Yeah, that's right! You don't need to have your eyes/ears checked! <GRIN!>
Without mentioning names, I will say that I have seen some Pulitzer material that wouldn't have gotten past my first draft! Of course, there's no accounting for taste, either, so what I see as prizeworthy material might not be worth a second glance to someone else...
Going Without Peggy might be the best book that I'll ever write! It couldn't have been any more from the heart if I had written it using my blood for ink! There have been a lot of people who loved my first book, Poison Pearls, finding it to be an eye opening experience that introduced them to some of the realities of Human Trafficking. The few people who have seen both books so far are raving over my new book and upon being told that it had been submitted to the Pulitzer Prize committee, one of those people started enumerating to me why he thought that it had a better than good chance of being selected...
To all those people, I want to say, "Thank You!" Sincere words of encouragement go a long way with me and I treasure those that I have received. For them and any other people who might be interested, I am going to transcribe the biography that is accompanying those entries.
My apologies for a delay in completing this page... I am going to try again and if I still have difficulty, then I'm going to give up on the "macho" thing and ask for some directions!
Here we go again! "Author's Biography, Karl Stuart Kline"
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Karl has subsequently lived in or passed through nearly all of the 48 continental United States.
Too young to fully appreciate it at the time, he nonetheless was witness to modern American history as Bugsy Segal brought the Mob and the Strip to Las Vegas. He was also witness to the US government's above ground atomic testing and his older sister still has the dog tags that the government issued to her and other school children in the area because of the proximity of the atomic testing grounds.
Epilepsy became a dominating factor in his life after his family moved east to New England, alternately living in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. Having hundreds of petit mal seizures a day, his youth is lost in the drug induced haze that was generated as doctors looked for a way to control his seizures. Fortunately, he outgrew the petit mal seizures. Unfortunately, grand mal seizures took their place. Since then, they've been something that, directly or indirectly, has affected every day of his life.
Every day begins and ends with anticonvulsant medication. On days that he is seizure free, he still has to be constantly aware of any conditions that can trigger a seizure and any signs of an aura that can signal an imminent seizure.
Living on the edge? I suppose so... There is probably very little in his life that he does that some well meaning person in his life has told him that he'd never be capable of, never mind what mean spirited people have had to say to or about him. Then again, that has all gone to motivate him as he has moved forward to make the most of his life despite his disability and the ever present drugs that help control his seizures.
Living independently was his first goal and he was out the door and on his way as soon as he was eighteen and no longer subject to his mother's dictates. Actually several times before that, but the police always found his youth to be suspect and returned him to his mother's care where he ultimately became a prisoner behind locked doors in a stifling room where the windows had been nailed shut. Evidently, that was not enough, because he was also committed by her to the care of the State for a time as well. Eventually being retrieved from State care, she moved to Central Florida, taking him with her and it was there that he turned eighteen, leaving home over a year before he graduated from high school.
Unable to drive and so impoverished that he could seldom afford even public transportation, Karl turned to hitch hiking as an alternative means of travel. Impecunious, but rich in spirit, he found many agreeable traveling companions as he criss crossed the country in the exploration of his youth. There were others, of course and he narrowly escaped a would be rapist during one trip. He also found remnants of women's clothing on a few occasions, where someone had obviously been less fortunate in making their escape than he was. Another time in the Blue Ridge Mountains he was forced to take cover when someone thought that it would be amusing that flatlanders should be used for target practice. Several of these experiences are related in his poem, TheSkeleton, which was published in his first book, Poison Pearls. In it he relates the risks that he took in his youth to his discovery later in life of some skeletal remains near another roadside on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
Still, his good experiences far outweighed the bad and the kindness of strangers took him down many unexpected roads. From the sexy waitress who convinced him that he needed a place to stay the night to the garrulous rum runner who took him on a winding night time journey down North Carolina's back roads. Traveling through Oklahoma, he caught a ride in a pickup truck full of Indians and forty miles later, when it was time for them to turn off the main road, they invited him to accompany them to a tribal powwow where they were welcoming one of their braves back from Viet Nam. Truckers, rednecks, hippies, bikers and hot rodders all shared their rides with him at one time or another.
A traveling salesman with a barely noticeable accent turned out to be a former member of the Hitler Youth that had been part of the German resistence as the allies invaded Italy. His home in Gulfport, Mississippi was Party Central for the girls from the local women's college who would meet sailors from the Seabee base in nearby Biloxi.
While there, Karl made several trips to New Orleans where he was a wide eyed youth exploring Bourbon Street and the French Quarter during it's wilder days. He still remembers the fascinating talents displayed by a tassel dancer and the young lady on a swing, swinging back and forth, naked, through the ribbons that were hung to cover a second floor window in place of the glass that had originally been there. She was a very animated advertisement for the club below her, but as New Orleans has cracked down on the clubs she's been replaced by a mannequin and then later on that was replaced to the point that there were only the mannequin's legs fastened to the seat of the swing as it continued to swing in and out of that overhead window. Perhaps by now even those are gone...
His education, work and personal history has been as varied as the people who he met in his travels. Going from place to place and back and forth between his parents had him attending several schools in any given year. He participated in some sports in that he played soccer for more than one school and when he attended Arlington High School in Poughkeepsie, New York, he was a Greco-Roman wrestler relegated to the status of second string. That's better than it sounds, since the first string wrestler in his weight class was New York State champion and Karl was able to achieve a pin fall on him roughly one time in six in practice, but could never wrestle against him in competition since they were both on the same team.
He has attended public, private and state schools, changing schools so often that his grades were seldom a true indicator of his education. However, when it came time for the senior placement exams, three out of eight scores placed him in the 99th percentile. A true one percenter! Of his other scores, math was the only one that dipped below the 95th percentile, so, despite his circumstances, his medication and his disability, he had learned and achieved a greater education than the great majority of those students whose classes he shared. Not that it made any difference... The armed forces didn't want epileptics, so they weren't about to help with his education and his family had no money with which to send him to college. If scholarship help was available, it was not made known to him and he had no expectance of assistance from anyone.
So he became a learned person of high intelligence, but he seldom thinks of himself in those terms. Having a sketchy scholastic background with few diplomas other than those from high school and a basic college education has left him without any particular specialization, even though his majors shifted back and forth between Theater, Communications and Biology. However, his life experience has been exceptionally rich and he has overcome many obstacles along the way. Curiously, he has risen to the challenges that life has given him, but the physical challenges have always been greater than the mental ones. Additionally, his doctors have always tried to steer him away from a sedentary life style, telling him that being physically active was a proven therapy where seizure control was concerned and that, of course, has always been of primary importance.
His work history has been colorful, to say the least! He has worked as a lumberjack, livestock handler, farm hand, rough carpenter, circus roustabout, moving man, machine operator, Civil defense dispatcher, mail handler and as a reading teacher for developmentally disabled children. The few times that he has worked as a salesman found him selling guns, hardware, alcholic beverages and original art. When he had his own shop (Karl's Kollectibles), he sold almost anything that qualified as an antique or collectible, but specialized as much as was practical in paper collectibles, dealing in books, documents, newspapers, autographs and posters. He still has a respectable personal collection of first editions and old newspapers that include headlines from such varied points in history as Lincoln's assassination, the sinking of the Maine and the bombing of Hiroshima.
As is evident in his choice of merchandise for Karl's Kollectibles, his work history keeps returning to one facet or another of writing or publishing. In college he participated in his college newspaper as a writer, columnist, artist and copy editor. After college, he edited newsletters and programs for non profit organizations that he was involved with. He was also a proofreader for the Palm Beach Post-Times (before spell check!), the bindery foreman for Social Issues Resources Series (S.I.R.S.) and a contributing editor for an internationally distributed glossy magazine, The Canary and Finch Journal.
His personal activities and interests have included SCUBA diving, treasure hunting, deep sea fishing, barrel racing (on his own quarter horse), aviculture and the collection of original illustrations and comic art. In recent years, his art collection has grown to include some works from his Ukrainian friends, the sculptor Vlad Ivanov and the artist Sergey Poyarkov. He is also a past president of Epilepsy Concern (a coalition of self help groups), a past president of the Greater Miami Avicultural Society and is a lifetime honorary member of the Florida Sheriff's Association.
Karl's poetry began when he was sixteen, when he wrote his first poem, TheTear, for a school assignment. Ten years later, he entered it along with a few others into a college competition and was very surprised when his first effort took first prize! He later found out that his works had initially taken all three top places! However, the rules of the contest dictated that there could be no more than one prize awarded per student, so there was some consternation when the prize winning poems were matched with the names of the authors and they came up with the same name on all three of them... Of course, the first place winner remained, but the other entries had to be reviewed again to decide upon the second and third place finishers. The pieces that originally took the second and third places were Storm'sEnd and Patterns.
Obviously, Karl has had a very full life despite his disability and his poetry has been an ongoing part of his life, no matter what else he has turned his hand to.
Going Without Peggy is his second book and is totally autobiographical in nature. The story is told of finding and losing the love of his life to breast cancer. That special someone who understood without words what it was like to have the disability that plagued them both. It's all there from the happiness and high spiritedness of a young love that led to marriage, to the deeper feelings and devotion that were evident over time, through seventeen happily married years. That happiness is evident and makes the tragedy that much greater with the onset of breast cancer, a hard fought illness that couldn't be defeated, culminating in her death and the despair of her surviving husband.
At this point let it suffice to say that this author's biography is ongoing and incomplete, as it should be, since he is still alive. Writing this book has been a cathartic experience for him and even though Peggy is no longer a part of this world, she will always be a part of his heart. Nonetheless, he has realized that Peggy would not want him to go through life alone. She would want him to carry on, living his life to the fullest and in the seven and a half years since she passed away, he has done just that. But, then again, that will be another story, perhaps even better than the last...
As it turns out, I was neither a winner nor was I one of the three finalists in my respective genres. How close I came I may never know, but I am proud to have been good enough to be accepted into competition with America's best writers.
Those of you who have read Going Without Peggy already know that it was not written with recompense or award in mind. It's the book that I wish that I never had the reason or ability to write.
However, I did write it and I take pride in the fact that it was published. It is a memorial and a tribute to the love of my life... what we had, what we shared and our last days together. Additionally, it shares the anguish, anger, and slow recovery from deep depression that followed her passing, finally ending on a hopeful note.
Karl Stuart Kline