About the Author

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to surf from Oregon to Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Indonesia and the South Pacific. But of all the great waves and exotic places, it’s the early days, back when my entire surfing world consisted of three miles of coastline biking distance from home, that are my favorite. 

DSC_0143_miniI think most young surfers at some point fantasize about becoming a surf bum. I did. At sixteen I saved my dishwashing money and bought a ticket to Hawaii. I spent the summer sleeping on a friend’s sofa and surfing the South Shore. I thought I’d found my destiny. But, with my pennies running out, my host tiring of me, and my mom threatening to drag me back, I decided it was best to go home.

After graduating high school I  dabbled at city college while working restaurant jobs, either of which could be dumped upon a good swell. By twenty-two I was stuck in the restaurant loop, the water was becoming increasingly crowded, and the doctor’s daughter I was dating chose to go off to college rather than hang with me. It was time to put surfing aside and commit to some sustenance. I  signed up for a psychiatric technician program through Ventura College. That led to a job at Camarillo State Hospital taking care of mentally ill people. It was a decent job–good pay and benefits–but sad work. Most of the patients would be institutionalized for the rest of their lives, and now possibly me with them. I dreamt of an escape–the ultimate surf bum departure–sailing around the world. It became my motivation. My new wife and I worked double shifts, and I DJ’d weddings on the side. We bought a sailboat. But soon I landed a job at the Santa Barbara County Jail as the mental health counselor. We moved to S.B. and I got a cool DJ gig at a club. It was 1990, and suddenly the need to escape wasn’t so great.

After a year in Santa Barbara we came up with a new plan, sold the boat and moved to Portland, Oregon. I opened a record store and sold records for sixteen years. When the market dropped out in the middle 2000’s I closed up shop. Three years later I  had a corporate desk job, it was then I started writing what turned out to be Pier Rats.

Over the years I’d filled countless notebooks and journals with ideas, notions, and story lines. Now, I present, a finished manuscript. The project could never have been completed without the guidance and mentorship of Myrna Oakley, retired writing instructor from Marylhurst University. She took me under her wing and guided and pushed me from beginning to end. Also, Jane Manchee, my writing cohort who is under Myrna’s tutelage as well and acted as generational buffer and artful critic.

I live in Portland Oregon with my wife Renee and two daughters, Colette and Audrey. Thanks to anybody who bothered to read this far,

Bruce Greif

28 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Congratulations Bruce on finishing Pier Rats and having it loaded on both Kindle and Amazon’s Create Space; I just ordered my paperback copy! Budding novelist-writer-colleague Jane Manchee along other prospective novel writers wish you much success as readers discover your young adult novel about surfing in the Ventura CA area during the early 1970s. From the first time you attended my P.C.C./Community Ed. Novel Writing class here in Portland OR, I knew you had a terrific story. You persevered for the time it took to write the first draft and then polish succeeding drafts until it was ready to share with the reading world. With great characters and a compelling story that includes some harrowing teen adventures, Pier Rats will delight readers of all ages. We’ll follow you along the way as more readers discover this fun read about the early surfing culture in southern California. I’ll also Tweet @northwestwriter. Congrats!

  2. Hi Bruce. Do you have a younger sister named Liz? I knew her at Ventura High School. Kevin Costner, a close friend from Cabrillo Jr High, might be very interested in your work given his penchant for producing Americana stories.
    Mark Maggipinto
    Class of ’73

  3. Great, entertaining reading for all ages, especially surfers or those who are familiar with the Ventura area.

  4. Enjoyed your book. It brought me back thirty years; you and me at oil piers, you surfing, me getting tan tossing the frisbee. Those days seemed endless.
    Congrats on the book!

    1. Yeah, those were great days, and you could sure throw a frisbee. The beach, Santa Paula, Lurch, quarters, Bass Lake, Dr. E and Norma. Lots of great memories!

  5. Hey Bruce!
    I’ll be buying a copy of your book A.S.A.P. It should bring back some memories of the good old days in Ventura. I have lived in Lincoln City, Oregon for the last 23 years. Lets get together sometime for a surf!

  6. Congratulations, Bruce! I read your book last week and found myself laughing outloud repeatedly. Good times, good read.

    Peter Bundy
    (worked at William Dennis)

    1. Great to hear from you Pete, those were special times, thanks for being a good sport, and an inspiration to us kids.

  7. Great book, i could see all of us as i read it. I was in blink’s shop last week and surfed four days at the pipe in great south swll waves. Live near point arena for many years. Goog job.

    1. Hey Matthew, yeah I remember Jim Morgan, he hung out at Inside Point a lot. What school do you go to? Thanks for reaching out.

      1. i go to hollywood beach school and i am typing this at school and did he have a awsome captain morgan tatoo on his leg

        1. I don’t think he had that awesome tattoo yet, but he was still a pretty cool guy. That teacher of yours is pretty cool too, you’re surrounded by coolness!

  8. Hi Bruce: It’s Mary from back in the old Ventura days (thou recall that I live in Portland now). Congrats on a great accomplishment! I have not read the book yet, but I’m going to Powell’s right now to purchase a couple copies, and I was wondering if I could bribe you into signing them by buying you coffee or lunch. Would like to give the book to a couple family members that I know would love to receive the book as a gift. Let me know if you’re willing to accommodate such a big favor and we can coordinate. [P.S. Sorry to broadcast this request, but I don’t do FB and don’t know your current email address.] Thank you for your considerations!

    1. Absolutely Mary, I’ll email you. No wonder I got an message from Powell’s today telling me I need to restock! Thank you.

  9. Is this thread still happening? Your book floated out to me recently, good memories abound in every chapter. I am pleased to be a part of all those happy and innocent times.
    John Bear is the coolest hobo, couldn’t have asked for a better character!!

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