(warning – this is written entirely in lower case – the writer is not responsible for any emotional damage done to english teachers, who should be thankful it is not also written as a txt msg. er. its not that i am lazy or anything . . . yes it is.)
beth lock. i have forgotten where or when i met her online more than a decade ago. i had always been in graphics, in aerospace. writing was something i did part-time, and without much thought to going anywhere with it. i guess it was my english teacher in high school, who turned me off of writing. i would write short stories, which my friends in school loved to read, and that really upset her for some reason, so she told me never to write again. “you are no good at it, and you never will be.” so i did not, for a very long time, until 1990, when i could no longer keep from writing. beth, and others liked my writing, strange, odd and crazy though it was.
i was good at it. i had a cadre of short stories, mostly off of a typewriter or in pencil. beth got me to send her one. she sent it to tim robertson of mymac.com, and he immediately published it. somehow, seeing my work on a website that other than my own, gave me credence as a writer in my own mind. it mattered not that it was not for pay. it was for the joy of writing, and for publicly speaking to important issues. back then, just being on a mac in a company was a major issue. microsoft was the sinister big brother, and the mac was the scrappy, more intelligent adversary, who would win the day – some day. my stories tend to be urban legends, fantasy and science fiction, although i do write histories and books about god.
writing for mymac is the road i took. i dropped out of aerospace and out of graphics. i begin to write and do little else. my wife noticed the difference. i was in love with what i was doing. i began to write for other places – all of them forums. mymac.com was the only webzine i wrote for, and the only one i ever cared to write for.
yes, i sometimes wonder what my life might have been, had i stayed in graphics and in aerospace, and ignored writing, but i know i took the better road by becoming a writer.
i consider that it was because of tim robertson, who gave me my start as a writer. he was the editor/owner of mymac.com. young, strongly opinionated, and decisive about things, but ever true to his writers. he would back us, regardless of what we were writing about. i wonder if he even knows how significant he was to my decision to keep on writing?
at mymac.com, there were already a good number of people already onboard: beth lock, rodney lain, susan howerter, john farr, and owen ruben. a bunch of other writers came along also: abraham amchin, art schwartz, artie alinikoff, bailey, bill palmer, bill perry, bob mcccormick, bruce black, carmel glover, chad perry, chris seibold, claus wolf, connie teeple, craig cox, daniel corkery, david cohen, david weeks, david casseres, dawn schultz, debra power, donny yankellow, dr tim hillman, evan kleiman, george masters, guy serle, iris yoffa, jason rainbows, jeffrey mcpheeters, jonathan murnane, kenneth paul, krishna sadasivam, larry grinnell, lee aronson, lonnie houghton, maria langer, mark marcantonio, martin taylor, mick o neil, nate eaton, neale monks, pixl, rich lefko, robert hazelrigg, roger kasten, russ walkowich, sean lynch, steve adelson, tad scheeler, tim robertson, todd long, tom schmidt, tony williams, vern seward, and a host of excellent writers that are too numerous to mention (which i say because i just know i am forgetting someone). visit the “archives” at mymac to see who all these great writers are. it is not just big names of john martellaro, john nemerovski and david k. every at mymac.com. there new writers too, such as knot gullible, mazen al-angary, dan robinson, and bakari chavanu – all of who are contributing significant things to our content. because of the published words of every one of these wonderful writers, mymac.com continues to grow and flourish, and more and more readers are coming onboard daily. you know, there just isn’t anything like mymac.com on the web.
what is too cool about mymac.com are the things our readers do not get to read, on our staff mailing list, where a great number of subjects get discussed (and ranted about). the intellectual interaction is unbelievably stimulating to all of us at mymac.com. many of our conversations there get posted as blogs, which our readers, for the most part, love.
well, that was years ago. today for my wife and i it is the same, but different. connie and i went ahead and got our degrees, thanks to educade – a couple of masters for me and a phd for her. (i doubt that we will live long enough to pay these student loans off, especially with their ultra-low payments and cheap interest rates.) our kids are grown and have families of their own. my lovely wife has not changed at all. she is still young and beautiful, as well as very smart and talented. connie also left the corporate sector about the same time i did, and is a full time teacher in high school – one with honors and awards stacking up.
i contracted cancer in 1994, and have been on and off of chemo about every five years. it is slow growing, and i am determined to beat it. like everything else in my life, it has also contributed to my writing, to who i am and to what i have become. but that has nowhere near as much contributed to me, as all my fellow writers and friends have here at mymac.com.
i’ve also been sick lately – not cancer – just a weak heart (after 5 bypasses and significant heart damage from cisplatin chemo in 2002 – which is why they put me on disability). fortunately, it has been bad enough to get me out of housework. but not so bad that i cannot write from time to time.
connie and i moved to the desert about seven years ago, and love it. there is no place on earth quite like the high mojave desert, three thousand feet above the coast, with clean air and legends abounding among the diffident and majestic sierra mountains. the heat here in the desert this summer has been record breaking, and that has also contributed to my ‘weakness’ so i remain indoors until sundown. but the evenings here are cool and wonderful.
thank god for air conditioning. most people here use swamp coolers, which are encased water fountains on their roofs, through which air is cooled and pumped into their homes. however, when the weather is humid, those things are worthless. a real air conditioner will pull excess moisture from the air, and you can survive here. however, your electric bill can be many hundreds of dollars a month.
did i say we are moving? – six weeks now, we have been packing to get ready. we move to barstow, california on the 15th thru 17th of august, where my wife starts teaching high school english to 180 kids on the 20th. this move has been rough without any help here, but we persevere.
barstow is a small, poor town on the apex of the i-15 and the i-40 interstates, about an hour and a half north of los angeles. the other towns around here in the upper mojave desert are palmdale, lancaster, to the west, and victorville/hesperia/apple valley to the east. beautiful ridgecrest is north of all of them, next to china lake, out on the 395, which goes by the sierra mountains on its way to mammoth and yosemite. there is more history and places to explore here, and more natural beauty and clean air than anywhere else in the west. it is just an awesome place to live, and the people are noble, independent and for the most part, honorable (and the cost of living is way lower than anywhere else in california).
the key to barstow are the two military bases nearby – typical of most towns in the deserts of the west. nearby dagget (a truck stop on interstate 40), has the marine staging base. marine families, where most of my wife’s students will be coming from. the other base is fort irwin, where all the captured russian and chinese tanks are stored. barstow is the only town nearby where housing is available. housing, that is, if you don’t mind 40 year old two bedroom, 1 bath homes. these homes are well kept and maintained, however, and there are all the amenities you could hope for in town – great places to eat, and plenty of places to shop. if you are rich, you can even have a new, large ranch-style four bedroom, three bath home up in barstow heights, where the view of the valley is spectacular.
my youngest boy got married in salt lake city two weekends ago, and the 12 hour trip up there about did me in, but it was good (and necessary) that i went, since i performed the ceremony. salt lake city is mountainous with evergreens and lakes. it is beautiful, and the homes there are very unique to the western part of these united states – if you can imagine old style century homes built with all the modern conveniences, with fully finished basements and cold rooms under the porches, and fully finished attics as well. these homes sell in the 300,000 dollar range, with 4-6,000 square feet. even the garages are finished inside, with usually an apartment above. since the state of utah is about 40% mormon, people who buy these large homes usually try to fill them with children.
connie is concerned lately about my memory going. it is. i am becoming forgetful, but only about things that are non essential to me. again, it is probably an effect of the chemo. i finished the last treatment back in november and am just now getting some feeling back in my extremities. the chemo taxol sort of kills all the small capillaries in your feet, hands and kidneys, but the chemo also killed the cancer i had, for which i am very grateful. did i say that it has made me forgetful?
i was so sick from the last round of chemo that i honestly did not plan to be here this year, but here i am – most blessed. i am looking forward to the move. our new place is very nice, and the only rental in barstow to have a second bathroom and more than two bedrooms. which also allows us to have our pets (a large black lab and three cats).
barstow high school was the only job my wife applied to which responded and hired her on the spot, with a significant bonus too. so we are moving there from beautiful and secluded ridgecrest, our home for seven years in the high desert. the move has taken all of our energy and savings, but it will be great – if we ever get there. we might have stayed in ridgecrest, but connie is not quite through with her california teaching credentials. without that, teachers have to scramble for positions anywhere they can find them. she has taught previously for colleges and private schools and is well qualified to teach, but getting that credential means about double the pay, full retirement and a guaranteed place to work.
i really miss working for a living. connie and i both have a strong work ethic. but i do have hopes for an eventual publisher of some story or novel i have written. perhaps a publisher will print my biographical fantasy novel about adam, the first man. adam had adventures which were much more powerful and amazing than frodo’s, aslan’s kids, or young mr. potter’s. (i just need to find some one who has clout in some media who can see that.) after all, adam lived more than nine centuries, and was the first man to have an dual identity (since hardly any of his children believed that god was his father). his alter-ego was atlas, and he became emperor of the single continent of that anti-diluvian world in his 600th year on the earth. in his honor, they named that continent after him. you may have heard of it – atlantis. (i wrote that book back in 2000, and have hardly touched it since, except to periodically send it out to publishers. you should see all the nice rejection letters i have been collecting!)
i hope all this finds you and yours blessed and well, my friends. thanks ever so much to all of you here at mymac.com. to beth, for believing in me. to tim, for publishing my crazy stuff for people to read. and to every friend and writer here online. my life has been so rich and blessed because i know all of you. i cannot fathom what my life would have been without each of you in it.