Kenneth J Munkens
If anything is true it is the fact that you can neither plan your life nor predict the future. So, live it and enjoy the good times, endure the tragedies, and, by God, find yourself.
I was born in the Bronx the day after the buses began to run following the blizzard of 1947-48. Congenital cataracts left me with limited eyesight. At the age of 4, they removed the cataract in my right eye. Unfortunately, complications caused nerve damage. My left eye became dominant. Now, those who adhere to the left brain/right brain theory would conclude that in that case I would be logical. Quite true—I am. However, in the darkness of night some of my brain cells crossed the border and entered the world of creativity on the right side. As a result, I have a highly developed creative side. You would enjoy my adventure dreams. As one doctor observed, what I fail to see my brain fills in. The start of the chaos.
When it came time to go to school, disregarding the recommendation of school officials, my father insisted that I be enrolled in regular classes. Thanks dad! After testing, I was put directly into the first grade. What the hell! I missed the fun and games of kindergarten. For this reason, I was always the youngest member of the class. Given my vision limitations, I also always had a front row seat even when seating was alphabetical. Sort of the odd letter out.
You all know what is said about the youngest child. As the youngest of three I kept up the tradition of being a risk taker and wiseass. In the Bronx this often leads to some unpleasant consequences. My mother was ill for a number of years and died when I was twelve. Sadly, my father became an alcoholic. Found on my own, I developed a strong sense of independence. Some call it stubbornness.
While in college I earned my shodan (black belt) in karate. My father thought I was nuts risking injury with only one good eye. He should have been thinking about the other guy because with only one good eye, I have no depth perception. You should have seen his reaction when I began playing ice-hockey.
After graduating St. Peter's College, I entered the exciting, uh, stressful, demanding, unforgiving, fantastic world of advertising. Through the years, I worked on some of the world's biggest accounts, met famous personalities, been fired, worked seven days a week, and met my wife—Phyllis. Because she was a modern dancer I found myself with a second career as a techie and stage manager of a dance company in New York City. By day planning advertising campaigns and by night stringing lights and running up the curtain. Sleep—it's over-rated.
We always talked about adoption and after nine years of marriage gave each other toys for Christmas. A clear indication that it was time. Robin Yung-Shim our first daughter arrived from Korea September 1982. I learned to change diapers, worry, do middle of the night feedings, worry, play with dolls, worry, and feel like the luckiest man alive. In July, 1988 we welcomed our second daughter Nancy Raine home. Clan Munkens has been a miracle for which I am grateful every day.
The tides come and go in the world of advertising and we moved a number of times. My first novel, Downtown Dreams, was published in June, 2000. We've settled in Matthews, NC and I established Munkens Consulting. My desire had always been to do more for clients than typical advertising agencies were capable of doing. After both of our daughters graduated from college I found I finally had more time to pursue writing.
The response from readers has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated. My goal has always been to write interesting, unpredictable, thought-provoking stories worth a person's time. With five novels completed, I continue to be driven to create new worlds and introduce unforgettable characters that leave readers wishing the story could continue. Through writing, I've lived six lives and will continue to share the rare creative perspective my mind seems so eager to present.
All-in-all my life has been one heck of a ride and I wouldn't have missed it if given the opportunity. I look forward to reading the next page.