Well, this came out longer than I expected. Sorry, but I do cover a lot of ground, so have a cup of of your favorite beverage, and have a leisurely read.
Just today, Tynan suggested I make a post on the community board. Here it is. I thought it would be appropriate to introduce myself rather than try and wow anyone—not that I'd wow anyone necessarily, but I'd be kidding you if I said I wouldn't try.
That said, my name is Richard Crockett. That's how I introduce myself in formal situations, but I go by "Rick." It's too hard to say "Rick Crockett." It sounds like "Rick Rocket," and though that would be a cool name, it is not mine. I always put the "G.," for "Garrett," in the middle when I write it out. I started doing that so my friends could find me on Google. Later, one of my author friends told me to stick with that because an artist's name is his brand.
In my little bio, it says, "Professional woodcarver, amateur writer, eternal student." That's true enough. I make a living carving wood—not much of one, but a living. I could do better, but I have so many activities that my time gets spread thin. My favorite girl says I should not say "amateur writer" because that implies you are not serious or not really competent. I pointed out to her that it is only when you say amateur alone that it is derogatory, but when you use it to modify another word, like "athlete," it just means that you don't get paid. In no way does it mean that you are lousy at something, and reasonably educated people understand that. I write a lot. It so happens that I wrote a Roman period historical novel over the summer. It was a continuation of a an earlier project that I could not complete because I did not know enough history and enough Latin and Greek to read original sources. I actually am a college student too. I returned to school because I wanted to rewrite my first draft with higher skill and understanding. I have heard of people who could teach themselves Latin and Greek on their own. I'm not one of them. And the books that I thought were good history books turned out to be hardly better than children's introductions to the subject. This I discovered when I got into graduate school where I study history at Fresno State in California. I got my BA in classical literature and language last year. No brag. In my final year, the bar was so high I could barely pull "C"s. But I did learn how to read primary sources in the original languages—just not fast enough to score well on tests.
Did you like that long paragraph? That's supposed to be a no-no when publishing on the web. But screw that. My thesis required that I cover my bio. A paragraph break would disrupt the flow. I'm kinda old-fashioned.
Before I returned to school, I did a whole bunch of things. If you have ever read Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, you will have read something very close to my biography. If you were to substitute a painter for a writer as the main character, you'd have the story. Some artists need to experience a lot of life before they are ready to go pro. I am one of those. I'm a late starter. I remained a teenager for twenty years past my teens, but I cannot say that I've progressed much beyond that, for I never bought into the skepticism and defeatism that characterizes most people my age. I did, however, eventually, get VERY serious about work.
At this writing, I'm working on a new website which will host my novel and an associated blog. It'll have a nice picture gallery of my carvings, and... uh, I forgot to say that it's an illustrated novel! I started out from high school determined to be a rich and famous painter by the time I was twenty-five, and though that did not happen, I got pretty good at drawing and painting.
But regarding my novel, I'm in love with the idea of giving it away for free. My readers think I'm crazy. They keep saying I could make ton of money by publishing through a "reputable" publishing house, but I don't care. I have a burning desire to just. flow. out. That makes me feel happy. It is that simple. I like nice things, and I like nice toys, but I'm really not very materialistic.
I'm not ready to link to my new site yet. You'd just see "Maintenance Mode" anyway; besides, my intent is not to pitch my own stuff. Later, if anyone is interested, I'll do that. Some of you might like my "heroic fantasy meets social history" take on that period. For now, I'd just like to be a part of the conversation. I enjoy Tynan's posts, and I like the quality comments I see. You all seem like a cool group to me.
One last thing: I've decided to learn Ruby programming. Rails is hot (so I hear) but I'm not into that—yet. I'm just learning, starting with basics, and using my old Perl scripts as starting points to convert to Ruby. I like Ruby's elegant simplicity. I like the way it reads like a natural, human language with a Japanese soul.
The photo, by the way, is a set of a couple of my bird carvings. Like all my work, it managed to get into a private collection before I ever needed to bother with a gallery or a shop. I pretty much do business by phone and email through my contacts.
Now, I don't know if anyone is interested in the techniques of woodcarving or brush and ink drawing, but besides writing, (and dead languages), and bicycling, and guitar playing, and... oh, enough, those are my artistic kicks. From all that you might gather that I can enjoy a lot of different kinds of conversations, and I look forward to rewarding exchanges with you all.