Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2002, 2:06 AM


Tonight I will tell you a little about myself. It will be up to you to discern what is truth and what is fiction. Just know this-I always speak the truth about fiction.

Tonight I have six CDs on random rotation while I write. They are:

1) Ben Kweller, Sha Sha
2) Something Corporate, Leaving Through the Window
3) Eels, Beautiful Freak
4) Frente, Marvin the album
5) Gomez, In our gun
6) The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Call me Ishmael, or Gregory, as you see fit. I come from a dysfunctional family so I guess that makes me normal. I am not descended from a long line of people known for anything in particular. I can not claim to be anyone famous in a past life, or in this or the next life for that matter. I grew up like most people I know--abused in some manner, neglected in some way, forced into an early maturation and then allowed to regress. I have mistaken sex for love. I have indulged my wanderlust. I have planted my stake firmly on the side of hedonism. I have embraced my inner child, and then smothered him with the pillow. I have had priorities and expectations thrust upon me. I have a desire to leave behind something beautiful.

I have a piece of paper from an institution of higher learning. More precisely, I have degrees in Creative Writing and Literature. Seven years after completion, as I still have four years of student loan payments in the queue, after a year deferment since I couldn't get a job with a Humanities degree, I have come to realize that I did not need college to read books and write stories.

I do not claim to be a writer, for I have met them. They are a breed apart. The first one I met was an enchanting woman who lured me back to her apartment after spending hours at a coffee shop discussing books. When we arrived there was only a couch and computer in her apartment, sitting at opposite ends of the living room floor. They were the only landmarks in a sea of paper. Her bedroom was devoid of furniture and the piles of clothing were indistinguishable in the feeble hallway light from the books piled in their midst. She talked about how she would sometimes call in sick for days at a time when the itch overcame her. She talked about how she would shut herself into her apartment, unplug the phone, make tea and write. No sleeping, no eating, just the words coursing through her, feeding the desire. She said that she wrote about anything and everything as she thrust a story from the point of view of a tampon into my hands with a needy, desperate look in her eyes. A starved and crazed look entreating my to read. I left, shaken. I had looked the beast in the face and could not bear the stare for long. How could I call myself a writer after that?

Jobs I have held in chronological order: Dishwasher, busboy and short-order cook in an Italian restaurant; drive-thru attendant at an Arby's; cleaning and maintenance at a health spa; Sales associate at a Spencer's Gifts; counter worker at a Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and cook at a café; dishwasher in the college cafeteria; Sales associate at a B. Dalton Bookseller; parking garage attendant at a high-class condominium; Production Assistant for a publishing company; Administrative Assistant at a large healthcare company; Telefundraiser for non-profit organizations; Database Administrator at a printing, mailing and fulfillment company; Market Researcher and Information Systems Manager for a Market Research company; Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for a software development company.

The fact that I had a college education had no bearing on any of these employment opportunities. I have never once been asked to produce either my degree or a transcript from college. I have interviewed and hired numerous people based solely upon their skill set and attitude.

The stats: 30 years old, 5'9", 145 lbs, brown hair, hazel eyes, small ovular glasses, webbed second and third toe on my right foot. I do not drink, smoke or do drugs.

What more could you want to know?

I drive a standard transmission truck. I want to build a log cabin from trees that I harvest myself. I love art openings. I hate wearing socks. I climb trees, juggle, and play with children.

My parents were divorced when I was young. I have one step-brother, three half-brothers and a half-sister. I have one mother, one father (deceased) one ex-stepfather with a wife and her sister whom I call family, I have a maternal grandmother who shoots guns and dates around, one beautiful grey cat, one beautiful and talented ex-wife, and a handful of friends.

And with this entry I have completely exposed myself to anyone I might know in real life who would happen to read this.