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I was born in East Texas a long, long time ago: back before Disneyland, before the Dallas Cowboys, before the creation of the Big Mac. I grew up near the little town of Timpson Texas, about six miles out in the country. Our closest neighbor was two miles away; our closest neighbors with children were, well, I don't know how far. I never saw them.
My best friend was the TV with Buffalo Bill Junior, Captain Kangaroo, and the Mickey Mouse club. Like most men of the first TV generation, I had a crush on Annette Funicello, but Penny from Sky King was my first love. She wore blue jeans and flew around West Texas with her uncle, and he chased the bad guys. That's all I remember about Sky King.
Without other children around to play with, television became a big part of my life. When I played, I would act out different TV shows. After a while, I started to create my own adventures.
I invented the White Rangers and the Black Riders, as in, "Good guys wear white and bad guys wear black." I know that sounds goofy, but considering my age, I think it was fairly imaginative.
I believe the isolation of my early life and my old friend, television, helped me develop a keen imagination, an important tool for writing, or maybe it made me cold and unfeeling, unable to open up to friends and family. No, I'm going with the imagination thing.
I started writing when I was around eleven or thirteen. My teacher gave me a note to take home to mom. I thought my mom and teacher were just good friends. It turns out that’s how mom found out about my screw-ups in school.
My teacher was concerned about my spelling. She said I could write all the words on my spelling list fifty times each, or I could write short stories. Not being stupid, I picked writing stories. My spelling didn't improve, but I really liked writing.
I wrote detective stories about Peter Tyrant. No, I had no idea Peter Tyrant had sexual connotations; however, after watching Goldfinger with Pussy Galore, I created a character named Mary Goodtimes.
My mom said, "I read your story, and I know what you're trying to do. I don’t like it."
I wasn't trying to do anything, but after that, I stopped showing my work to mom, a giant leap for artistic freedom.
Now suddenly, I am more than sixty years old. I don’t remember how I got this old, but here I am. Always, I thought of myself as a writer, and I told other people I thought so, but there are no books, complete and polished, that are waiting to be published. I liked to say: “I wanted to write, but life got in the way.” The truth is, writing is hard, and I'm lazy.
I realized I was running out of time to publish a book. If I didn’t, I had to admit to being a lifelong liar. I am proud to say, after a couple of years of hard work, I have published one book, and a short story and I have three more books in the works.
Now that's not bad for a one-eyed fat man.