First, I am a human being, a stalwart member of the only race on the planet, the human race. Second, I am a male. Third, I am a father. Fourth, I am a grandfather. Fifth, I am queer.
And beyond that, I am curious…about everything. I want to know about you, your life, your hardships and triumphs. I want to hear your story. In addition, I want to know how everything works, how everything interacts with everything else, how humans interact with each other, the world around them and themselves. How do humans come to believe what they believe about themselves, their families, their societies, their gods?
Those are my interests. Never go with me into a bookstore or library. Bad idea.
For my profession, I am a working investigative journalist, writer, author, photographer and editor.
I am also a storyteller. In conversation, I weave in stories, most of them mine, quite a few that have been told me. At breakfast a few months ago, a friend put his fork down and looked at me with this surprised awestruck look on is face. I had just finished telling another story.
“What?” I asked.
“I have never met anyone like you”
“Yeah, I know. A lot of people tell me that but is that good or bad?”
“You tell the most incredible stories. The first time we talked you started telling a story about growing up on the ranch and I thought, ‘What the hell does this have to do with what we are talking about?’ At that moment you tied it right back into our discussion and that changed my perspective and forced me to begin to question my views.”
He asked me my areas of expertise. I never thought about it. He asked if I would write those out. I did and he said I was a Renaissance man. Never thought of my life in those terms.
All of these are areas I have worked in directly and in which I have expertise. I’ll give you the profession areas first, the ones in which I am expert and a consultant, the ones you will pay me to perform. The second list is a few other things I know how to do expertly.
conflict resolution specialist
expert in negotiation, arbitration and mediation
political & legislation analyst
political & legislation strategist
legislation development – local and state
redistricting expert – local and state
addiction and mental health advocate
corporate and personal communications authority
corporate culture analyst and trainer
certified peer counselor
fashion, food, editorial photographer
organizational bylaws development, updates, rewrites
That’s the formal list. Now this is other stuff:
animal lover (tame or wild except feral hogs, it’s a mutual thing)
arc movie projector operator
fisherman and fly fisherman
gas station operator
heavy machinery operator
jack hammer operator
kill floor worker
light store salesman
soda bottle gleaner (benny warden gave us 2 cents for everyone.)
treatment center worker
I’ve done all those things at one time or another and, I am sure, a couple of others I’ve forgotten. Each one has a story; each story leads to the next story. Each one was a turning point and sent my life in a new direction. If I unplugged any one of those, would that have collapsed today’s story and built an entirely different story? I don’t know. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Now, I get to write about them all… or just tell stories about them.