How does one describe the indefinable? Like the dreaded underworld dholes of Lovecraft fame. Giant slimy worm-like creatures known only for the wet slithering sound one makes squirming past a mountain of bones. No one has ever seen one, for they only creep around in the dark. Beneath a shiny veneer of charm, cheery optimism, a pretty face, and the mind of an indefatigable dreamer writhes a dark pulpy center ripe and oozing with loathing. Sometimes this pit of purest abhorrence rises to the surface exuding the most mordant sense of humor and complete disdain for my fellow man.
I’d just as soon have you assume that I rose out of the spring-fed ground water of the Hinckley Reservoir, a strange subversive psychotropic stew tainting the local water supply. In actuality, I had a modest upbringing, though sheltered, but I’m glad to say my parents raised me well. I’m polite, hard working, responsible and I still have most of my manners. Home was a small town in Upstate New York, nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack State Park. Without the modern conveniences of cable TV and a reliable internet, my sisters and I spent a lot time outdoors, relying heavily on our imaginations to keep us occupied and out of trouble. After the long painful procession of elementary, middle, and high school I was spit out as a young awkward teenager and tossed right into college. Art school blew the barn doors wide open on my simple and sheltered existence. Nothing prepared me complete culture shock of finding myself at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn finishing out my junior year. I soon realized I wasn’t cut out for the cutthroat field of Graphic Design at the “Harvard of Art Schools” desperate to stay in Brooklyn, I tried to transfer to any place that would have me. Time and money ran out and there was no other recourse to retreat homeward.
A college drop-out staring down adulthood like the barrel of a loaded gun, it looked as though I’d have to settle down, take up a career and prepare for retirement some fifty years into the future. Then my life took a strange if not miraculous turn. At the age of twenty-one, ripe as a grape ready to plucked and pressed into wine, I was thrust headlong into the mystifying world of Journalism. I was hired on at an independent monthly publication two towns over. The College Crier was distributed to over twenty colleges and universities in Central New York. The intrepid enterprise was comprised of two Parker brothers, an editor and a publisher, as well as a wily bookkeeper. The next five years of my life were devoted to the publication: writing, marketing, designing, and distributing. Hoping to mold the minds of impressionable college students much like myself at that age. Interviewing freaks and the famous, from the unsigned to the sages on a month to month basis. My very first in a long line of interviews was with Hunter S. Thompson. From that moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. I had to be one. I was growing up Gonzo. I lived for the thrill of tracking these people down, the prestige of press passes, and even that mossy smell of old newsprint. Gaining experience and developing a platform and a portfolio for future projects. Thinking of myself as a backwoods poet and prophet from a bygone era. Spending my off time listlessly driving the state forest in a beat up Oldsmobile listening to my father’s record collection of classic rock copied on cassette tape and constantly dreaming of distant lands, a different time even, and a grandeur that could only exist outside of Hinckley, New York. In 2009 our daring team complied the best of our countless interviews in to a 468 page compendium titled Sausage Factory: The College Crier’s Infamous Interviews with the Freaks and the Famous.
At twenty-six, I grew weary of the glamorous life of the fly-by journalist. Hungry for adventure, a life of my own, and with absolutely no preparation for the real world at all I packed everything I could into my car and fled to Cincinnati to live with friends. Life took a dark and humbling turn. Teetering precariously on the edge of adulthood, I broke down, gave up, and cast aside my lofty dreams and life goals and found myself saddled with a series of deliriously demeaning day jobs in order to make rent, keep the lights on, and dig myself out of a mountain of student loan debt. A visionary reduced to a simple line attendant, a picker and packer, a shipper and receiver and third-shift gas station clerk. Dragged through the mire and the mundane growing incrementally more savage and despondent as time passes. Now in my thirties, after turning my back on my calling as a writer, I’ve come crawling and clawing my way back for more.