I go by Jim. I don't have a ready-made résumé, so I'll just ramble around the back yard of my life for a bit.

I graduated from high school in Virginia in 1961, went to Utah State for a year, then bummed around the southwest and Mexico for two years, doing whatever job was available. Went back to USU to finish a BA in Eng/Am literature. Started working toward an MA in advanced writing at the U of Wash (of all useless degrees, perhaps the most nearly perfect).

I quit school for one quarter to save money to finish. It was the height of the Viet Nam fiasco, and Uncle Sam came after me, so I enlisted in the Navy. Spent nearly five years, 1968-73, as a quartermaster aboard a cruiser, the USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5), in WestPac. Got out of the regular Navy, spent two more years in Navy reserves on a coastal minesweeper in Puget Sound while I finished work on my MA. Would have stayed in the reserves, but they sold my boat to the Fiji navy, and I'd had it. Went to work as a civilian analyst for the Air Force for eight years, then was a finance analyst and applications programmer at Boeing for 27 years.

I retired three years back, now I'm going on 70. I've worked hard, seen a lot. My life has put filters up before my eyes (biases? ...prejudices?). It happens to all of us. Best I can make of it, I try to recognize and acknowledge my filters, try not to let them have too much control of my decisions, my choices, my actions. My taste in art, clothes, and appropriate (...or inappropriate?) public behavior is conservative. I'm also conservate on lawnorder, fiscal policy (government should live within its means, same as we ought to), and work ethic. Yet I'm ultra-liberal (or progressive? ...I'm not sure of terms here) on the need to protect the environment: rain forests, coral reefs, the oceans, and the atmosphere...our world. [...Please note that I choose to use the serial or Oxford or Harvard comma...apparently this is a major bone of contention among you cognoscenti -- could this be the ultimate arbitor of conservative vs liberal? ]

I used to write, back in my 20's & 30's. I got decent reviews for my poetry, had some of it published in various venues, won a couple of awards for short stories. I actually thought I might be a writer. But I wasn't. I knew a couple of writers. One was good, one wasn't, but they were writers. They couldn't stop writing any more than I could stop breathing. That's what writers do. Me? I got married, had kids, got a desk job, brought home the bacon, and stopped writing (picture a sports car slamming into a garbage truck). I stopped for 20 years.

I've written a few things over the last 15 years or so. Maybe later, if it seems reasonable, I'll share some of them. For now, I'd rather read what you guys have written. I have strong views on what is good writing, what is not so good, and what is really awful. But my criticism is tempered with a certain amount of good will, kindness, reluctance to hurt, and...and a recollection of others' criticism of my work.

So now? I divide my time between my home in western Washington and my "ranch" in eastern Washington, the Lazy B, 80 off-grid acres where we raise nothing but rocks and a few vegetables. I've worked hard, physically, since I retired 3 years ago, and while I could still stand to lose 50 pounds, I'm stronger and in better health than I was 20 years ago.

I love to hike, fish, hunt, camp, read, run my band-saw mill, build sheds and cabins, cut and split firewood, do other work on my ranch, and relax in the shade of a willow tree by the creek (...when my nemesis, my better half, doesn't know). I love the canyons and the high country, and I don't mind my own company, within limits. I love dogs, labs the best. I'm more comfortable with dogs than people, mostly. But, hell, who isn't?

Not much of a résumé. Just an unmowed back-yard, with the rusting hulks of memories over there by the fence.

When I'm not at the Lazy B, I'll try to spend time around your cooler. But if anyone sends me a message, don't be too upset if I don't respond for a month or more. I'm just off the grid for a while...where I like to be.