Tim Prasil rhymes with “grim fossil,” which I hope is a misleading bit of autobiographical poetry. I don’t know. Perhaps there’s something there.
Nonetheless, I grew up in Illinois, far enough from Chicago to feel like a small-town boy — but close enough to Chicago to use that as the easiest way to indicate where I grew up.
At an early age, I developed a love for stories. Now, I’m not sure how historically accurate this story is, but my memory tells me that I was something of a playwright at a young age. I would make up stories — not bothering to write them down, mind you — and coerce my playmates to act them out for what few kids remained in the neighborhood. I believe the price of admission was a dime, a cost easily circumvented by simply watching these backyard performances from the adjoining backyard. Well. Few writers tell stories to earn a lot of money.
At a later stage, I again earned very little money in the radio broadcasting field. I was a terrible on-air personality, but I did okay writing commercials. It let me explore my love of radio drama, an interest I had developed under the thrall of The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre in cahoots with the Firesign Theatre. Tragically, the clients paying for those commercials were more interested in sales than in ingenious plot twists and unexpected characterizations. Well. I was frustrated by having to limit my audio plays to 30 seconds, anyway.
I then left the airwaves for longer stories and for the classroom. I became an English professor. After many years of writing the kind of important and penetrating literary analyses that almost no one really wants to read, I returned to inventing persons and making up stories. Sometimes, I do so on the page. Sometimes, I coerce actors to act them out.
Either way, the dimes are still few. But storytelling certainly does seem to be something I was born to do.