Jim Kempster wrote 300 pages into a novel on a DOS computer, before setting it aside for a couple decade to do who knows what. (Eat? Pay attention to his partner? Publish works on long lost photographers?) He keeps coming back to it, at least to see how it reads on a better computer. When asked, he has told people that it is a “homoerotic religious comedy thriller,” but really it is a fiction based on his Jesuit seminary days. He could probably benefit from a little help and encouragement from a literary agent who might join him on the project.
Mr. Kempster is still paying student loans on his Masters of Fine Arts in painting from the School of Visual Arts, New York, grateful that the tuition for his Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology and the Arts from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California, was covered by seminary. He notes that, in those days, there were no “outcome” or employment statistics in the brochures for either school, which might have convinced him to go a different route.
His paintings and photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, California, and St. Louis, though mostly in the homes of friends and family. His photography and essays have appeared in several books and web journals, many of which cannot be mentioned in polite company. He has freelanced extensively as an illustrator and designer for print and web, which are just about the only paying gigs one can get with a masters in fine arts.
For better or worse, he has worked in education for over 30 years, as a teacher or administrator at universities and schools in New York City, Providence, Rhode Island, Berkeley, California and Saint Louis, Missouri, though uncertain whether anyone in these institutions other than human resources would remember or admit to it.
Mr. Kempster has lived in Manhattan with his partner Robert Loncar since 1989 (with an unfortunate two-year detour off I-95 in Rhode Island and a decade hiatus in “The Park Slump” section of Park Slope, Brooklyn). They have a dachshund named Marcello whom they note has Bob’s torso and Jim’s legs.