I wrote my first story at age 9–a horror story about a hole in the wall shaped like an old-fashioned radio. There used to be a radio like that in the northern Wisconsin cabin where my family often spent a summer week when I was young. I don’t remember much else about the story except that it was really, really short. I guess the ancient features of the cabin–a potbelly stove, a hand pump instead of a faucet in the kitchen sink, an outhouse, and furniture handmade from birch and pine–made me think of ghosts and otherworldly influences.
I fell in love with poetry not long after that, and I started penning such winning juvenalia as:
Poets cling to one clear fact
As doors do to a door hinge:
There’s absolutely nothing you
Can ever rhyme with orange.
In college, I studied creative writing, and I tried both poetry and fiction, but nothing very momentous came of it. I had led a fairly privileged, safe life, and I had very little to draw on. After college I dabbled with playwriting and got hooked by writing musicals. I even had a staged reading of one at Fort Mason in San Francisco: a musical about three roommates living in St. Paul, Minnesota and learning to live with each other. Notably, one of the principal characters in “Movin’ In” was a straight actress with an exhibitionist fetish.
By the time I made it to Los Angeles, my creative energies went into boardgame design, which I turned into a publishing company shortly after arriving in New York, eight years later. A recession in 2008 left me broke and made it impossible to replenish my inventory, so I started doing more freelance editing and joined a chorus.
After joining a writers group, I started to write more speculative fiction, and one of the plot ideas served as the seed for a family opera I’m writing. And I eventually got three short stories published. And I finished my fifth novel. And now I have an agent.
So I’m taking music theory lessons, trying to slowly proceed with scoring the opera, writing more short stories, and starting a sixth novel while waiting for a publisher to sign one of the previous ones. Stay tuned.