March 17

The Man Behind the Keyboard


How does a person best describe himself?  I’m 55 years old, six feet tall, with brown hair and brown eyes.  I have a wife, a ten-year-old stepson, and a nine month old son.  I’m an accountant by trade.  And I’m a writer, including my popular novel Ordinary World, which has sold over 3,000 copies.  That’s not a New York Times Bestseller, but it impresses the heck out of me!

But that’s not all there is to me.  If you’ve read Domino Theory, you suspect that I might have some history of drug use.  You’d be correct.  I got clean and sober at the age of 25, when I was a total mess.  I’m nearly thirty years sober today, and that remains a central feature in my life.

I spent ten years making artisan cheese and selling it at farmers markets.  We shut the business down last June, after the baby was born, because we just couldn’t do everything anymore.  For much of that period, we raised goats, and I still miss them from time to time.  I especially love birthing the babies.

I spent seventeen years traveling back and forth to Sri Lanka.  This began in 1993, with an 18-month stay that began with my teaching computer classes, and evolved into my being on a team that tried to bring the civil war to a peaceful end.  Though we failed at our main goal, we did help bring about a four-year cease-fire, the longest in that nation’s three-decade war.

I studied Buddhism for many years, but my degree is in Theology, from a Catholic university.  I belong to the Mennonite church, and my dream is to become a minister.

I love music.  I play guitar, though not well.  I seem to have a mental block that prevents me from learning to read music, but I keep trying.

I love trains, especially the steam trains of the 1920s.  When I had the time and space, I built models.

Politically, I remain unaffiliated.  I object to the two-party system, because it seems impossible to me that there could be only two answers for any serious problem.  Nor could any two parties possibly represent the diversity of this great nation.  I consider myself a conservative, though I have much more in common with the community-oriented conservatism of my New England origins than either the corporate or religious conservatives who dominate the political right these days.

I read tarot cards.

I hate exercise, but I love hiking and kayaking.  I love the wilderness, and strongly support protecting it.  Do they have to build condos and strip malls everywhere?

I love to shoot, and have an appreciation for old rifles, especially from the World War I era.

Most of my writing is based on places and topics I know, or experiences I have had.  Many of them start with a “what if?” question.  For example, what if, before I got sober, I had come out of a blackout next to a murdered man, having no idea how I got there?  What if the economy collapsed, and my family had to survive?

To sum up, I am an accountant-cheesemaker-writer.  I am a liberal conservative (or vice versa).  I am religious, spiritual, and metaphysical.  I am a gun-toting, peacemaking, redneck advocate for social change.

I don’t think it’s easy to put me in a category.  But then, I think we tend to put others in categories far too easily.

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Posted March 17, 2015 by mitchmaitree in category "Background

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