25 July 2012 in our front yard.
Who's Mike? I am Mike, Mike Metras, your host, a writer for many years, a writer at least since Sister M. in my freshman English class gave me an "F" for a short-story writing project. She insisted that, even though she couldn't find the source, I must have plagiarized my assignment. "You couldn't have written something that good yourself." It was mine. I wrote it. And in 1997 I rewrote it as well as I could recall it 40 years after the deed. You can read it now as The Kite.
I survived the charge, though not without scars that have healed with time. I am still writing travel narrative, essays, and a little poetry and fiction. Today after wandering Europe and India since 2003, living two years in Germany and another in California, walking 23 months across America and southern Europe to Jerusalem, my wife, Petra, and I are living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We continue doing our slide shows and workshops and selling books on Pilgrimage Creations. And I still write.
In my earlier lives, I have studied philosophy, theology, chemistry, and classical languages; learned Swahili, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, and more; lived with the US Army in Ethiopia for two years; served my time in Viet Nam; calibrated graphic arts cameras; wandered the repair centers of Latin and South America as a service manager for White Motor, a tractor and truck manufacturer; taught people how to run TRS-80 home computers; written all manner of technical manuals and created a publishing system.
I come to you today as long-time writer, traveler, and programmer. For 21 years I was a professional technical writer, mostly writing user guides and reference manuals for computer software. When I wasn't doing that, I was writing macros and programs to automate our processes of creating that documentation. And in time there were macros programs that automatically converted this documentation into online IBM Mainframe, OS/2, and Windows Help and HTML online documentation.
In my off time in the '80s, '90s, and early '00s, I studied, bought, and sold all manner of coins. And falling from that, for more than six years I wrote, edited, and published the Elgin Coin Club Newsletter, a five-time, national award-winning newsletter.
I dreamed of a broader and more creative life away from the daily routine of user guides, file conversions, too tight deadlines, and often repetitive tasks. I dreamed of a life writing spiritual and inspirational works; a life of traveling and writing about it; a life of studying, buying, selling, and writing about coins; a life more creatively and more freely lived.
In 2000 I decided to start doing those dreams. I quit my 9-to-5, traveled to Sicily, wrote about it, and began to finish my 30-years-in-the-making book recounting the highways and byways of my life in Ethiopia and Eritrea. I began doing my dreams. As of today (17 Sep 12) I have six books and a video done, the last two books written with Petra. Click here to browse and buy our books.
I am now more than 12 years away from the 9-to-5 in Corporate America. I am doing some of the many dreams I had long thought of doing. So what are those things? For starters I now travel more and write about where I have been; I spend more time on spiritual things and write about them; I sell coins on eBay; I read a lot; and I have walked several pilgrimage walks, traveled in India, Europe, and the United States, and married the love of my life.
Now we are really "Petra and Mike" not "I." so I send you off to another piece that tells you who we are. Come back with your browser's Back button or click on the return link in the menu to return here.
Enjoy your day. Enjoy your life.
P.S. With this update I notice that I have been adding little bits here and there to this page since I first created it in 2001 and the page is getting to look like it. One of these days I have to submit it to my critic and rewrite it. But that is another day. And I have included a rogue's gallery of pictrues of me.