The collection of five books I call FOR AMERICA has been a long time coming. The story began when I rode in an old truck with Laurent Sozzani to Iowa. Back home, in what my cousin Steve called “the sticks” east of San Diego, I wrote some pages about the trip and called them “The Gas Crisis”.
A few years later, my five-year-old Darcy noticed me standing in the kitchen staring at nothing, and she remarked, “Oh no, crazy ol’ daddy must be working on the grass crisis again.”
I am deeply indebted to the people who inspired the characters you will find in the novel. In addition to the aforementioned Laurent, they include, my grandparents, Wade and Mary Garfield; my dad Wayne Kuhlken and mom Ada Garfield Kuhlken; Eric and Sylvia Curtis; Laura Munger; all the Torrey family, especially Cliff, Bill, and Barbara; Bill, Steve and Pam Zarp; Ron Martina and Pat; Halima who used to be Yvonne; all my cousins, Steve, Kris, Jill, Ed, Wade, Virgie, Wendy, Susie, Patti, Tim, Gayle; my aunts Harriet and Mary and uncles Charlie, Jimmy, Fenton, Eddy, and Virgil; as well as friends including Gene Seaman, Pam Fox, and Lucas and Carol Field, Bob Williams, Karl Hartman, Stephanie, Fred and Cliff Niman, Margaret Beasley, Tony Tarantino, Gus Schuetz, Ron Maxted, David Knop: and all the great musicians who blessed the Candy Company and other coffee houses, among them Jackson Browne, Hoyt Axton, Big Mama Thornton, Steve Martin, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Steve Gillette, Ray Phoenix, Hedge and Donna, Linda Ronstadt with the Stone Ponies, Barry McGuire, Glen Frey and J.D. Souther.
But I wrote this story mostly for my dearly beloved children, Darcy, Cody, and Zoe, so they could vicariously experience life in some turbulent, exciting and perhaps ominous times. Thousands of thanks to their mothers for collaborating in the creation and nurturing of such marvels as they have grown to be even while crazy ol’ daddy spent thousands of hours working on and otherwise living what Darcy still calls “the grass crisis”.
Here’s a letter I sent to some people about why For America is so darned long.
And here, should you care to read such a document, is a synopsis