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Authors Bio: Where am I and Why am I in this Handbasket?

July 21, 2010

For the purposes of this blog, we authors are introducing ourselves this week.

I found it quite odd to think someone may be remotely interested in my fledgling pedigree. But alas! I do have a vain side, so read further – if you dare – and peek into the zany world of George Allwynn, a simple, gender queer person who amuses some, annoys others, and in the end, remains refreshingly genuine to a fault.

I have been caught eavesdropping. Purely for research purposes, I assure you. Yet, there have been times I have over heard people describe me as being eccentric, elective and effusive.

Of course, other colorful, yet less desirable attributes have been attached to my personality, but I am trying really hard to keep this blog rated PG.

Overall, I have an ‘indie’ spirit, and devote my time and money in support to the indie industry (films, art, music.) The delight of discovering life outside the box, the uniqueness of individuality it embraces and the expressions of the human spirit leave me in awe.

With that in mind, my bohemian spirit loves independent writers, e-publishing and all small presses that support the Indie thought. Indie (or e-publishing) won’t leave me rich or famous, but it doesn’t matter. Staying true to my self purpose, writing the prose that best expresses my author’s spirit, and experiencing the journey with humility and grace is what I hope to accomplish during this mid-life wake up call.

I was born and bred in Northern Michigan – and have basically lived here all my life with the exception of a military stint down in Fort Bragg, NC during Desert Storm.

I am the only one left in my family, save for my two adult children, my son, Kelley (pictured with me above at a hooka bar in Royal Oak) who is 27 and lives with his girlfriend of 3 years in the metro area of Detroit, and daughter Kerri 26 years old who married her child hood sweet heart Randal Lee, giving me two grandsons, Trenton Lee (6 years) and Devon (9 months). They live in Dalton Georgia. I am fortunate to have my ambitions supported and encouraged by such wonderful offspring. (Even though they roll their eyes when they explain me to their friends. At least they do it with pride in their voices and a smile on their lips!)

This past June, I starting my life over, by moving cross state to Western Michigan, in a small town where there is no cell tower and dial-up is considered high-tech. I live in a small, studio apartment like place with my dog Holly (a yellow lab/golden retriever/beagle mix) and a fat, snowshoe looking Siamese named Mrs. Jones. It’s been a cultural shock – not only to me, but to the residents here. Not too many out-spoken, genderqueer writer folks walk the streets of this one horse town and live to tell about it.

My passions include: writing, reading, cats, tattoos, ANYTHING British, research, and green living. I’m an advocate for GLBT rights and have been ‘blessed with bi-polarism with manic tendencies. Unfortunately, I’ve also been blessed with panic attacks and can become quite the recluse. Thank the gods I have friends ( both real, in my head and on the internet) that do not hesitate to kick me in my fat, hairy arse when I need it.

As for writing, I am a GLBT writer. I love to read (and write) M/M or F2M romance stories, with elements of suspense, paranormal, or some kind of odd twist. All penned with humor. Or what I hope readers consider as humor. Well, at least I laugh at what I write.

I’ve been writing M/M romance [i]before I knew what it was[/i] — since 1975 (much to the chagrin of Mrs Vanderveer – my first critique.) To this present day, there are moments of self-doubt, I’m haunted by her words.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Under my nose, my fifth grade teacher shook my original, handwritten, 125 loose leaf page story, bound together with scraps of scarlet yarn. “Children your age don’t possess the ability to understand adult ideas.” Her acidic glare through dark framed glasses pinned me against a cabinet. “Where did you learn this?”

Before I could defend myself, the woman pinched her lips tight and examined me as an exterminator does a cockroach. “You’re an impertinent student and a deviant freak of nature. You’ll never possess the discipline to be successful author.”

Although I felt stung by the sharpness of her words, the tears came after hearing the hollow echo of my beautiful first book, tossed in to the old metal wastebasket.

So went my first experience as a writer.

But I continued to write. When I turned 13, I had my own column in the weekly county newspaper, gathering social news in my neighborhood. That job lasted for six years. I was High school editor of our newspaper for two years, year book editor for one. I was voted best story-teller in my senior year in high school and had a scholarship for journalism.

In the 80’s I was heavily into Star Trek Slash fan fic (though during that decade – they were published in what was called ‘fanzines’ and sold at conventions under the tables!) I was ‘published’ under the name of D.Isaacs, and had like 10 or 12 stories that were novella length.

It was during this time, the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy was not in effect, so I started an underground newsletter for the gay soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force base. It flourished for three years, until the onslaught of Desert Storm.

As adulthood led to larger responsibilities, my writing took a backseat. Time to devote to my passion seemed fruitless, in light of the life stresses and employment issues I faced. As each day passed, I continued the pattern of choosing reality over my fantasy stories, berating myself with guilt over stolen moments of writing pleasure.

The 90’s brought in a radical change. Caught by the snare of religion, I felt condemned for using my writing talent in ways that wouldn’t glorify God (as the modern church perceives through man-made rules.) I was convinced to give up my writing and drawing as a sacrifice to God. I had to learn to control my desires and appreciate the gifts He had given me.

So, I traded my typewriter for a chance to have a real family and a clerical license. I became a chaplain, a devoted, faithful partner and later, the foster parent of 7 special need boys (10 years and down.)

In 2006, after a devastating fall out from a government court battle over adoption, I woke up in the ashes of destroyed dreams and once again pick up my sword…, errr, pen and started my healing process by writing. What a difference 20 years make when you add computers over ditto machines! My pen name became Sage Harrison.

In 2007, my successful slash serial on VH.net caught the eye of the two actors (and several of their friends and castmates.) so when I when I did an annual trek to NYC with some friends/internet fans, I met the two actors I wrote about. In a bizarre twist of fate, the actors picked apart my brain, asked for my autograph, swore up and down my writing was better than currently on the show, and encouraged me to stop hiding my talent and embrace my destiny – get serious about the writing and go for it…

In late 2008, I plunged into the choppy waters of the unforgiving world of professional publishing. There, I discovered E-pubs, M/M romance, and the fact I didn’t know beans about ‘professional’ writing, all the rules and unforgiving grammar snafus’.

I went almost a year of doing nothing but taking various writing classes, to the point where I couldn’t recognize my own writing voice. It was a sad wake up call. I no longer wanted to write, because I sounded like some kind of cookie-cutter writer being pushed out by New York Publishers. I hated writing, and hated me for being so anal retentive to every writer rule out there.

In 2010, a warm, wonderful publisher reminded me of something very important. Now that I ‘know’ what the ‘rules’ are, I can pick and choose which ones to beef up on, and which ones to ignore, thus, improving my voice even more.

So, that’s me in a nut shell. A novice of sorts, trying to get it all straight in my head before my manuscripts decimate the desk of an unsuspecting, slightly neurotic editor on the verge of going totally daft if she sees one more submission sporting Pratchett Purple Prose…

And when I become published, I plan on laying my first book on the gravesite of Mrs. Vanderveer, my fifth grade teacher. God rest her soul

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert C. Nelson permalink
    July 21, 2010 2:16 am

    Wow! What a life you have lead. I am happy for your good times and saddened by the bad. I wish you more of the latter.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      July 21, 2010 11:31 pm

      Hey Robert!

      Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner – I had major dental surgery today, and was a bit wacked out after three hours of bone grafting.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      People have often urged me to contact the Oprah show. With my colorful past and surviving the hardships of loosing children, I would be a sure in.

      However, I kept holding out for the Jerry Springer Show. Just because I had southern blood and I have generations of cousins marrying each other.

      Alas! Both shows are defunct now. Guess I’ll have to do something with blog radio…(*grin)

  2. July 21, 2010 9:35 am

    You have led an amazing life, George! I am at turns, both humbled and inspired by your journey. Keep up the great work and ignore all the rules you want. I wrote and then learned what I was doing “wrong”. And then decided I didn’t care.

    • george allwynn permalink*
      July 21, 2010 11:34 pm

      Hey Ellisson!

      Thank you – somedays, when I look back, I think ‘My gawd! How’d I ever survive?’

      Other days I think back and get the case of the would haves/could haves/should haves – and get depressed for weeks.

      My mother (before she passed away at 56) used to tell me that I care too much for my own good. I can see her point of view – but then, if I didn’t care , I wouldn’t have the background of all those stories to pull upon when I am writing….

  3. Kris M permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:36 am

    Wow,

    And I thought I knew you — geez I just learned a lot. You really have lived an extraordinary life. Ya oughta write a book about it.. I’m ROFLMAO thinking about what titles you’d come up with for it.

    In all honesty, I am glad you shared. We’ve been internet friends since Feb and I learned more about you by reading this posting. See I told you that you’d be a great blogger…. 🙂 [sorry had to say I told you so]

    and no matter what – I still stand by my original statement to you when we first met (in cyberspace) you are ‘FREAKING HILARIOUS’ and you really need to let yourself show ‘YOU’ because ‘Inquiring minds really do want to know about you and your life…’

    Also, rules were meant to be broken — you learned that back with ole Mrs. Vanderveer. So write what you know, write what you love.

    One of my favorite quotes is

    ‘Write from your heart, write from your soul, make the best of your talent, and don’t ever let it go, not for ANYTHING’

    It is written by an anonymous – so I think I’m just gonna start telling people it’s mine. LOL

    Mine is ‘life it too short to not be doing what you love’ – if that’s writing so be it – let no one stand in your way.

    I still think it is totally ironic that you the ‘writer’ moves to a town with no cell tower and where dial-up is high tech…. only you could do that….

    *hugs & kisses* to you and the furr-babies.

    Keep on writing…

    I’m honored and humbled to call you my friend!!!

    Kris

    • george allwynn permalink*
      July 21, 2010 11:45 pm

      Awwwww Ethel!

      Don’t make me cry! I may not wear mascara and get racoon eyes – but I do get a big red nose like W C Fields – and then people tend to think I’m a blubbering drunk!

      You really think I’m exciting? Gee, and I haven’t even gotten into being homeless, my adult children kidnapped for 7 years, a long time partner transgendered on me, or growing up in the north country, where the men are men and the sheep are scared!

      Your quote is a good one. I do something simular – when asked my age, I always tell them I’m 10 years older than what I am – that way, people will look at me in shock, and say – “Wow! You don’t look 55 years old! You’re so young looking…”

      The fur babies say hello back – and Kris, I am the blessed one. The fact that you put up with all my quirks and still call me friend melts my heart a little each day.

      Your Lucy

  4. July 21, 2010 11:01 am

    Wow, I’m almost jealous at the interesting life you’ve had, and kudos to you for persevering through the dark times. (You get extra bonus points for liking cats and anything British, too.) LOL

    Thank the gods I have friends ( both real, in my head and on the internet)
    Pray tell, what are these “friends” you speak of?

    I’d write more but have been in pain for over a week, so my post will be short. Sorry! 🙂

    Pam

    • george allwynn permalink*
      July 22, 2010 12:23 am

      Hi Pam,

      I hope your pain starts to subside. I’m not one who deals well with physcial pain – but emotional pain has been so much a part of my makeup, it’s almost like one of those ‘dark, familar friends’ one has.

      In real life, I have more aquaintances than what I would call friends (though there are many that call me friend or even a close confidant.) I have a wall up in real life – and use humor to try to protect myself from disapointment. With my Bi-polar, I can be hard to deal with in real life some days.

      Internet chums are a horse of a different color. I feel closer to folks on the interent – probably because if I’m having a bad day, I stay off line and they don’t have to deal with me. Or sometimes I will tell them point blank – hello! Having a hissy fit here!

      “Warning- Warning, Will Robinson…”

      Sometimes it is easier to talk with folks on the interent, than to look in somones eyes and what them glaze over with dis-interest.

      And as for the friends in my head – here is something I hope I can explain without you thinking I am totally daft.

      I have always heard voices in my head. NOT outside my head, audiable. INSIDE my head. Talking with me, cheering me on, and of course yelling at me too.

      As a child, I was kinda chubby, greasy hair, and talked with a lisp. I didn’t have many friends – but the foices in my head. We made up stories and entertained ourselves.

      As I got older, (and more physically attractive) – the voices were still there, keeping me company and helping me with the stories.

      My biggest mistake was admitting to a doctor that I had voices. Immediately I was placed in a hospital and medicated. The medication took away the voices – but in their absense, I was an empty void. I could only handle that so long, before I would drop the meds and the voices would come back – helping me write and keeping me company.

      No, I do not have a split personality (though I do tease around I have a right to let loose my inner ‘Sybil’) and it totally freaks mental health workers out when I say I have voices and wish to keep them.

      In 2006 – I finally found a doctor who understood what I was trying to say – my voices are my imagination – my creative way of thinking – or even my conciousness. It took us three years, but we have tweeked my meds enough that I can still function brilliantly (with a few manic swing days) – and still hear my voices – though they are a bit more calm now, and not all at once rushing to get their ideas heard.

      I often will write about them – Bea (as in Bea A Mused) -is my muse who looks much like Bea Arthur (Maude/Golden Girls) – in fact, she sports that ‘heavily put upon’ droll look with me much of the time. Yet, she is a great muse to have.

      Bea is into spiritual things, and channels a dead author. You may have heard of him. His name is Ernest Hemingway. Those two argue all the time, but I think thye do love each other. Ernest loves to drink, loves his adventures, and has a thing for cats. He encourages me to live life and participate in methodical writing to get the realisim down on paper.

      Ursula is the name of my evil inner editor. She is the one who likes to take my authors voice (like she did the Little mermaid’s voice) and argues with me over what rules to keep and what writer rules to bend. She can be a blessing at times, but when she’s feels no one is taking her seriously, she can do some damage to my stories.

      There is also a friends inside called ‘The Furball” (a wild, friendly person) and Ruby New (a wise older woman who makes the best decisions) Two men named Oliver and Elliot live in there too – full of fresh ideas one taking an historical approach, the other taking a futurestic approach.

      Okay – so now I see all these eyebrows raise over this admisssion. I repeat – I may be bi-polar, but I’m not insane. It may be strange for some folks to hear (especially if they don’t have their own voices) – but it’s all natural to me. These friendly voices I’ve had since I’ve been born are the ones who help me tie all my writing together.

      I guess it’s just another part of me that makes me unique and special. It makes me the writer I was destine to be… (I hope this makes sense to you and doesn;t scare you aor anyone else off!)

      • July 22, 2010 2:02 am

        No, nothing you said scares me off. 🙂 I scare people. I wish I had friends but all I have are people who want me around for my IT skills, and even that’s questionable. (Although I am competent w/computers.) That wall you speak of sounds familiar.

        Yeah, you’d think I’d be used to the emotional pain, the loneliness, the feeling of failure (esp. as a writer/artist), the wish to belong somewhere, etc. etc. ad naseum. Meh. I get caught up in this vicious circle and it takes me a long time to get out, if I ever really do.

        Maybe someday I’ll be accepted by somebody. Although I’m no longer holding my breath. Oh, & sorry for the negativity of this post. I feel bad about that & trust me, I’m not always like this. So feel free to ignore it.

        Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

        Pam

      • george allwynn permalink*
        July 22, 2010 9:22 am

        Hey Pam – we all feel like that from time to time. Sometimes I wish I had a quarter for every time I felt unwanted, unneeded – or when I felt someone was only ‘tolerating’ me because my personality does not fit their status quo – or their neat little world in which they belong.

        Do you know how rich I would be? Money wise that is.

        Because for years, being creative, we are the ones who have had to be on the outside, looking in. And that is a hard place to be – especially around holidays. And I used to accept that that was the way my life was gonna be. I mean, how pathetic am I, when even family members don’t know what to do with me?

        However, I believe the older we get, the more our eyes tend to open, and the more confidence we build in ourselves. 25 years ago, I thought I needed other people to be happy and succeed with life. A couple years ago I had a wake up call – only I can make myself happy. Only I can allow myself to live. And it was all up to me to either die knowing I tried – or died knowing I failed…

        Because the only way I will fail in living, in writing, in breaking that wall down, is if I stop trying.

        I won’t brown sugar coat this – there are days it is rough. In fact, I am coming out of a cycle where I lost literally EVERYTHING. My 4 young children. My partner, my insurance, my job, my van, my house, most of my belongings, my church and those who I thought where my friends. (when I said I was starting life over again this past June – it was the truth. I was abel to get my van back, but after that, all I had left was my cat, my dog, 2 adult children and a van full of stuff to account for 45 years of living.) Pretty pathetic.

        The only thing that helped me hang on was the fact that I came out of itwas standing firm by what I believed in – my morals, my values, my writing ablitites and the fact all those things that happened to me, will someday end up divided into many stories.

        I am determined to take that funky stuff that happened to me and turn it into something positive. (and that’s how I think this week. Tomorrow, my bi-polar might swing the other way and I will think the totally opposite, and feel depressed.) BUT one positive thing about being bi-polar – it’s never stagnet – and so I know in time, it will swing another way…

        As it is now (and it took me a long time to get there) I AM a rich person. I am rich in unique life experiances that help me write, and I am unique in a way that when I do offer my friendship – those who accept know they are getting the genuine article and not something that is fisihing for something in return.

        And you too, will someday get to that point. I know you will!

  5. July 21, 2010 5:28 pm

    Hi George, …Anything BRITISH? 😉

    Well, IMHO, you have kept the talent which clearly got you voted as best story-teller in your senior year in high school! That’s an achievement to be proud of!

    Great to have you with us!

    David

  6. george allwynn permalink*
    July 22, 2010 12:31 am

    Hey David!

    Thank you!

    I still have my senior year book – and the pages that say ‘most school spirited’, ‘most likely to succeed’, ‘most likely to remain a bachelor’, – etc are all there, with photos – and there I am, in black and white, ‘best story teller’. They have a pictue of me in the libary, holding a story book of the Pokie Little Puppy upside down.

    And as for anything British? YES.

    Use your imagination

    – from food, to the accent, from the humor, to the literature, the spelling, the rainy days, the superior attitude, to the music, to the programs, to the men, etc. I wish I could live there. But alas – I will make due here in America…

  7. July 22, 2010 1:34 pm

    George —

    Thanks for giving me even more proof about why I like you. 🙂 You know I love your writing voice — so just keep writing.

  8. July 22, 2010 3:52 pm

    Okay, I’m about to blow your whole PG rating right out the window. You wrote K/S fanfic???? Are you shitting me?? Holy god. No wonder I like you. Back in the day, *everything* Star Trek was my thing. But I was one of those viewers who was never quite satisfied with the level of emotional attachment between the men. I always wanted male characters to hug or show more emotion to each other. When my one and only writing friend found “slash” hidden in his brother’s bedroom?? Holy crap. His brother still has vintage 70s copies of Naked Times – except now they’re framed and hang on his wall. LOL It was always this secret little thing, his brother going to odd conventions and coming back with a box full of stuff – everything “normal” on top, of course, with the slash tucked away on the bottom, and my friend would see me a few days later and excitedly tell me his brother had brought more “of the stuff”. God, we thought we were such little spies – him sneaking copies out of his brother’s bedroom, passing them “covertly” to me in school or wherever. Sneaking them into our rooms and reading them – quite literally – under the covers with a flashlight. My father never did figure out why he kept having to buy so many batteries.

    Jesus Christ on a Pancake, man! ::huge smile::

    And yes…the voices. ::another huge smile:: I think you know where I stand on those.

    Although, I do have to disagree with you on one point. Everyone knows the British are inferior to the Scottish. 😛

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