Some have asked about me as an author. How did I come to be in OZ and wound up writing about it? What brought me to this point in my life and why?
Bold questions and I shall endeavor to answer as best I can.
To begin with, I was born in Huntington, West Virginia on the 41st anniversary of Lyman Frank Baums' death. An odd coincidence I admit.
I grew up in a loving home full of reading, science and athletics. I too was a huge fan of OZ and read all the books I could find.
I spent many years as a magician myself in Ann Arbor, Michigan, so I can understand how Jamie Diggs feels when he must perform for the club.
I also spent many years in Toastmasters International, a wonderful organization devoted to promoting public speaking skills. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to better communicate.
Toastmasters and the International Brotherhood of Magicians (Ring 210) are the primary reasons for my success in public life.
My father was responsible for bringing them to me, so he is the reason I am who I am. Without him, I would be nothing but a normal person of normal abilities instead of the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma.
I went to Indiana State University for a degree in Physics and follow-up graduate work in Geography.
I ran the John C. Hook Memorial Astronomical Observatory at ISU for 7 years during my undergraduate and graduate time and had vowed to be an astronomer. I had been one since I was 8 years old and saw no reason to do anything else.
Fortunately for me, I found a position as Planetarium Educator for SpaceQuest Planetarium at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (The world's largest children's museum).
As long as I live, I will have had no finer job than that position.
If you have never been to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, make the time for it. It is, by far, the most magnificent children's museum on the planet, bar none!
Working there changed me from a scientist to an educator. I learned how much of an impact I can have in the lives of children.
Now, I have chosen to take that talent to a larger audience by writing about OZ and reviving Baum's original vision of a land of fantasy and magic, where life lessons appear at every turn of the Yellow Brick Road.
I chose OZ because I had found myself there one summer a few years ago and was stunned by its beauty and simple values of truth, honesty and family. How I got there is still a mystery as I had turned around one day and voila! OZ all around. The Great Book of Records gives little detail as to how I arrived, only that there I was and how I interacted with Glinda and Dorothy, Ozma and Toto too.
I have always been a writer, although usually in the science or education field. I have published in many science journals and education forums.
I write educational curriculum and do educational outreach. I even write an occasional play or planetarium show script.
Overall, writing has been second nature to me, so this project was only a mere step up to a much larger, more bold forum.
I have 5 children and 9 1/2 grandchildren (as of this posting) and, as such, I am compelled to focus my life on that which will be of benefit to them.
Fostering literacy in our youth accomplishes that goal for me and I am grateful to Princess Ozma for her assistance in this goal. She believes, as I do that children today must read more.
The success of the Harry Potter series only validates her belief that kids want to read more, if only there was more to read.
Fortunately, the Land of OZ provides both the base and structure for a whole new reality, rooted in the past but yearning for the future. It allows for life lessons of love, truth, loyalty, friendship to be told in a form kids recognize and enjoy. After all, how many of us remember The Wizard of Oz?
Even across the globe, OZ is everywhere.
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma