I call myself a writer. In earlier lives, I wrote for newspapers and magazines … both local and national, here in Canada. I was nominated a few times for writing awards, but never won anything other than some nice comments.
My father was an author of local historical books. He was extremely disciplined. He was a medical doctor by day and toiled on his books by night. He wasn’t the easiest person to live with, but he was productive as a writer. I learned a lot by watching him go into his den in the evening and hearing the typewriter clack away into the night.
I’m not quite as disciplined. Apparently I had the talent as writer, but not the productivity. I was distracted by family and music. Procrastination is the big elephant in the room.
When it was revealed that writing would never pay for groceries for a growing family, I deserted journalism and moved to “the dark side,” as my friends called it — I became a PR flack. For the better part of 10 years, I worked in corporate communications for financial institutions and as an independent contractor. For another eight years, I had my own web publishing company … until I came to my senses.
I decided to combine my love for the English language with my need to “connect” … and I became a teacher of English as a second language. I teach foreign students a few things about grammar and speaking and pronunciation, but I also try to convey my enthusiasm for the expressive power of the language.
I am working on a novel about 14th century England, particularly about the monasteries. You can read a little about the origins of my novel here … and read some of my other blog entries (like this one) that contain hints of what I am seeing and writing about.
I am aided and abetted in my novel-writing enterprise by my wife, who is also working on a novel. She is like my father — brilliant and disciplined (but she’s a much nicer person than he was) — and in many ways, she is showing me the way and helping me believe that my novel will emerge.
And each word of this blog is like a contract to myself to conjure my novel forward and release these amazing monks from the 14th century from their tortured lives.