In 2020 the editor of a small local magazine in California contacted me about getting permission to publish some stories I’d written and posted on my old web site. Two were published, and she would like to publish one or two more. Along the way I mentioned that I’d been thinking of telling one or two stories on The Moth Radio Hour, a regular weekend radio show on public radio. Instead, the editor strongly urged me to write a book, compiling some of these stories.
Building: A Life is a career memoir following the unconventional path of a kid who didn’t fit in, through a checkered academic career, dropping out of art school, and reaching journeyman level as: an air compressor repair mechanic; welder; wooden boat builder; and machinist. The overcoming of obstacles is described, career stall and recovery, and other challenges. The story goes on to becoming a non-degreed engineer, designing automated bio-sample handling equipment, production tooling, test equipment, and optomechanical systems. The story continues with a machine shop being acquired to run a one-stop-shop design-and-build business for scientific startups for a dozen years. Ultimately, the biggest customer offers a complete buyout, buying the machine shop and offering a position as a staff engineer to wrap up a career in aerospace building laser-based missile defense systems. Building guitars and furniture for leisure rounds out the story.
With the help of The Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, consultants in several technical specialties, two wonderful editors, and a lot of encouragement, I have a complete manuscript. I’ve been urged to pitch this to mainstream publishing houses rather than self-publishing. I'm working with someone now to help find an agent and publisher.
“Overall really fun to read and accurate “ – Jeff. Barchers, chief scientist, Nutronics, Inc.
“An important book that could have wide appeal.” Mary Jane DeWolf-Smith - RN, PHN, LMFT, first reader and content editor
“This was a fun read and very informative! As a reader, I wanted to keep going to learn what happens next. . . . Your writing style is nicely conversational, which helps the reader get into the story. The prologue is effective at setting the stage. And, the chapters work as laid out. Your use of dialogue is great -- really spices up the text and helps to make other people come alive.” – Peg Dana, editor
“Amazing story, I could picture it vividly. (The mark of a great story teller.) I will definitely read your book. Thanks for that memory.” - Carolyn (from Facebook)