My stories are drawn from my various experiences and people I have met along life’s way. But that is not to say that my stories are true. They are the result of mixing the tilt and tint of my life with a dollop of imagination.
I grew up in the 1950’s – 60’s in the small farming town of El Centro, California. My father owned a grocery store a few miles out of town where I worked after school and on weekends when I was old enough to drive there. I got to know many of the regular customers. Each had his own story.
I attended Pomona College, a small liberal arts college near Los Angeles. Both the college experience and the big city broadened my perspective.
By the time I graduated from college, the Viet Nam war dominated American life. Mine was not immune. A couple of years in the enlisted ranks of the Army, including a year in Viet Nam, exposed me to a whole new group of people and experiences.
When I was in the Army thinking about being out of the Army, I decided I wanted to study whales for a living. So after I got out of the Army, I enrolled at San Diego State University as a first step towards this goal.
As it turned out, the US Navy had just moved its dolphin research program to San Diego. I got a part-time student job there. I did my Master’s thesis studying some of the Navy’s dolphins. After that I managed to get a full-time job with the Navy, and settled in studying dolphins for a living. Dolphins are not exactly whales, but they were close enough for me. Along the way, I got married.
A few years later, with financial support from the Navy, I went to UCLA to work on my PhD. I expanded my interests to birds, focusing on penguin swimming. That’s something the Navy could appreciate. After completing my PhD, I continued to work for the Navy.
My research interests, however, began to shift. As they shifted, I shifted jobs and moved to Davis, California. I performed research on contaminant effects on wildlife for the US Fish & Wildlife Service. By now my wife was a lawyer, and we had added two children to our family. Raising children, as any parent will attest, brings experiences one would never have (or imagine) otherwise.
After three decades of conducting biology research, I began to feel confined. I also felt constrained by the style requirements of technical writing. So, to allow myself some stretching room, I retired and explored writing fiction. I also got interested in gardening and studied with green-thumb masters to become a certified Master Gardener. New vistas opened for me.
The kids left home and became independent, young adults before my marriage crumbled. I moved to Concord, California, and, using my Master Gardener’s training, converted my “meh” back yard into my own customized Chinese garden. It sports a gazebo, water feature, barefoot-friendly walkways, and a variety of foliage and flowering plants, most with origins in Asia. It is my “Ahh, yess!” place.
My life keeps getting fuller. Soon after moving, a beautiful woman parachuted into my life. After discovering that we are soul mates, we did the only reasonable thing we could: we got married. She adds new dimensions to each day.
New stories continue to bubble up from my mix of tilts, tints, and imagination. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
Sparky, so nice…I am a bit teary!
Your stories are so amazing. I love reading them. After how many years I have known you, never knew you have so many hidden talents. Brought tears to my eyes.
Very nice Sparky……..Haven’t seen you in 52 years but I feel you still live down the street from me….
Childhood nickname. So now you can guess who knew me in the wayback days.
Hi Clifford –
Nicole here, we talked the other night. You have a really nice sight!
One of your characters is Leonard Bessom. I was wondering where you knew him from.
Hi Stephanie — Sorry for my delayed response but I’ve had a rush of busy-ness getting out my first book: “In The Field.” Check it out on Amazon. As for Leonard Bessom; I met him in the early 1970’s. He was on the verge of retirement then and worked at the LA Museum of Natural History. I had a project that took me there regularly for a while and Leonard and I became friends. During our visits he told me stories of his childhood. When I started writing fiction decades later, his stories inspired some of mine and I gave his name to the character most like him. Thank you for reading my stories.
Thank you for the response. He was my grandfather and seeing his name in print gave me such a warm rush of memories. Thank you for keeping thoughts of him alive through your writing!
Hi Stephanie — What a delightful surprise to hear from you! Indeed, memories of your grandfather and his stories are never far from me. I would go home after a visit and relay his newest stories to my family who delighted in them. They became known as “The Leonard Bessom Stories.” I am curious as to how you came across my website. Were you searching for something?