The Dog, The Desert and Me
Transitions - Chapter 1
Sharkey, the performing seal was my first friend. Dad had a big band, Mom was an actress, and we toured the South in the last gasp of vaudeville. When show biz in Miami slowed down after WWII, we moved to Chicago; the only family in history to make that move. As I grew into a semblance of adult-hood, I tried being an engineer, but it didn’t stick so I went to sea. I shipped out as a deck hand in the Merchant Marine on a Great Lakes ore carrier, the Richard V. Lindabury.
In 1968, I attended the Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado and was so enthralled by the films and the filmmakers there that I decided to make movie magic. I then delivered a sailboat down the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans. A week after arriving I got the chance to work on a full-length feature film. Subsequently, I have worked on fourteen feature films, numerous TV commercials and a number of industrial and documentary projects. My life shifted between boats and film with the mountains as my refuge. Over the years, I have sailed many of the world’s oceans as a deckhand, mate and captain, including being the master of a tall-ship, the Barquentine Osprey, out of Hong Kong.
In the mountains I was a typical ski bum, a carpenter-to-the-rich during the summer and a ski instructor when the snows came. For three years I lived in a tipi at ten thousand feet on the back of Aspen Mountain, which inspired a screenplay, White Out.
I started writing irregularly in 1970: the need to write comes in waves. The result of this includes: Three screenplays that no one in Hollywood wanted, a completed memoir, working title, Winging It, a novel in first draft and chapters completed for another novel. I’ve also produced technical writing for several clients, scripts for industrial and documentary films and a few TV commercials. A non-fiction piece, Runs With Poodles, was published in the 1994 anthology, The Best of Writers at Work.
Recently, I’ve taught groups of young people in Southern California wooden boat construction because boats and young people are important. Currently, I’m in Arizona pounding away at my word processor.