I grew up in Allen County, Ohio, and Franklin County, Maine. Since 1977 my wife and I have made our home in Penobscot County, Maine, north of the 45th parallel. Our children and grandchildren are not far away.
Life has not been easy, but by the grace of God and the love of family, I’m living my dream.*D.A.W.
Languages and Education
My fascination with languages and linguistics began as early as third grade, when I won an award for a book report. Spanish was a mandatory subject when I was in fifth and sixth grades. I submitted to two years of Latin in ninth and tenth, and two years of French in eleventh and twelfth grades. Then I took a Russian basic course as a college freshman (at a conservatory of music, where I was preparing for a career as a concert pianist until, in an accident, I nearly severed the index finger on my right hand at the base knuckle).
When I volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam police action/ conflict/ disagreement instead of returning to college, I took the Defense Language Aptitude Test and aced it. No one aces that test, I was told, and I was required to take it again, this time with an observer in the room. I came one answer short of acing it again. This earned me a year of Russian immersion at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and an Army Security Agency assignment as a cryptanalyst in Europe.
With a later degree in wildlife management, I went on to salaried careers in the paper industry and health care administration, and now I enjoy limited self-employment as a Registered Maine Guide in fishing, hunting, and recreation.
Writing and Publishing
Some may argue that I have lurched and careened through life, prompting any panicked creature in my path to run both ways at once, tripping circuit breakers in others’ brains, and leaving a trail of confusion through a world otherwise aspiring to be orderly.
Along the way, I have written. A lot. Stories and novels, diatribes and screeds, discourses and elucidations. These are scattered across the internet, throughout my computers, and in the pages of pre-internet magazines and newspapers.
In 1999, after writing two novels and numerous short stories, and after publishing articles in newspapers and magazines, I began to discover the impossibility of penetrating the phalanx of literary agents engaged by publishing houses — agents whose role, it seems, is to sacrifice good literature in favor of finding the next short but sensational blockbuster.
I even wrote to Jimmy Carter after reading one of his books and received a handwritten reply from him, giving me his agent’s name. I queried that agent, who didn’t read my stuff but replied that she was not interested in the subject of my work at that time.
The book I wanted to submit to her was Fire, Wind & Yesterday, a novel set in what is now war-ravaged Ukraine. After making a solo trip through Ukraine and Russia in 1996 I knew I could not let the conventional publishers’ gatekeepers control whether it would ever be published.
That was my impetus to start my own publishing enterprise, Damn Yankee Publishing USA, centered on a web site I built myself at DamnYankee.com. My objective there was to make an end run around the book publishing industry. In 1999 DamnYankee published its first title, Three Naked Ladies Playing Cellos – An Arpeggio of Sixteen Unique Pieces (short stories by sixteen different authors). The book is no longer in print or available on line, but to my knowledge it was the first book ever published as an ebook and as a printed book simultaneously. (I have a handful of copies left, if anyone is desperate to obtain one.)
Since I was engaged in a paying vocation at that time, I set Fire, Wind & Yesterday aside and waited more than ten years before preparing it for Amazon.com. Since then, DamnYankee.com has evolved into the site you are visiting now. I have chosen to continue with Amazon as the distributor of my subsequent books.
This site exists so that I can present all of my worthy work in one place, pointing to where you can purchase the works that are commercially available, and so those who wish to do so can read some of of my work free of charge and at their leisure right on the web site.
(See menu items for books, articles, op-eds, and family, the latter section focusing on certain of my own ancestors. There are articles in the family section that may be of interest to a broader audience, though, including Henry Tufts, Jr., Fading Photographs, Mary Jane-Mary Jane, Everett Hugh Woodbury, and Kate Gardner’s 1884 Diary.)
I will scrounge my archives for missing pieces and add them to the appropriate sections here until my eyesight fails me. There is no theme to the collection. It includes fiction and non-fiction, pieces for adults and juveniles if it can be classified at all, and the sequence of its appearance here will depend on my whim.
I wrote every bit of what you will see here except for Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God) and Kate Gardner’s Diary, also the books The Narrative of Henry Tufts and Black Friday – An American Jihad. Each of those four is described on a separate page at DamnYankee with links to read or purchase them. As for my own work, I hope a few people enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating it.
*Jim Croce put it into verse in this song.