I grew up in an interesting time, in an interesting place and an interesting family. My timing really sucked because I was late to the baby boomers but too early for the Generation X or, to put it plainly, I was too young for Woodstock and too early for Disco. I grew up with black and white TV with two channels, monophonic hi-fi, the cold war and Gilligan’s Island. Boys my age read Treasure Island and Hardy Boys. Not bad if you didn’t want to read anything that was relevant to a boy living in Saskatchewan in the 1960s. With apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson, I really just wanted to read something I could understand. So I wrote my own stories.
Jump ahead a few years and I’m still writing stories, for everything. My science reports and social studies essays are all stories. My English Lit and Drama teachers love it but my Science and Social teachers are really getting annoyed. I’m writing all the time and sending short stoies and plays in to competitions with a 100% rejection rate. There are two kinds of people in the world; those that like my stories (friends) and those who don’t (everyone else). But there’s another thing going on in the background.
For whatever reason, which I cannot explain, I was brought up with a firm belief that I would never succeed at anything. Not that I would fail but I would never be successful, especially at anything I really wanted to do. This may have been the result of parents that grew up during the war or their own experiences in life but, they were quite specific in telling me that a job was something you did not something you enjoyed. As a result, I never seriously considered that I would be able or even want to be a writer. This isn’t necessarily bad advice for kids, not everyone can or will be able to make a living writing, but I went so far as to put it out of my mind when I grew up. Like toys and play, writing was put away for adult things, like work and buying things. I didn’t lift a pen for many years.
It took having kids to get me to start creating stories again. My kids liked my made up, impromptu tales at bedtime. Telling them a “story from my head” became a nightly ritual and my personal joy. I was thrilled to find all my characters and silly ideas were still there. It helped that kids books were getting better, or that I was appreciating them more as a parent, but the ability to construct a story with characters and arcs was still in there.
It didn’t take me long to get back in the saddle, writing and submitting works. This time I had to occasional acceptance letter and payment of money in with the flow of rejection letters. I didn’t seriously consider myself a writer until I signed my first contract and received payment for my work in 1994. From that point on I’ve never stopped believing.
My first work in television was in 1995 and eventually I wrote screenplays for some dramatic productions and documentaries. My first book was published in 2013 and I have a few short stories published in various collections and websites. I’m not on the Best Sellers (?) list yet but I’m working on it.