INDIE AUTHOR JOSEPH RIDEN writes fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction in native, US English. He also offers several writerly services, including editing, assisted book writing, and alpha and beta reading for other authors. Joseph has written and published three nonfiction “how-to” books, several short stories, and a story collection. He has also helped two aspiring authors complete the books they dreamed of writing: a men’s adventure novel and a novel-length, romantic memoir.
Even as a child, Joseph read continually. Early interests led him through both nonfiction and fiction and especially biographies of accomplished and historically notable creatives. Reading and a floor-standing, tube radio that was nearly his height began to shape his growing mind before television dominated America’s media.
"Eventually," Joseph has said, "I realized something less obvious than it may seem: emulating creative thinkers feeds my soul. Renaissance men and women became my role models."
Teachers encouraged him to write and invent. Legendary achievers became his inspiration; from Leonardo da Vinci, Joan of Arc, and Michelangelo; to Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein. Also inventors like Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Hedy Lamarr, and Alan Turing; and early rocket scientists like Von Braun.
Joseph included notable authors in his literature explorations, the standard-setters like Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Hemingway; also Ayn Rand and Margaret Atwood; along with other classics-authors who generated the literary canons of American English. Joseph completed a double BA in Literature and Psychology with high honors in the well-regarded English Department at SUNY at Buffalo. There, he rubbed shoulders with contemporary literary figures like John Gardner who lived, wrote, and published their art. That experience stimulated a sustained yearning to write professionally in the literary styles native to America.
After military service and university, he resumed his career in mechanical and industrial design. Along the way, he completed the Institute for Writers’ course, “Breaking into Print.” As he created a trail of inventions he also wrote articles, essays, books and stories, along with a volume of technical content. Inevitably, Joseph became an author.
Joseph describes himself as "Born curious; fascinated with big questions, great ideas, cultural trends, and critical unknowns. It’s tantalizing to be alive” he has said, “at the dawn of the third millennium,CE. Our rapidly changing world is ripe with opportunity to speculate, to learn from our collective history, and to reinvent a more functional human society.”
A deepening humanism tempers Joseph’s technical mind with a more encompassing consciousness. "In this world of increasing complexity," he has said, "we can anchor in practical wisdom and find new solutions for the compelling issues of modern life. Storytelling is a powerful force; a way to learn vicariously and to speculate about the dynamics that drive human cultures and set the courses of our lives, our countries, and even world history. In fiction, an author is free to explore and discover at the limits of human experience, and to expand our collective vision by pushing those limits with imagination, compassion, and originality. To make a difference, first we must imagine possibilities, then choose them wisely and create from there.
“We can escape mass spiritual delusion and eliminate war and the inter-human predation that scars history. We can unburden our planet, limit excessive personal wealth and distribute prosperity more fairly. This would help us build a brighter, more sustainable future for all people.
“The alternative is spelled out by biological population crashes that inevitably end any excessive species overgrowth when the related environment collapses. The laws that apply to all other animals also govern human destiny. At any time, today’s world may be twenty years or twenty seconds from self-destruction. Our circumstances signal us to wake up and smell the smog, see the oceans rising, feel the greed, hatred, and fear, the spreading violence and injustice and then act responsibly in favor of peace, compassion, social justice, our species’ survival, and high quality of life for everyone, not simply wealth-hoarding among a privileged few that’s envied among the masses.”
Beyond writing and design, Joseph has filled many roles in life, including these: surrogate father, coastal mariner, lumberjack, sport fisherman, teacher, soldier, seminarian, meditator, husband, lover, spiritual seeker, natural health practitioner, expatriate, business consultant, bohemian scholar, entrepreneur, and live-off-the-land outdoorsman. He learned about life’s dynamism from many perspectives.
Joseph ventured abroad in South Korea and Costa Rica but he always came home. Now a lifetime of learning seeds his writings. As his design engineering career completed, writing became Joseph's full-time focus. Diversity of experience has shaped his author’s viewpoint, outlook and beliefs about humanity’s ability to prosper yet transcend fear and decadence, and his belief in our ability to direct our own evolution consciously given our growing mastery of genetics, artificial intelligence, nanotech, and robotics.
“Our most challenging frontiers are no longer ‘out there’ somewhere, like Mars,” he says. “We cling to preservation of human life as an ultimate value, even as runaway overpopulation overcrowds and threatens the whole Earth. This could become our terminal paradox but new vistas can be conquered, and peacefully so, without ever leaving humanity’s home. Resources exist within us, each and every one, waiting to be tapped. When finally we travel in space, perhaps by then we can send our minds only and let our bodies remain safe at home.”
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