As I sat on the cabin porch at the dude ranch near Bandara, Texas, nursing an iced tea, I reaffirmed my decision to ditch the afternoon conference session: "Internationalizing the Liberal Arts Curriculum." It wasn't that the topic didn't interest me, but from my porch I had an unobstructed view of the Hill Country; the fall weather was perfect; and my fellow conferees were either at the session or, like me, playing hooky. It was peaceful and quiet; I wanted to write a story.

This was 1987, nine years since I'd last attempted to write fiction.

At Venice High School in Los Angeles I'd written short essays and poems. At UC Berkeley, where I'd studied Anthropology, I'd written term papers and essay exams. At Sonoma State University, I wrote the thesis for my MA in Humanistic Psychology and more poems. When we lived and worked in Chinle on the Navajo Nation, where I first wrote stories, I set up a desk in our bedroom closet, our small house filled as it was with our five children, Luisa and me. At The University of Texas, Austin, I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation.

What stands out about my determination to write on that afternoon in the Hill Country is that until that day, I'd written in fits and starts. Years could go by between projects. But that afternoon, something opened in me, and once I started to write the story that eventually became "Real Scouts," published in the collection, Fetching Molly, I never stopped.

It helped that by 1987 my children were in their late teens or early 20's. and it was more realistic to take time to write. I was lucky to have a career as a university administrator. It was fulfilling and mostly enjoyable. I traveled extensively in the US and abroad in conjunction with my work in international education exchange. My stockpile of material for stories kept growing.

In 2002, some of my short stories were accepted by the New Short Fiction Series in Los Angeles. This readers' theatre selected a few authors each year and, with professional actors performed short stories before live audiences. For the first time, I heard my stories read by people who breathed life into them. I was hooked by the process and the result: I decided to learn to write plays. To do that, I enrolled in UCLA's playwriting program and studied for two years with Simon Levy of Hollywood's Fountain Theatre. By the end of 2005, when I left my university position, I was on a writing roll. Luisa and I returned to the small farm that we own jointly with my brother Peter and his wife Sieglinde in the coastal hills of Sonoma County.

I'm fortunate to lead a full life. I have excellent health, a large, supportive family, and good friends; and I live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world. But, if you add all that up, it's obvious that finding stretches of uninterrupted time to write is, and always will be, challenging.

It's a problem I love!


Home About Michael Order Contact Michael Events Blog
About the Books About the Plays
  The Queen of Kansas A Day in the Life of Fort Ross
    Sample Text In Defense of Beauty
    Reading Mojado Extremo
  Learning to See Fish Abuelitas Tango
    Sample Text Oakland Triptych
    Reading The Whole World of Miss Buhai
    What Readers Say Consumption
  Fetching Molly Hollow
    Sample Text KOWS Radio Recording - Redwood Radio
    Reading
    What Readers Say
  Sometimes I See You
    Sample Text
    Reading
    What Readers Say
  A Circle of Elephants
    Sample Text
    What Readers Say
    Process of Writing