I was born in Detroit in 1959, though I lived my formative years in Stillwater, Minnesota, a town just south of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, or at least one of the villages he based it on. I graduated from Stillwater High in 1977 and from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis in 1983; I have a B.A. in International Relations. I took a leisurely six years to finish my college education. Along the way I studied in both Spain and France, and saw most of western Europe; I also learned Portuguese.
I have always been an English teacher -- work I stumbled into as a student in Madrid. Finishing college, I lived in Quito, Ecuador, where I taught English. I also traveled around South America, visiting almost every country, most notably Brazil, and have been back to Ecuador and Brazil since then, traveling and researching books.
I settled permanently in Madrid in 1985, and married a few years later. I keep my bread buttered by teaching English courses on a freelance basis in Spanish companies in the Madrid area. If you look at my web page, you'll see that half is for my English business.
I give an hour, maybe two, of class, then pack up my briefcase and leave behind my students clinched to their computer screens; I can never be too grateful to teaching. My work also gives me time to write, every morning roughly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (the Spanish lunch hour), since at that time Spaniards are too busy raising company profits to ponder the mysteries of the verb Get.
As to my writing, I will only say that, as in holding English class for seven bank technocrats at 8 a.m., I try to speak brightly, move things briskly, and teach minimally. No example should be without its humor, no lesson without its respect for people's intelligence.
And so from my perch in Spain I write about America, and try to offer the perspective of one who can see it both inside and outside, both the trees and the woods. It is an extraordinary time in the nation's history, especially regarding the growing contempt between the governors and the governed. It will end badly. But in the meantime, what a magnificent spectacle, like one of Tintoretto's immense canvases boiling with humanity. Damn the falling rates of literacy; it's a great time to write novels.
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