I knew I wanted to be a writer after reading The Catcher in the Rye when I was twelve years old. My imagination soared. I passionately identified with Holden and was fascinated by his world which before was completely unknown to me. But, it was Salinger the storyteller who intrigued me most. Although I didn't have the critical skills to describe his power as storyteller then, I would come to realize that in Holden he had created the perfect anti-hero, one that would become a prototype for generations of writers, and walked him through a world of moral indifference and decay that a post World War II world would only slowly recognize over the decades to come. But, for the twelve year old who had sneaked the book out of his brother's book satchel and read it alone in the woods behind his house, I only had this feeling: I want to do this, I want to do what Salinger does, I want to make people laugh and cry and be swept up in a world that they could never have imagined before but could never forget afterwards.
But a world of family responsibility, social expectations of family and friends and a more conventional career in psychology intervened. After thirty years that world is now behind me. In March of 2008 I began writing fulltime. The first thing I did was read The Catcher in the Rye. It was as if a night, not most of a lifetime, had passed.
My literary influences after Salinger, in no particular order, have been Albert Camus, Walker Percy, Anne Tyler, V. S. Naipaul, Ernest Hemingway, T, S. Eliot , Seamus Heaney and, more recently, Don DeLillo and J. M. G. LeClezio. My favorite novels by living writers are Falling Man by DeLillo and Naipaul's 1978 novel, A Bend in the River. My nonfiction influences have been Camus, Hunter Thompson, Tom Wolfe and the clinical writers Oliver Sachs and Antonio Damasio.
The first book I wrote was not the book I had expected to write. My wife of twenty years died suddenly in August of 2004. The events surrounding her death and the four months afterward were inconceivably bizarre--vague, winding, dark events that could have been lifted from The Trial. Through a Glass Darkly: The True Story of a Family's Desperate, Surreal Journey Through These Events is an account of these experiences. It was a book that I had to write for my children, my sanity and my beloved friend and lover of twenty years.
I am now at work on a larger, less personal work on human spirituality.