Bio: Life in General I'm a retired university professor of English. I taught at Alcorn State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College/University) for thirty-seven years. For twelve of those years I served as Department Chairperson. I loved my job. I loved teaching. Even now I remember how I always loved the "first day" of class when I would meet my new students. As any teacher will tell you, a classroom has a distinct personality. I have always felt that teaching has kept me young...well, young in spirit! But, I have always felt myself to be one of the lucky ones who managed to grab hold of a career and hang on to it. During my tenure at Alcorn, I wrote plays in the seventies and had a few of them produced on the university stage. Eventually I gave up playwriting as the medium of creative expression and turned to fiction. I love poetry but I've never thought of myself as a poet. In the late seventies I attended a writers' workshop at Bennington College, and there met John Gardner and Bernard Malamud. I had work sessions with novelists, Nick Delbanco and Frederick Busch, both of whom were wonderful writers and teachers. The Bennington experience did not translate into book sales or publications, but it was a turning point in my writing life. I returned to the teaching world a different person. In the eighties I got caught up with marriage, children, job and eventually divorce and financial disaster! In the nineties, I earned my PhD in literature and theory from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. There I worked with so many wonderful people such as Patrick Murphy and my dissertation director Karen Dandurand, a truly great woman and scholar. Interesting enough it was during this period, early nineties, that my writing life exploded with activity. I think it's mainly because I have never cared that much for academic research. I know. I know. There were moments when writing literary research that I became excited and all of that, but my great love was fiction. While at IUP, I wrote story after story. I read them at coffee houses, literary gatherings, parties. It was wonderful. With the millennium, I kept writing. My career started winding down, and my writing life began. In 2012, I married a lovely Japanese woman, and I'm learning Japanese. I will say writing is easier. We have visited Japan five times since we've married. My wife's mother lives in Osaka. Essentially, I want to learn Japanese so that I can hold a modicum of conversation with people I meet and especially with my Japanese mother-in-law who is a most fascinating woman. She is eighty years old and gets about like a teenager! Currently she is engaged in her own project of riding every train in Japan. How amazing is that? Sadako, my wife, and I plan to go to Japan in the Fall 2016, about a year from now. Not only is the country lovely, but the people are amazingly patient, kind, and gentle. Most everything about Japan appeals to me. Here's one example: One evening Sadako, her mother, and I were returning from a late evening meal at an Italian Restaurant in Osaka. It was around 10:30 at night. We had to walk a mile or so back to her mother's apartment. I'm talking inner-city here. Half way there we passed several children playing on the sidewalk, laughing and talking. Once we got to the apartment, I realized I had witnessed what to me was a miracle. In a modern city of 10 million, second or third largest in Japan, children can play outside at 10:30 at night! Here in Decatur, a city less than a quarter of a million, parents won't even let their kids go trick or treating without adult supervision. In Japan, guns are outlawed. It's that simple. The number of homicides in Jackson, Mississippi, in one month, outnumbers the homicides in all of Japan in one year. I'm not a gun lover. I don't condemn those who do love firearms. But I must say, the force of the reality that I was walking in a gun-free society was stunning. It still is. And that realization helps me with self-definition as well as my self-cultural definition. Who am I as a human and who am I as an American. It's something to write about. What I like I love writing. I've published one story thus far. "Walter Lee Comes Home from Vietnam." It was published in "The Sun Magazine" in 2013. Since then I've piled up a ton of rejections, but I'm still happily at it. I love reading. I read tons of Asian poetry with a emphasis on Tang Dynasty poets of China. Poet Du Fu is my absolute favorite. I have read everything written by the Japanese novelist Yasunari Kawabata. His novel, The Sound of the Mountain, is, so far as I'm concerned, one of the greatest novels ever penned by human. I wrote my dissertation on Anthony Trollope and must say I still love his novels...all 47 of them! I'm a big fan of the Victorians. George Eliot is at the top of the list. I'm currently reading Elizabeth Gaskill's lengthy novel, "Wives and Daughters." It's not long enough. Movies I love movies, especially International movies. Technology has been a godsend in this arena. In the seventies and eighties, if you wanted to see a movie from Europe or Asia then you had to travel to New York City to do so. Now, all you need is a Netflix account or some such. It's wonderful. The most amazing thing though is between reading and writing, I find it difficult to sit in front of a screen watching a two or three hour movie. Photography I came to photography late. My faculty gave me a camera as a parting gift. It was a huge surprise and I soon got taking nature pics. I lived in the country in Mississippi...deer in the front yard and all that...it was nice. I also had a pond so there were wood mallards and herons...and my life as a nature photographer was on its way. It has taught me patience. Other Hmmm, I am a moderate drinker. I love to sit out on our deck at midnight with a bottle of sake or wine or both and the temperature around 65 to 55, and with a log fire in the fire pit, and watch the moon rise from behind the trees. Autumn is my favorite season. With the temp between 50 and 65 degrees, I feel as if I can sit out on the back porch and write forever. With the temp between 30 and 49, I can sit inside by the gas log fire and forever again. Yes, I'd love to have a "real" fireplace, but what can I say. We're out in the country but it's a modern house. Nevertheless, I'm insanely happy and fortunate so I ain't complainin'.