I was allegedly born. I don’t recall it personally and the statement is based on purely circumstantial evidence.
I got interested in making movies around 1981. The school district had a video tape system (not video cassette) that we used on occasion. I made my first video – “To the Moon” – at home on rented video equipment. I bought a silent movie camera in 1983 and made several short subjects. In 1984, I bought my first video camera and made short films throughout high school and into college. I worked as a freelance videographer for the local origination system in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. We televised Illinois Volleyball and Baseball, covered parades and shot a sports show called “Illini Sports Weekly”. I used my access there to edit a number of shows, including six episodes of “Spectreman”. I was reintroduced to video when my son was born. He’s the prime subject of my movies these days, though with the advances in non-linear editing, I have “gone overboard” on a number of things for him, doing my first editing in years.
I started writing seriously when I was 13 and I wrote my first Stephen King story. I don’t know how old Stephen King was when he wrote his first Stephen King story, but I think 13 is pretty good… even if he did write his earlier, he had the advantage of actually being Stephen King.
Around the same time, I drew my first set of comics. They were single panel gags called “Uh, George?”. Each showed Our Hero – George – about to step into some unpleasant situation and his friend calling to him, “Uh, George?” I still draw these on occasion more than twenty five years later. I drew a regular series called “Drugbusters” in high school.
I’ve written poetry off and on from high school on, depending on when the mood caught me.
I worked for a radio station while in college and wrote commercial copy and then radio news reporting and anchor material. The experience at WPGU changed my writing (I don’t know for the better) by omitting needless words with a vengeance. A “long” story was 45 seconds and it was a challenge to go from that environment to writing fiction or poetry.
In 2004, I became a “professional” writer. I got a job as a freelance sports reporter, writing for the weekly Boone County Journal. I covered the football and boys basketball seasons for the Belvidere Bucs until 2009.
I was “tagged” on MySpace and asked to come up with 15 random facts about me, myself and I. My biggest challenge was to think of things that I haven’t covered in all my blog entries! Anyway, hope you are shocked and amazed by the revelations.
- I don’t like long walks on the beach; sand is too soft to walk on. However, I like holding hands while strolling in the park.
- I was about four years old when the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes” was a hit on the radio. I thought she had “lion eyes”; big yellow eyes with slit irises (no wonder she couldn’t hide them!).
- I’d like to live in either Maine or Oregon. I haven’t decided whether I was the sun rising or setting over the ocean.
- I own the last model 8-track player produced commercially.
- I have four visible scars. Two are visible all the time; the third is visible this time of year (summer) and the fourth you’d have to ask to see.
- Between births, deaths and my parents’ various marriages, I have been an only child, the oldest of two, the oldest of three, the middle of five, the third of four, the youngest of three and I am currently the third of seven.
- I was elbowed in the throat by Dan Quayle’s Secret Service detachment when he was Vice President.
- My brother was killed in January, 1998, and his death gave me a nasty case of writers’ block that I am only now starting to get over. Oddly, the last story I was working on when he died was about a guy who has to cope with the sudden death of his best friend.
- I don’t own a cell phone.
- The fastest I have ever driven was 112 miles an hour (which would have been 57 over the posted speed limit).
- I got drunk the first time (and last time) when I was 11 years old.
- The first person I ever had to fire has her picture on a billboard in Chicago (as of 9/15/2010).
- I want to visit all fifty states. I have been to forty one so far.
- True story: It’s the last soccer game of the season. A few minutes before the game, the officials from the park district come over to me: Daniel’s coach can’t make the game and none of the assistants are here; will I take over as coach? It would have been just like a movie… except we lost the game.
- In my vast dating experience (not), I only ever dated one redhead… I ended up marrying her.
Here are some additional facts about me as requested on Facebook. You won’t know these things about me from reading my blogs. I’m pretty sure I’ve not written about them before (though I do reserve the right to write about them in the future).
- My full name is Robert Charles Francis, ostensibly for both my grandfathers. However, my mom says she named me “Robert” after the poet Robert Burns.
- If I had been born a girl, my name would have been Kelly Lynne.
- I remember one time being pushed around the neighborhood in my stroller. It began to rain and I remember the drops falling into the white plastic tray in front of me. As best as I can date it, I was 16 – 20 months old when that happened.
- The monsters in my house never lived in my closet or under the bed. They would threaten to peer in my window or come up through the heat register.
- I decided to count to a million when I was about eight years old. I would count to a hundred and then mark a line on a chalkboard. I ended up counting to about 16,000 before I gave up.
- I remember suburban serial killer John Wayne Gacy being described as “a good kid who never got in trouble” by his mother on the news. That evening, I deliberately got into trouble because I didn’t want to grow up to be like that.
- My friend Greg and I used to count how many jokes we could make. Our record was seventy-two in one minute.
- I bought my first CD in October, 1987. I didn’t have CD player yet, but figured it would force me to save up for one.
- I am not squeamish when it comes to blood, but I have a hard time dealing with vomit.
- I can’t think of any movie that has actually made me cry, but I do get choked up when Elliott is talking to E.T. after he “dies”.
- I started hallucinating after I went without sleep for four days. Green mossy patches started growing down the walls in the corners of my vision.
- I keep my dogs’ tags on my keychain to remember them by.
- I participated in a “sit-in” in college. After four hours or so, we got what we wanted.
- I grew my hair down about ten inches past collar length when I was twenty-three. I was asked by my employer to cut it off. In retrospect, I should have kept the hair instead of the job.
- In four years of radio reporting in Champaign, Illinois, two stories I wrote went national.
- I met my future wife on the Internet in 1997 and – no, she didn’t win me on eBay.
- I found out my brother had been killed via voice mail.
- I worked at the local phone company and moonlighted at the local cable company. For over a year, I was technically suing myself.
- Someday, I want to travel to England and see a Shakespeare play at the rebuilt Globe Theatre.
- I think the highest I’ve ever felt was the moment after Daniel was born and the nurse handed me a pair of bandage scissors to cut the umbilical cord. I remember having this goofy smile that made the muscles of my face tremble and I felt like I was floating.
- On the other hand, the nurse woke me up about three hours later to change his first meconium-filled diaper.
- I have been playing keyboards of one sort or another for many years. I play by ear mostly and find it relaxes me. Oddly enough, as I relax, I make more mistakes.
- Ten minutes before Daniel’s last soccer game and the refs come up to me, asking if I can coach the team. His regular coach is stuck in traffic and can’t be there. It could have been a Hollywood movie except we lost the game.
- I was hypnotized once. I rated a “5” on the hypnosis scale, which meant some things worked on me and others I was able to overcome.
- I’d like to retire to Maine or Oregon. I haven’t decided whether I want to see the sun rise or set over the ocean.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know, let me know. Leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail. Who knows? You may serve as inspiration for a blog entry.
My blog got a very nice review from these folks… and it was free back in the day. I liked the breakout and the suggestions they made. Take a look and see what you think and submit your own site if you write.
These folks reviewed my web site awhile back. I didn’t agree with everything they wrote, but did take some of the constructive criticism to heart. If you write and you feel you’re up to some whatever-is-the-opposite-of-cheerleading, sign your blog up.