Jim was born in Switzerland of American parents, a doctor and a pianist. On returning to the states he was raised itinerantly as his mother, now divorced, pursued degrees and teaching jobs. His first job, in Jr High School, was grease monkey for Bill Barber and other aerobatic pilots. He considers this to have been his best job.
Finishing High School early with an Honors at Entrance scholarship and then having failed Preveterinarian school Jim chose to take classes from great teachers and wound up with a Philosophy emphasis, but never graduated. Late in college he began working as a Technical Editor and for the next 17 years worked in publishing as a writer, photographer, developer, programmer, and manager for AMD, Target, Novartis, System Industries, and other technology companies. His Predictive Maintenance Recorder manual won an award from the Society of Technical Communicators, Intermountain Region.
During this time Jim also wrote and photographed concert reviews for Relix and other small journals. He plays finger style guitar and particularly likes early country blues and flamenco. He served as member, docent, and chair of the Santa Cruz Mountains Natural History Association. Being an avid outdoorsman and having attended some twenty-five Old Ways or aboriginal living skills seminars (applied anthropology), Jim worked as a naturalist for Naturalists at Large (NAL), taking school groups on one and two week-long education trips, and as an instructor for the Red School House, an inner city Native American school. For three months he attended the Instituto Cultural in Oaxaca, Mexico, and later took a Mayan Hieroglyphics seminar. Jim also became a certified EMT, Life Support Specialist, Advanced First Aid Instructor, Search and Rescue specialist, Avalanche Survival specialist, Desert Survival specialist, and spent considerable time living in a tent.
In 1997 he and his family sold or stored their possessions, moved onto a sailboat, and spent three years in frustration repairing and living on a 1928 Winslow Ketch. On becoming outnumbered with a third child, Jim and his family moved to The Bower, his spouse’s ancestral farm from the 1700’s, where in the summer they raised produce for local farmer’s markets, using tractors and horses for farm work. They homeschooled their children (until the financial crash). In the winter they rebuilt homes in Florida and resold or rented them. They lived on a barrier island accessible only by boat. Raising thousands of plants in the warm Florida winter they would return to the farm to raise them for market.
After the financial crash in Florida, they bought a midwest mobile home park for two years until losing that after the 2008 crash. Louise returned to being a professor of English and Jim continued working construction and farming. Currently, Jim makes furniture, remodels houses, grows hay and draft horses, and writes.