Meet James Friedlander

  •      I began writing in elementary school, trying to write stories I thought were earth shattering, because that was what I was shooting for and not what I was capable of, probably a common problem for most aspiring young story tellers. My teachers were encouraging but I quickly realized the disparity and gave it up as hopeless, moving on to other pursuits such as fishing and trying to see where I fit in in a small, class conscience town.

         In high school, I read about the world as seen by the classic authors but there was no time in the curriculum for experimenting with our own creative sense. My English classes were for discussing the works of others.

         At University of Connecticut I majored in English and was offered an opportunity during my junior and senior years to do a one on one with one of the professors in creative writing. I will tell you that I struggled  because I was struggling with many things in my personal life. My parents had separated and my brother had joined the army, leaving me with no home life, and I was facing the draft upon graduation. Being totally opposed to what I saw as American imperialism in Viet Nam, I was going to refuse the draft. This was before the lottery. I was eventually found unfit for service, but not without a great deal of trauma on my part. This period has profoundly influenced my perception of how ill-advised a great deal of American foreign and domestic policy has been and certainly influenced my writing.

         After graduation and a few jobs to pay off some loans, I had the opportunity to go to film school in Toronto. I had been working on a script and wanted to learn about the mechanics of the medium. It was a period of intense creativity which I greatly enjoyed, although I don’t think my teachers appreciated my independence.

         I won’t spend time telling you about the period after that other than to say I earned my living building houses, repairing small wooden boats, teaching fourth grade and crewing on beautiful schooner.

         When I finally retired, I realized it was the time to see if I still had the old passion for writing. It was slow at first, very slow, but I had a story I wanted to tell and it kept growing and consuming my thoughts. As I began to write, I realized I was getting lost in the main character’s life and time disappeared. What seemed like a short time at my computer was hours when I checked. That has not changed so I guess I’m stuck. My father was an author and wrote until his dementia finally forced him to stop. I wonder if it’s a gene?

    James Friedlander, Author

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