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Exploring in All Directions

What do I want to do now?

I asked myself that question when John Michael Risaliti (a.k.a.Jon-Michael Reed), my mate of 14 years, died of Chronic Active Hepatitis in his 30s. I thought I was ready for what we both knew was coming, but I wasn't. I lived with painful grief every minute of every day. I had to find something that made me want to go on living – but I had no idea what that might be.

Mostly, Norm was running our publishing, grinding out two-dozen monthly newsstand titles, many of no personal interest to me: AMERICAN ASTROLOGY, BLACK ELEGANCE, FEMALE WRESTLING. I was busy building O'QUINN PRODUCTIONS, the new branch of our business that really excited me – generating entertainment projects that sprang from our genre titles, giving science fiction and horror life beyond the printed page. I had rented an apartment in LA and was spending one week each month producing soundtrack albums, video programs for Paramount and other distributors, networking with Hollywood people, developing FUTURETALES for HBO and a STARLOG TV show with D.C.Fontana (STAR TREK's original head writer) at Lions Gate. I tried to keep up with my demanding work schedule, but depression undercut my usual energy.

I remembered an interview with that magnificent actress Kate Hepburn in which she was asked when she would retire from movies. She replied, "The morning I wake up NOT excited and eager to go to work – that's the day I quit."

It had been a year since I stopped waking up with eager feelings. So I sold my half of the company to Norm and went away. I travelled, read and spent time alone – feeling, thinking, searching.

For several years, I drove to my home in Austin when winter turned Manhattan bleak, and drove back to New York when Texas summer melted me. I usually took a couple of weeks for those twice-yearly drives, all alone, singing and talking to myself for hundreds of miles. Often I'd arrive at a motel for the night, bubbling with fresh ideas. I kept a journal of my highway brainstorming. I dealt with my pain, and came to know myself better than ever.

And then I did something completely different...

CLICK HERE: Club 404 - You Did What?