Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom
Gerald with wife, Janice, 1989, celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary on the Isle of Skye.
Haslam reunited with former classmates, 1998: (from left) Joe Molinaro, Gerald Haslam, John Renfree, Justin Meyer, and Brother R. Columhan (high school principal)
Gerald William Haslam with grandchildren Charlotte (left) and Loki, 2001
2800 Loma Linda Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305, United States
Gerald William Haslam attended Garces Memorial High School.
1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States
In 1963 Gerald William Haslam received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State College (now University) and a Master of Arts degree in 1965.
Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States
From 1965 to 1966 Gerald William Haslam had an additional study at Washington State University.
1801 Panorama Drive Bakersfield, CA 93305, United States
Gerald William Haslam studied at Bakersfield College from 1955 to 1957, and from 1960 to 1961.
Gerald William Haslam
(Everyone knows California, bleached blonde and surfer cou...)
Everyone knows California, bleached blonde and surfer country. In fact, what most people "know" is the media image of a narrow coastal strip that runs roughly from San Diego to Marin County. However, the Golden State is not a single, homogenous region. Instead, it is a group of diverse places, other places, gathered within arbitrary boundaries under a single name. This short-story collection chronicles the lives of characters who live in the Other California, where the author was born and raised. Although he now lives in Sonoma County, his stories illustrate that he has never forgotten what it was like to roughneck on a drilling rig or to chop cotton.
("Coming of Age in California" was selected as one of the ...)
"Coming of Age in California" was selected as one of the 20th Century's top 100 nonfiction books from the American West by a San Francisco Chronicle readers' poll. These intense personal essays, dealing with everything from dogs to cancer, follow a fifth-generation Californian from a blue-collar boyhood to a white-collar manhood, revealing several regions of the Golden State and even more regions of the soul.
(Brief advice on trying to get published in the early 1990...)
Brief advice on trying to get published in the early 1990s. Contents: Give That Unsolicited Manuscript a Chance; Baiting the Hook - A Primer on Query Letters; Multiple Submissions - Essential or Unethical or Both?
(In this collection of twenty-five short stories, Gerald H...)
In this collection of twenty-five short stories, Gerald Haslam explores the rural areas and small towns of his native region - California's Great Central Valley. The stories reveal a principally masculine cast that is as culturally diverse, and sometimes as zany, as Westerners actually are - a Chinese laborer, a Portuguese farmer, a Vietnamese schoolboy, a black cowboy, an Okie rowdy, an Armenian poet, plus some who blend those and other ingredients. The opening story, "Condor Dreams" is a reflective and delicately instructive tale of a father and son and their connection with the California condor that serves as a metaphor for the region's traditional way of life. "Scars" is a poignant examination of the life of a young man victimized by his alcoholic mother. In "Rising Action" fifteen-year-old Ernest alternately yearns for his first sexual encounter and seeks out a confessor to save him from purgatory. In "Mal de Ojo" Haig regales his gullible charge with the tale of the longest fistfight in small-town history. These pieces range from traditional stories to vignettes to sketches and tales as Haslam seeks literary structures that powerfully project his characters and their experiences. The author's triumph in these stories is that, by making us care about his characters and their settings, he allows us to care more about ourselves and our land.
(In the tradition of Mark Twain and Will Rogers, Gerald Ha...)
In the tradition of Mark Twain and Will Rogers, Gerald Haslam's redoubtable Tejon-Club Gang returns the tall-tale and the bumpkin-humor traditions to their proper places in American letters ... wherever that is! The gang manages to poke holes in social trends and elist assumptions - and in their own prejudices - while bumbling from one beer-fueled misadventure to the next. Thirteen short stories - plus a disclaimer by the narrator - introduce readers to these Good Ol' Boys who live and work in California's Great Central Valley.
(Leroy Upton has come a long way from the sun-baked workin...)
Leroy Upton has come a long way from the sun-baked working-class neighbourhood in Bakersfield where he grew up. The son of an oil-field labourer, he is now a professor at a small Northern Californian college. Life is about to deliver Leroy and his comfortable existence a series of challenges.
(After his parents, separate, 12-year-old Manuel Ryan move...)
After his parents, separate, 12-year-old Manuel Ryan moves in with his Latina grandmother. Her slowly integrating barrio offers the boy rich experiences, and an aging neighbor, Mr. Samuelian - "the madman" - becomes the boy's friend and mentor. Manuel is one of the few blonds at Our Lady of Guadalupe School as he enters junior high, and he faces challenges that range from his emerging sexuality to the increasing threat of gangs. Along the way, he learns not only to value his own mixed heritage but also that he is one of many blended Californians.
(Gerald Haslam picks up where Mark Twain left off in this ...)
Gerald Haslam picks up where Mark Twain left off in this career-spanning collection of stories and essays brimming with life and humor - but this is Kern County instead of Calaveras, Oildale instead of Nevada City, a great alligator hunt instead of a celebrated jumping frog. While Haslam's stories entertain, his essays gesture at the sweeping diversity of the Central Valley and the richness of community to be found there. Here too is a darker side of California's heartland, where a Japanese family bids good-bye to an America they thought they knew, and where Okies are shunned as second-class citizens. Haslam tackles problems of racism, social class, and environmental issues that are plaguing the Valley, as well as crafting whimsical tales full of local color. With an ear for dialect and his feet firmly planted in his native soil, Haslam delivers vibrant stories that have secured him a place in the pantheon of great American writers and have earned Oildale a spot on the literary map.
(Just when Sacramento journalist Marty Martinez thinks his...)
Just when Sacramento journalist Marty Martinez thinks his life can't get any worse, it does. His beloved son has died of AIDS, his wife has divorced him and joined a cult, and his daughter blames him for the disintegration of their family. Then a chance medical examination reveals that he has prostate cancer. Marty faces his bewildering new role as a cancer patient with awkward grit and desperation. He is a sympathetic, utterly convincing character seeking faith in a Catholic Church as troubled as he is; bringing increased intensity to his career as he investigates a far-reaching political scandal; reuniting his family in unexpected ways; and finding love with a fellow cancer patient. "Grace Period" is a profound and sometimes hilarious novel about living with serious illness. Marty copes with fear and the painful, sometimes embarrassing, treatment of his disease, but instead of winding down his life he finds fresh purpose and a joyful new love. Haslam brilliantly depicts the complexities of everyday life and the intricate, sometimes tortured bonds of family and friendship. In "Grace Period," Haslam shows us that existence at the precarious edge of life offers not only pain and loss but hope, a chance at redemption, love, and even happiness. "Grace Period" is his masterwork.
(One of the most gripping images from the 1960s captures t...)
One of the most gripping images from the 1960s captures the slight figure of Dr. S. I. Hayakawa scrambling onto a sound truck parked in front of San Francisco State College amid campus unrest. Hayakawa had hoped to use this soapbox to address the assembled demonstrators, but instead, he ended up ripping out speaker wires and halting an illegal campus demonstration - or denying first-amendment rights to the crowd, depending on your perspective. Indeed, Hayakawa’s entire life defies simplistic labels, and his ability to be categorized largely depends on personal perspective.
Gerald William Haslam attended Garces Memorial High School. He studied at Bakersfield College from 1955 to 1957, and from 1960 to 1961. In 1963 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State College (now University) and a Master of Arts degree in 1965. From 1965 to 1966 he had an additional study at Washington State University. In 1980 Haslam obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Union Graduate School.
Circa 1960s Gerald William Haslam worked variously as a roustabout in oil fields, picked, plowed, irrigated, and packed crops in the San Joaquin Valley, and was employed in stores, banks, and shops. From 1966 to 1967 he was an instructor in English at San Francisco State College (now University). From 1967 to 1997 Haslam served as a professor of English at Sonoma State University and has been a professor emeritus since 1997.
Since 1984 he has been an adjunct professor at the National Faculty and at the Union Graduate School. From 2001 to 2015 he worked as an adjunct professor at Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco. He has written and edited several books.
Gerald W. Haslam has published extensively on the American West, a large portion of which specifically addresses California. In addition to writing both fiction and nonfiction works, he has edited a number of volumes and worked as a scriptwriter or consultant for films based on his own stories. One of Haslam’s many volumes is That Constant Coyote: California Stories, which won the Josephine Miles Award from PEN Oakland in 1990. Set in Haslam’s home region of California, the book is a collection of twenty-five "delightful" stories.
While short stories remain his forte, Haslam has also published several novels, among them 2000’s Straight White Male, the story of a middle-aged and middle-class couple living in California and trapped financially between their responsibilities for their ageing parents and their still-dependent children. On a few occasions, Haslam has collaborated with his immediate family members. He paired with his daughter, Alexandra Haslam Russell, to edit Where Coyotes Howl and Wind Blows Free: Growing up in the West, a volume of thirty-five stories associated with the American West. The father-daughter team also linked up with Richard Chon for Workin’ Man Blues: Country Music in California. It is inspired by Haslam’s own friendship with country music legend Merle Haggard while growing up in California.
(Gerald Haslam picks up where Mark Twain left off in this ...)2005
(In the tradition of Mark Twain and Will Rogers, Gerald Ha...)1996
("Coming of Age in California" was selected as one of the ...)1990
(In this collection of twenty-five short stories, Gerald H...)1994
(Leroy Upton has come a long way from the sun-baked workin...)2000
(Twenty-five stories about quintessential Californians - w...)1990
(Just when Sacramento journalist Marty Martinez thinks his...)2006
(After his parents, separate, 12-year-old Manuel Ryan move...)2000
(One of the most gripping images from the 1960s captures t...)2011
(Everyone knows California, bleached blonde and surfer cou...)1985
(Brief advice on trying to get published in the early 1990...)1993
Gerald William Haslam told: "I became a Catholic while at Garces. That was certainly as much a social commitment as a religious one at the time, because not only those pals but virtually all the girls I was dating were also what were called mackerel snappers. In any case, my baptism took; Catholicism still provides me access to the Sacred, guiding my relationship with God. I’m not just a cultural Catholic, though I’m certainly an imperfect one."
Gerald William Haslam told: "I had discovered John Steinbeck. Because I recognized his characters in The Grapes of Wrath - they were our neighbors - and because so many of his settings were rural, his work revealed to me that literature could actually be about people and places I knew, a vital discovery."
Gerald William Haslam is a member of the California Association of Teachers of English, John Steinbeck Society, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Yosemite Association, Union Institute Alumni Association, Bakersfield College Alumni Association, Valley of the Moon Track Club, Napa Valley Runners’ Club. He is also a founding member of the California Studies Association, Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), Robinson Jeffers Association, California Trout. Haslam is a life member of the San Francisco State University Alumni Association.
Gerald W. Haslam much enjoys hiking, kayaking, fly-fishing, especially with grandchildren.
Quotes from others about the person
"Haslam is a valuable writer; no, he is a dearly needed writer because he has brought to the reading public a part of California whose stories need to be told - the Central Valley." - Gary Soto, author of Amnesia in a Republican County.
"I don’t know what I love best about Gerald Haslam’s writing: the validation of his own turf, his marvelous sense of history and metaphor, or his zany and poignant characters." - Julie Robertson, Western American Literature.
On July 1, 1961, Gerald William Haslam married Janice Eileen Pettichord. They have five children: Frederick W., Alexandra R., Garth C., Simone B., Carlos V.