Meeks, Christopher 1953–
Meeks, Christopher 1953–
(Christopher Nelson Meeks)
PERSONAL: Born September 13, 1953, in Minneapolis, MN; son of George Nelson and Sidney Young Meeks; married Carol Anne Fuchs, May 26, 1985 (divorced, March, 2001); married Anne Marie Pibel, June 21, 2003; children: (first marriage) Zachary Edward; (stepchildren) Ellen Marie Tirapelle. Education: University of Denver, B.A., 1976; University of Southern California, M.F.A., 1983.
ADDRESSES: Home—Los Angeles, CA. Office—School of Film and Video, California Institute of the Arts, 24700 McBean Pkwy., Valencia, CA 91355. Agent—Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, 1 Union Sq. W., Ste. 904, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Prelude Press, Los Angeles CA, senior editor, 1983–87; California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, writer and editor, 1987–2000, adjunct professor, 1994–. Inherit the Earth Technologies (software producer), owner, 1990–95. Adjunct professor at Santa Monica College, 1998–, University of California, Extension, Los Angeles, 1999–; Art Center College of Design, instructor, 2003–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Donald Davis Dramatic Writing Award, 1982, for Henry's Room; first place award, Playwrights Festival Competition, University of Southern California, 1983, for Fiveplay; grant from Pilgrim's Project, 1997; Noble Prize for best fiction, MyShelf.com, 2005, for The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea.
Fiveplay, produced in Los Angeles, CA, at Playwrights Festival Competition, University of Southern California, 1983.
On Being a Writer, Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1989.
Japan: World Partner (juvenile), Rourke Publishing Group (Vero Beach, FL), 1990.
(With Peter McWilliams) The Personal Computer Book, Prelude Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1990.
Skydiving (juvenile), Capstone Press (Mankato, MN), 1991.
Roald Dahl (juvenile), Rourke Publishing Group (Vero Beach, FL), 1993.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (juvenile), Rourke Publishing Group (Vero Beach, FL), 1993.
Suburban Anger (play), produced in Los Angeles, CA, at Playwrights Arena, 1993.
Who Lives? (play), produced in Los Angeles, CA, at Twenty-Fourth Street Theater, 1997.
The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea (short stories), White Whisker Books (Los Angeles, CA), 2005.
Other writings include the screenplay Henry's Room and a short story available for purchase on the Internet titled "The Sun Is a Billiard Ball." Contributor to books on personal computers and electronics; work represented in anthologies, including The Southern California Anthology, Volume 14, 1997. Author of "Personal Computers," a nationally syndicated column, 1985–96; theater critic, Daily Variety, 1989–96; author of "Electronic Writer," a column in Writer's Digest, 1997–98; author of "Write Away," a column in the Internet periodical E-Fuse Online, 1999–. Contributor of short stories and reviews to periodicals, including Clackamas Literary Review, Midday Moon, Writer's Forum, Santa Barbara Review, Cinefantastique, Desktop Publishing, PC Today, Chic, New York Times, and Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Editor in chief, CalArts Current, 1987–2000.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Two novels, The Brightest Moon of the Century and The Laughter and Sadness of Sex.
SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Meeks told CA: "Careers are interesting things because one's interest and focus can change. Mine have. Out of college, I was first interested in filmmaking, and I moved to Los Angeles from Denver, convinced it might take more than two weeks to make a dent. I thought two months was not unreasonable. I landed a job at the Pan Pacific camera store on La Brea, kitty-corner to Pink's Hot Dogs, to bide my time while I wrote, made movies, and waited to be discovered. My old college roommate, Andy, and I not only found an apartment together near the Hollywood sign, but I wrote a ten-minute movie that I would direct and he would shoot with 35mm film. He made deals on rental equipment. I invested just over 2,000 dollars, my life savings. We had a crew of ten in our apartment for my little drama that would shoot over one weekend. The fire department somehow learned of the shoot and shut us down for not having a permit. There went my investment.
"I was entirely depressed, and from that, I decided I would just write. I didn't need a permit to write. After a stint as a tile salesman and work at a minimart in a trailer park in Alabama (a long story), I pursued a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Southern California. There I not only wrote a screenplay that won a dramatic writing award, but also I discovered playwriting and novels. My full-length play, Fiveplay, also won an award, which sent me into full-time playwriting. I thoroughly enjoyed productions in Los Angeles of two plays that I wrote and staged readings of two other plays, Adam's Lab and Eriah Won. Because theater does not pay a lot, I worked as an editor and writer at the California Institute of the Arts and as a theater critic. I freelanced as a journalist, too, specializing in author interviews and book reviews. In short, I was immersed in the arts, and I even started to teach creative writing, too.
"Between plays I wrote short stories. I started getting them published in 1997, and once I had a collection of stories, I looked for an agent. One agent liked my writing, but told me that there is no money in short fiction. He told me to write a novel. When I said I would, but could he place my collection of short fiction with a publisher, he said, 'There's no money for me in short fiction. Write a novel.'
"Since then my career has expanded in two different ways. I teach among a few colleges, and I mainly write fiction now. My collection of short stories, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, came out at the end of 2005. It took patience and persistence."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Back Stage West, August 7, 1997, Madeleine Shaner, review of Who Lives?
Daily Variety, July 14, 1993, Julio Martinez, review of Suburban Anger; July 30, 1997, Julio Martinez, review of Who Lives?
For Patients Only, November-December, 1997, Christopher Meeks, "Who Lives?—An Historical Play about the First Long-Term Dialysis Patients," pp. 11-15.
Los Angeles Weekly, July 25-31, 1997, review of Who Lives?
Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2006, Carmela Ciuraru, review of The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, pp. E12-E13.
Christopher Meeks Home Page, http://www.chrismeeks.com (June 1, 2006).