I’m the oldest of four children, and my family is an interesting bunch. My Dad, who died July 30, 2004, was a corporate attorney who was retired for almost as long as he was in the work world, the lucky dog. He was a reasonably humble man who knew or was friends with some important people in high places, but he never strove to be in the spotlight himself. My Mom was a lovely, generous, funny, tough and stubborn woman who fought a hard-pitched battle against Parkinson's disease for more than 30 years, until she passed away June 18, 1996.
I read voraciously — fiction and non-fiction, with mysteries and travel narratives being particular interests. J.P. Donleavy is my favorite author, with Robertson Davies running a close second. If you haven’t read Donleavy’s The Ginger Man or The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, do so — now! Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce are also in my personal literary pantheon for some obvious, but obviously opposite, reasons. Some of my other favorite authors, in no particular order, are: Philip Roth, John Updike, Richard Yates, Paul Theroux, Robert Hughes, Sherman Alexie and John McPhee.
I’m one of those who believe The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the first great American novel. Yes, there were great novels written in the United States prior to Huckleberry Finn, but it is the first American novel with American themes and the first to make extensive use the American vernacular.
My taste in music is so far-ranging as to defy description: I like everything from Beethoven to the Beatles to the Sex Pistols and the Clash, grunge, acid jazz, hip hop, techno (of all types) and everything in between. World Beat is a particular personal passion. The iTunes Music Store is a dangerous place for me.
I am an unabashed Macintosh computer user. Yes, Macs are more expensive than PCs; yes, there aren’t as many games available for Macs as there are for PCs. But for smoothly-operating, well-integrated, reliable, easy-to-use computers and software, Macs can’t be beat, period. Apple Macintosh OS X El Capitan is a marvel (as usual) and makes me feel sorry for Microsoft Windows users.
My wife Catherine is a prize-winning high school drama teacher who, in teaching an elective subject, has had a deep and lasting influence on her students. The proof: her former students include working actors and a theatrical set designer, several high school drama teachers, and (from the days when she also taught debate) at least one attorney. Catherine teaches drama and theater as a career path, not as a pleasant diversion from more “serious” subjects. A former student majoring in theater once visited Catherine during the Christmas break of her third year in college and told Catherine studying had only become necessary during the previous semester because “I knew everything before that from the classes I had with you in high school.”
My brother, sisters and I were raised to be very independent, and we are. My sister Cecily is a primary school teacher in southern Indiana. My brother Justin lives up a holler outside Nashville and multitasks in the music business, combining producing, engineering and the ability to play almost any musical instrument he picks up. My other sister lives outside Kansas City and does interior design in business settings.
I believe your friends are the family you choose. I am very fortunate to have a few real, good friends. They know who they are.