This is what influenced me the most to become a writer. My Dad was an around the kitchen table storyteller whose stories of apples that were really tomatoes and bears that lived in the garden drew me into his world. My older brother had an imagination that was too big for the house. He did things like putting a bandaide on a scratch on the floor, gave me pirate maps to buried treasure by the sandbox and told me of the aliens in the neighbor's backyard. Growing up, the local library was like a rocketship to anywhere, and its books the fuel for the engines of my imagination. Kurt Vonnegut. Joseph Heller. Herman Hess. Ken Kesey. Edgar Allen Poe. T. R. Tolkien. Pick a book and let the author be your guide. In the end Bill Myers, my college teacher, tricked me into stepping out upon the blank page to face the terrors of "There's nothing left to say."
I've been venturing out on the blank page ever since, and I am constantly surprised that if I'm out there long enough, I find that there's always something left to say. What I love the most about writing is expressing thoughts that I didn't even know I had until I write them down.
My Dad immigrated to the US from Lithuania and my Mom grew up on a farm. I've been married and divorced. I have three kids and a dog and two parakeets. I've served in the army for two years as a military policeman. I've attended three or four colleges and received a BA Degree in writing from Columbia College, Chicago. I've worked in a factory, a gas station, Pizza Hut, Post Office and I can't remember what else. And all the time, I've been writing. What a wonderful thing to do.