I WAS A KID?
Yes, once I was a kid.
I grew up in Bellmore, a suburban town on the south shore of Long Island, about an hour east of New York City. I loved being in Little League, and rooted hard for the New York Mets. I also loved music. I played clarinet in school and took piano lessons.
The 1950s and 1960s were a historic time to come of age. The moon landing, the terrible violence of 1968, Woodstock, the Beatles, the Civil Rights Movement, and so on.
It made me who I am.
I wrote for my high school newspaper. Then I went to Harpur College in Binghamton, New York where I took a great creative writing class with Robert Pawlikowski. Sadly, he lost his life much too soon. But I’ve carried his words of support and encouragement in my heart all these years later. That's what great teachers do.
I transferred to San Francisco State University, where I continued to write poetry. San Francisco has a glorious history of writers and creative thinking, and I would often read my poetry in North Beach, a section of town made popular by the Beatnik poets, Allen Ginsberg, and others. I even won a poetry award. I earned a B.A. in English in 1976.
After college, I returned to New York, working as a bartender, a taxi driver, and a songwriter for a decade. One song, a pop/jazz composition called "Feel The Night," was recorded by Carl Anderson on GRP Records in 1994. It received airplay. You can still hear it on iTunes.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
I learned Photoshop and worked with a documentary photographer on his book and gallery exhibitions.
After that, I worked as a web editor and occasional writer for Major League Baseball. I interviewed many sports authors, reviewed books, and even reviewed a museum exhibit on the Golden Age of New York City baseball (the 1950s!).
I became an elementary school substitute teacher in NYC.
Talk about hard work. But also fun. The teachers and the students taught me so much. Each story I write is affected by that experience. How could it not?
Another stop along the journey that made me who I am.
But regardless of what job I had, I never stopped writing and learning as much as I could. I always knew I could improve and was driven until I did. I signed up for many online classes in creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, greeting cards, memoir, and picture books.
Then finally, in 2017, my debut picture book, “Waiting for Pumpsie” was published.
In 2018, “The Boo-Boos That Changed The World” hit the bookshelves.
In 2019, two more nonfiction picture books were published. One is about Martin Luther King, Jr. called "A Place to Land." The other is about jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins titled "Sonny's Bridge."
In 2020 a historical fiction picture book, ”Oscar’s American Dream” hit the stands.
In 2023, the true story about the Cuyahoga River called, "The Day The River Caught Fire" was released.
WHEW!! What a long, strange, weird, wonderful trip it’s been!