Richard Chamberlin


Some say that we learn best “the hard way”. I think that can be said of me. I’ve spent my life searching for some kind of truth or true calling only to discover that things like the stillness of a pond or the peacefulness of a quiet sunset have given me the sense of acceptance and serenity I have been searching for.

As a young man the dissonance and conflicts I encountered lead me on this quest. I struggled and clawed my way through this maze of life making more than my share of mistakes. Eventually I realized that answers come slowly and in their own time. My way of processing these conflicts, mistakes and errors was to write. Writing gave me a way to make some sense of it all. I did this through journaling, writing poetry and short stories, investigating and reporting on the injustices against nature and society. Writing not only brought me satisfaction, but also recognition from early elementary school into my adult life.

I was born shortly before the end of World War II in Madison, Wisconsin. At the age of four we moved to Florida to escape the brutal Wisconsin winters. My father was in sales which meant we had to move quite often in the southeastern states to pursue more lucrative jobs. This contributed to my love of travel and sense of adventure that I carried into adult life. During this time my two younger sisters were born.

When I was in fifth grade we settled down and bought a house in North Miami, Florida and graduated from North Miami High in 1963. From there I went to Miami-Dade Junior College and worked as Features Editor on the college newspaper. Instead of taking a summer job I’d been offered at the Miami News, I opted for the adventure of working at the World’s Fair in New York City with a buddy. We had many adventures from getting mugged in Harlem to sleeping on Rockaway Beach.

After junior college I went to the University of Missouri. I left college before completing a journalism degree and enlisted in the Navy to avoid the draft. I entered Navy with a sense of pride in my mission but after two deployments to Vietnam and a tour of duty on a submarine tender I left with a sense of disillusionment.

Upon my return I was determined to become a journalist and I graduated from Columbia College in Chicago in 1972, just before my dad died. I took a job with a small town newspaper, in La Port, Indiana not far from Chicago. I soon became bored with small town news reporting. At the same time my long distance relationship with my first love was falling apart. I quit and tried in vain to salvage this relationship.

I drifted around for a while but ended up back in Madison searching for a new life. My mother decided early on that writing was my avocation. I had not consciously chosen this path, it was chosen for me. And, eventually as most of us do, I rebelled and tried other things. I got a job at the hospital and became a nurse. The lack of jobs led me eventually to Pocatello, Idaho. Here, I grew to hate nursing in jobs that ranged from a floor nurse in a hospital, a nursing home, and at an institution for the criminally insane. I tried getting a degree in counseling and again, left in despair over the futility of the profession.

My mother hood winked me into moving to Columbia, South Carolina thinking we could get rich quick with a real estate scheme she had been sold. Needless to say this failed and I was broke and trapped living with my mother and her boyfriend. Here I began driving a cab and, after what seemed an eternity, escaped back to Madison.

I was free and on my own again, but with no idea of what to do. I began driving a cab in Madison for Union Cab, a company that had risen from the ashes of a labor dispute-a thinking person’s worker owned cooperative. It was and still is a liberal enclave for artists and politicos.

After many attempts to find a publisher, I decided to go it alone and created my own company; Spinoza Publishing I published my first book, Hitchhiking from Vietnam: Seeking the Ox, in 2007. My second book, The Cybernetic Possum, a collection of poetry, short stories, drawings and photographs was published in 2010. I am currently working on a novel, Nora's Notion, the story of a failed prophecy set in Pocatello, Idaho due out late in 2014.

I retired from thirty-years of cab driving in June of 2012 and today am living with my wife in beautiful Southern Arizona.

Where to find Richard Chamberlin online

Where to buy in print


Hitchhiking from Vietnam: Seeking the Ox
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,750. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
A Vietnam veteran uses insights from his cross country hitchhiking trip to help him put the pieces of his life back together.

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