I have wanted to be a writer since attending elementary school in Morganton, North Carolina. One of my best friend’s mother, Mrs Grace Di Santo, inspired me the most. She was elegant, worldly, and a renown poet in her own right. She gave an autographed copy of one of her first books titled, The Eye Is Single to my mother, Mrs James Taylor Vernon. I still have it. One of my favourite poems was Songs to Bernadette.
When I was in High School, Grace asked me to drive her to meet other writers across the Carolinas. I remember Fred Chappel the most. To my recollection, Fred was a dear friend of Grace’s who is a famous writer in North Carolina. Words cannot describe the admiration and influence that Grace and her family had over my life.
While my Uncle Raymond somewhat discouraged me from becoming a writer, he strongly influenced me to study mathematics and science. He worked in the Middle East exploring for petroleum reserves. I thought mostly of travelling the world searching for adventure when I began pursuing a degree in geology and physics from Appalachian State University and later in public and environmental health at East Tennessee State University.
Throughout my career, I have wanted to leave a legacy of making the world safer and cleaner. As an environmental scientist and health physicist, I have been successful in my contributions in these fields. I have also learned to become a writer. I have written testimony to hearings before the United States Senate, sponsored and influenced federal legislation which became federal law. I have been given many opportunities for which I am greatly appreciative to so many friends and colleagues.
One of the most significant turning points in life was meeting my wife, Mina, in Dallas, Texas. She has influenced me tremendously and we work together to raise our beautiful daughter, Isabella. Our daughter loves animals of all kinds: dogs, kittens, ponies, and even Chameleons. One day, I dreamt a story where Isabella met a Chameleon from Tuscany and they began to work math problems and solve many of the issues that we all face every day. And, on that day I began to write a book for our daughter that would be enjoyable for children to read. Mina has believed in this work from the outset. She worked tirelessly with the lovely artist, Ms Rialyn Kartika Velasco, from The Republic of Indonesia, to transform our story into art as portraited in our book titled, Fractions with my Chameleons. I hoped that my writing would be educational and inspire children to work in the service of others, be kind to animals, and learn to love the ballet, music, and the arts.
I also hope that you like the characters from the hills of Tuscany that I have selected to tell this story. Their names are Giuseppe, Wolfgang, Figaro, Leonardo, Sergey, Guinevere, and Michelangelo. They are quite the rascals that I envisioned live somewhere between Florence and Siena, near the village of Chianti.
I believe that one of the most important aspects about writing and literature is telling a good story that may enlighten us to some degree, but it is leaving a lasting legacy that will live on long after we depart this Earth. As for me, it was placed into the achieves a record that our daughter, Isabella, and the generation beyond, will understand the immense love that her parents have for this child of God that has blessed our lives.
Next week, copies of our work are scheduled to arrive at our home in Augusta, Georgia. While we wait, I can say that this work has been the most rewarding in becoming a published author. I hope that you enjoy it.