About Jerry Tuck:
The title of my memoirs will be called Oklafornia. No, I’m not trying to rip off Californication, that gritty cable series set in L.A. Although that show’s protagonist is also a script writer there is one big difference; he has sold scripts. Not I. Still, I have ten scripts registered with the WGA-West and am working on breaking into that market. What my title really refers to is the time my parents spent traveling between Oklahoma to California. My dad was looking for work in California but hankering to be back in the old country/state with his kin. My mother was eager to see more of her family which had centered in the valley around Modesto, California. As a result, my oldest brother was born in Oklahoma, the second oldest bro was born in California. Older sister, Oklahoma. As the fourth child, I was born in Modesto, CA. Younger sister, Oklahoma. Younger brother, California. Thus the title and theme of this bio and my future memoirs. A sub-text of my story might well be The bible versus the bottle. I’ll let you, “kind reader” (as Stephen King, one of my favorite authors likes to say) fill in those blanks.
Currently, sixty-five years after that natal event at Modesto General (if that is indeed what they called the country hospital that took in patients from the very mobile work force that was harvesting the lush crops up and down the state’s central valley, I am retired and living in the foothills of Calaveras County. I can see the valley but looking back at those younger days of cotton sacks and peach lugs is more fun than remembering being part of a cheap labor force. My long suffering wife is basically from El Paso, Texas by way of the U.S. Army. Our two children, now parents of their own, still reside in California’s Sonoma County where they grew up. We have to incredible grandson’s (Jimmy and Jacob) by our son and one breathtakingly beautiful baby girl by our daughter (Scout). It helps to know that To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel and top five movies. It seems to have had an impact on my daughter as well.
One of my earliest memories is an elementary assignment. We either had to write an essay or try our hand at a story. I wrote about a boy in an adobe house. That is all I remember from that assignment but since then writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I continued to make the creative writing over essays choice right through a BA degree at Sonoma State University. After a first novel, which I still threaten to dust off and edit into shape, and many short stories, I saw the movie TITANTIC. The movie wasn’t part of my epiphany, but what I realized is that movies aren’t going away. At times it seems like Hollywood is intent on remaking every movie and comic book ever published (the 3D version of TITANTIC is due out as I write this bio) but script is a great way to force yourself to be brief, to show not tell, to use dialogue correctly and effectively. I’m posting samples of a few of my scripts so you can judge for yourself. At the scripts link I also have the loglines for the potential movies as well as a synopsis for each script.
Other links will point the curious to a sample short story and a list of short stories with their own loglines like you can read with the movie concepts.
A couple of years after this epiphany about movies, I decided to start a novel to spread out my own gene pool. Not putting all those eggs in one baset, don’t you know. I took one idea for a script and fleshed it out into the novel I am hawking on the home page of my website. That novel done and weighing in at 800+ pages, I let it ferment while I took a vampire script and fleshed it out to at least novella length.
That is as current as I can be. I fell in love with the game of tennis and still play in my dotage. I actually get more out of the game now than when I was younger because I now need Tai Chi for the body and mind to deal with the frustration of my wheels falling off while my brain still sees itself as a punk kid. I would call myself a pacifist and a quasi-Buddhist. I believe we each carry our own God inside us and that that relationship is the most important one in the universe. It forms what we are as human beings, or, in some cases, not human.
I still thump out Who tunes on my acoustic guitar and plot how to escape long enough to see a Social Distortion, Drop Kick Murphy or Drive-by Truckers show. Responsibility put the kybosh on my son and I attending jam band festivals but I still wear the T-shirts from some excellent Dead, Allman Brothers, Phish and Widespread Panic shows.
Reading tends to wander between Mr. King mentioned above and Mr. Shakespeare which has scant bearing on my writing but flows like blood through my arteries. My favorite book, besides Mockingbird, has to be GRAPES OF WRATH.
There is also a contradiction in my love of music too. While nothing thrills me more than Pete Towshend’s guitar pick wind milling through a power chord, I saw WEST SIDE STORY eight times in one weekend after my older brother took me to see the inaugural show. One of my fondest recent memories is the immediate family all trooping down to see FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on the stage at San Francisco with a dinner at The House Of Primerib afterwards. The night wasn’t dampened on bit by the picketers outside holding up signs that read God hates Fags simply because Harvey Fierstein was playing Tevye in that production. Older brother, who I consider a father figure as well as primarily responsible for keeping me out of the penitentiary during my last two years of high school, also introduced me to Rodgers and Hammerstein.