Real name: William Richard Ohler III
Born: April 26, 1950, in Children’s Hospital, Buffalo, NY
Hometown: East Aurora, NY
Height: 5’8” give or take; weight varies; hair: just barely
Bats and throws: left-handed Runs: very slowly
Occupation: Freelance writer, writing instructor, editor for over 25 years
Favorite Beatle: John
My friend the webmistress, who’s done such a fantastic job creating my Web site from a few vague ideas I jotted down, says I need a bio. So I agreed. Then I sat down to write the thing and came up empty. Maybe if I put it in an interview form, the kind I might use with a subject for one of my newspaper or magazine pieces, maybe that would work. OK, let’s give it a try.
Interviewer: What's with Right Field? Why not left field or hay field for that matter?
Rick Ohler: As a kid, I was happy playing right field, even though I suspected that Coach sent us “emerging” players out there because we were defensive liabilities and few balls would be hit in our direction. Right field offered a panoramic view of the game and all its drama, nuance and beauty. I came to wish that all sports needed right fielders, so I could be the observer, the storyteller. For me it’s been a logical progression from right fielder to writer, chronicler, teacher of writing.
Int: Write, write, write. It seems that’s all you do. What’s up with that?
RO: When the curious ask why I write, I tell them I can’t help it. I write every day whether I have time or not and whether I really want to or not. I neglect important obligations to make time to write. I ignore the dog, I help other people write, I write instead of sleeping, I correct (gently, of course) other writers’ work; I . . .
Int: So it’s some kind of obsession?
RO: I thought you were interviewing not psychoanalyzing.
Int: OK, OK. So when did you start to write?
RO: If you force me to pick a beginning, I’d say the photo that my webmistress placed at the bottom of this page is as good an answer as any. That’s me (top left with the pencil behind my ear and a tie! around my neck) in 1963, working on our lower school newspaper, The Stentorian. I covered sports, the student council, extracurrriculars, any newsworthy stories at the Nichols School Lower School in Buffalo, NY.
Int: So English was your favorite subject?
RO: Not really. You see, that old guy in the photo? It’s my dad, self-appointed grammar Czar and all around hard case as a teacher. Needless to say I worked very hard in his class since I had to face him at home every night, and undone homework didn’t fly in his world. Consequently I learned my English real good.
Int: And you’ve been writing ever since?
RO: Yep. I was News Editor for the high school paper, then minored in English at college, and started writing when I came back home. Much of it was in the form of long, tortured novels or unwieldly short fiction. But in 1977 I sold a humorous piece to Ceramics Monthly magazine.
Int: And the rest is history?
RO: The rest is, shall we say, a work in progress. I kept writing and sending stuff out, selling a few pieces here and there. Then in 1984 I began teaching a creative writing course through the East Aurora School District’s Community Education Program. Ten years later I added a Family Histories and Memoirs class and five years ago I added a grammar seminar where we diagram sentences, study punctuation. I’ve also edited several books, tutored reluctant high school kids and done lots of pro bono writing for civic organizations. And I write for the local paper, The East Aurora Advertiser, producing a column called The View From Right Field and covering all kinds of sports and small town events. Winesburg, Ohio, (or Mariposa, Ontario, for my Canadian friends) anyone?
Int: Anything else?
RO: Yeah, you’re supposed to ask why I started Right Field Writing Works.
RO: Hard to get good help. Anyway, I started Right Field Writing Works in the spring of 2008 as a way to finally showcase my very wonderful writing, and perhaps make a few bucks writing, editing, teaching. Be sure to check out the other pages in my site.