In 2015, after thirty years as a gallery artist and writer on the island of Maui, I relocated to the middle of the Arizona desert. That story is for another time, but my history with those locations is evident in ‘Einstein in Flamingoland’. Other scenes in ‘Einstein’ take place in New Orleans’ French Quarter, my home while a student at Tulane. Further exploration of the surreal world of Einstein’s narrator, Gille Barker, continue on to Chicago and Indianapolis and the farm town of Mason City, Illinois in the prequel, now in progress.
When did you first start writing?
I enjoyed writing and drawing early on and never lacked for family encouragement, including that of a wise and kind retired country school teacher, my grandmother, Winifred Rodgers. I'm talking about from age seven or eight here, but I have no recall of a special interest before taking a course in creative writing to fill out my first year's second semester schedule at the University of Illinois.
What came from that class?
I'm ashamed I don't remember that professor's name. I'm sure that, without his words of encouragement all those years ago, I would never have considered writing anything, let alone taking on a novel project like 'Einstein'. But, immediately? The class was barely a blip. I was an art major, and that remained my main concern then. The following semester I received a scholarship and transferred to Tulane University's Sophie Newcomb College where I studied with the famous abstract expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler, and the realist, Loren Dunlap. Any thoughts of serious, or even casual, writing were placed on the back burner and remained there for years.
With bad actors in close pursuit, a Hopi Indian cabbie motors Maui artist Gille Barker and an illusive Albert Einstein through Arizona deserts and Louisiana bayous to the French Quarter of New Orleans in search of a satchel's mysterious contents and the secret to life's design.