the place and the experience that has shaped me in so many ways.
from the Introduction:
“Twenty years ago, I left the British Isles. I was happy to do so at the time, always the foreigner, always the one with an accent. But returning to the US I was again the one speaking funny or different. Words and phrases and pronunciations inhabited my tongue, moved right in without my even noticing. Now I always get the question, ‘Where are you from?’ no matter where I am.”