I’m starting this blog because I believe I now need it… but I’m ahead of myself.
I’m Australian with a Dutch heritage – both my parents emigrated to Australia, met there, married, and me and my brother eventually popped up (I was born in – wait for it – Canberra). They were very different people, and while we were young, things were OK, but eventually the marriage turned sour and by the time I was in my early twenties, things were well and truly over. My father became a very unhappy man, drank a lot, lived in destitution, and died at the very young age of 56.
I needed to lay out this bit of truth because important events in your life, and particularly when you’re young, have permeating affects on the remainder of your existence. It did for me, and I think it did more for my brother, Dom. Of course, I leave it to my brother to tell his story, if he so chooses.
Because my family were never wealthy, and in fact were quite poor for prolonged periods, my mother really wanted me to "become someone" – I had an aptitude for studying, read mature books from about the age of 10, and loved writing from about the same time. I enjoyed writing short stories and reading them out in class, and I even sent a hand written submission of shorts to a publisher at the age of thirteen, only to be bitterly disappointed with the rejection, despite the editor writing that I had talent and that I had to wait a few years (if only I knew HOW MANY YEARS it would take!) Back to the thread: so instead of following an academic path to becoming a writer, I aimed for the law, and I even attended a year of law school in Sydney. Big mistake. It wasn’t difficult, but it was boring. Very boring. For the next couple of years I tried different things and ended up in an office job, rather dejected.
There was a period in my twenties when I was metaphorically "lost in the wilderness" – unhappy, self-destructive, unsatisfied with what I was doing. The only thing that I did that was creative was roleplay – and lots of it. I started when I was about sixteen, and I really only stopped last year – that’s 31 years! (Actually, I only stopped because I moved cities and left my troupe of players behind). It kept me sane, nurtured my adolescent male needs (well beyond adolescence), and because I was part of that force of RPGers who wanted to lift the quality of the pastime, was a truly amazing (and long) apprenticeship in the craft of storytelling. It was only with the benefit of hindsight did I realise how valuable it truly was.
I can describe my thirties quite easily – a failed marriage, more wonderful (and ground breaking) roleplaying design and practice, and two undergraduate degrees (Arts – BioAnthropology; Science – Computer Science and Statistics). I entered the computing profession, and while it was not my life’s ambition, it paid for bills and gave me a solid career. Stupidly (stupid, stupid, stupid!) I did not look to becoming a writer. (Again I say, stupid, stupid, stupid!).
I am now in my forties (and not far off from hitting the fifties). My life has turned around – I have finally got a whole bunch of things going that have added meaning to my life. I married again and this time to the right person for me (Jenny). I have a lovely 4 year old daughter, Erin. I am pretty successful in the IT business (although not my life’s ambition). And several years ago I woke up to myself and I started to do a lot of writing. I was wiser as a ten year old than in my twenties and thirties – this is my life’s ambition. I have moved to Melbourne for a few years with my family (work) but it has stimulated me to write more, and I feel I am closer to the writing fraternity of Australia. I have completed one novel, 2/3rds finished a second, and have a heap in plan. I have written over thirty short stories. I am on the verge of being published and hopefully can transition over the next few years to becoming a professional writer – who can sustain himself and his family with just that craft. We will see. Those who follow this blog can be witness, I hope.
So how do I summarise my life? Well, on the surface, I wasted about twenty years – but that would be a bloody stupid thing to say. I had good times, bad times, stupid times, and smart/creative times. I lived and learned. It contributes to my body of experience that translates into being a better writer, and person.
In a nutshell, and from a forty thousand foot high perspective, what I have just written is me.