Among other things that I've done or haven't done, this is my list. Some are things I'm proud of and others are not. Some are joyous and some are sad. Do not feel obliged to read it. It's more for me to put out there than for anyone else.
That said, it is much of who I am.
I've been to the Giza Plateau in Egypt and stood inside the pyramid of Chefren.
I've walked across the Rialto Bridge in Venice that Shakespeare spoke of.
I've rappelled down a waterfall in a rainforest in Puerto Rico.
I've directed a vampire movie in a quarter-mile long cave with over 80,000 bats flying overhead.
I was married to my childhood sweetheart for nearly 25 years.
I've snorkeled in the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
I've Para-sailed over Hawaii.
I've piloted an airplane for ten minutes at night over Southern California.
I've ridden in helicopters over the Grand Canyon and a volcano in Hawaii.
I've stood in the Vatican Courtyard and received a blessing from the Pope.
I've had dinner and a show at the Moulon Rouge in Paris.
I've seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
I've held my daughter in my arms an hour after she died.
I've held my healthy sons within hours after they were born.
I held my wife's hand while all three children were born.
I squeezed my mom's hand at her funeral.
I kept a promise to my dad to get all six of his kids together in the same room, "without one of you being horizontal."
I've looked at New York from the 86th floor observation deck on the Empire State Building.
I've looked at the Empire State Building from my office window in New York City.
I've ridden on a boat underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and driven over it.
I've created jobs for family, friends and strangers.
I've been to the Alamo and I remember.
I hung out for an afternoon with Aerosmith.
I listened to Merle Haggard sing some of my favorite songs in a bar that held less than a hundred people. He was 20 feet away and much shorter than I thought.
I've written a Sunday Comic Strip-- Flash Gordon.
I've written and/or drawn comic books about my child-hood heroes-- Batman, Superman and the Fantastic Four.
I've given work to my real-world idols; hiring comic book artists and actors whose work I admired.
I've watched my sons grow into men and I'm proud of them.
I watched my wife grow distant in a span of 6 months.
I directed Gary Busey in a film for 3 days and it was the 3 most difficult days of my professional life to that point.
I directed Jake Busey in a film for a month and it was a great experience.
I love theme parks and opening nights at movies.
I hate crowds.
I find peace at the ocean and the desert.
I bought a house and built a small movie theater in it.
I've driven across America many times.
I saw my son graduate from film school.
I've held the hand of friends who'd lost people they loved.
I've watched as friends get married.
I've watched as friends got divorced.
I've watched as friends had children.
I've watched friends succeed and fail.
I've been in Hitler's Eagles Nest over Saltzburg, Austria.
I've stood in the courtyard of the house where Leonardo Da Vinci was born.
I've written, produced, directed and edited movies.
I've given money to homeless people.
I've turned my head when asked for change.
I've let a stranger sleep on my couch.
I had the actor Jeffrey Combs, who played the Re-Animator, sleep on my couch.
I've signed my name 5,000 times in a weekend and was paid $2.00 per signature.
I've written comic books that sold nearly a million copies.
I've written comic books that sold less than a thousand copies.
I've sat in the house of the man who did the make-up for The Exorcist and talked with him for hours.
I've had lobster and beans with tortillas in Mexico.
I gave an old man $40 after he stopped me on the street of NYC and asked for help to buy a train ticket home.
I killed 6 hours once in Manhattan because I was afraid I would miss my Greyhound bus home to Kentucky.
I've drawn Hidden Picture Puzzles for Highlights for Children.
I've raked a square mile of high desert with friends because of bureaucracy and someone else's mistake.
I've shown great discipline in getting my work done.
I've procrastinated and avoided doing things I knew I should.
I've lost my temper when I felt I was being wronged.
I've kept an even keel when I knew I was being mistreated.
I've slept under the stars in the Mojave Desert.
I've walked through the Sahara Desert.
I survived, along with my wife, for a week on $12.00 in 1985.
I had written about characters using pistols for years, but didn't fire one until 1997.
I once shot a compound bow and the line struck my left fore-arm leaving a massive bruise for over a week.
I've watched men and women strike each other for pleasure.
I've been alone in a department store at night during a burglary attempt that I eventually stopped.
I married the first girl I ever really dated.
I would do it again.
I miss my wife terribly.
I've done martial arts training with Star Wars' Darth Maul.
I've been told by a person that my comic book was their first and they've collected and enjoyed them ever since.
I've been sent emails telling me that I was horrible, had no talent and really needed to stop.
I've been sent emails telling me that my horror movies are a regular part of the way that person celebrates Halloween.
I've felt invincible.
I've felt as if I was going to die at any minute.
I've had friends that I felt were as close as brothers.
I've lost friends that I once felt were as close as brothers.
I've had brothers that I felt were as close as Uncles.
I stood at the funeral of my childhood best friend and cried.
I had a psychic tell me incredibly accurate things about my life and my wife and children when I was 26. She said I would lose my wife when I was 42. I thought she'd meant by death.
That same psychic said I'd be diagnosed with diabetes and have a heart attack a year or two later. So far, she's wrong about that.
I've sung sad country songs.
I've sung in a bar while the room sang along and danced.
I've visited Alcatraz.
I've been inside a submarine that went to 110 feet below the surface of the ocean.
I never drank alcohol until a year ago when I tried Absinthe. I didn't care for it, but the ritual was fascinating.
I smoked a pipe as an intellectual affectation at 19 years old.
I could not afford a deerstalker cap and cape at 19 years old.
I've been on the front page of a newspaper several times, including USA Today.
I was asked (after discussing the Biblical destruction of Sodom) by a 21 year old woman to explain what "sodomy" was.
I survived a Timeshare sales pitch for two hours.
My first car was a gift.
My next four cars cost less than $300 each.
I've watched my films in a theater with hundreds of other people and cringed.
I've watched my films in a theater with hundreds of other people and felt incredible pride.
I wrote a comic book story about Christmas where the near-suicidal protagonist received a $2,000 advance check. A week later, I received a $2,000 advance for a new job.
I watched 42nd Street near Time Square transform from a filthy, pornographic, disease-ridden area to a Disneyfied, family entertainment center.
I miss the old 42nd Street.
I once threw a spinning back kick and shattered a man's cup.
I'm relatively sure that cup had to be defective.
I used to spar with a former Navy Seal. He broke two of my ribs and a toe.
I sparred two people at the same time and took a kick to the chin that locked my jaw.
I've been more than intimate with two people at the same time.
I had a chinese beetle enter my right ear and rupture my ear drum at 18 years old.
I had the Army go to great lengths to recruit me when I was 20 years old because of my high test scores and ability to hear unusually high frequencies.
I'm allergic to dog dander and cats.
I once had a coughing fit so bad during one of these allergic attacks that I nearly died while laughing.
I have good friends, relatives and companions who care for me. And I for them.
I've shaken hands with Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen.
I've been on a bus tour, signing autographs at comic book stores across the mid-west, with fans lined up around the block.
I've sat in a comic book shop for hours at a signing, only to sign a handful of autographs.
I made friends with Russian immigrants living in NYC while I was in Egypt.
I've made my living creating illusions and telling stories.
I've spent my life wanting to be a good man.
I've done some good things.
I've thought horrible thoughts.
I've had wonderful, loving thoughts.
I've found that making lists can be aid procrastination and be cathartic at the same time.
I've planned how to build businesses and create a better life for myself, my family and my friends.
And I did it.