When I was 12 years old I saw a boomerang demonstration at a science museum in San Francisco (the Exploratorium). I was enthralled by this boomerang thrower who could make accurate flights and returns and hit targets on the return. He was playing his own version of horse shoes (boom shoe).

     I told his assistant that it would really be something if he could catch one… and I thought it was possible. The assistant said that he normally does but he makes up games so as not to get bored. Don’t we all do that? Make up new ways to have fun? I bought one and went home only to break it after I was finally getting the hang of it. So I started making my own. I knew that I had a gift for making things fly. I have been making strange shaped kites and gliders as a boy. I realize I had this gift when I had successfully made a glider on a whim out of news paper, sticks and scotch tape. The winds were strong and gusty and at first my glider was tossed about angrily. So I sat and ‘felt’ what it needed. It needed a break! The winds were too strong. It needed to give and not be bullied. So I thought “what the heck” and I broke the wings so that they could flex like a bird. I added tape to limit the flex and let her fly! She danced in the air, hovered for ages, daring the gusts to knock her down again. She now worked with her environment. It was like magic. My glider eventually flew away and the kids in the neighborhood said they saw it flying down the street until they couldn’t see it anymore. What a success; to fly with me for awhile and then tour the world!

     At home on my fathers work bench, it took me 7 boomerang shapes and attempts before I could get the right one to work. It seems that each attempt helped me learn things I needed to know. It has been that way throughout my boomerang career. I have made so many more mistakes and failures than happy returns. This has caused me to realize that if you want to succeed, one has to endure many wonderful lessons and crashes.

    Better said, “Failure is not failure, but the necessary information you need to succeed.”

     Six months later from my first successful return I saw a man throwing booms on my local field. He wore a big yellow shirt saying “free boomerang lessons”. I approached him and was amazed at all the wonderful varieties he had. He actually made me run home and get my booms before he would speak to me any further, because he thought I must be lying about making my own. Upon my return, he opened the door of respect, information, and friendship. His name is Jerry Caplan and he was, at the time, on the U.S. boomerang team which ended up beating the Australian team on their own turf.

     For the next few years I made an assortment of booms and threw regularly with friends. It was a great hobby and kept me out of trouble.

     I decided to become an artist after some ceramic classes at Moorpark College. I fell in love with the idea of making functional art. I made plant vase sculptures that conserved water so you could water less often and not kill your plant. I also made oil lamps that had hidden candy jars in them so you could pull them out for your guests at the table.

     While there, I was hired to work as an assistant for the famous tile artist Richard Keit. He became a mentor to me and taught me many critical things about making a living as an artist.

     Around that time I was discovered to act and throw boomerangs in a movie (Bagdad Café) through the boomerang team guy Jerry. He was contacted by Hollywood and told that they were looking for a tall, blond, young boomerang expert… so Jerry told them that I lived across the street. Even though I wasn’t trained as an actor, friends encouraged me to go for it and ‘act’ is if I could act. I did and to prepare for the part I made art boomerangs in the movie themes and it greatly impressed the director/writer. They then tested my acting skills but I messed up on my fifth line… in fact I forgot it completely. So I felt stupid and uncomfortable. But then I finally remembered it and said my fifth line. It turns out that the fifth line should be acted with a pause and an expression of discomfort. Needless to say I got the part!

     The movie was an experience I will never forget. There were so many adventures and stories.

     When I got back from location, my friends wanted to buy boomerangs from me and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. My ceramic sculpture business was soon replaced with good boomerang returns. I found that I was pioneering a new art form. Uncharted territory… and it excited me!

     There is a thrill in new discovery… and sharing it with people is even more rewarding.