If I weren’t writing, what would I do? I have no idea. Writing has been part of my world since I wrote my first “screenplay” with a buddy in seventh grade (a vampire thriller set in the horse barn across the street from our house). Short stories, poems, songs, essays and novels – in various genres -- have followed. During it all I have also pursued a career in mental health working with children and their families, mixed in with various other temporary gigs that include being a caretaker of a 600-acre farm and, for a few years, being the “tie-dye kingpin” of South Seattle and Fairbanks. I took these other jobs because they offered a break from the routines and stress of the mental health field but also because they afforded me more time for writing. A few years back, I chose to take a contract at a local school to work four hours a day for full-time money – again, to allow for more writing time without taking from my family time.
So, for me, I’ve already been doing the “other” stuff I’d be doing if I wasn’t writing: working to pay the bills, helping to run the house, playing with my wife and son, and sailing in the summers. I need a creative outlet to retain my own mental health, so I suppose the only real variable is the form that creativity takes. If I ever give up on writing for kids, I guess I could always try to get the old rock-n-roll band back together . . .