Fil Lewitt was born in 1941 in Boston and grew up in Nashua, NH, at that time a small city of 35,000. He attended Mt. Pleasant St. Elementary School. He was a talker, an athlete, and an oddball from his early years. Went to Brown University, quit after one year and became a beatnik in San Francisco at the end of that era, went back and graduated, owned a bookstore in Provincetown for a summer, got busted for grass when it was still illegal, beat it, and then beat it back to northern California, where he could now become a sort of hippie.
Grad school for an MA at SF State right at the right time in '66-'67. Bought an old farm near Mendocino City, CA and learned how to design and build wood houses, care for and live with animals, prune and harvest a fruit orchard, and grow vegetables. Turned it into a Zen Buddhist commune from 1970-1980. His Zen master, Dainin Katagiri-roshi, queried by Fil about whether to sell the Meditation Farm and stay in Japan, told him, "Not how long, how good."
After washing up in Japan and becoming a prof, eventually got a PhD and taught at an arts & humanities university in Kyoto for some decades. Whenever he wasn't teaching, he was traveling.
Lay monk at Tassajara Zen Monastery in the Ventana Wilderness behind Big Sur, 1972. Head Gardener at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon St. in New Orleans, 1974. Turned 33 on Mardi Gras day, living in the Quarter, walked out with his girlfriend that morning and first sight was a guy from the back, complete outfit of black chaps, black leather vest, black cowboy hat, boots... and nothing else, just a bare butt.
Lived on and off at Big River Farm Sangha. Taught California state prisoners creative writing at Parlin Fork Conservation Camp, best writing class he ever led, because they all had interesting stories to tell.
He lives with his young Japanese wife in Thailand, regrooving, swimming and writing daily, first at Railei Beach in southern Thailand, where he designed his own home compound. Now in Bangkok on a quiet dead end street next to a large Buddhist temple.
Lewitt's work begins with three thrillers in a genre he calls lit/pop: First novel, TIGHT, about sexual mores in the 60s, was written in Santa Fe and Paris; second, DEAD WHITE MALES, about a serial murderer in higher education in the 90s, both about and written in Santa Fe (it's also a prequel to the Mercy Investigations series), and the third, MILLENNIAL BLUES, about a truly weird millennial religious cult in New Mexico, written all over the lot. Then a non-fiction book, THE ZEN FOLLIES, for non-specialists who can laugh, which is about American Zen Buddhism and his relationship with it. A companion volume of poetry, CANYON WREN'S RAG: Selected Poems, is also now in print. Another novel, BAD BOY BILL & His Adventures with Naughty Girls, is an episodic romance covering the life of a man who many might deplore but is at heart moral and good. This was followed by the first two books of a new PI fiction series set in San Francisco: The Mercy Investigations Novels. The series begins with KILLER PICTURE POSTCARDS, and continues with GAY BLADE, REVENGE, and CONVICTIONS. These last two will be published in 2015. His newest publication is SHORT TAKES & OUTTAKES, a book of short stories by his father, Al Lewitt, and, in the second section, by Fil Lewitt.
All of his published books are available through Amazon.com in both quality paperback format and in Kindle ebook format, and have Amazon's "Look Inside" feature for your previewing pleasure.
Always happy to hear from readers; at least it might mean they have bought his books.