Rick Alpers’ San Jose Stories

At Play On Words, we love to feature writers in our own backyard–San Jose writers who have an intimate knowledge of the Valley of Hearts Delight and are proud to engage in a literary conversation. When it comes to San Jose stories, Rick Alpers has quite a few up his sleeve. We’re thrilled to perform three short excerpts of his novel-in-progress, Van Tribe, which follows a cast of characters living in downtown San Jose, on June 3 at Play On Words: Take Flight.

Rick is a San Jose native with family roots dating back to 1871 in central California. He graduated from San Jose State in physical education and earned a master’s degree, along with a lifetime teaching credential, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He taught high school PE at Santa Teresa High for four years before going into commercial construction, where he still works. Rick writes for relaxation  and the creativity it provides. His series of vignettes is part of a novel with the working title of Van Tribe.

Rick Alpers
Rick Alpers

What inspired “Van Tribe”?

The working title “Van Tribe” came from a thought I had about all the tribes of people who have lived on the Guadalupe River, and the river’s effect of our community. The latest and on-going “state” of the river is almost forgotten by current residents, but the constant motif is the river and how it has welcomed so many. The Native Americans lived here with the Grizzly bears, the Spanish settlers raised crops and cattle here, the American settlers set up canneries to produce canned fruit for our country, the inventors have used this valley for the creative talent to communicate to the world. All this time we have used the river and its shelter, water and housing.

What inspires you to write?

My inspiration to write is from my father and mother. They understood that each of us is a writer.

What author inspires you?

TC Boyle.

What book has had a profound effect on you?

JPS Brown’s The Outfit.

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