February 20th, 2009


Looking Back: A Reflective Meme

Author Jim C. Hines jimhines wrote about this meme. I've actually added some years, for reasons which will become clear.

1 year ago... In early 2008 I found out that my story "A Man in the Moon" had been selected as the sole Published Finalist in the Writers of the Future Volume XXIV anthology. Attending the WOTF writers' workshop and award event were definitely high points of my SF writing career -- so far. And of course I turned 50 and had my 50th semester of teaching, mostly at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo MI.

5 years ago... In 2004 I attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop in East Lansing MI. This and the WOTF workshop introduced me to more other pro writers and has given me more excellent long-term friends than any other events in my life. My first publication, "The Gravediggers", appears as an unpaid Honorable Mention in CrossTIME Volume III.

10 years ago... In 1999 I'd already written some 1.5 million words on one SF epic, but was still three years away from submitting my SF writing anywhere or letting anyone actually look at my work. Spent the summer updating and patching programs in preparation for Y2K.

15 years ago... In 1994 I was finishing up a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Grand Valley State University and we were in the first year of a new house. Our three kitties were one year old. The funding for a second year at Grand Valley evaporated and I ended up starting work on a second Ph.D. in Science Education at Western Michigan University.

20 years ago... In 1989 I finished up my Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Michigan Technological University, and was subsequently anointed Dr. Phil by one of my mentors, Dr. Bob.

25 years ago... In 1984 I quit my job at the Northwestern University Library on Friday the 13th of January and we moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In January. In the winter. We got married twice -- once in January by a judge who didn't see us and again in October in Bond Chapel at The University of Chicago. In the fall I started graduate school in Physics at Michigan Tech.

30 years ago... In 1979 I took a job with the Dark Side, delivering Chicago Tribunes at night. Spent the summer in a hot 3rd floor Chicago apartment and worked a job at Northwestern's Science and Engineering Library. Met this wonderful young woman entering graduate school in anthropology and starting a job at SEL as I was finishing -- eventually married her. Bought a brand new Chevy Suburban. Started my senior year at Northwestern. Having finished my Integrated Science Program courses, I ended up starting work on a second major in Physics. And we discovered Chicago style stuffed pizza at the original Edwardo's on Howard Street on the Chicago-Evanston border. Yum.

35 years ago... In 1974 I was at Grimsley Senior High in Greensboro NC -- we'd been in North Carolina a year -- and I was a staff photographer for the yearbook.

40 years ago... In 1969 I was in my first year in White Plains NY. I'd received an HO train set for Christmas '68, so started hanging out at Westchester Hobbies and spending all my money on trains. Our dachshund Nikki was one year old.

45 years ago... In 1965 I flew for the first time -- United Airlines from Buffalo to Jacksonville with stops in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. This was over Thanksgiving and we visited my grandparents in their Florida home. Took a driving tour of Cape Kennedy, the first weekend NASA offered it. The roads were not yet marked and we wandered into a USAF missile range because we missed a turn on the map. Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 were, I believe, both on their launch pads. When we got home, it turned out that our ten-year-old dachshund Max had not been boarded at the vets, but given his long-term blood disease, he'd been put to sleep. A blessing in disguise as a few weeks later we had two major blizzards in western New York and he'd have had a hard time in the cold and deep snow.

50 years ago... In the beginning of 1959 I was just a few months old. Sorry, don't remember much.

Dr. Phil