In writing about I’m Looking For A Dinosaur! I realized there were a quite a few significant events in my life that happened in the years ending in the number 9. In 1969 I was only 6 years old and I can’t really point to anything that specifically happened that year, I do remember a lot of stuff from when I was a kid but the dates are fuzzy. I should have kept a planner or something. Anyway, here are the ones I’ve been thinking about recently.
1979: 40 years ago
I was 15 at the start of 1979. I’ll probably write a number of posts about this year soon but for now I’ll hit the high points. This is the year I switched high schools. That alone would make a momentous change in my future but it’s also the first year I worked at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. There are so many stories to tell about that and the two following summers when I worked there. This past weekend I got to spend some time with Frank Hernandez in Jackson. I met him that summer along with many people who have been good friends ever since. Again, many stories to come about 1979.
1989: 30 years ago
This was the first year I worked at Equity Marketing. I was designing and sculpting toys for fast food promotions for Arby’s and Burger King. That year a bunch of us went to the Licensing Show at the Javits Center. My co-worker Nancy and I saw that The Simpsons was going to be a series in the fall and we told our bosses that they should try to get the license for it. They had me sculpt a large Bart Simpson head for a doll prototype and took it to Burger King. Once the deal was done I sculpted the heads of Lisa, Bart and Maggie.
1999: 20 years ago
A lot changed in the decade between 1989 and 1999. I had done so much professionally, I had gotten married, moved to England for a while and then moved back. We had 2 kids in England and our youngest, James, was born in 1998 while I was working as design director at the idea factory, where we created the Meanies characters. That decade ended roughly when I was fired from that position. It was a tough year with a young family to feed and a mortgage to pay. I picked up a few freelance jobs. I did some sculpting for McFarlane Toys and that’s when I was given the assignment of sculpting one of the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. While working on it I interviewed and was hired to be design director at Shelcore Toys and things moved on from there.
2009: 10 years ago
I began this year with my first published book, I’m Looking For A Monster! having been out for six months. Of course I just covered the stories of both my first book and I’m Looking For A Dinosaur! in prior posts to this one.
Who knows what I’ll look back on as a pivotal moment this year. It’s starting of pretty well. I have this blog. I have a bunch of author visits lined up in late February and early March. (I’m always available for more school visits if anyone would like to bring me to their school.) I’m working on a couple of books for next year and the thing I’m looking forward to most is my next book, untitled, which comes out this spring.
So I’ll soon write in more detail about some of the things I’ve summarized here, please follow the blog and spread the word. I’ll try to tell some fun stories and show some cool pictures.