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In a nut shell

Dumitru Sandru is an artist, composer, and author. He paints in the classical, surreal, and modern styles, and most of the music Dumitru composes is of the New Age flavor. As an author, he prefers to write science fiction, paranormal, and young adult fantasy novels, such as "Arboregal, The Lorn Tree." "Escape from Communism" is his story of escaping from communist Romania when he was eighteen.

Dumitru resides in California with his wife. They have one daughter and two grandsons.

Beyond the shell

I was born in 1953 in Timisoara, Romania. Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimming champion and the actor who played Tarzan in the 1930's, was born in my hometown, which I shamelessly mention here. Timisoara is located to the west of Transylvania, but I never met Dracula, or Johnny Weissmuller.

My creative talents emerged at a very early age through my drawings, followed by oil paintings. I was one of those artsy kids for whom my art teacher had high hopes. Hopefully I will live up to her expectations, one day.

Being an avid reader I was inspired to write my first mystery thriller when I was twelve, soon followed by a sci-fi story. One of the novels was printed in the school gazette after it was censored and re-written. It disillusioned me, and it took 30+ years before I wrote the next fiction "Arboregal, the Lorn Tree."

When I was sixteen, I found out that I had a knack for composing music too. Rock-n-roll that is, or what I thought was rock-n-roll. My parents wouldn't buy me a guitar if my life depended on it, so I built my own guitar. My buddy and I formed a "band." He had a real guitar and knew most of the chords. I was the vocalist. We tried to put together a real band, but we didn't have the means, and the dream evaporated.

The cauldron of creativity and imagination boiled wildly in me, and I had to expand my horizons. At eighteen I decided to find fame and riches in America. In short, I dropped out of school and ran away from home.

Getting out of communist (behind the Iron Curtain) Romania was no small feat. The whole country was a giant concentration camp with mean-trigger border patrols, ferocious German Shepherds, barbed wire fences, and watch towers as far as the eye could see. Crossing the Romanian border illegally was the equivalent of crossing the Berlin Wall, but without the wall. That didn't deter me. I was eighteen and I was bulletproof. (*When I was nine year old, a soldier discharged his Kalashnikov's magazine, point blank, in my belly. Not a bullet penetrated me.)

I succeeded escaping from communist Romania, in spite of all the odds. In 2012 I wrote and published "Escape from Communism" my true story about that adventure.

Many months later, I arrived at JFK Airport in New York. I was free at last in the new world. My talents in music and art were soon to be recognized and rewarded. I was sure of that. Reality set in quickly. A man's got to eat, so I applied my talent in art and took a job as a technical draftsman. Two years later, I made it to Hollywood, California. Not to become an actor, but in search of better weather.

Life went on; I had a steady job, got married, had two daughters, bought a house and adopted a dog and cat. I went back to school and obtained a degree in engineering from California State University at Long Beach and became a "solid" citizen who paid taxes and voted. Having a knack for telling other people what to do, I became a manager and started climbing the corporate ladder. I did well for a while, but in time I found out what a straitjacket the corporate life can be for a creative man.

A creative man is hard to keep down, and in the late nineteen-eighties I began painting and composing music again. I also realized that I'm good at making people laugh, and have a knack for telling tall tales. I wrote the first draft of "Planet of the Giant Trees" in 2002. It is a story about a world where life exists only in mile-high giant trees. Later I renamed the book "Arboregal, the Lorn Tree" and it was published by Chivileri Publishing in fall, 2011.

I'm finding out that the more I write, paint and compose music the more rewarding and enjoyable my life has become. I hope that I will be able to add joy and enrich other people's lives through my art, my stories and my music.

* That soldier, I told you earlier, shut me with blanks, not real bullets. Did you think I was telling tall tales?

I'd like to hear from you. Please e-Mail me at dumitru @ sandru dot com