My Life in Ruins
For as long as I can remember, I’ve held a fascination for the origin of the human spirit. Perhaps it all started with my father, an accountant whose clients included governors and reservations. Traveling required for the job, he documented the landscape along the isolated highways in Ektachrome slideshows. Summers and weekends he’d load up our family in the station wagon or van to visit Puebloan and Spanish mission ruins.
The creative nature of some of my teachers furthered the cause. An antique web press stood in the corner of my seventh-grade grammar classroom, for instance, intriguing me in the way that color beckons an artist. Our teacher Mr. Holmes assigned each of us the task of inventing our own language so that we’d better understand how tedious things like nouns and verbs linked together to form sentences. For weeks we roamed the campus and filled spiral notebooks with nonsensical words. Jump forward to Mrs. Walden’s senior high school anthropology class where we buried the artifacts and linguistic symbols of an entire culture we invented for another class to dig up and decipher, while we decoded theirs.
My training as a journalist began in high school with Miss Boughton who, despite plying us with hot chocolate, donuts, and smoking privileges, had a bit of a temper when we didn’t strictly adhere to the AP style of writing. Daily she bloodied up my copy with her mechanical pencil while I was forced to watch. I endured other such mentors while working brief stints in various campus publications, television programs, and radio stations. Eager to find a job in my field when I graduated from college, any job, I worked as the agriculture and energy editor for the Guymon Daily Herald in the Oklahoma Panhandle – of all places. Holding subsequent communications posts in various non-profit agencies afforded the privilege of delving more deeply into all forms of media. This buffet-style career culminated in public relations at the University of New Mexico.
In 1990 I began writing non-fiction books full time, most of which involved anthropology and spirituality in one form or another. In 2002, after publishing five non-fiction books and ghost writing four more, and upon growing frustrated with the struggling and competitive book industry, I turned to the lucrative albeit challenging sideline of wedding photography. Inevitably, I published a book on wedding destinations in 2006. (How could I not?) Finally, in 2011 I published my first novel, The Logos of Soul.
I can’t say I was born with the talent to write. Being visually oriented, I constantly have to train for it. Even so, being right-brained has its advantages. Whereas a scientist is licensed to venture no further than the left-hemisphere of intellectual thought, I can Pogo stick between facts, daydream on them, envision an overview that archaeologists, historians, or even theologians can only glimpse under the guise of testing a hypothesis.