Life is full of interesting people, and the internet makes it easier than ever to meet people from around the world who have stories to tell. The other day, for example, I received an email, out of the blue, from a writer in Florida who signed his name David Spielberg. Curious, I asked him in my reply if he was related by any chance to Steven Spielberg the director. David took my sense of humour and went with it, replying: “Not yet related to Steven.” And then added: “But I am a first cousin to Carole King the singer.”
Small world. Internet world.
I asked David to fill me in a bit on his life so far.
”Not missing a beat, he replied: “I received my PhD. in physics in 1970 from the City University of New York Graduate Center. My research was performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
”My first novel, ‘On Deception Watch’, was written on a challenge and was based on and leveraged from a visit I made to KMS Fusion at the behest of Universal Oil Products (UOP) management who had been asked me, as the resident physicist at the time, to evaluate their technology. KMS Fusion had succeeded in producing laser-induced fusion ignition where every other lab on Earth working on the problem had failed. They had approached UOP to solicit funds to continue their research.
”The company was harassed to death along with its founder, Kiev M. Siegel, who died at the podium while testifying before the U.S. Congress about government interference with his research. In my novel, the way I wrote it, however, the company and the founder survive.
”I also worked as a regular columnist for the New Haven Register newspaper in Connecticut for a while.
”Another novel ‘On Vestige Way’ followed some years later. I was teaching Environmental Science, among other subjects, while Science Chairman at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina. At the time there was no market for Environmental Science textbooks from the big publishers so I adopted a textbook I found that was self-published and used Al Gore’s ‘Earth in the Balance’ as a supplemental text.
David, in his late 60s or 70s, (I forget which, and really, does it matter?) explained that while ”On Deception Watch” was about the effort to convert the world to a hydrogen energy economy, ”On Vestige Way” was about the failure to do so in time. It was in Wilmington that David also became a regular commentator for National Public Radio affiliate station WXEL, he told me.
“Moving to Florida to become science chairman at The Benjamin School, I took up writing poetry and published and edited a regional poetry journal. Some of my poems were published in literary journals. I self-published a collection of my poems, ‘Hard Times,’ and a collection of my NPR commentaries, ‘Off the Top of My Head.’
“I also self-published a psychodrama, ‘My First Life’, written entirely in first person, present tense. For several years now I have been facilitating a weekly gathering of accomplished writers where I renewed my interest in global warming. So I decided to write a novel about post-catastrophic environmental collapse.
“All my work has been self-published using an Amazon do-it-yourself publishing service, except for my first book, ‘On Deception Watch,’ which was published by Xlibris.
”While getting great reviews by the people who actually read my novels, I find writing and promoting to be two separate skills. I recently began reaching out again to literary agents and stumbled on your blog in The Times of Israel.
“By the way, for some reason my principal characters in the trilogy of novels are women. I have no explanation for this except that they asserted their importance as the writing proceeded.
“Danny, I hope this brief summary of my writing life is helpful. I believe after more than sixty years of a love affair with writing I have picked up some skill at this game. Of course, if you wish to write about my journey as an author, I would be honored.
”Anyway, my internet friend, stay safe and anything you can do to promote my work would be so appreciated. My 89-year-old aunt just called to say she couldn’t put my recent novel down and was fascinated by it. That’s the kind of reaction I’m looking for.”
So you’ve just met David Spielberg, first cousin to Carol King. I enjoyed meeting him online, too, and I’m reading his new novel set in Siberia and Mongolia now at my home overseas.