dreamin' in the NC shade
THEN: This photo is from the early 70’s: I remember him. He was sitting in the heat on the dock waiting for the ferry to Okracoke Island on the Outer Banks, NC. It was probably sometime in ’72 or ’73. He’d driven nearly 12 hours straight in a ’68 VW van, with no air conditioning in a Southern summer, and was so tired he couldn’t understand the quirky Cajun/Creole/Island/Southern accents of the natives there. I wonder whatever happened to him? This blog is a voyage of rediscovery, in a way. I heard a rumor that he married a slender Irish girl and they settled down somewhere, had a couple of boys, shared the searing experience of four five cancers, got old. He put on a few pounds, then took them off. She’s still slender. He probably still has that shirt, still wishes he looked like this. The idiot.
Doug
NOW: I lost the suit and tie and go to work anywhere I feel like it. 

Here’s where I’m supposed to put something profound, I suppose. But the older I get (I’m 67, and don’t look like that photo on the left any more. But it has been 46 years, more or less!), the more I realize that shooting for profundity is a trap. Most days, my life is a tedious repetition of what came before, although that’s changing. I’ve become comfortable, complacent. But something is waking up, and the Latin in the old family motto from the old days in the old country (England) is prodding me: Nosce te Ipsum”. [The link goes to a piece on the motto.] But it’s good advice for writers to live by. Yea and verily, I live in constant fear that I’ll fail to notice that I’m just phoning it in.

But here’s a brief biography:

  • Member, Academy of American Poets.
  • 10 years out of college working in a city office in Ohio as a fraud investigator/mediator
  • Two years in grad school, walked away with a master’s in journalism (University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Unofficial motto: “Northwest of Normal”)
  • Six years in voluntary slavery as a reporter and editor—aka “ink-stained wretch” aaka “paid informant”—at two newspapers, where I reported on local politics and everything else from high school sports to swine judging at the county fair; I then variously was a news editor, an assistant city editor and a managing editor at that paper and one other. I acquired a love of newspapers, of conciseness; I also absorbed and nurtured a hatred of lazy writers and dumb rich people (my advertisers, my publishers and the drones at Corporate).
  • Ironically, I’ve become a lazy writer. I’m gonna kick my own ass. That’s why I’m here.
  • Since the the news biz festival of joy days, I spent 26 years at a large university as a writer and editor, and –for 15 years in there somewhere–managing editor of the main web sites. Then I eased toward retirement by doing mostly research writing and managing our IT dept. This was all good. I was lucky to have been in a good place at the right time, and dabbled in technology and the intersection of communications, public service and the Internet. I was there at the beginning of the WWW and, if it doesn’t sound too immodest, saw what was coming before too many others. I managed to do some interesting things back in the day. I’m friends with a guy who was at the table when they invented the Internet. How ’bout that! Still, I’ve always maintained a private life of fiction and essay writing, mostly for my own sanity. There’s very little of the latter left, unfortunately.
  • A book is in the works. “Running Girl”, a detective/crime work of fiction. I’m about 60,000  65,000 60,000  0  55,000 words into it. (That goose-egg came lately when I shit-canned the whole thing, but managed to recover it from the hard drive before it was totally gone. Then I chopped mercilessly.
  • I published a children’s book inspired by the children of a friend, “Mermaid Sisters: First Dive”. Please go and buy a copy. It would make my bank account happy.  🙂
  • Married for 46 years to a courageous and sweet woman, and we have two sons. One just completed a master’s program in environmental philosophy at the U. of Montana, and the other works at Facebook. They’re both amazing young men.

About the title…. I’m a little worried that you think I was thinking a bit much of myself. Not the case at all. I was a big fan of Earnest Hemingway’s work when I was old enough to understand some of it. I liked his writing philosophy, the brevity and economy of it. It seemed to help to remember what he’d stood for: write tight (what the best editors demanded) worked in newsrooms, too). When I was thinking of starting a blog, and it seemed more like a lark, ‘-play’ sounded like a little joke on myself, to keep me from taking it all too seriously.
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