Norman German was very young when he was born. Unlike many of his friends, "Whitey," nicknamed for his translucent hair, loved elementary schooleven the odor of the soap he lathered his mischievous hands with in the cafeteria's sprinkling trough. This period of his life, known as the "Bayou Phase," often found him fishing for prehistoric leopard gar on the banks of Contraband Bayou in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
His mediocre junior-high athletic career came to a halt with a gunshot wound through the left knee. Details are sketchy. No one knows the full story, least of all him. During this time of his life, his friends knighted him "Worm," for his ability to squirm out of, and sometimes into, the most difficult of situations.
In high school, "Froglegs," as he was called, finally matched his stringy body with the high jump. In his senior year, he won the District 4-AAAA event with 6'2" (leaping four inches over his head, then deciding enough was enough).
After graduating in 1973 from LaGrange High School (where he had the honor of being the only honor student blackballed from its National Honor Society), he stole his father's Chrysler, drove to Houston, and worked cement construction with a friend until numerous injuries made both decide to log some college-time and seek indoor careers. He worked his way through college as a house painter, janitor, tree cutter, odd-jobber, and security guard, never once shooting himself or another. During this phase, he wasn't known as anything except "German" and a few unprintables in any language.
The college experience was so ineffable, he decided to extend his adolescence and disappoint his parents by replacing law school with graduate work in English and philosophy at the University of Texas. There, he attended on a Vampire Scholarship, selling two pints of plasma per week during his last semester in order to buy food to make more plasma to sell. During this anemic phase, he was again known as "Whitey." Successful marriage. Successful because it was short.
Ph.D. work at USL from 1979 to 1982. Escapades. Short period when he fancied himself a poet. First poems published.
Instructor, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, 1982-1985. First stories and criticism published. Hitchhiked through Europe. Most amazing fact of trip: not a single image or experience ever found its way into a poem or story. Studied Tae Kwon Do until he pulled his instructor's heart out with his little finger. Banished from Texas in lieu of jail time.
Assistant Professor, Northwestern Louisiana University, Natchitoches, 1985-1988. 1987 trip to Alaska, resulting in his largest game fish, a 54-pound Chinook, and a poem, "Walking among the Salmon," published in England, Canada, and the U.S. but pulled off the market because its tone and theme were so tragic that few people finished reading it before committing suicide.
Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, Southeastern, 1988-present. Trip to Hawaii, 1991, produced "The Famous Sugarcane Train Robbery," a satire of the commercialization of the Islands so politically incorrect it didn't see print for 12 years, when everyone finally realized its prophetic insights. It was too late, however. Hawaii is now an uninhabitable wasteland of tourists. His novel No Other World, a fictionalized account of the life of Marie Thereze, the ex-slave who became a slave owner and founded Melrose Plantation, near Natchitoches, won the 1991 Deep South Writers Prize.
Real estate ventures in the late '90s made "The Slumlord" wealthy beyond a nonworking person's wildest dreams.
Dr. German's life at this point is largely imaginary. Nothing he says can be trusted. Which makes this bio suspect. Reclusive phase. Athletic powers in decline. Can barely bench press his own vita. Currently lives on 10 acres with a pond full of fish and 5 donkeys.
His cholesterol is a slightly elevated 206.