I am a 43-year-old aspiring writer of speculative fiction, adoptive father of two, special education teacher working with emotionally disturbed adolescents in New York City, and fine-art photographer. I find inspiration in my experiences as a parent and teacher, my Jewish background, and love of history. A young adult science fiction novel that combines all these elements is in the works. I’m recently married, and my wife is a great source of ideas, support, and honest feedback. I’ve also written poetry and stories to compliment black and white photographs that can be seen on my Facebook artist page.
I encourage my students to take photographs and write about them. Sometimes sessions of the photography club I run are dedicated to story writing. I am amazed at their creativity and wish there were more opportunities for them to express themselves. I hope to someday create a writing workshop for adolescents with special needs.
My students help me gauge whether my novel is on the right track. Without telling them I wrote it, I read them chapters. It’s difficult to hold the attention of teens in the age of YouTube and X-Box—especially the kids I work with—so if I have their interest, I know I have something good! The adolescent characters in my stories represent an amalgamation of my own kids and the youth I’ve gotten to know over the years. When I revealed to one class that I authored a reading selection they enjoyed, several students were certain and prideful that the protagonist was modeled after one of them!