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The first half of my life was spent, or wasted, in Southern California, the best part at Brown Military Academy, a dash of reality with the sunshine. Hollywood High, while fun, bored me, and I left without graduating. Acted the fool for awhile. Joined the Navy, Sub School, New London, CN; played football for Bayonne Navel Depot. Returned to CA to revive the good old days by enrolling in Los Angeles City College to play football with old high school friends. A bust. To avoid reading and writing, I took courses in the Theater Department, which lead indirectly to an invitation from Will Geer to join his troupe, Folksay Theater, and to perform with them in Topanga Canyon, CA and in NYC.

Spent a year-plus wandering about NY and when a play in which I had a role failed to get on stage, I returned to California. Through the good offices of Anthony Quinn and Nick Ray, movie roles and a contract at 20th Century Fox materialized. But discomfort was the price of ego-kneading, and anyway writing had become necessary, air and water. Some traveling by thumb and a return to school, seriously this time, to study philosophy at Kenyon with Virgil Aldrich. On to the University of Wisconsin. Completing the course work for a PhD, and welcoming into the world the arrival of Emily Margaret, my daughter.

Shortly afterwards, I waited out at a friend's bedside his death and, as a result, decided poetry's claim was too strong to share with philosophy. My friend, a poet, had been right when he wrote "...We/all go the way we go/all the way..." It was, for good or ill, also a decision to go it alone; in retrospect, a decision that affected too many lives. Perhaps, there's an up-side, and Emily's life, accordingly, will be fully loved and accepted within the terms only she sets, whatever they might be.

Turning 50 and desiring upward  mobility—enough to afford to smoke two packs a day and wet my whistle—I enrolled in the Writing Program at Bowling Green State University. Perhaps working with young writers differed from standard academic programs. Wrong. However the friendship of Howard and Jennifer McCord redeemed a year of wandering in the brambles of the Politically Correct University of the 90’s.

Eventually a near-half-century of work creaked under the period’s accumulated dust and just as I began to figure the stuff would settle, dust to dust, Dale Smith, a true eccentric, entered and feather-dusted and published and set aside work for future publication. That’s where things stand, and until those old movies surface on TV, there’s reason for me to smile.



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