In my single-digit formative years, I had a friend named Kevin. He was a fun kid, if you define “fun” as walking the line between play and juvenile prosecution, or possibly as exploring the outer limits of childhood guilt. Either way, we spent our summer days trying to reenact Evel Kneivel’s most disastrous jumps, like the time he convinced me to ride my little brother’s bike off the tree house in our backyard. I nearly squashed it flat, and I spent weeks trying to convince my brother that his bike was much cooler as a chopper, never mind that he couldn’t actually pedal since the pedals hit the ground twice on every stroke. That was on a good day; our daredevil performances occurred in between acts of pure vandalism.
It’s no secret that my parents were not the happiest people on the planet, especially when they were together. One of my mom’s favorite phrases, intended to cover any situation in which my dad backed her into an angry and frustrated corner, was this…
“I should have married Burt Thigpen!”
Obviously, I’m glad that she didn’t – since I would have missed out on my entire life, and all. We heard that phrase on a regular basis. Dad blamed my mom for the boat’s failure to start, Burt Thigpen. Dad told my mom to buy $200 worth of groceries and gave her $80, Burt Thigpen. Dad lost one of his 58 pairs of work gloves and yelled at my mom about it, Burt Thigpen. The hair fell off the hindquarters of the German Shepherd mutt… well, you get the idea.
I’ve spent the last 43 years as a writer in the making. Why? Well, I’ve always been an observer of people and anything else I could wrap my tiny brain around. I was a perfect little (overgrown) angel in school, sitting quietly and paying attention. Did I learn anything? I learned that you don’t put a period after every. single. word. I learned that my high school chemistry teacher was on some heavy prescription meds. I learned that, in the end, math does have some legitimate uses. But I digress… I think writers start out as voracious readers, and in that particular regard, I started young and continue to this day.