Curriculum Vitae

Memory & Imagination



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Biographical Sketch

Growing up in Berkeley California during the fifties and sixties was such a singular experience that it is hard to imagine parallels. Those of us living in that place and time were inspired by remarkable influences and opportunities not available in the culture at large.

Noisy political reactionaries and social visionaries arriving mostly from elsewhere, give Berkeley a reputations as the land of extreme left wing radicals.

Our lives tended to be dominated by the presence of a large world class university. Both of my parents were highly creative, literate and intelligent individuals. They had their own neurosis of course, with colorful, pleasant and sometimes toxic manifestations.

Although it was a remarkable time and place, it was not without many of the same frustrations and problems one experiences everywhere. Most especially difficult was the transition through adolescence. My experience with other boys I recall with little nostalgia as I had no interest in sports, cars or in discussing female anatomy.

What I do recall is being bullied and harassed for not fitting in with the dominant culture. The experience endowed me with a profound appreciation of both outsiders and eccentrics, and as a result I have always questioned the status quo.

My sense of isolation was aggravated by the absence of my father who, after being pressured by my mother, left and moved to New York when I was nine. This was just prior to my mother taking me and my sister on an extended visit to Cairo, Egypt, where we lived from October 1957 until March of the following year.

Coming home from this experience changed me forever in terms of how I saw and understood my world.
My father’s absence, combined with my own adolescent turbulence and an increasingly tense relationship with my mother, resulted in my eventually attending an alternative school located for a time in a primitive village at the foot of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. I attended the school for almost a year. This experience was so utterly unusual that I have written about it at length on this website.

Some years after high school I attended a local art school my father taught at when I was a child. From there I went on to graduate studies at Yale University. With no planning or understanding of the need to do so I embarked upon marriage and the raising of children.

This phase of my life was defined for me by the death of my chosen teacher in graduate school, the death of my stepfather and the births of four children, one of whom required heart surgery soon after birth. I felt so overwhelmed by these events that I found myself unable to do anything more than drive a taxi to pay for food and rent. In all, I ended up driving a cab in San Francisco for ten years.