My embryonic writing career began in my early years (around
eight) when I wrote a few short essays which were so gory I won't share them
with you. In recently rereading those gruesome
little treatises, I concluded that I must be related to Charles Addams. BTW, as an eighth grader I did send old Charles
an idea for a ghoulish cartoon. His
response (via this postcard which is framed and hangs in the hallway of our
High school (New Trier on Chicago's North Shore)
abruptly ended my writing career (at least temporarily) when I discovered ham
radio, photography, competitive swimming and girls!
In my first three weeks of high school I came to despise Latin—so
I went to the library and tried to figure out a way of getting out of taking
it. From what I found, there was only
university that had a Latin requirement, Harvard. Harvard, c'mon! I was never gonna go there. My grades wouldn't be high enough. And anyway, only oddball eggheaded freaky
guys went to Harvard. I decided to drop
By the time my senior year rolled around I realized to my
shock and disbelief that my grades were high enough for Harvard, something which
forced me to change my perceived notion about oddball eggheaded freaky guys. Suddenly they all went to Yale (which I
firmly believe to this day!). And by
this time Harvard had dropped its Latin requirement. I applied and was one of four accepted from
New Trier. Three attended, and two
graduated. I was one of them. Unlike Billy Rosen, my protagonist in The Furax Connection, I didn't graduate summa cum laude (there were only six summas in my class); but I did graduate cum laude along with about ten percent
of my class. I loved Harvard and I'm
glad I went there. A great place.
After Harvard I was completely at sea. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my
life. I was accepted at two top medical
schools but I really didn't want to become a doctor. It was either law school or business school—or
actually getting a job and working. Time
to get my military obligation out of the way.
And so I volunteered for the draft knowing that I'd be going
in the Army for two years as an EM; knowing that I'd pull KP, guard duty and
CQ; knowing that I'd be meeting guys who came from entirely different
backgrounds; and hoping that those two years would turn out to be a new, different,
exciting and fun experience. And maybe
after they ended I'd even know what I wanted to do with my life.
That, BTW, is precisely the way things turned out. Those two years in the Army were fun
years. As a military journalist
stationed in Orleans, France, I became reacquainted with
something I'd always loved, writing. My two years in the Army reintroduced me to
the real world and allowed me to discover myself. Now I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to become a lawyer.
Thus began my legal career, first with three years at
Stanford Law School followed by (i) the California bar examination, (ii) the
Illinois bar examination, and (iii) a terrible mistake—moving back to Chicago
from sunny California. In Chicago I discovered that
I passionately despised something even more than Latin, cold weather. And so I returned to California.
After a series of law jobs, I finally decided to take the
plunge and open my own office. A pretty
scary thing to do, particularly since I was faced with personal expenses as
well as the expenses of running a law office.
Nevertheless, I did it. I
borrowed a folding table and a swivel chair, and I bought a used IBM Selectric typewriter. I moved all this equipment and a telephone
into a small office in a suite of law offices and, finally, I hired Miss Tilly,
an elderly legal secretary, to work for me two days a week. Now the big question: where was the law business going to come
Don't ask me how or why, but legal work arrived—by the
bucketful! Eight years after I opened my
law office I had twelve people working for me and so much work I could hardly
keep track of it. Almost all in the real
estate field, with most involving condominium and planned development projects.
Reality now set in and my life narrowed: lawyering, lawyering ... and more lawyering. For over three decades until, finally, I
retired. And that's when I was able to return
In early 2001 I started Furax. I finished it in August, 2006. Then the tough part began: finding an agent and a publisher. It took almost 2-1/2 years until
my agent introduced me to Fireside Publications; Fireside, in turn, made my
dream of getting Furax published finally
On a different note:
In 2006 I entered the Stanford Fiction Contest with my short story, My Auntie's Wedding, which was selected
as one of three winning stories out of about 70 entries.
So where to now? I'm
currently busy doing something I've never done before—marketing a book I've
written. Not easy. When Furax
first came out it received a glowing review in the GCA Journal (see Reviews),
the official publication of the prestigious Garand Collectors Association (an
organization with a worldwide membership of 14,000). A good beginning. From here, who knows? All part of my unmapped (and exciting) journey
as a writer.
Finally, it's completely appropriate that my first novel be
about the military. Claudia, my wife,
and I revere our men and women in uniform.
We send care packages to a group of them almost weekly. One of our most cherished (and priceless) possessions
is this hat one group sent to Claudia: