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I began my teaching career in 1969. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I began substitute teaching in Oakland, a baptism by fire.

In 1972, after much traveling, I received my teaching credential from Sonoma State, now fully trained to teach high school history. Trouble was, I didn't want to teach in a high school. So I traveled again, occasionally giving career plans serious thought.

In 1977, I began to write in earnest. Settling into the stands of an abandoned soccer stadium in Florence, Italy, I penned a short story about an experience I had in Meshad, Iran. Over the years, the story grew into a novel. It still sits in my desk drawer.

Then I wrote a long nonfiction piece about my previous life as an umpire in professional baseball. Titled "Dress Blues and Tennis Shoes," it recounts my days traveling the South and umpiring in the Texas League with a black partner. It was well received by everyone who read it, a list that did not include anyone actually interested in publishing it.

At last I found a workable writing niche. I began to interview and profile world-class adventure athletes--climbers, long-distance runners and cyclists, speed skiers, and so on. As of this writing, I have profiled more than sixty such athletes and authored 40 books, including "How to Write Your Life Stories: Memoirs that People Want to Read."

I have been teaching autobiographical writing for fourteen years now. I love not only what it does for the students, but what it does for me. Autobiographical writing classes offer students and teachers alike intellectual stimulation, camaraderie, thought-provoking discussions, and a lot of laughs. I am a big fan.