Tales of the Boojum

Steve, Samantha and NatalieHey! Just who is this Steve Dong guy anyway?

"I'm a writer because it's easier to spell than megalomaniac."

So glad you asked...

(taps mike)

This thing on?

(Shriek of feedback)

(wincing) Oh yeah.

(clears throat, shuffles papers, and skims highlights, muttering) Born... childhood... fell down well... teens... fell down well... ostracized by peers... bitten by radioactive spider... fell down well... college... drugs... sex... fell down well... teaching career... abducted by aliens... fell down well... gained superpowers... battled Legion of Evil... lost superpowers... fell down well... got married... had kids... fell down well...

(clears throat again) HIYA KIDS! WHAT TIME IS IT?!



(more silence)

(more paper shuffling, followed by crumpling of paper and feeding of same to a small dragon)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

(more paper crumpling)

Hello. My name is Steve and I've been a writer for over thirty-five years.


My writing history spans from recent fanfic serials for the alt.games.diablo newsgroup and instructional HTML manuals to college and post-college novels, all the way back to an illustrated short work from my preschool days in which a neighborhood bully was devoured by a tyrannosaurus rex. Other crimes to which I am willing to admit at this time include a pair of musical Star Trek parodies, and holding the world's record for 'Greatest Quantity of Original Dungeons-and-Dragons-Based Material Created by an Author Not Still Living With His Parents.'

(uncomfortable silence; a few people edge toward the door.)

Anyway, what was I talking about?

(Don't worry, gang, it's not early onset Alzheimer's Disease. Just your garden variety idiocy.)

Right. The bio: I was born beneath the shadow of an assassin's bullet.

Man, sometimes you just can't tell how dumb something's going to sound until you actually write it out. Suffice it to say that, like many Americans, I know exactly where I was when President Kennedy got shot. However, since I was still three days away from being a newborn, the event had less of an impact on my life than it might have had otherwise.

Not that I'm complaining about the time into which I was born. My black and Chinese heritages make me the descendant of long lines of slaves and peasants, so I've definitely got it better than the vast majority of my ancestors. I'll take being born and raised in California (with a six-year childhood foray into the wilds of central Pennsylvania) in the latter half of the Twentieth Century over that any day.

So anyway... I was well on my way down that slippery slope that habitual writers go down (Note to self: Bumper sticker idea, "Writers Go Down") by sixth grade when I submitted a script to my class that we later performed for the rest of the school and everyone's parents. Most of the details have, thankfully, been forgotten, but the plot included all of the favorite elements that the class had voted on. These included the 1950's ('Happy Days' was big then), cavemen, cowboys, a fairly politically incorrect tribe of Indians, and a mad scientist. The latter element had received only one vote: mine.

I continued writing through high school. It was at that time that I began playing "Dungeons & Dragons," which, at its foundation, is simply a way of telling stories to a captive audience that has nothing better to do on a Friday night.

I went to the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I considered developing my skills as a writer by majoring in Creative Writing. Unfortunately, "developing my skills as a writer" was apparently a euphemism for developing my ability to write about angst-filled young lesbians waiting in gynecologists' offices. If I'd attended just a few years later, I could have learned how to write about angst-filled, cocaine-abusing yuppies. As a result, the UCSC Creative Writing Department and I firmly rejected one another (or as the Department Head at the time said, "I just don't get all this science-fiction stuff"), and I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.

Following a short, stressful career as an inner-city elementary school teacher, I worked as a data entry clerk and, later, as an office manager and technical editor for a couple of forensic engineering/investigation firms. In 1996, I took a position at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers writing and editing instructional manuals and workbooks for their computer training classes. Currently, I am a technical editor for LSA Associates, where I proof and edit environmental impact reports, cultural and bio studies, and a bunch of other fairly cool stuff.

During that time, I met and married my wife, Catherine. Say hello to all the nice people, Cath.

("Hi, everyone. I've written several screenplays and children's books that are available for production and/or publication. Come to my site at http://brownswan.com/ and I'll be glad to...")

Hey! Hey! Hey! This is my page, remember? It's not like you're not online all the time yourself.

We met at a writers' workshop in Santa Monica.

And we had two lovely little girls, Natalie and Samantha. Well, technically, Catherine had them. I just helped. Can you say hello for Daddy?

("'Hello for Daddy.'")

Wiseacres. Just like their old man. I'm so proud.

Anyway, I'd like to conclude with a partial list of stuff I've written, published and otherwise. Please help yourselves to coffee, juice and danishes in the back.

Steve and NatalieIn private life, I'm a big fan of science-fiction, horror and fantasy, comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, and animation of all sorts. My current favorite computer games are Diablo, Diablo II, Fallout 2, Civilization II, StarCraft, Tomb Raider and Alpha Centauri. My favorite authors include (off the top of my head and in no particular order) Stephen King, Douglas Adams, Larry Niven, Lewis Carroll, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Dr. Seuss, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Aspirin, Phil Foglio and many others.

I'll be happy to take questions, comments, compliments and/or six-figure advances. Not necessarily in that order.




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Last update: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 06:16 AM
Tales of The Boojum.com and all the stories and text contained herein are 1999 - 2004 by Steven Dong.
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