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A L E N B B O C L
I was born in New York City in the 1940s, and grew up in two very different environments. One was just a block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the other was in the Hudson Highlands, across a mountain highway from Black Rock Forest. Whenever I had free time in Manhattan, I roamed the halls of the Met, or the Museum of Natural History on the other side of Central Park. My life thus began by alternating between urban high culture and the rural riches of forests, raccoons, and poison ivy. In August, our family lived completely off the grid on a lake- island in Maine that my grandfather purchased just before the Great Depression, for $300 and a case of Canadian beer. Since then, I've lived principally in the New England states, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Iowa, with five years or so mainly in Switzerland, and with sojourns in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Rio de Janiero, and Asunción Paraguay. These travels have afforded an inescapable sense of the universality of the human condition along with an abiding fascination with what lies beyond everyday experience — from physics to consciousness, from quantum mechanics to the Vaisheshika Sutras. I've spent my entire life in several of the arts, including photography, sculpture and installation art, theatre, composing and sound design, and of course writing. Writing has always been my strongest suit, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and software (yes, programming seems to use the same muscle, although in different ways and to different ends). My day jobs have included educational institutions, large corporations, and startups, in all of which I enjoyed trying to open minds and think outside the box. One of my greatest joys is learning something new, and then explaining it to someone who needs to know; this has led to consulting in the "translation" of ideas from one area of specialization to another. I've been writing stories all my life, but only recently have any of them seemed worthy of being inflicted on the public (the first of which is The Rules). Some of my poetry is collected in the book Cave Paintings, but nobody reads poetry anymore, right? I recently published Brain Frieze, a collection of short stories, and another novel is warming in the nuclear reactor in the tool shed. For five years I worked closely with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who introduced Transcendental Meditation to the West), for whom I developed much of the printed material that emanated from his global organization during the 1970s. Maharishi was a truly extraordinary man — the most focused and hard-working person I've met, dedicated to the single task of making life more fulfilling for everyone on the planet. Perhaps more amazing is the fact that during all this focus and hard work, usually for 20 hours a day, he never seemed tired, and he never lost his broad vision and sense of humor. Before meeting Maharishi, I really believed I knew how to write, but after five years working 5-10 hours per day, 5-6 days per week, polishing every sentence, section, and publication, I can now say with certainty that he taught me more about writing than all my prior experience. I live in Iowa now, land of writers, in an unusual town filled with creative people from all over the country.
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