I was born on March 11, 1955 in Tacoma, WA, the city that gave us crooner Bing Crosby and actress Dyan Cannon. Serial killer Ted Bundy spent his formative years in Tacoma. I spent less than a year there when my father was discharged from Fort Lewis. He chose to move my mother and me to his home town, Peoria, IL, the city of singer Dan Fogelberg and comedian Richard Pryor. Mass murderer Richard Speck was tried and convicted in Peoria.
Coincidence? I certainly hope so.
In 1979 my wife, Laurie, and I moved to Madison, WI, the city where Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Heiden and comedian Chris Farley were born. The year we moved there the Student Council of the University of Wisconsin filled Bascom Hill with thousands of plastic pink flamingoes. That same winter they erected a full scale model of the Statue of Liberty on the ice of Lake Mendota, but only from the nose up. We both knew we had found our home.
At the moment architecture pays the bills. I am fortunate to remain employed in these tough and terrible times. All my buildings are still standing and I have developed some excellent friendships along the way. My activities have even convinced a few to join me in the writing life. One collaboration is in progress now, a zombie story set in New York’s City Hall.
What continues to bother me is that every day the people I work with are getting younger and younger while I am not. I don’t remember the day I stopped being Bill and became Mr. Bibo. I do remember that it was dreadful. Now I don’t even remember half of their names. Could you repeat the question?
Years ago I decided not to age gracefully. I intend to go kicking and screaming the entire way. There is a classic quote from “Doctor Who” that sums it all up for me. It was spoken by Tom Baker in the episode called “Robot”.
“There's no point in being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes.”
Make that all the time.
Our two children, Melinda and Shaun, are both grown and living their own lives. I have finally become less of an embarrassment to them and am now considered possibly even cool. I love them dearly and will do anything for them but it is wonderful to finally have the time I can spend with my beautiful wife and to give to my own pursuits without it being too late at night mostly because I can’t stay awake that long anymore.
This year, 2011, another new milestone was reached. Our daughter and her husband, Justin, gave birth to our first grandchild, Nolan. I have plans for Nolan. Together we will watch Godzilla movies and tell each other scary stories and draw cartoons and wonder how The Doctor gets out of this week's predicament.
Writing is my refuge and salvation. It allows me to forget the work-a-day life and escape into worlds of my own creation. It makes me smile, it makes me happy, and it makes my wife wonder about me.