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brinker's Journal

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I'm originally from Washington state (which I can say with what I consider to be an informed assessment) is the most beautiful place on earth (with the possible exception of the Swiss Alps and Glacier National Park.)

After graduating, I set out across the US to do odd jobs while traveling.

Then I got bored with the US so I set off overseas to teach English as a foreign language. First I went to Cairo, then to Istanbul, then to Muscat, Oman. In 2004, I went to Nizwa to head up the English program at the new University of Nizwa. The university hadn't opened, and with 2 months notice, we had to set up a program for 1000 students and 50 instructors. I've never worked that hard in my life, but we managed and the university is now functioning nicely. Two years later, I moved on, and from here on, this bio is going to be broken down sequentially and updated by year.

I left the University of Nizwa (largely due to wanting to get away from the politics, although I loved it there) and am now at the Scientific College of Design in Muscat where I'm still heading up the EFL program. I don't like Muscat nearly as well as Nizwa, but I love the job and students and everything else, so I'm happy.

I'm still at the Scientific College of Design and still happy there. Life seems to have settled into a routine and really very little has changed since last year's update. I still don't like Muscat nearly as well as I did Nizwa, though.

I didn't update last year, so this one is combined. The dean at the College of Design left for political reasons, and I did too. Now I'm at the International Maritime College - Oman. After about half a year teaching, they asked me to be dept head, so I'm back to being dept head again.
This has also been the year of seriously trying to get published, of which I've sold a few stories. Of course, I've written all my life. The only new part is me starting to try to publish the stories.

I'm in Kabul, Afghanistan now, working at the American University of Afghanistan. I came here because I was bored with Oman and wanted to go somewhere "interesting." Although Kabul is generally safe, the security here makes life, frankly, rather boring. But it is by far the most interesting and rewarding experience I have had--ever. One can have all sorts of questions about whether the US should be here, but there can be no questions as to whether we're doing good here.
I've published a few stories. They can be found at:

"Only the Dogs Bark" at The Future Fire.
One of my favorites of my own stories, and typifies one of my favorite themes of people trying to do what they think is right, and possibly missing, or possibly not. The world is never so clearly defined as to be able to tell.

"Mr Pine Nut" at OG's Speculative Fiction Magazine.
This one took me two years to come up with and write after seeing a painting that inspired the story. It's also one of my favorites of my own stories, but is also the most different of my own themes. Lost love, loneliness, trust, and, well, peculiar endings.

"A Traitor's Letter" at The Lorelei Signal.
A few years back, I wrote a 12K epistolary novella that I'm sure will never see the light of day (or print.) Nevertheless, I liked the world, and the character, and so I wrote a standalone sequel. I count it as my most thematically optimistic story, although in truth, it's just as ambiguous and unresolved as anything else I've written.

"Hide and Seek" (upcoming) at Space & Time.
This is the oldest of my publishable stories. It's certainly not my oldest story, but it's the first I consider publishable quality. I wrote it about 10 years ago, and I think is a bit more cynical than my more recent stories, it's still very much "me."

"The Untold Tale of an Executioner" at Electric Spec.
Another of my favorites. As usual, it's about a character who's trying to do what's right, who somewhat makes it, somewhat misses. Forgiveness, acceptance, with a good dose of prejudice and racism tossed in as themes. (Although the prejudice/racism isn't really what the story is about, in my opinion, it just happens to be the vehicle for the plot.)

"The Lion's Noose" at Liquid Imagination
After nearly a decade of living in countries with arranged marriages, I decided to write a story reflecting the fact that they can be perfectly viable and successful. What emerged was more a story about the pettiness of jealousy and revenge and how difficult it can be to extricate ourselves from our actions. Aside from being the backdrop of the story, I'm not sure it really has much of anything to do with arranged marriages, and certainly not much to do with love.

"To Give the Perfect Dewdrop" Parsec Inc. Triangulation Anthology - Last Contact
If I had even the vaguest clue where the idea for this story and world came from, I would post it here. Unfortunately, I don't. The character is based on one I've been playing with for a long time, but the story and world are random. I don't usually like present tense, but I couldn't seem to write this one in past tense, so here it is, and it seemed to work.

"The Last Sentinels" Eschatology, May 2012
This was one of the few stories in which I've sat down and decided I was going to write about a specific topic and then done it. Oddly, I've had a number of different interpretations about what the creatures in the story are. I think it's more clear now, though.


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