Dirk grew up in a small college town, grounded in America’s rural heartland. Ames, Iowa was (and probably still is) routinely described as unremarkable, by cosmopolitan visitors. Growing up, Dirk would have preferred a more exciting place himself, on long, lazy summer afternoons. But Ames had the advantages of being insulated from the turbulence of the times. And the annual migration of a sizable student population from around the world exposed the author to diversity at an early age.
In consequence, Dirk developed an appreciation for points of view and the music of foreign accents and language. By the time the author graduated from high school, he recalls, he could feel the constant tug of distant horizons on his soul.
When Dirk started writing, he had no plan and certainly no ambition to publish. He wrote in response to a vague stirring in the soul he wasn’t sure he had…some indefinable urge more felt than understood driving him to put words on paper. By the time he graduated from college, he had taken several creative writing classes and had the first vague dreams of success as an author. But as was the case in his academics, while he achieved a measure of distinction, he was never “the best” at anything. Someone was always better…at everything.
Dirk accepted a commission in the Corps the day he graduated, the times being what they were. There was a lot of that going around in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We were still in Southeast Asia and he felt an obligation, despite misgivings about the morality of the war. Not unlike his writing, Dirk had no plans to make the Marine Corps a career. But somewhere along the way, he discovered his communication style often inspired trust. Marines did for him what they often wouldn’t for others.
Sometime after the evacuation of Vietnam and Cambodia, Dirk applied for augmentation into the regular component and was ultimately accepted. In common with his academic experiences before the Corps, he achieved modest success. After twenty-some years service in peace and war, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with five personal decorations and legion of comrades with whom he had the honor of serving. You would recognize the names of some. They were among the best our nation had to offer and Dirk feels endlessly enriched through association with them.
After a two-year sabbatical to get his Master’s degree in business, Dirk was hired by a large manufacturer of hard window coverings, serving as a corporate trainer, training design specialist and as a district manager. A casualty of financial crash of 2008, Dirk quips, he was cordially invited to leave and not return. During a series of unsatisfying interviews for his next “job,” Dirk finally succumbed to his life-long urge to write. There’s more life in his rear view mirror now, than in his windshield, but with a full backpack of memories and life lessons, Dirk has found if not his calling, an avocation. He published my first novel, West of Tomorrow last year, and it is now available on Amazon. Just follow the link. This year, Dirk is in the final throes of completing an anthology of shorter fiction due out sometime in 2017.
Dirk currently lives in Laguna Niguel, CA with his wife, two psychotic cats and a Ball Python named Corona. When he isn’t surfing, skiing, or in the gym, Dirk can often be found in his garage wood-working. He also sponsors and facilitates the Advanced Fiction Group where he and several other authors kibitz each others’ works in progress.
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