Traveler, wanderer, lover of leaving—having lost friends uncounted times;
Hello, I am Richard Clark. The title above this intro is something of a mash-up of Rumi’s ode to the tribes of Persia who had come into and out of faith that he was inviting back.
I was a world traveler by the age of four … across the Rockies, then across the Pacific to Japan for Kindergarten. Once having returned from Japan, then across the Rockies again, across the Atlantic, and on to Germany for the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade. The consequences of this early travel for my first 13 years endure. These consequences are my strengths and weaknesses. They flow from growing up as the eldest son of an American Army sergeant. In that short span of time, our family lived in ten different homes, and I went to seven different schools. The loss of friends in each move was like road side memorials that rapidly vanished from view behind our progress across continents.
One weekend during that span of time, I was a Cub Scout outfitted in my tiny, tidy blue uniform while I toured a navy ship moored at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. That naval base was so cool (and came as no contradiction to Army life because my mother had served in the Navy). Then joy unbound when we went to the Mess Hall for lunch. It was so cool to stand before this raised pedestal of Kool-Aid in its transparent fountain with a spigot freely dispensing this sweet confection that anesthetized childhood losses.
Quite literally, ten years later I was now outfitted in my larger, tidy blue uniform standing before those same transparent fountains commonly mocked as containing Bug-Juice. That Mess Hall had acquired the pejorative effect that the word mess commonly brings to mind. It was worn out from the erosion of untold millions of meals served to bluejackets on the conveyor belt to Vietnam.
By the time I had reached the age of 25, I had sailed my youth’s oceans and the Caribbean several times, often seeing them on the radar of the Combat Information Center as a First Class Electronics Technician aboard the USS Holland (AS-32), a submarine tender. This ephemeral video revealed ship’s ghosts as deadly visitors. Our gallows humor moved us to ardently stalk those ghosts and to embrace this deathly metaphor to quell our boredom.
From my privileged position of the highest technical distinction, I enjoyed the perquisites of rank that—while insulating me from demeaning work, and the assault of doubtful leadership—had all the sad bitterness of ash as my community continued to vanish in the wake of time behind me.
This is no caravan of despair;
In the years that followed, I’ve added two continents, university degrees in English and Cinema, and many, many gigs of teaching; designing electronics hardware/software; calibrating with NBS standards; constructing Black Boxes for the 747, 757, and 767; and doing research under five NIH grants. I hold five Optoelectronics patents and two radio licenses. [a complete list would be exhausting to read]
… and there were loves made, lost, and newly discovered along the way.
However, as my mash-up of Rumi’s ode proclaims, I’ve taken that loss, mourned it, accepted it, and try to adapt it to my writing for the readers of that same age group much in the grounded manner of my favorite childhood author Howard Pease. In this last regard, I enjoy the irony that I fulfilled his subject about young men signing onto tramp steamers to discover themselves (complete to the location of San Francisco). As much as despair inhabited the crew’s quarters in the of Pease’s steamers, I seek to equal how it was met and genuinely resolved by Pease’s masterful hand in narrative.
Come, come, whoever you are …
I enjoy writing about stories of technology start-ups inhabited by hardworking, passionate young men and women in the Wade’s People series. I draw on my and my business partners’ experiences in creating inventions and companies around them. These stories are suited for the 18-30 year old reader, but are often enjoyed by younger teens and older adults. PG-13 rated as it were.
This work was inspired by my life-long admiration for Howard Pease, a young adult writer of the 1920s through 1950s. I have collected every story he has published in both book form and his exclusive contracts with American Boy Magazine. Howard Pease’s stories in this magazine were illustrated by Anton Otto Fischer, a preeminent cover artist for many high end publications. Discover this art for yourself.
Returning to my early experience in the Navy, I am also writing a second series called X-Division. This is an espionage series. I still maintain a tech-based perspective, but here it is dressed in a mix of bell-bottoms and the faded bloom of flowers in your hair San Francisco of the late 1960s. These stories are, again, suited for the age group of 18-30. However, back then this age group moved at a different pace—which means my stories are unsuited for younger teens. Definitely R rated.
Come, yet again, come.
As I say, my writing is inspired by Howard Pease, a very successful young adult writer of the early and mid 20th century. Follow the link to him to observe his style, his subject matter (stowing away on an ocean tramp steamer), and the magnificent illustrations that came with each serialization of his stories in magazines. You will find me below, several decades out from the photo above. I am manning the rails on board the USS Bunker Hill, passing in review during Seattle’s Seafair celebration.