I'm currently working on a new collection of literary short stories. The characters are based on people I knew in my past. I came from a lower middle class family with a father who was a postal worker and my mother was a housewife who worked at a variety of blue collar jobs, as they used to be called. Basically that means no formal education is needed. This is where I came from and these are the kinds of people I met and worked with in several of my early jobs. And now, looking back on those days, these are the people whose lives are the most interesting to me if only because they lacked the knowledge and experience to carve out for themselves a more meaningful and prosperous life.

So, what I realized is that since I did move away from my early beginnings and created a more professional life when I decided to go to college, I now have the tools to tell their stories. Because of where they come from, my stories all have a depressed quality about them; the characters all seem doomed to live a hard life, struggling to get by, trying to make ends meet. There is much sadness and lack of fulfillment in many areas of their lives, whether it is for love, material needs, or nourishment. The feeling of being stuck is multi-generational. There is no motivation or direction out. This is what they know, this is how they proceed.

I am also inspired by and have a need to write for the animals who have no voice of their own. I want to scream at the world to take care of the wildlife. You cannot think of planet Earth as ours since the wild animals and everything that lives outdoors share this space with us. I am angry when I hear that a wild animal is killed when it attacks a human 'in their own habitat.' Sure, we want to enjoy the great outdoors and participate in a variety of water sports, but you should always expect that you are risking an attack by something that lives outdoors or in the ocean. That is their world, not ours, particularly when we venture into extreme wild places. Therefore, I feel a strong need to write for them, tell their story, show their pain and hopefully, people will find compassion for all wildlife. I always have this thought when I consider the future of wildlife and humans on planet Earth: when we consider the devastation of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 and when the area was visited more than twenty years later, animals were seen roaming the area. The conclusion: animals can live without humans but humans cannot live without animals. We need them more than they need us.

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