Monday, January 19, 2009

random falling objects

Okay. So I got "tagged" in this kind of game on Facebook where you have to list 25 random facts about yourself.

I usually don't go for such things, but the people who were involved were so impressive, inspirational, and genuine... and I found out that people I know and like, I actually like more now that they've shared their random lists with others.

So here's mine:

25 Random Things about Me

1. I was the first child in my family who was born in the United States. So I spent a lot of time in Italy when I was young, and, as a result, do not know many of the members of the American side of my family.

2. The characters in the books I write are all based on ME, or people that I've known. So, for example:

3. Like Tommy Buller, in GHOST MEDICINE, I used to (USED TO) chew tobacco when I was a kid.

4. Like Jonah and Simon, in IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS, I had an older brother who served in the Army in Vietnam. I still have every one of the letters he wrote when he was there (he doesn't know that). I was just a little kid, and was terrified my big brother was going to be killed. His letters provided me with a great deal of the subplot in that next novel.

5. I am one of four boys. My next-older brother died when I was pretty young. I held his hand at exactly the moment he died, and nobody else was there except for us. My father died about 3 years before that. So, it was rough becoming an adult without a dad around, and my oldest brother stationed away in the military... and I always envied boys whose dads showed them things like how to change spark plugs.

6. I was kidnapped when I was a teenager. Really. By an absolute stranger.

7. One of the coolest things I ever did was sailing down the Adriatic coast of (what was then) Yugoslavia with my cousin, Carlalberto. He taught me quite a bit about sailing.

8. When I was between the ages of five and eight, my family lived in an honest-to-God haunted house. My room was in the basement. Sometimes, at night, I'd see the ghost of a boy down there. Years after we moved away, when I was older, I told my mother about it, and she told me she used to see ghosts in that house all the time.

9. My oldest brother was born on top of the kitchen table in the house my parents lived in, in Trieste, Italy.

10. I actually knew another family of "Smiths" in Trieste. And none of their boys could speak English. Sadly, I've gotten really rusty on Italian.

11. My wife and I own a 1940 Lincoln Cabriolet convertible. It belonged to her father, who passed away. The car is actually a kind of character in my novel, IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS.

12. The worst job I ever had was working in a chemical milling plant. I'm surprised I don't glow in the dark.

13. I heat my home with a wood stove only. My friend, Lewis Buzbee, who lives in San Francisco, tells me they have "wood police" who will write you a ticket if you burn an actual fire. They drive around in cars to catch people. Cars. Go figure. Lewis always points out these little paradoxes of life.

14. I currently live at my home with: 3 horses, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 1 parakeet, 9 chickens, 3 goats, a bunny, and a lizard (gecko). I think that's all. It's hard to remember.

15. I am an avid kayaker.

16. I have run in, and completed, 30 marathons (26.2 miles).

17. I don't really think I'll run another marathon, but I do run every day (usually about 5 miles), and I have not missed a day of running in 9 years.

18. My son once vomited into my mouth. Seriously. I was holding him over my head when he was maybe 6 months old, and he let go of the warm gushing stream. An entire mouthful. It happened at my little brother's house, and they had such nice white carpets, so I didn't know where to spit it out... so it had to stay in my mouth for a while. The worst part... it didn't taste bad. My wife breastfed, too. I can't imagine how rancid formula would have tasted.

19. I have 6 tattoos. My wedding ring is tattooed, because I got married with my father's ring, but it kept falling off and I was afraid I would lose it.

20. My son and daughter are both Buddhist. They even received some kind of official Buddhist certificate and set of beads from the place where they'd been going to chant and stuff. I've never been there, but I'm totally cool with that.

21. I sculpt. We have about 5 or 6 of my pieces in my house.

22. I built my own greenhouse and sauna and barn. And they're all still standing. I use the sauna pretty frequently. It's a great place for a writer to think things out.

23. I got thrown off a train in Paris.

24. I was, at one time, a professional musician. I have quite a collection of old guitars, and I love the mandolin, but my fingers are too flat to play it. I own one, though.

25. When I was a young boy, my father used to take me deer hunting and salmon fishing. I'll never forget this place we used to fish in Washington State... it was called "Point No Point."