Everything You Wanted To Know About John, But Were Too Polite To Ask
Everything You Wanted To Know About John, But Were Too Polite To Ask
(Something of a FAQ)

Define your goal in life.

Overall? Well let's see...
Several years ago, while sitting in the campus coffee shop with some friends, someone asked me, "What would you rather be? Rich or famous?" to which I replied immediately, "Famous." Another friend of mine butted in and corrected me. "No John, you want to be notorious!"
I saw absolutely no reason to argue.

What do you do in real life?

Writing is real life. I do not believe that one's job or occupation sufficiently defines oneself. Do you mean how do I earn a living wage?


I work for a small printing company in Rhode Island as a typesetter and graphic designer. I've had worse jobs. I've had better. This pays the bills (mostly).

What's this about you working for the SFWA Bulletin?

I'm now the Bulletin's Production Manager. The work I do for it is pretty much the same as what I do for some of the magazines at my day job. I'm looking forward to digging into the first issue and working with the rest of the staff.

Okay, so you also write. Tell me about that.

I write every morning for about an hour, and again in the evenings for another two hours. Sometimes longer. On weekends, I manage to get in yet two more additional hours per day. The key is persistence, and the willingness to put yourself on a schedule that you follow through on. Even if I spend days writing absolute drek, at least I'm writing and, hopefully, improving on the craft. I've started making some professional sales in both fiction and nonfiction. I'm very pleased with that.

What do you write?

My first instinct in writing is to write science fiction. Sometimes I'll work on fantasy and an occasional "mainstream" story. Most are short stories, although I have started two novels (a science fiction and a fantasy), each of which are fighting it out to see which one gets settled on to complete first. I _always_ have stories out on submission. Rejection is part of the process. getting overly discouraged is not.

Lately I've been doing a few freelance gigs and exploring more. Write what you know, they sayy, so I'm focusing mostly on freelance projects related to writing, science fiction or fantasy, medieval literature, RPG gaming, book reviews, and Japanese language, history, or culture. If you know of anything that pays, lemme know!

What about poems. What? You don't write poetry? Too macho for poetry, are you, huh? I should come over there with a baseball bat and--

Whoa. Hold up. I write the odd poem as well. They aren't very good, although I've a few I am spending more time with than others that I may send out just to see what happens. The SFPA has bought one, a long one, so keep an eye open for that.

Put the bat down.

Sorry. Okay. So short stories, novels, poetry, anything else?

I dabble in cartooning and game design. I may post a few cartoons here in time, and even one of the games I'm working on when the time comes for outside playtesting. Just another outlet for creative energies.

Who are your favorite authors?

That's a hard one--there are just too many. Way too many. To try and list them all, or even a sample, would be quite a challenge. With that said, here's a list of names that roll off the top of my head. These are authors who I, again in no particular order, enjoy and admire: Charles Dickens, W. Somerset Maugham, J.P. Donleavy, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Mike Resnick, James Clavell, Joe Haldeman, Jack Haldeman, Robert Sawyer, Anne McAffrey, George R. R. Martin, Hal Clement, Tom Clancy, Tom Sharpe, John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Geoffrey Chaucer, Albert Camus, Dave Barry, David Eddings, Stephen Donaldson, Katherine Kerr, Jean Webster, loads loads more!

Name one book that you feel speaks to you the most. One!

Ha! This is my FAQ, so I'm going to give you two. THE RAZOR'S EDGE by W. Somerset Maugham and THE GINGERBREAD MAN by J. P. Donleavy.

Music. What about music?

I'm pretty eclectic in my music choices, but I tend to stay away from most Top 40 trash. In no particular order, some of my favorite msucians/bands include: Todd Rundgren, Eastend x Yuri, The Chieftains, The Presidents of the U.S.A., The Kingston Trio, Joni Mitchell, Fear, Megumi Hayashibara, Black Flag, John Hartford, X, The Clancy Brothers, Kikuko Inoue, Blink 182, Yo-Yo-Ma, Green Day, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, Nanase Aikawa, Newgrass Revival, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, The Pretty-Good Gospel Quartet, Mahki Ogura, John Hiatt.
This list is by no means complete.

I hear you drive a really cool car. is this true?

I used to drive an 89 Mitsubishi Mirage with delusions of grandeur. Now I drive an 88 Vokswagen Golf that I have dubbed The Brave Little Toaster after it's successful running of me up and back from Readercon despite a spotty starter. You must be thinking of my dad who drives a Lexus. The IRS would love to know how.

I looked on some of your offsite webpages. Are you still involved with retro-computing?

Sadly, no. I've had to make some sacrifices in order to pursue my writing. That was one of them. I still have a few old systems in storage, but they've not been powered up in a couple of years. I'm no longer seeking new acquisitions to the collection.

How about anime? That was another of your major hobbies.

I still enjoy anime, and view it often--or even just have it playing in the background. I've not added anything to my collection recently--mostly because of cost. What used to be available fairly cheaply as fansubs are now prohibitively expensive as commercial US releases. I still grab it whenever I can cheaply, and I still read manga and collect certain titles, but I don't have the time to follow it as devotedly as I did in my otaku days.

What about this Japanese stuff. What's the story?

I got interested in Japanese language and culture back when I was in high school. Growing up in Westerly, RI did not offer many opportunities to follow up on this interest beyond books, but many years later I began taking language classes in addition to my own self-study and became involved with the RI-Japan Language and Culture Center for whom I am now acting as Vice President. My spoken Japanese actually isn't all that good yet, but my listening and reading comprehension isn't too bad for someone who started studying past childhood. Most of my responsibilities revolve around the English-language needs of the center and its fundraising efforts.
I have a pretty decent collection of history books, mostly focusing on the Meiji Restoration and Admiral Perry's arrival up to World War II.

Any other wierd hobbies, interests, or fascinations?

I have a fondness for old wooden sailing ships, especially whalers. There's only one wooden whaling sailing ship left, that's the Charles W. Morgan docked at Mystic Seaport, but I have a wierd fascination for these people who would go out to sea on these boats and hunt these immense animals at such great risk. Read Moby Dick sometime. I love marinas and the sea. I don't think I could ever live someplace that was more than an hour's drive from the ocean. That would just seem wrong.

Let's get back to writing. Any good books on the subject?

WORLDS OF WONDER by David Gerrold

There are others, but these should give anyone more than a good start.

Ah! You left one out, didn't you?

You have sharp eyes, my friend. Another highly recommended book is one that I'm currently involved in the production of... THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WRITING FANTASY. I wrote the chapter on Literary Roots of Fantasy. Other writers have contributed other chapters and the project will be first published as an e-book from Twilight Times Press and due out October, 2002. We're currently arranging for a print publisher. I'll have more information on this as it develops.

You have quite a few links to comic strip sites on your links page. Care to explain?

I've been collecting cartoon strip collections since I was a kid. The name "tumble" in my e-mail address was inspired by an early on-line name, Tumbleweeds, which was based on the Tom Ryan cartoon strip about the hapless cowboy.
I regularly read Doonesbury, Foxtrot, For Better Or For Worse, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, On the Fast Track, Non-Sequiter, and whatever else sits on the comic page. I'm also a fan of several web-comics such as Kevin and Kell, Player vs. Player, Lang Lang, Angst Technology, Megatokyo, Machall, As-If!, Penny Arcade, and RPGWorld.
I also regularly grab New Yorker collections of cartoons.

What's with the beard and long hair?

I like it.

Rumor has it you used to be a punk.

Heh, define punk. I never had green spikey hair, but I was drummer for a punk garage band called Gothic Snowtire while in college. I dropped out to work on my thesis on Anglo-Saxon poetry and was replaced by a guy who used to be in The Dead Boys. They played CBGBs in NYC a few times.

So you drum.

Not in a number of years. I can play a bit of guitar though.

Punk guitar?

No. Mostly folk and bluegrass.

So does this FAQ have a point?

Only that which you feel it deserves. Writing this was partly an exercise in between some other jobs. Partly it was a way-of-introduction. Take it for what you will.

I've got a question and/or a comment.

Great! You can e-mail me at tumble@ids.net. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting!

John Teehan's Home Page

last updated 08/11/02 - copyright  2002 by John Teehan.