Did you always want to be a writer?

I I didn’t start out to be a writer. I started out as a kid in New Jersey who had two major goals in life: (1) survive one more year of delivering newspapers without being attacked by Ike, the one-eyed, crazed cur that lurked in the forsythia bushes at the top of the hill; and (2) become more than a weak-hitting, third string catcher on our sorry Little League team. I failed at both.

Had I announced at the dinner table, “Mom, Dad, I’ve decided to be a poet,” my parents—especially my mother--would have been thrilled. In truth, they would have been thrilled that I’d decided to be anything other than the Top 40 disc jockey, Edsel salesman, or bullpen catcher I constantly talked about becoming in junior high. But at that point in my life, poetry—and school, in general, for that matter--meant no more to me than gerunds, the Belgian Congo, or George Washington’s wooden teeth. I was only “gifted” on Christmas and my birthday.

I think you see that, at that point in my life, being a writer wasn’t on my radar screen. Not even close.

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