A Profile

to be something new

I am who and what I am at this moment,
not what I was and certainly not all that I shall be.

General Interests of an Individual

the useless trivia he is willing to disclose online

The most important things in my life are my wife (and best friend), my family, and my cats. Everything else in life is a bonus.

What I Am (at this moment)

Writer. The one word that describes me now and has described me since first grade: writer. I write essays, short stories, stage plays, screenplays, and poetry. I write to understand people and our actions. As I write, I analyze the human condition and our choices. When I write, the words are not always meant to be read from a page or screen. Most of my poetry should be heard, not read, by audiences. Shape poems should be seen as visual art, before they are read. Plays and movies should be seen sitting with other people, sharing the experience.

As a writer, I explore forms and genres to discover combinations that work for me. Though I am not young anymore, I still dream of seeing one of my plays reach Broadway, a screenplay on the big screen, a novel on the New York Times Bestseller List, and maybe a textbook ready by students worldwide.

The Tameri Guide for Writers reflects the thoughts of my wife and me on creative writing for general audiences. We help writers, publishers, and producers refine works with audience appeal as a priority. Our consulting focuses on the mass market, not elite literary gatekeepers. We enjoy literary works, but recognize the irony that the works now judged as great literature were often created for the masses.

I am content sitting alone and writing. I want to sit and think, preferably somewhere quiet without distractions. My mind creates its own distractions.

My résumé lists many things I have done. I tend to do more than one thing concurrently, keeping my mind as active as possible.

 

Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far one can go.

— T. S. Eliot

Some years ago I began work on my pages on existentialism. I maintain and expand them, but I cannot claim there is a deeper interest in that area than any other. I started the notes and now keep working on them, assuming that if they were important enough for me to start they must be worth continuing.

What Else I Am (at this moment)

I admit my passion is writing, but I also enjoy teaching. Having earned a doctorate, “professor” is a label that has applied to me. It is not how I would prefer to define myself to others, though some people seem to imagine the degree reflects more than it does. It means I wrote my way through several years of additional schooling.

Educational technologist, Web developer, autism advocate, and special education consultant are also labels you can apply to me. Writing is what unifies my interests, because I consider all communication forms of composition. Studying how we use symbols to create and communicate helps me understand other people.

Likes & Dislikes

I cycle when I have some time, love racquetball, lose at tennis, play darts, drink mixed drinks (and wine), and like cooler weather. I hate hot weather, most television, and wannabe artistic types. I have also learned, the hard way, that I cannot tolerate temperatures below freezing for more than a few days.

Artists

The Impressionist period produced most of my favorite artists, including Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, and Degas. However, I consider Van Gogh and Claude Monet the defining artists of the movement — and its ending. Van Gogh began the expressionist movement as a “postimpressionist.” Van Gogh wrote “I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.” He painted the majority of his great works during the last two years of his life. While Van Gogh was manic-depressive, Monet was just obsessed.

Writers: Fiction

I enjoy and admire many writers, though I don’t always enjoy every writer I admire. You can recognize skill without loving the resulting art. If I could discuss writing with any authors, the group would include Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Evelyn Waugh. Most of the writers I admire would be considered “classic” figures in English literature.

As an English student, I enrolled in every class on existential literature that was offered. The thing that attracted me to existentialism was the idea that all people are forced to make choices, whether they want to or not. That person must accept the consequences of his or her decisions. Sure, that is a simplification, but what do you expect from a philosophical group so large that it ranges from Catholic existentialists to Sartre, the adamant atheist and believer in pure self-determination? My favorite philosophical writers: Sartre, Camus, Kafka, Mann, and Capote.

Writers: Non-Fiction

No question, the journalist/writer I admire most is P. J. O’Rourke. He is a cynic in the grand tradition of great journalists and columnists. I also collect books by Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken. O’Rourke is the modern Mencken.

I also enjoy science writing. I have every book by Malcolm Gladwell. Other non-fiction favorites include Steven Pinker and David Quammen.

Music

I own some of almost every style. Swing and classical occupy a lot of space in my collection, with classic jazz and blues expanding rapidly. I need things that calm, relax, and sooth. All jazz seems to work, even when others ask, “You find that relaxing?”

As a member of Generation X, I am required to own the music of the 1980s. This means ABC and Adam Ant through Wall of Voodoo and Yaz. My college years were filled with Depeche Mode, The Cure, and the sounds of KROQ. Classic 1970s and early 80s heavy metal is also good, when I’m in the right mood.

Movies

I dislike most movies. (Who likes most of them?) Yes, some movies do grab me — I have cable and start a lot of movies… just finish few of them. While I can read all night, I can’t seem to watch a screen for any amount of time. When I do sit through a movie, it’s usually a mystery, very odd comedy, a romance, or classic drama. I love old movies. The acting wasn’t great in most of them, but I consider the writing much better.

19 Feb 2003: I realized a theme in the movies I like. The characters grow personally after making choices. They challenge what is around them or expected of them. From Casablanca to Pleasantville, there are characters willing to challenge their fears to change the world. The movies I enjoy ask “Who am I?” and “Who can I become?” while telling a good story.

Frequently Asked Questions?

I keep receiving a list of questions from friends; I assume this list is making the Internet rounds. What the heck, I thought to myself, why not answer them here? Sure it is juvenile… but isn’t life?

Topic Favorite
Pets Cats.
Hair Short, easy to maintain.
Body Art On you? Cool. Me? You have got to be kidding. I thought about a piercing once, but it would not be my style. Namely, a tad geekish and conservative in dress, if not life. Plus, body art is so trendy that not having any sets me apart!
Colors Gray and burgundy; black and white; forest green, crimson, and tan.
Food Yes. I like it. I can even cook... and love to buy new kitchen toys.
Day of the Week Monday. Seriously, I tend to like Mondays because no one else is shopping when I am. Unfortunately, too many cool places are closed, so Wednesdays are not bad, either.
Phrase When do we eat?
Restaurant Does Tommy’s on Rampart count? Nothing like a double chili-cheese burger at 0200. Seriously, I like to try a lot of things.

Flower Roses, in various colors. I prefer miniature roses in unusual colors.
Drink Tea. Most any hot tea, accompanied by a pastry or baked good.
Sport to Watch Hockey, in person. Not on television. Sports are about watching the crowd — unless it is soccer, where the point is to run ahead of the stampede. I am not really a sports person, though.
Ice Cream Peanut butter and chocolate. Also, I like java/mocha flavors.
Sesame Street Character Elmo, but Grover is the classic.
Disney or Warner Brothers Warner Brothers… Animaniacs. Pixar rules modern animation, but Fox did well with Ice Age. Old Disney cartoons seeded my DVD collection.
Favorite Store Home Depot, any antiques store, things I cannot afford…
Most Annoying Question How do you feel? / How are you?
Favorite TV Show Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I like Nero Wolfe on A&E, Monk is fun, and old reruns of The Saint. I like mysteries and puzzles. The current popularity of crime shows makes it nice to watch TV again.
Talents Writing, I hope.
Goals Write, write, and write more until I die.

In addition to these favorites… quotations I like.

Shaped by Skeptics

The books, music, and films I enjoy do tend to take a skeptical, even cynical, view of institutions. This also reflects the times of my youth. It is hard to imagine the 1970s not contributing to a general skepticism. Always ask “Why?”