How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Friday, May 20, 2016

Moments of serendipity

WHOLE CLOTH looks at the relationship between my experience and the stories I've told as a writer: "the personal roots of narrative."

There's a completely different way, with a tighter focus, to look at my career: how it was driven by chance encounters with individuals and events, "moments of serendipity." If I were to pursue this, and I might (my god, another book!), I'd look at such moments as ...

Lunch with my hero Linus Pauling, leading to the move to Berkeley.

The Army recruiter in Berkeley, putting me in the Army Security Agency.

Being in an outfit of academic humanists and meeting Dick Crooks.

After the Army, meeting unhappy tech writers at Burroughs Corp and deciding to return to college. Needing semester credits for UCLA, deciding to get them at Pasadena City College, where Bob Trevor and others encouraged me to be a literary scholar.

In grad school, a student in midwest beating me to my PhD thesis on Melville's Pierre.

Meeting Polly in grad school, her support in efforts to become writer.

Polly coming out as lesbian.

Arriving in Portland in late 1970s to exploding theater scene.

Crooks' wife getting me to apply for film job. Getting it, leading to first interest in screenwriting.

Support of my theater work by 3 directors and several critics in Portland and Seattle.

Commission to write hyperdrama. New obsession.

Decision to quit drinking, getting Mel as treatment counselor.

Meeting Harriet.

Commission to write hyperdrama for Santiago company. New overseas audience.

UNC librarian seeing my hypertext work on WWW, offering resources.

PSU invitation to start screenwriting program. Begin teaching there.

Rise of POD publishing, decision to return to fiction, non-collaborative work.

Connecting with TS at Round Bend Press.

... which is where I am today. Maybe this is all I have to write about it. Maybe not.
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