Outskirts Press published my first novel last week. Only, actually Trout Kill is not the first novel I wrote. That honor belongs to Perimeters, a Vietnam novel I wrote way back in the mid-’80’s. It is unpublished. Funny, the course my writing career has taken. The road I’ve followed goes roughly like this:
In high school I was an undistinguished student, earning mostly C’s on English compositions, although I did enjoy reading, PE, Modern Problems and Advanced Girls. In Senior English at Sutherlin High, The Lord of the Flies was my favorite. Thank you, Mr. Anderson! I’ll always remember those class discussions about man’s “heart of darkness”–our Ids.
Decided to become a teacher one monsoon night while I was on guard duty in Vietnam. At that time, I was leaning toward the social sciences, history and the like. That night it was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. (In Draft #1 of Trout Run, the second novel in the Trout Trilogy, I use that simile.)
Got turned on to fiction writing when a college prof remarked that my narrative composition “… reminded him of Hemingway.” I’d written a story about tracking a wounded deer through the woods. At the time, I scarcely knew who Hemingway was. This “spark” led me toward majoring in language arts, as well as the social sciences. Thank you, Mr. Jacobs, for introducing me to Hemingway.
(Part II later …)