My father’s family, the Hesselbachs and the Hollings, came to the United States from Germany in the 1875-1880 time period. My mother’s family, the Walshes, Sarsfields and Ryans, came over from Ireland from 1855 to 1889.
My father enlisted in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II and was in combat in Italy. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After the war he worked briefly as a ski instructor, then married and eventually went to work for the telephone company climbing telephone poles. He was later promoted to an office job and worked for Bell Systems until he retired.
I grew up in Massapequa, New York. My third grade teacher, Miss Collins, who later married and became Mrs. Grenfell, was impressed by my story writing and encouraged me to write more. In fourth grade I played Ebenezer Scrooge in a school production of “A Christmas Carol.”
In 7th grade study hall I started a play called “The Conspiracy” which was a kind of game whereby one person would write something and the next would continue it. About six different students worked on it. Typically, you would kill off the prior person’s character and then change the scene. Then he would have to revive his character and kill off yours. We had over 1,000 characters in the play. This fun ended when the teachers decided we could not communicate during study hall and we were forced to focus on boring schoolwork.
In the summer before I went into the 11th grade, my family moved east to Holbrook and I started at a new school, Sachem High. Here I made new friends. I played Mr. Webb in a school production of “Our Town.” I got a varsity letter in Cross Country. I graduated valedictorian of my class and was accepted into Yale.
On October 18 of my freshman year at Yale, a friend of mine took me on a road trip to Vassar where I met my future wife Carol. Carol and I dated all through college and married after graduation. At Yale I was an English major. I won the James Ashmun Veech prize for distinguished writing and I graduated cum laude.
I received a scholarship to go to Villanova law school and Carol and I moved to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. During the summers I worked for Legal Aid in Chester, Pennsylvania. When I graduated there weren’t too many legal jobs in that area. We decided to move to New York City where it was easier to break into the legal profession.
Soon I was hired by a small law firm in Manhattan and was working to 11:00 PM most days. I won cases and received raises. Carol worked for the Social Security Administration. We bought a small house in Flushing, Queens. Then my daughter was born in 1981 and after that my son in 1983. I didn’t want to be one of those fathers who worked all the time and never was present for their children. Hence I cut back on my insane hours of work and was able to do more things for fun.
In the 1980’s I started writing poetry and won a prize from the Fresh Meadow Poets. I started getting poems published in small literary magazines. I began writing fiction and nonfiction.
Good writing derives from conflict. However, I saw early on that I could never write anything based on my law practice because of attorney-client confidentiality. The confidences I learned from being a lawyer will go with me to the grave. Instead, I decided to focus on fantasy and science fiction. I created an atlas of an alternate world which I used as a setting for many stories. I kept experimenting with different styles to try to find my voice.
Carol and I decided to move to Vermont in 1989 because we thought it would be a better place to raise our two young children. We took up hiking and cross country skiing. I worked for a small law firm in Vermont until 1996, then opened my own firm.
In 1991 I joined a poetry group called the Londonderry Poets. We self-published two anthologies of our work: Blackberry Picking in 1994, and Chancing the Weather in 2001. The first had a press run of 250 and the second 400, all of which sold out. The Londonderry Poets are still going strong today.
Also in 1991 I joined a writers group in Keene, New Hampshire, which eventually dissolved in 2011, although it may be revived at some point. We collaborated on a short story which was published on the internet, and we gave criticism and encouragement to many literary projects.
In 2005 Bondcliff Books published a book I wrote about hiking entitled High Ledges, Green Mountains. Since coming to Vermont I became an avid hiker and have now passed 500 different mountains climbed. I’ve ascended Mt. Katahdin and Mt. Washington, both with my daughter; Mt. Marcy by myself; and about half of the 4000 foot mountains in New Hampshire and New York. I’ve climbed many of my favorite mountains multiple times, e.g. Dix Mountain in the Adirondacks four times, and Mt. Monadnock NH eleven times.
As a member and later chairman of the Newfane Conservation Commission I helped create a system of hiking trails in the town forest. How cool is that? It’s very exciting to see new trails being developed all the time. I think New England is heaven for hikers.
Over the years 62 of my poems have appeared in the small presses as well as nine short stories and a couple of essays. In 2011 a masque I wrote won a prize from a local writers group. My son lives nearby and is a court clerk. I have two young grandchildren who help keep me jolly.
I’ve been a big fan of Science Fiction since I first read Isaac Asimov as a young bookworm. Much later, my daughter also was inspired by Asimov and she now is a college Physics professor with a primary interest in astronomy. When I wrote my steampunk novel, Perpetual Motion, published in 2013 by Cogwheel Press, I was very encouraged by its enthusiastic reception by readers. In May 2014 White Violet Press published my first book of poetry, Roving Enchantments. Check out my “News” page for my current and upcoming literary projects. I am looking forward to writing lots of new exciting stuff.