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Creek Running North
April 18, 2003
Born of woman in a small town in New York State, near a lake smote into the earth by a Pleistocene glacier, and a couple miles from the largest buckwheat mill in the US.
Lived on a rural two-lane next to a sheep farm. Fascinated by tadpoles in dangerous spring at rear of yard. Taught myself to read before my second birthday.
Attended a private school in Buffalo run primarily by refugees of the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. By age 11, had studied and forgotten Japanese and Russian and calculus.
Began freshman year at the University of Buffalo at age 14. Majored in being a distracted oddity and leftwing politics. Stumbled into involvement in legal defense work for Attica uprising inmates. Horrified conservative parents transferred me forcibly to Buffalo State College, where I helped occupy the administration building in 1976 and then dropped out and ran away from home in the largest blizzard in Buffalo history. Learned to play guitar and drink hibiscus tea.
Held series of pointless odd jobs and became public draft registration refuser in 1981. Appeared in the role of "left-wing hippy oddity" on local and regional television and radio programs, in newspaper features. Wrote sappy poetry. Womanized excessively.
Moved to Berkeley, California in 1982. Continued series of pointless jobs.
Moved to Washington, DC in 1984. Got minimum-wage job in retail nursery. Began multi-decade obsession with chlorophyll. Persuaded James Watt not to use pesticides in his yard. Was personal floristic consultant to wife of Indian Ambassador to United States. Drove forklift.
Moved back to California in 1987. Met wife almost immediately. Realized it in 1989. Moved in together 1990, signed contract in 1995.
Adopted world's best dog in 1991. Changed his name from Kelev to Zeke. He didn't seem to notice.
Changed career track in 1992 from horticulture to journalism. Edited Terrain, monthly environmental newspaper with readership well into the high dozens. Started and retired from world music show on pirate radio station Free Radio Berkeley. Co-founded Pacifica Radio environmental news show Terra Verde with Pratap Chatterjee.
Left Terrain in 1997. Joined staff of Earth Island Journal in 1998. Gave notice three weeks later. Hung on until 1999.
Joined staff of verde.com in 2000. Set up largest environmental journalism news staff in world history. Verde.com went under shortly after NASDAQ crash. Began regular gardening column with Contra Costa Times. Knight Ridder syndicate picked it up, printed it nationwide. Ran out of garden related things to say in 2003, ended column.
Asked back to restructure Earth Island Journal in 2002. Haven't quit yet.
Writing published in periodicals such as Counterpunch, Revolutionary Worker, San Francisco Examiner, East Bay Monthly, East Bay Express, Jidaijin, New Internationalist, and whatever publication I happened to be editing at the time.
Live in Pinole, California with wife Becky, dog Zeke, rabbit Thistle, cui Harley, and several hundred unnamed spiders.
Avid hiker, deeply in love with landscapes west of the Mississippi river. Fervently desire to hike the Ruby Crest before shuffling off this mortal coil. Fervently hope said coil-shuffling occurs in arid southwest, preferably more than five miles from pavement.
Turn-ons: hazelnut Italian sodas, home-smoked salmon, minor key world music such as fado and huayno, uni.
Turn-offs: racism, deliberately stupid people, natto.