Hi, I'm Sailor Jim Johnston!
Who is Sailor Jim and how did he come about? (Good Question . . . and one my VA shrink would love to answer!)
Let's start with Jim Johnston.
Jim is retired and living on a small farm in the midst of the Big Thicket area of Texas, in a town that shall remain nameless (out of fear of his neighbors beating the hell out of him for making fun of them in his writing). In the years after he retired from the Coast Guard, he's been the Binding Assistant at Steen Library, located on the bucolic campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, in the oddly named town of Nacogdoches, Texas, a Office Manager at the Office of Financial Institutions, and a Retirement Benefits Analyst at Teachers' Retirement Systems of Louisiana, the last two located in steamy Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is now having a ball using his GI Bill/VA benefits attending Lamar University.
(Yeah, I intend to keep making links to various places ... live with it.)
While working at Stephen F. Austin State University (See?), he discovered that he was a writer by penning several articles for, then becoming the humor columnist (for a short time) of, "College & Undergraduate Libraries" magazine (sorry, no link). Whereas the pay sucked (being non-existent), how many people can honestly state that they were an internationally read columnist? It was a serious ego stroke, gave him something to casually drop during parties, and was well worth the effort of trying to find humor in working at a university library.
Since he left the library (and could no figure out a way to write about working at a library when he wasn't), he's been regularly writing his little bits of silliness for his friends at alt.callahans and collecting rejection slips from some of the finest publications the world knows ... as a matter of fact, rejecting one of Sailor Jim's odd little stories has almost become the very definition of a fine publication.
However, several of his fans at alt.callahans decided that they actually wanted to pay ten bucks for a paperback collection of his posts, instead of copying them free from the web and sticking them in a two buck binder. So, escaping the mental ward, they scraped together enough money to have a collection published. The end result was Naked Through the Snow and Other Bits of Silliness, published by Quaternion Press Publishing House and still available through the publisher.
A free "please don't sue me for using some of your extremely copyrighted characters" copy to Spider Robinson, author of the excellent series of Callahan's books (as well as several other fine titles, run out a pick them up as soon as possible) resulted in the following:
I've been slowly working my way through NAKED THROUGH THE SNOW as deadline pressures allow--I've been keeping it in the bathroom, in other words--and I am very impressed. You're welcome to borrow my bar and tender anytime.
It's the most consistently interesting and entertaining nonfiction book I've read in a long time. You are one of the world's great storytellers--and it seems Fate, sensing this, has punished you with an amazing life, to supply material. I've read several chapters aloud to Jeanne, and she's enjoyed them as much as I have. (Then she makes me put the book down and go back to work. You are a textbook example of why I dare not hang out in alt.callahans: that way lies bankruptcy.)
My highest professional compliments, and thanks from both of us for sending us a signed copy of NAKED THROUGH THE SNOW. I'm proud to have played a part, however peripheral and faint, in its creation and publication. I hope it sells a million copies and brings you a thousand new friends.
(Which amazed and terrified him so badly, he didn't write anything for almost half a year.)
In addition to this, Sailor Jim has been, in no particular order, a stand-up comic, magician, juggler, impressionist, photographer, programmer, yeoman, coxswain, boatswain, helmsman, killer, drug addict, alcoholic, smoker, mental ward prisoner and superhero.
(Of these varied rolls, he still tells jokes, writes, does the occasional coin trick, will nervously juggle three of anything he can get his hands on, still suffers mental problems and occasionally has a glass of wine.)
He is, and has been for better than fifteen years, married to a woman of angelic compassion and understanding, Dian Marie Mullins.