Every single time I'm asked this question (or a variation of it) I immediately think of Louis's answer to Daniel in Interview With The Vampire, (paraphrasing) "Where shall I begin? I was born? I grew up?" Sure! I can do that. You're here so you must have some interest in my personal story. If you don't, why the heck did you read this far? Why are you still reading? Whatever your reasons, you're here for a story and I suppose I'm obliged to give you one. Here goes...
I was born in a small town in the exact middle of Tennessee (and the exact middle of nowhere) called Sparta! There were definitely more than 300 of us, but just barely! We weren't all warriors, but the whole town pretended on Friday nights and any night there was a basketball game. Speaking of sports... while I played both football and basketball as a teen, baseball was/is/always will be my first love. I played into my sophomore year at Tennessee Tech University. To me, there's no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the ballpark! I was convinced that I was going to one day pitch for the Atlanta Braves. I even picked out the house I was going to buy my mom and everything! While the baseball thing didn't work out, I've still got my eye on that house!
As an adult, I realize that I didn't have many economic advantages growing up, but my parents sure made me think I did. They worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make sure I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted. We were blue-collar as hell, but I never knew it. Mom and Dad did so much for me that my little kid brain thought we were millionaires. My father worked in a saw mill. My mom worked in an automobile factory. Mom worked nights. Dad worked days. I never had to stay with a babysitter. My parents were present. They were supportive. They were involved in my life. Hard work. Ambition. Creativity and concern for others. I was the luckiest kid on earth. I learned so much from their example.
Perhaps the most valuable belief instilled in me by my parents is that nothing is impossible!
I went to college on a baseball scholarship. After my freshman season, it became very clear to me that I didn't belong. These guys were so much better than me. I was taking up a roster spot that I didn't deserve. That was a humbling moment for me. All my life I'd been one of the best (if not THE best) players on whatever team I joined. Discovering that I wasn't even average among my NCAA teammates shifted my view of myself.
I gave up my scholarship with no idea what I wanted to do next. It was both a terrifying and exhilarating experience leaping into the unknown without any idea of what threads the Fates had woven for me. Without spoiling the ending, I think I came out ok!
I moved to Wilmington, NC with the intention of pursuing a career in film/theater. I attained degrees in both (along with a business degree) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). I put myself through college mostly by working as background talent and/or doing PA work on many of the films and TV series shot in or around Wilmington. After graduation, I founded a theater company. Not long thereafter I owned a theater. In between, I worked as a news reporter and talk radio personality. I worked for a newspaper. I served as a campaign staffer for two Presidential and one Senatorial campaign. Since then I've owned a comic book shop, starred in a Netflix reality show called Swap Shop: Dash for Cash and written a best-selling comic book series... which is most likely why you're here!
I don't really know what's next, but I know I'll meet my fate with open eyes and without fear. Hope you stick around for the next act!
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