Bart King

I live in Portland, Oregon, where I’ve taught middle school for some time. Oh, and I’m delighted to say that my books have won the Newbery Award, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize in Literature. (Of course, being delighted to say something doesn’t make it true!)

Due to irreconcilable similarities, I married Lynn; read her fascinating story below!

Contact me at: kingbart@comcast.net

Click here to visit my Flickr page.

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Lynn’s my wife. (So if you think I’m going to have fun with her biography, think again.) Lynn was famous among comic book aficionados when she edited nearly a hundred trade paperbacks and specialty books at Dark Horse Comics. Currently a freelance writer, Lynn can often be seen working the soil of our urban farm, staving off dehydration under the hot Portland sun with her Camelback™.


Janet King

This is my mother. Originally from Los Angeles, Janet raised nine kids in the apple orchards of Sebastopol, California. (Yes, IN the orchards.) After retiring from teaching, Mom moved to Washington and became a master quilter. Her background in oil painting, ceramics, and math lends her work a unique perspective.

Janet teaches quilt-making at Anna Lena’s in Long Beach, Washington. She favors traditional patterns infused with a unusual twists. Her “neutral” colors are orange, chartreuse, and bubblegum pink. In layperson-speak, this means that her color choices will fuse your optic nerves.

Mom is a gourmet cook, a skill which is unfortunately lost on her barbaric husband. She has passed on her concept of “The Perfect Bite” to her loving children; fortunately, her fondness for dishes like scrambled calf brains and head cheese remains hers alone.

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Michael King (a.k.a. “He Who Hungers”)

My father, a teacher for 35 years, is an intellectual who enjoys posing as a hearty peasant. Dad’s hobbies include teaching himself Hebrew, Russian, and Classic Greek. He is also working on advanced degrees in Meddling, Post-Office Lurking, and Unwelcome Nicknaming.

Like my mom, Dad is a devout Catholic, and he also possesses highly developed senses of ethics, humor, and political outrage. He is happy to provide a wide variety of diatribes, rants, and speechifying on topics ranging from sports play-offs to the best way to get from here-to-there (via the most backward backroads imaginable).

A most gregarious and generous man, Dad is pictured here performing the BeeGees’ hit “Jive Talkin’” at a local karaoke bar.


Dallas Arnold Wassink

Dallas Wassink, my father-in-law, has his own superpower: The ability to make and fix anything. Have a broken crayon? He’ll put a bandage on it. Need a house remodel? Done. Looking for a gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater? He’s on it.

“Still waters run deep” in Dallas’s case; his gracious, Zen-like qualities and political liberalism offer a stabilizing influence on those around him.
When Dallas is not working on a project in his shop or patrolling the five acres where he designed and built his own “cabin in the woods,” he is retrieving his clumsy son, Lee, from the pond behind his house, or reading a Louis L’Amour novel. Dallas’s family and friends have been the recipients of his loving generosity over the years.

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Virginia Adair Wassink

Virginia “Ginny” Wassink, my mother-in-law, is shown here at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. She played catcher in the 1950s for the New Jersey Dynamos, in the now-defunct Women’s Suffragette Hardball League.

Ginny has a warm, genuine social curiosity that is impossible to resist. Her twinkling dark eyes and ready laugh put folks at ease, although her tendency toward scatological humor can send them scurrying away. Virginia recently retired as director of a pregnancy crisis center, so she keeps herself busy “mother-henning” her three grown children and their associates. A whirlwind of positive energy, she is always finagling some money-saving scheme, experimenting with a new-and-improved recipe for tofu paté, or replicating her former baseball glory out on the diamond.


Gretchen (a.k.a. “Fotch”)

When my sister Gretchen was growing up, she REALLY wanted a horse. Unfortunately, her eight siblings usually ate all of our household’s oats and alfalfa, and so Gretchen had to make do with plastic ponies.

But now that she’s a hotshot grown-up, Gretchen has gotten a full-size horse named Missy. But because she looks way too regal riding it, here’s a shot of Gretchen enjoying some berry pie. (Other info: Gretchen’s husband, Dan, is a police officer in Palo Alto, and she has two sons, Seamus and Cormac. Both are troublemakers.)

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Kathleen (“Ween”)

The thing you have to understand about my sister Kathleen is that she’s very SERIOUS. Ask her middle-school students; she just doesn’t have a humorous bone in her body. Kathleen actually likes nothing better than to talk about international tax laws with her husband Brendan (see photo).

Kathleen runs a vole extermination business out of her home, and is also an author in her own right: Her project, The Book of Weenie, will be available in bookstores soon. (Other info: Kathleen has two children, Shannon and Luke. Both are very nice. Well, actually, just Shannon is.)


Melinda (“Boom”)

My sister Melinda is a “coffee achiever.” She graduated college with a B.S. in biochemistry on scholarship, ran marathons, became a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, had twin sons (Aidan and Collin), and is a graduate of the War College.

As you can imagine, Melinda is an accomplished individual who can multi-task exceptionally well, as this photo bears out. (Other info: Melinda is married to Dr. Matt Grow. An anesthesiologist, Dr. Matt can make the pain go away by telling stories about how hard medical school was...zzzzzzz.)

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Sarah (“Eah”)

Of all my family members, Sarah might have the biggest heart. (Not that it’s a contest. And if it is, I have the biggest pancreas, so there.)

Sarah funnels her prodigious maternal instincts to her twins (Katie and Dominic), the neighbor kids (who are always over at Sarah’s house), her animals (Sarah once adopted a one-legged chicken that she felt sorry for), and her profession (she’s a nurse.) Sarah’s husband Chip is an expert on softball, Mercedes-Benz engines, and bicycles. He took me to a Mötley Crüe concert once, an experience I am still recovering from.


Mary (“El Twerpo”)

My sister Mary lives near Corvallis, Oregon. She is currently Benton County’s emergency-services program manager. It’s her job to deal with floods, outbreaks of disease and earthquakes. Not to worry, she’s had training. In fact, Mary’s earliest memories consist of mounting search-and-rescue operations with her trained canine, Gringo, for brothers and sisters lost in nearby apple orchards.

The youngest of the nine King children, Mary is noted both for her proficiency with both high caliber firearms and the banjo. Mary is married to the accomplished string player Kevin Groh, and the mother of Noah Thorin and Nicholas Ulysses. (Cool names, huh?)

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Kristopher “Gus” King

I only got one big brother, and here he is. Common wisdom states that a big brother will beat his little brother like a drum. Kris uncommonly treated me with bemused tolerance throughout my childhood even though I was (past tense!) an insufferable twit. In a rare slip, he did once break a carom stick across my back, but only after I’d hit him in the hip with a sledgehammer. How tolerant WAS he? Kris took me to the first movie I ever saw. Kris allowed me to play records on his stereo. But he NEVER let me wear his band uniform and, for that, I will never forgive him.

Kris lives and teaches in Davis, California. He is married to a charming woman named Pat and has fathered two sons, Oliver and Michael. Since Pat shares my brother’s philosophy of tolerance and friendliness to others (just ask their neighbors!), they have hosted countless King social events. Unfortunately, our family get-togethers tend to end in broken crockery and knife-fights.

“Gus” is acknowledged as Lord of Video Golf, Grand Vizier of Backyard Gardening, and High Priest of Risk (the board game of world domination.) He is known for his European swimwear choices, his generous nature, and for the diligence with which he heeds Nature’s call.


Pat King

I think it’s possible that my sister-in-law Pat has super powers. These are not the usual super powers, like Invisibility or Really Good Taste in Men. No, Pat has super powers like Unruffle-ability or The Ability to Make All Children Like Her. How does she do it? Dunno!

A junior high teacher, Pat is the consummate professional. She is perpetually engaged in some extracurricular activity to make the world a better place for kids. (Fun Fact: Pat has a blue flower tattooed on a back tooth.)

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Erik “Putt”

Some of my earliest memories of my brother Erik include watching him throw rocks at the neighborhood kids, watching him throw dirt clods at me, and reveling in his attempt to ride his bike over a sizable ditch in our front yard. (He didn ’t make it.) An accomplished athlete who played football in college, Erik is currently the varsity football coach at Paradise High School (near Chico, CA). He has turned a nearly winless program to a regional powerhouse and perennial playoff presence. The team’s motto? “We just hit people.”

Cindy

My sister-in-law Cindy is a very patient person. Do I know this because she married my “high-needs” brother Erik? Sort of. But more importantly, Cindy read and reviewed every page of the first draft to The Big Book of Girl Stuff. After she was done, it went from a mess to the finest book of its kind ever published.

A teacher (yay!) and mother to Mitch, Harrison, and Cassidy, Cindy is pictured here engaging in her weekly “trout-off” with my sister Mary.

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Peter “Petesie-Wetesie”

My bro Pete is a cartographer. But although he makes, edits, and analyzes maps, he has no moral compass of his own! (That ’s a mapmaker joke.) The best golfer and basketball player in the family, Peter still holds the record at his high school alma mater for “most 3-pointers made in a season.” He is also known for his droll and low-key style, and as being the innovator of the King “simpy smile.” Peter is the father of child prodigy and golf expert Alaina, as well as the most feared King child of all, the dreaded Ev-Monster.

Seamus

Seamus (pronounced shay-mus) is the firstborn of the King clan’s 18 cousins. An artist and hip-hopper, here he is in his own Facebook words: “I grew up as a semi-feral humanoid in the Santa Cruz mountains, but the lure of civilization proved far too tempting and I ultimately abandoned my woodland home…. I am now a man of impeccable class and distinction, in great contrast to the surly beast child that I once was.”

Of course, none of that is important. What IS important is that Seamus looks good in a big hat. Visit him at: http://www.seamusryan.net
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Cormac

Younger brother to Seamus, Cormac is a recent-ish graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara. He has learned many important lessons in life; for example he knows that he sunburns easily. A self-described ultra-liberal, Cormac is interested in comedy, daydreams (the funny ones), video games (hmmm, not so funny) and reading (yes!). He ’s also a fan of the Golden State Warriors, the Niners, and banana peels.

Oliver

My nephew Oliver is known for his interests in computer science, track cycling, and participation in the 3030 Secret Society (no, I don ’t know what that is… it’s a secret!). When he is not performing the work of a Radiation Film Technician or marveling at how fast he can pedal, Oliver rests on his laurels as an inventor. Among other things, he is the innovator of the concept known as the Summer of Ollie. (Accept no substitutes.)
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Shannon

Shannon is Kathleen’s daughter. She is a bigshot college student whose motto is “Life’s a garden… dig it.” (Like me, I hope you find this both terrifying and incomprehensibly counter-cultural.) Shannon is a giving and generous soul. In fact, she briefly considered making “Community Service” her new middle name during a coffee jag. However, reason won out, and she chose “Pink Floyd” instead.

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