NoirJNL-01Who is this guy?

By day I manage Requests-For-Information for a government executive, which means I literally get paid to find gaps in evidence and flaws in arguments. In my free time, I am an obsessive reader (fiction, non-fiction, and scientific research), an amateur writer, an occasional singer and guitar player, a hiker and beach-bum and museum goer.

I am a firm believer that life is to be enjoyed … but enjoyment is not synonymous with “happiness.” I bet one of your favorite movies ends with a sad scene, and you enjoy it precisely because it makes you so sad. That’s a better attitude toward life than scrambling after happiness. I agree with Viktor Frankl that “it is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness,” and that instead we should find purpose, and enjoy the pursuit of that purpose.

How did I get into writing?

I’ve been fascinated by language since my childhood in West Virginia. In that unspoiled age, before there was an Internet to find anything and everything you want and shine it right in your unappreciative face, I was lucky enough to get a cast-off set of high school Latin textbooks when I was in 3rd grade, and an encyclopedic atlas of the world (thanks, uncle Cecil!) that contained a glossary with translated place names from around the globe. Language through time and space! I was hooked.

I carried this love of language and culture into adulthood, editing the student newspaper and lit mag at West Virginia State College, contributing to various student publications at the University of Virginia, and serving as a language analyst and editor in the US intelligence community.

My formal training is in comparative religion, but I am also an avid student of history, military theory, behavioral economics, and politics.

Artistically, I appreciate both what is often dismissed as “pop culture” and the more esoteric and elite side of literature, film/television, and music. There’s a yin and yang relationship between the two.

You can contact me by commenting here. Comments are screened, so if you don’t want your comment public, just say so in the comment itself and I’ll keep it private!

© J. Nelson Leith 2013
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