Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just Who IS this Guy?

Somewhere in here I feel the need to introduce myself so anyone who feels the need can find out a bit about me, or not, as you wish.
I've always loved the opening lines of Steve Martin's "The Jerk", but I won't use it here. I grew up outside a very small town in central Texas, raised by my grandparents. We lived over a gas station/garage and I was pumping gas, doing mechanic and general fix-it work, and entertaining myself from an early age. I read a LOT! We also had some livestock, made and sold handcrafts in the store, and gardened. Hunting and fishing was something I enjoyed often. I graduated from Liberty Hill High School after going through eleven of the twelve grades in the same building.
Electronics was my major when I went to Central Texas College in Killeen, but I changed over to Drafting and Design. For forty years I've been a steel detailer for most of the steel fabricators in central Texas. Along the way I've managed to marry, raise three great kids of my own, and three more who became mine. I have also followed my interests into many areas. In no particular order:
For many years I shot muzzle-loading rifles and pistols competitively. I won a few ribbons, nothing major. I hunted with them as well. I no longer hunt, but I still have the guns. I was a licensed gunsmith for a few years as well.
For 22 or so years I played a Texas Ranger in the annual Sam Bass Shootout in Round Rock, Texas. That got me into:
Theater. Starting in 1981 along with the shootouts, I became involved with Sam Bass Theater in Round Rock. I became an actor with that group, as well as playwright and director. After I moved from Round Rock in the mid-90's, I worked with other local groups including San Gabriel Productions in Georgetown, Way Off Broadway in Leander, and founded Liberty Hill Community Theater in Liberty Hill, where I was playwright in residence.
Writing. I have several successful plays to my credit, most co-written with Barbara Stopp Vance. Several others I did on my own. All are published online on I have other plays and two novels in the works currently. (And this blog, of course.) After moving back to Liberty Hill in the mid '90s, I became one of the founders, and eventually one of the first elected trustees of the Liberty Hill Public Library.
Five years ago I began making and playing Native American style flutes. I enjoy playing them and I sell one occasionally. I also got into African and Middle Eastern hand drumming. I've always loved musical instruments, and collect them. I never learned to read or took music lessons, but I enjoy fooling around with them. My most recent acquisition was a set of bagpipes I picked up on Ebay for a very good price. They were damaged, the damage has already been repaired, I can't wait to start practicing with them! (Thank goodness we live in the country!)
Last year I took a Permaculture Design Course in Austin. For much of my life I have been into organic gardening, a long time reader of Mother Earth News, and very much in favor of a do-it-yourself lifestyle. The PDC course went a long way toward putting all those pieces together. I am now a Permaculture Designer. I'll say more about that in another post.
Three years or so ago, I found my partner, Cat Dancing, and moved near McDade, Texas. We are soul mates. She is an artist in Intarsia, a type of wood mosaic art, as well as stained glass, jewelry, and other things. (Another eclectic soul.) We put together our own workshop this year. We share many of the same tools, as well as woods. I with my flutes and other projects, and Cat with hers.
Along with my interest in the Native American flutes, and this RainCrow name I have chosen for myself, I am asked often if I am Native American. I do have some Choctaw blood (I believe). Another of my interests has been genealogy. I was a long time member of the Williamson County Genealogical Society as well as the County Historical Commission. My grandmother's grandmother was Native American and Choctaw seems the most likely tribe. We haven't been able to trace that any further. At any rate, I am proud of the connection, but it certainly isn't enough to legally claim!
The Native American and shamanistic view of the universe has always been a part of my life. I was raised in one of the more fundamental Christian sects. I was very active in that church until I was in my 40's, but at heart many of the subsidiary teachings never really sat well with me. There always seemed to be a lot that just didn't add up. Inside myself I had my own views. I always did read a lot, I learned early on that my views were pagan. For the past several years I have been connected with Tejas Web in Austin. It is a very loosely knit group of eclectic pagans of many varieties who do public rituals and classes together. I rank many of these members among my closest friends and even chosen family now. Along with this has come a renewed interest in the Tarot. Cat Dancing, my partner, is a very accomplished Tarot reader and teacher locally, and my studies with her are ongoing.
I have found many good applications of the Tarot to writing, which I am exploring currently.
We just finished another very good season with the new Sherwood Forest Faire near here in Paige, Texas. This was the second year of a brand new renaissance festival here. Cat and I took the plunge and began building our permanent booth there. It's had a very successful couple of seasons now. Next year look us up. Booth 309, Cat Dancing Creations!
That's my tip of the iceberg for this round. All of it will re-appear no doubt in future posts, as well as the million and one things I didn't mention. I plan to share a lot of what I have learned about most of these subjects and whatever else interests me at the time. Stay tuned!

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