The quick version:
Age: Born in 1963. You do the math.
Education: Learned everything "the hard way"; does not recommend it.
Lives in: Tacoma, Washington, USA.
Skills: Playwright, novelist, illustrator, actor, director, former superhero. Sings OK, plays guitar poorly and the flute even worse.
Likes: Gray skies and rain, British music (classical & art-rock).
Dislikes: Cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and drugs of any kind.
Cannot: Dance or do arithmetic.
Does not ever want to: Play golf or meet his old P.E. teacher.
Believes: His phone is tapped by the government, Buddha was a crybaby, and your cat does not love you.
Greatest movie ever: a tie between Amadeus & Ben-Hur
Greatest book ever: The Tall Book of Make-Believe
Greatest band ever: Yes
Heroes: Nick Barrett (guitarist/singer for Pendragon), Al Stewart (Scottish folk/rocker), Fish (another Scottish rock and roll singer), Neal Morse (not Scottish, but yet another musician), and anyone else who goes forward independently to do work that is inspiring and beautiful.
The long version:
1963: Rushton Howard is born on September 8 in the city of Burien, Washington. For reasons known only to the mayor, the city neglects to have a parade.
1968: His family moves to Federal Way, where he will spend the next couple of decades. He attends kindergarten mere moments after turning five. For the rest of his school days, he will be the youngest member of his class. No fanfare is given when he shows up to school on the first day, as no one realizes his genius. Historians think that this is because he was overshadowed by the great success of the Beatles.
1969: It is noticed that Rushton has acquired noteworthy skills at drawing. He will spend the next ten years drawing pictures of comic book heroes as well as English knights.
1970: He is given super-powers and uses them to secretly battle crime. He decides that being an artist will not be his career, but just his "secret identity." In addition to his job of superheroing, he also constructs a wooden sword and shield, with which he singlehandedly saves his neighborhood from several dragons and invading armies of pure evil. His neighborhood never thanks him.
1971: Appearing in a school Christmas play, he portrays "The nameless innkeeper in Bethlehem." He doesn't really dig acting, but this is probably due to the fact that he doesn't have a line. He just shakes his head no and points to the barn, while the Narrator hogs all the glory by saying the key speech: "...So Mary and Joseph had to go sleep out in the stable."
1975: He loses his super-powers — not in any conflict to save the Earth, but just by looking at a certain pretty cheerleader in his junior high. He must now face life as an ordinary human, but this is OK, as he has discovered that there's more to drawing than just superheroes. He takes an instant liking to drawing barbarian girls with big swords and scant clothing.
1978: He acts in a play, this time with lines to say! He realizes that he never had 200 people applauding when he drew a picture. Henceforth, he acts in more and more plays and draws fewer and fewer pictures. After hearing the song "Flying Sorcery" by Al Stewart, he immediately starts buying music and has no money left over for comic books. This is a major shift of "religions" for him as Al Stewart and Paul McCartney replace Captain America and Batman.
1979: He hears Jon Anderson sing, and instantly becomes a fan of Yes. He quickly takes a liking to British art-rock groups such as ELP, Genesis & Jethro Tull. Overnight he loses the ability to construct a sentence that has no mention of Rick Wakeman. But the key event of this year is when he meets fellow actor Greg Gamble. They begin writing plays together.
1981: He graduates from high school; has no plans to attend college as he has chosen the "rich and famous" path instead.
1982-90: He & Greg secure work in a local children's theatre company as writers and actors. They also create Outpatient Theatre and begin writing strange comedies, including Buck Lazer & the Space Rangers. It is a mind-blowing, spectacular, glittering... failure.
1986: He writes down everything he did as a ten-year-old superhero and realizes that these adventures might make an excellent book series. He calls this series The Fearless Force (not the actual name of his former superhero team, but a made-up one to protect the identities of his old chums). He also realizes that he will need to illustrate these books, but as several years have passed, he must learn how to draw all over again. He also begins teaching theatre skills to kids, a decision that will aid him in the years to come.
1990: He marries a jazz singer and part-time business executive named Bunny.
1991-99: His Fearless Force books are rejected by every publisher on the planet. Outpatient Theatre experience a resurgence. They tour Washington state, playing their new batch of Gamble-and-Howard-written plays "Deliver Us Not," "Bad Karma," "Near Myths," and many others. At the Bremerton Bash theatre festival they are given the nickname "The Gods," (possibly a reference to "Near Myths," wherein they played Greek gods). Inexplicably using the name Lee Howard, he publishes The Last Touchy-Feely Drama on the American Stage with Greg Gamble, a collection of 3 one-act shows. (The publisher refuses to use the title he suggests: Three Unspeakable Acts.) The plays are a resounding success over next few years, playing in 30 of the 50 states, all across Canada, down in New Zealand and in the UK.
1992: He begins work on two new book series, one of which is Sebastian Reckless, which is also rejected by every publisher on the planet.
2000: An old high school chum, Dave Peterson, offers to produce a comic book of Sebastian Reckless. Rushton happily agrees, then discovers to his horror that this means drawing hundreds of pictures, a feat his rusty drawing skill can't possibly cope with. It takes him all year to produce 11 pages. The project is abandoned.
2001-03: Nothing much: acting, directing, and drawing theatre posters every now and then. He continues teaching drama to kids, some of whom read his unpublished adventures. On their glowing reviews, he decides to publish the books that those snobby New York sleazebags were too lazy or thickheaded to publish.
2004: He directs and plays the lead in Shakespeare's Hamlet; also tinkers with the famous script quite disrespectfully, but winds up with the best version of the show that's ever appeared on stage. (No kidding. You should've been there! They were faboo!)
2005: At long last, he kicks his drawing skill in the butt and makes it work, producing illustrations for Sebastian Reckless. One of his old drama students, Selena Koosmann, having grown up and become a commercial artist, offers to help him get the book ready for printing. He creates Abdiel Productions with his wife, Bunny, and embarks on the grand adventure of getting all his books to the people.
2007: The Fearless Force is finally published. It proves to be a smashing success.
2009: He completes work on Sebastian Reckless & The Long-Forgotten Kings. It is over 1,000 pages, so it is chopped into three volumes. Although there is no time to illustrate it, and the book is released without pictures, it still gives his fans a darned good rip-roaring thrill.
2011: After the death of Outpatient Theatre's Kurt Kundert, Rushton pens the brilliant grown-ups' novel The Umbrella of the Gardener's Aunt is in the House as a tribute to his old pal.
2012: In a burst of odd energy, he wraps up two scripts for the stage: The Trial of Edison Cranwater (a two-person play) and Perfidious (an original musical).