The photo is winter in North Vancouver… out to chores and such like. The Honda CRV, behind, has taken me over to Calgary-an-back twice; down to Ketchum/Idaho, across to the Little Bighorn River in Montana and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming…
I wrote my first book at school, a boys adventure, then a murder mystery; which my dentist promised to read! Who knew a young boy would become a writer one day and have people read his short stories online. But then forgot all about writing till my early twenties in Canada; trying poetry first, up on the Peace River, BC and down in California.
Both my parents were from the northeast of England, right on the coast; where ships and shipyards employed all the men. I had a wonderful time on the beach and in the sea; swimming in summer and playing on the rocks/sands in winter. I did not like English studies at school and all the boys preferred science and sports, during those days. We were just a few miles south of Catherine Cookson (South Shields) and on the doorstep of Whitburn, where Lewis Carroll often visited. I still have a penchant for boats, sailing yachts and the sea.
After school I went to work on farms and chanced to attend the Royal Agricultural College, for a lovely stay on the Cotswold hills further south — a big break from the north country and very different kinds of people with different aspirations.
In Canada I finally gave up farming work and eventually landed at university for English lit/lang; to begin teaching school after. Often I put my pen-to-paper, those years, to accomplish a few poems and some prose. I also wrote book reviews for journals and such like, after college. I enjoy putting onto paper – memories and opinions, people and events, reflections and drama; as escape from the ordinary business of paying bills, attending chores and obligations. In California I attempted a lot of writing; but was not ready for the sustained effort/seclusion needed and realized I had nothing much to say at that time.
1980-2000 in London (UK), teaching mostly; where my first short stories came from; right above Kensington Gardens park. I trained to teach ESL down at Earls Court and moved over to language schools for foreign students.
In 1997 I became a member of Mensa (UK); which encouraged me to write short articles on geo-politics, education, the church and so on.
Now I prefer to write outside with pen-an-paper — on a bus/train, in the park on a bench, lingering at a cafe, the library… then continue at home on the computer to edit and polish my poems and short fiction stories. I still don’t like isolation, specially for the first drafts and enjoy working alongside students, travelers, children and families… not to be cut-off from everyday life.