Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Profile: Who Does This Guy Think He Is?

Mark Stephens playing drums for Los Patrons, Phoenix, ArizonaMy goal to become a rich and successful professional drummer was spoiled by the essential need to make a living - I like eating and having running water. Such things are luxuries to musicians. And since I tend to be notoriously reliable and charming, I was apparently over-qualified to be a pro-drummer. Anyway, I'm now stuck in the cycle of actually working-for-food in the family business. This works out quite nicely as I can spend endless hours daydreaming and scheming about my back-up plan, which I conceived in the third grade: I will be a writer when I grow up.

And so I began to write. In the fourth grade, my first exploration with cursive handwriting, entitled what i did over summer, called in images of mountains, horses, backcountry hiking, and noses. Please see the image below and click on it for a larger version; you won't be sorry. This work was featured in Mrs. Thomas's collection of only-passing-because-you-turned-it-in prose, "Assignments -- 4th grade 1985-1986." I enduredChildhood writing by me, a masterpiece harsh criticism for my lack of command over spelling, syntax (for instance ridem' and streem), and poor descriptions. But I endured, you see.

It took me 3 years to fool the fine folks at Arizona State University into awarding me a degree in English, and now I have occasional delusions that I can actually write entertaining, witty, Pulitzer Prize winning pieces. Be not deceived: I thrashed away for several years at the local community college, took an iconic "semester off," and traded a few thousand bucks for a handful of D's and F's with Liberty University (To laugh at the expense of Jerry Falwell, click here).

To appear bonafide, I am a sales person by day; this is how I eat and put neat stuff on my Jeep.

By night, lunchtime and anytime when no one is looking, I write. I take the things I see and experience and scribble them down, turn them into stories. If I didn't, I would not know how to find this:

"..a language of that different yield. A yield rich as the harvests of the earth, a yield that returns us to our own
sacredness, to a self-love that will carry out to others." - Linda Hogan, Dwellings

Clever artwork by me as a childPerhaps you think that is hokey as hell. I think it's important. Yet, I also understand that searching for such a yield through writing is rather idealistic, so no hard feelings if you think it's bunk, OK? In kindergarten, I made the paper off to the left and it's hilarious. I hope you like it. If you are familiar with the Atari 2600 of the early 1980s, my artwork should resemble the fantastically two-dimensional game, Missile Command. Obviously, I wasn't searching for a yield of any type as I was just trying to avoid having to write numbers; I find that this is a perfect testament to my disposition for the written word and all things idiosyncratic.

My job requires that I create reports made up purely of numbers. Somedays this scares me into a coma that is merely restrained for a short while by arrving late at work. Then, like a freak, word-wino I hole up for a long lunch and put ink to paper. For God's sake, look at what numbers did to Saint-Exupery:

"The grown-ups advised me to put away my drawings of boa constrictors
and apply myself instead to gegraphy, history, arithmetic, and grammar.
That is why I abandoned, at the age of six, a magnificent career as an artist...but, of course,
those of us who understand life couldn't care less about numbers."

Despite my tendencies to tinker with words and play around in the wild, I managed to 'snatch this one up'. Here we are on the Inca Trail in Peru, happy-as-can-be after 7 days of torturous hiking at severe elevation with a dysfunctional digestive system. She's the good-looking one in the picture.

Here we are on the Inca Trail in Peru

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert