As far as memory goes, my life began rummaging through hills and orchards in a less-developed California. As a child, I was fascinated with words and how they felt and sounded rolling off my tongue, and would insist my parents listen to "rhyming things" composed in my mind. The poems and lyrics continued through the secondary education years, though I didn't realized how deeply beholden I was to words until college. I enrolled as an Economics major and graduated as an English Major and co-editor of the university's creative writing magazine.
After graduation, I dedicated about a year and a half to reading, writing and performing poetry, until I depleted all my savings. Thus began a diverse litany of careers, from fragrance compounder to hazardous waste technician to vocational school director to on and on, that I will not expand upon here. In the midst of different jobs, I did take a gander at being a rock star for a few years, writing songs and performing in small clubs with an amazing group of musicians. Things did not evolve as quickly as we desired, and so that pursuit came to a close.
Eventually I returned to school and obtained a graduate degree in English with a focus on TESOL. The linguistic courses were captivating for me, like the mathematics of language. During these years I participated in research on first and second language acquisition, co-authored and published a college grammar workbook, and worked as an English lecturer in courses designed to prep English language learners for freshman English.
As time went by, I became increasingly frustrated with the inefficiency and lack of resources in the state college system, and so left teaching and began cycling through careers again.
Now, decades on, the constant in my life remains the written word. I find the composition of poetry to be persistently rewarding, though I doubt that I could quit the practice sans gratification. The wisdom of Octavio Paz is a constant aspiration: "But the poet is not served by words. He is their servant." / "Mas el poeta no se sirve de las palabras. Es su servidor".
Closing this bio on a contrarian note, I must state that writing is not the most important thing in my life. My wife and sons have brought me more wonder and meaning than any poem could hold. And even then, I am a follower of Jesus above all else.
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