A Brief History of Punkie
It all started in the Fall of 1968. Born as Gregory Monte Larson, I arrived a week late in the city of Dkhelia, Cyprus, born to two Scandinavian-American parents on British soil. Talk about a screwed-up nationality. My parents were touring Europe at the time under my father's business, and so I was just born where my mum was, in a British Military Hospital. I was named after my mother's favorite actor, Gregory Peck, and my father's favorite city, Monte Carlo. The name hasn't been bad ( translated, it means, "Son of Lar, Watchman of the Mountains"), and if I had been born a girl, I was to be called "Marina" (meaning "Greasy water where one finds boats"). That would have sucked. I can just hear the jokes now, "How many ships have entered your harbor? Har har har..." For the next few years, I was to live in exiting locales like Paris, Corsica, and England before my father moved back to the states. I spent a lot of my toddler and kiddie youth in Palo Alto, California (a suburb of San Francisco).

Savage young PunkieBut my destiny was to begin at age 5, when we moved to the Washington DC area. We lived in a small grove of apartments at the time, complete with roaches, until we found a house in McLean, where I was to spend the rest of my youth. I grew up there with the other disillusioned yuppie kids. Most of us had transitory parents, either for military or government reasons, or some were just passing through job wise. I think I was one of the few kids who grew up in the same house. Most of my friends moved away, coming and going every few years with a tide of lobbyists with each new electoral term.

My main interests were reading. I was not allowed to watch television as a child, so I busied myself in books and art. I attended the now defunct Lewinsville Elementary School, where I excelled in science, math, and grammar, and sucked in gym, music, and general social aptitude. Not that I was a trouble maker, no, I led the uninteresting life of the bookworm. While reading has always been touted as an excellent source of childhood education, in the 1970's, being well-read was about as acceptable as Ann Landers giving advice in a mosh pit. Unwanted, uninteresting, and a great way to get your teeth kicked in. I didn't go to a rough school, just one with bored rich kids. So to make a long story short, I didn't fit in. My family life was hell, too. Much of my later years I took care of my alcoholic mother, and because of that, I started my lifelong ambition to never drink alcohol. I never smoked or "did drugs" either, for similar reasons, and as I grow older, I thank the Gods that I have chosen this path.

At around age 8 or so, I was tested for all kinds of things, and found out I had dyslexia, scoliosis, and a high IQ. The dyslexia was dealt with, the scoliosis was so slight they decided to do nothing, but the high IQ was a literal curse on my existence. For the rest of my school days, I was labeled, "Doesn't live up to his potential." Well, screw you, how the hell do you know what my potential was, anyway? Yes, I am a wee bit bitter about the whole thing. But one teacher did make a difference. That was my sixth grade teacher, Ms. Ray. Oh, and my best friend Neal Whitman. Both of those people encouraged me to write, and made a big difference on my outlook and future success in life.

I had a fragmented and sporadic social life that consisted of a handful of people who had similar interests, like Dungeons and Dragons, reading, and movies. But it was tough, since I lived in a transitory area where people only stayed for a few years as the political waves came and went. A lot of my friends were "army brats" or had parents that worked in the state department. Most of them didn't fit in, either, sometimes because they were raised in another country, and had developed tastes and habits that were different from America. I learned a lot from kids that spent half their lives overseas. I think this is why Europe has always felt like a long-lost home to me. But most of the time I was alone, and I began to explore the supernatural and paranormal, since that was a loner's art, I considered. My father used to drag us to his weekend getaway, his 37 foot yacht in Solomon's Island in the Chesapeake Bay. I spent a lot of time alone in the marshes around the estuaries. There I learned how nature worked, and I also learned things they didn't teach you in textbooks, like how universal forces worked with each other, and that people can manipulate these forces according to their own will. Although I didn't know it at the time, I discovered a spiritual path that was to take on a life of its own. Paganism had found me.

My reading tastes became stronger, and by the time I left elementary school, I was already past the usual kids and teen books, and having read everything scientific I cared to learn, I delved deeps into the medium of science fiction and the paranormal. What a kick this was! I started to wear black a lot during this time, but not because it was cool, it was different! I forgot where I got the idea, I think I read somewhere in my books that beatniks, who felt a lot of the same as I did, wore black… daddy-o. I also found kindred spirits in the acting community, and I was in regional Fairfax County theater, doing acting fairly strong, although my father really was not very enthusiastic about my theater pursuits. I made a lot of friends outside of school, people who accepted who I was, and I loved the theater. I loved acting, but I wanted to write, which was another joy. Then for a variety of reasons, I was yanked out of theater, and lost all those friends.

The next few years were a depressive hell, and after being depressed, maniacal, and suicidal, I finally gave up on anything bright and cheerful. These were my darkest days, and they lasted for about 3 years. I joined theater in high school, but it wasn't the same. Finally, I got some legal and professional help for my problems, and with the help of therapists and some mentors, I got out of my depressive funk enough to try and piece my life back together. It was in my sophomore year in high school that I discovered… fandom.

"You mean there are other weird people who love science fiction?" I asked. I was stunned. I felt just like that bee girl in the Blind Melon video. My first convention was BaltiCon 18, and even though I never paid admission my friend Kurt (who was also our lawn boy), snuck me in. But during this time, I was confused and didn't know anyone. It wasn't until I joined the McLean High School Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, that I realized that there were other people like me in McLean. Some of them also quit drama, and EveCon 2 was my first paid convention. I had no idea I was to meet two people that would also change my life. Bruce Evry, who was running the convention, and Betty Carpenter, who was selling stuffed dragons that fit around your neck. My next convention was BaltiCon 19, and I was away from home for three days. So there is a life outside of hell! Oh my GOD! I could game, buy weird things, and… and… I nearly passed out from excitement, it was all so magical.

Around this time I stopped wearing black so much. It wasn't fandom, but everyone else started wearing black, and they were these pseudo-beatniks who were reading Nietzsche, Camus, and Günter Grass while completely missing the point. I didn't want to be associated with them. I started gaming heavily again, and now had a group of friends to hang out with. There was Kate, Julie, Ellen, Mark, Jason, and countless others who I was able to share an active and happy social life with. High school became tolerable. Just barely. I went to many cons, and one day, my friend Julie sent in some artwork to the FanTek Castle fanzine, and they loved her artwork, and they wanted to know if she had any friends that did art. I did some cartooning, and I sent it in. The rest was like a blur, and suddenly, we found ourselves as guest artists at EveCon 4.

Shortly afterwards, after years or pain and alcoholism, my mother committed suicide. I was alone now, and graduated from high school like a whisper. I needed a place to live, and found that the FanTek people were moving from Hyattsville, and needed a roommate in their new place in Alexandria. So I moved in with them, and over the next year and a half, I saw how a major fandom organization was run from the inside. I saw the good and the bad, and generated a lot of respect for them. Everyone had an awful past, and I felt I could relate. I met some really weird and interesting characters during this time. Also, I met up again with Betty Carpenter, who was now going by the name "Elspeth," and she introduced me to one of her assistants, Jo Ann, who gave me a lot of spiritual advice I still use to this day. I also joined a comedy group from Virginia Beach around this time, Prune Bran. Slowly, I became one of their main writers, and it was one of the best things to see an audience laugh and appreciate your writing.

During this time, I started writing bizarre stories about a walrus that becomes a punk musician. I also started with the BBS community, where I used the handle, "Punk Walrus." This became shortened to "Punkie," and that name has stuck to this day. I have always kind of liked it, so I have never changed it.

A few months later, Jo Ann and Betty introduced me to another assistant, Christine. I was impressed by her sophisticated thought process, openness to new things, and even better, she liked me! We started dating, and soon, got engaged. We married in June of 1989 on top of a mountainside in Keyser, West Virginia. Then we started our life together.

Shortly after our marriage, things began to get tough. Christine lost her job, got another, and then we got pregnant. Christine had to work all through the pregnancy, and as a result, became very ill, and by the time our son was born, both she and my son almost died. But Christopher was born in July of 1990. Christine had to leave work for health reasons, and we tried to live off of one income, but we ended up getting further and further behind. Then Christine found a job, and then I lost my job a few months later. I was to be unemployed for two years. During this time, I wrote and published my book, "The Punk Walrus Saga," some other fiction, and took some impromptu schooling. We moved from Alexandria to Reston, and soon got a job in retail furniture, and my social life all but came to an end, and thusly, so did Prune Bran for me. I worked as a manager at Cargo Furniture for three years, which sent me to Vegas, Cancun, and places all over Texas.

Finally, after trying for over a year, a friend of mine came through and got me my foot in the door with a major ISP in the Northern Virginia area. I worked there as a tech rep, then a callback specialist, then into beta development where I worked for about a year. I was promoted to beta lead for a product called Virtual Places (now defunct, they never could figure out how to rid the web of porno avatars and tours). Then they moved my department to Tucson, but put me in Telecom Programming. You know when you dial a toll free number, it says, "Press 1 for this, press 2 for that?" I programmed that. But I got bored with this, and the pay wasn't so hot, so I began to look elsewhere, and moved to International Operations where I am as I type this. Same Grig, same walrus, getting older

More of my life since 1996 can be viewed in ridiculous detail in my online diaries. I am still doing the conventions, as a panelist, programmer, guest, costume judge, and staff. When people ask what I do for a living, I want to say "writer," but I end up saying, "A writer, but for money I work as an computer technician and programmer." I approach my writing sort of haphazardly, because I do it for the love of writing, not as a bookmill obsessed with money, since that seems to kill most creative spirits.

So who is this Punkie? A writer, a computer geek, a paranormal scientist, a science-phile, a father, a student of nature, humor writer, and a force to be reckoned with. But above all, I am who I am.

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