Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Michael Alan Nelson?
I grew up in a small farming community in northern Indiana. Lots of corn and woods and swamp, but not much else. However, we lived about ninety minutes from downtown Chicago, so my parents would make sure to get me into the city now and again to remind me there was a larger world out beyond the seemingly endless cornfields. It was actually a nice place to be. I got to experience that stereotypical “small town” life (for all its good and ills) and yet still be exposed to a large, diverse world beyond my back yard. I would spend a Saturday helping my dad cut down trees and split wood (we heated our home with a wood burning stove) and then head into the city on Sunday to visit Adler Planetarium or the Field Museum–though, to be honest, I much preferred the museums to splitting wood.
I was also a bit of a kid-of-all-cliques when I was growing up. I was always shy so people never paid much attention to me. That allowed me to occupy this odd space that floated between several different social strata. I was in theater, competed on the speech team, but I was also a varsity wrestler. Of course, sometimes I would skip practice to play Dungeons&Dragons. When I was supposed to be working on takedowns, I’d be in the bed of a pick-up truck parked in some random cornfield rolling for initiative. Needless to say, I didn’t have a very promising wrestling career. Continue reading