Time for a little reflection on the occasion of my recent 25th birthday, on
the places I've been, the ideas I've held, and the wonderful friends I've
made along the way.
January 29, 1984
I was born in Bloomington, Indiana, the first child of Ralph and Renee who
had met at Indiana University in, I believe, 1980.
My father was working on his Ph.D. in psychology and my mother was pursuing
her master's in Social Work. She would later change her master's to Library
Science. I have only vague, foggy memories of my early childhood in
Bloomington that I suspect are likely more influenced by my parents' stories
of what we did there than what I actually remember myself.
January 29, 1989
At 5, I was a happy child playing in the California sun in pre-school at
Bing Nursery School.
In 1987 we moved to Sunnyvale, California, a town just South of San
Francisco. My father had gotten the opportunity to work with someone in his
field whose work he respected. I remember being an imaginative child who
enjoyed coming up with elaborate fantasies and who staged epic stories with
his collection of action figures. A year and a half later my brother Jeremy
would be born.
We lived on Chetamon court and I remember the relative safety of the court
-- instead of being on a street with cars regularly passing by -- allowed
for a sense of security and a great environment for games. There were other
kids my age who lived across the street who I befriended and teenage girls
next door and across the street who would babysit me. We would often ride
bikes, scooters, and later roller blades around the court. One of our
neighbors also had a pool that we would enjoy in the summer.
January 29, 1994
At 10 I would have been in fourth grade at West Valley Elementary School.
My sister Natalie had been born just a few months ago in September. This was
one of the best times of my life. I had a strong core group of friends --
Will, Nick, Danny, and Scott. The five of us would regularly get together
for events and sleep overs. We bonded over video games and comic books,
collecting X-Men and Marvel comics trading cards.
I was also doing well in school. Each year I participated enthusiastically
in the science fair, usually doing informative projects instead of
experiments. The previous year I had done a project about snakes which won
an award allowing me to present it at a pharmaceutical company as a reward.
West Valley also had a strong reading program and I developed a passion for
books. I particularly enjoyed such childhood staples as Beverly Cleary and
Roald Dahl. This pastime gave birth to my own creative endeavors. I started
writing short stories, often illustrated or co-written with Nick, that
usually featured children getting into adventures or developing super
powers, obviously influenced by our X-Men cards. These pursuits, which were
met with the strong encouragement of my parents and peers, were the origins
of my writing career.
The good times were not to last, though. That fall we moved back to Indiana,
this time to Carmel, an affluent suburb on the North side of Indianapolis. I
was unaccustomed to being the "new kid" and found few friends but many
tormentors at College Wood Elementary. When we moved into a new house on the
other side of town the following spring my parents decided to switch me to
the new school, Mohawk Trails Elementary, right away instead of just letting
me finish out the year in misery at College Wood as had been initially
planned. This was a smart decision and I had a much better experience at
Mohawk, making many new friends. One friend I made was a quiet girl named
Alissa. She would disappear from my life for about ten years at the end of
fifth grade but would re-appear in my sophomore year English class at Ball
State. I would later have the opportunity to rekindle the friendship,
develop a friendship with her fiancee Tim, witness them get married, and
share the joy in the recent birth of their son Sam.
January 29, 1999
At 15 I was a freshman at Carmel High School and at the peak of my Jesus
Freak period. In 1996, as a seventh grader, I'd begun attending the St.
Mark's United Methodist Church youth group. I made such important friends as
Jacob and Jon. I became a Christian and gradually developed a radical and
intense understanding of
the reality of the evangelical Christian idea of salvation
. My identity
was primarily that of passionate Christian on a mission to save the world. I
wanted to become a minister and live a life of poverty, emulating the
example of Jesus as closely as possible.
My interest in journalism was also being nourished. At the time I was in
Newspaper 1, the lead-in class to being on staff for the Carmel High School
HiLite. In this class I would continue my friendship with
, a friend I'd first made
in the previous years in the "young Christian subculture." Joanna was also a
passionate Christian though far more grounded and sensible than I -- traits
she maintains to this day.
I would join the HiLite staff the following year and serve in such roles as
copy editor, entertainment editor, review writer, and columnist. I still
continued writing fiction, though, keeping notebooks of stories, often
featuring my classmates.
My period of radical Christianity would begin to end a year and a half later
when I'd begin to doubt, question and study. But the image and the idea of
Christ would remain embedded within me, even though
I no longer believed as I once did
January 29, 2004
At 20 I was a sophomore at Ball State, double-majoring in English (creative
writing) and Political Science. The new identity I was cultivating was not
that of Christian evangelist but leftist polemicist. In January of that year
I decided to take my Swimming In Broken
column for the Ball State Daily News in a political direction,
unleashing regular broadsides against the Bush administration and the
Conservative Movement. I envisioned a career as a political writer, pundit,
and Democratic Party operative. I gradually abandoned this path as I grew
weary of the nastiness of modern political culture and the approach of
certainty that such work demanded. I doubted my way out of evangelical
Christian and I gradually doubted my way out of the Left.
My fiction writing at the time was put on hold while I explored poetic
experiments. I emulated Allen Ginsberg first and later T.S. Eliot. Under the
influence of one of my favorite professors, Pat Collier, I developed a
fondness for British Modernism, embracing Virginia Woolf and James Joyce
My roommate the previous year and in the two remaining years of college that
would follow was Josh. He was also a Christian and his quiet, gentle
sensibility and set of hobbies seemed to make him the perfect match for
Joanna in the summer of 2003. They would begin dating and their marriage was
the second I'd get to witness after Tim and Alissa's.
It wasn't long after Josh and Joanna would tie the knot that a third set of
friends would move on to the next stage of life. At Vincennes University Jon
had met Lauren, a girl who had been in Joanna and my graduating class ('02)
at Carmel High School. They too would marry -- an ideal match -- and I had
the honor of serving as Jon's best man.
January 29, 2009
And now here I am at 25, preparing to follow my friends before me and marry
my soul mate. I'm engaged to be married in May to April Bey, the most
beautiful, wonderful woman in the world.
April and I first met during my senior year of college when she was a
freshman. I had been asked by one of my English professors to present to his
class about my website. They were making their own sites and he wanted to
use mine as an example. April contacted me after the class and we started
dating shortly thereafter. Our initial relationship was too brief. Other
guys pursued April and miscellaneous bits of drama provoked me to foolishly
end the relationship too soon.
We wouldn't get back together for a year and a half or so. It was the fall
of 2006 and I had just graduated that summer from Ball State and was living
in Broad Ripple with my friends Luke Harris and Bob Jones. April was now a
sophomore at Ball State and still pursuing her drawing major with hopes of
one day teaching art at the college level. She invited me up for a double
date that ended up never happening. I continued to pursue, though. I
insisted we go out on a date, I believe it was to see "Saw III," and our
passion for one another was set ablaze again, like a camp fire that had died
down to smoking embers and then suddenly reignited by a squirt of lighter
Over the course of 2007 my infatuation with April gradually matured into
true love, and I discovered that she too felt the same way about me as I did
with her. By December of 2007 I proposed to her and moved back to Muncie to
live with her.
It's difficult to say why April and I ended up together and why I love her.
What makes us compatible? I think what it comes down to is that in some
important ways we're similar. When I look at Tim and Alissa, Jon and Lauren,
and Josh and Joanna I see couples where the husband and wife are each almost
startling mirror images of one another. It's not that they're the same --
each individual has important differences from their spouse -- so much as
they share a similar spirit. It's the same with April and me.
She's an artist and I'm a writer. We both have the urge to create and
interpret the world. We're both deeply driven people, vowing to make our
passions our livelihoods. We both have a childlike side, still both having
affections for the artifacts and habits of fifteen and twenty years ago.
(She DVRs her "Little Mermaid" cartoons and I have all four "Thunder Cats"
DVD box sets.) We both also have an aggressive, confrontational
tendency, neither of us hesitating to challenge other people whether it be
on a political position or an unacceptable action. This last point, of
course, is the most dangerous for our relationship because frequently we end
up in the other's cross-hairs. In every argument, though, when we come out
on the other side our relationship grows stronger, and we renew our
commitment to support one another and build this family.
To begin to lay the financial foundations for the family we will create I
juggle two occupations. Since moving up to Muncie in December of 2007 I've
worked at Sallie Mae as a collector. It's been a transformative experience
for me, educating me about freedom, capitalism, corporations, and human
nature. I've also applied the skills I developed as an English/Poli Sci
major and a writer toward my job, allowing me to earn a promotion last month
to the level of senior collector, a management position with new challenges
and responsibilities that allow me to continue to learn about our world.
When I'm not working or spending time with April I'm usually writing. Every
week I write
a film review
for WTHR. I
also free lance
for Front Page
, a publication that five years ago I could have never imagined
myself writing for and supporting. Recently I've mainly
, though I have other ideas for pieces as well.
I'm also at work on two non-fiction books. The first is a memoir focused on
my attempt to work out a truce between Peace Studies Professor George Wolfe
and conservative writer/activist David Horowitz -- two men who would
profoundly influence me. The
dialogue I coordinated
between the two of them on my blog
is the central narrative but I
include discussion of other related subjects that will likely be familiar to
regular readers of my blogs and the friends with whom I often debate. I'm
still working out the ideas of this book and readers will have an
opportunity to contribute to my shaping of the themes as I post about them
I'm also working on
devoted to explaining and analyzing Horowitz's books and ideas.
Writing and research for this book appears on my
Books In Depth
During 2007 I wrote the first draft of a young adult fantasy novel,
tentatively titled The Adventures of
Virginia Valadore, Book One
, the first of a planned series. This project is on hold
while I focus on my nonfiction projects but I have every intention of
getting back to it.
So what does the future hold? What entries might I have for January 29, 2014
when I'm 30 and January 29, 2019 when I'm 35? May will be a big month for
April and me. She'll graduate, we'll get married, and then we'll take our
week-long honeymoon in the Bahamas. After that she'll begin working again --
perhaps in her old job as a collector at Sallie Mae, or, if we're lucky, in
a position in her field. We plan to stay in Muncie and build up our savings
as she applies for graduate schools. When she's accepted somewhere she wants
to go we'll move.
I don't have firm graduate school plans yet. I'm not sure where I'd want to
go and what I'd want to study -- I have many passions and career
possibilities. Right now I'm content to just continue writing articles,
reviews, blog posts, and the early drafts of my books as April and I start
The future ahead looks very exciting and I hope to continue it with the
friends I have, to maybe rekindle friendships with those I haven't seen in
awhile, and to pick up a few more as life continues.