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Who is Paul J. Joseph?

I am Paul J. Joseph and this is my web site. I don't say that in arrogance, only to indicate that I am taking credit and blame for everything here, and I bare the financial obligation to support this server space. This site is devoted to my work and my world view, but that does not mean that I am unwilling to accept the views of others.

While I was always interested in science fiction writing, I only really began writing in 1996 in a small room of a brick building in Fremont Nebraska sometime after the hour of 11:PM (more on that later). At an early age I always wanted to tell stories, make movies, and create photographic art. As a young man I had enthusiasm but no discipline. I developed discipline at that point where I knew I would one day have to feed myself and pay rent. Thus, in my college years I rejected writing and art as a primary means of making a living. Well, actually this took a few years. My first stage was to insist that I would make a living as a photographer, before I really understood what that meant. I went to Mass College of Art to study photography. Then I found out what what it me ant to be an artist. I met two artists who I respected and who I believed were doing their best to follow their dreams. Neither made a living with their art. One worked as a cook. Art for them became a very expensive hobby. Because I wanted to get married, I knew I could not go that route. Instead I left Mass Art and went for a degree in chemistry.

I went to Framingham State College and studied chemistry with the intention of becoming a doctor. My father was a scientist and I had some (but few) of those genes. After struggling to understand calculus, my eyes were opened. During winter break I got out my camera and took some pictures. Something out there inspired me and I spent the week in my darkroom perfecting one image that somehow inspired me so. That is when I knew that my art had to be a part of my life. I didn't go back to art school, however. Instead I studied communication. I expanded photography to include film making and television. I used the writing skill I always had to include scripts and screenplays. Then my journey began.

An artist can not easily make a living as an artist. A professional videographer can not always function as an artist either. There is a balance. Working three years as a video technician taught me many things, but most of which was that the people writing the scripts had the most power, but that those people rarely got to write their own words. All video work had to pay for itself and much of it was boring. How does one get the right to express their own creativity? I decided to go into teaching!

After getting my Masters degree at Emerson College in Boston, I sought a job as a teacher. The idea was to help others learn the art of video production while at the same time having the opportunity to develop my own work. This proved to be harder than I thought. You see, I chose the school that I thought would teach me the most, not the one that would give me the best credentials. An MA is not a terminal degree. And MFA is. I could have gotten an MFA very easily and without learning much at an inexpensive college I considered. The real education I got at Emerson yielded me credentials that were problematic in education. I did, however, have friends in education. My first job took me out of the country, where I taught at EIIC Emerson College in The Netherlands. I loved this job and I expanded my mind greatly by living abroad. But the job didn't last. My wife at the time did not enjoy living abroad and the college wasn't doing well in Europe. The program was changed and my job was rendered redundant after one year. With the struggles of finding work, my writing continued to take a back seat.

My next full-time teaching job took me to Fremont Nebraska. I will not insult Fremont or Nebraska, but I'll be honest in saying that I did not belong there and didn't stay very long. But, while staying up late looking for another job on what passed for the Internet at the time, a pivotal moment in my life took place. I had to wait 20 minutes for a download of information for some job posting service that probably amounted to nothing. Anyway, I had twenty minutes and nothing to do. I had a story idea in the back of my mind, however, that ultimately grew into my first novel. I spent those twenty minutes writing the first chapter. By the third night in my office typing on one of the first MAC computers with the tiny screen and keyboard, I had written enough of the novel that I couldn't stop. When I left for North Carolina to work in Fayetteville at Methodist College, I left with my first manuscript. Where did the novel come from? I don't know, but five others came with it, and I've been tapping away ever since.

I live in North Carolina now, and make my living as a college professor, now department chair of communication at Methodist University. I still love video production and independent film and my wife Ty and I work with our good friends and colleagues Jerry and Mel Taylor to produce independent films and industrial videos wonder the name Venture Productions. In thirteen years of writing novels and taking my stories seriously, my efforts at publishing have been futile. And by futile, I don't mean moderately unsuccessful, I mean ZERO SUCCESS. I have written literally hundreds, probably thousands of query letters, spent a small fortune on postage, and bought useless books about how to publish. I have also been the victim of more scams than I thought could exist, most having to do with crooked agents and other such schemes. After all that, I've had enough. I am utterly convinced that virtually none of the manuscripts and query letters I have sent out were ever read by anybody. I don't know how new authors get published, but it is quite clear to me that they have diplomatic and problem solving skills that I do not. I therefore now choose to offer my writings free of charge in the forum of podiobooks.com. My hope is to allow my work to be enjoyed by whoever has the vision and desire to give it a chance. That is what publishing was always intended to be. If it ultimately leads to my getting the attention of publishers, fine. If not, that is no longer the point of my writing anyway.

Well, that is my sermon for today. I'm not preachy normally, but this web site is mine to do so, and you are free to judge whether or not I make sense to you. If I do, feel free to enjoy my works. If not, thank you for giving me your attention thus far, and continue your search for enlightenment elsewhere. For those of you who remain, I hope to share insights that you will find valuable. To bring my story to the present, in two days I will become a father for the first time in my life. My new son, Ian, is named after one of my characters. The character of Ian Merryfield was born in that tiny office in Nebraska on the screen of a MAC computer around 11:PM. Ian Sampson Joseph is not Ian Merryfield. I didn't create Ian Joseph any more than I created Ian Merryfield. In both cases, these men existed. I just had the honor of deciding what their names would be. Writers, keep on writing. Readers keep on reading. In any case, take yourselves seriously even if nobody else does.

God bless you all.

Paul J. Joseph