I thought it would be fun to look back on my past, to show you my long and winding road to first publication. This is a light-hearted Bio, so no demons or moments of tragedy will be included. Along the road of life we all have personal moments that define us, forging us into who we are, defining the kind of writers we can be. This is not that tale, but a fun point to point chronicle of how I thought my life would go, leading me to writing, and how it actually went, leading me to writing.
As a high school student I laid out my life’s path, a path to being writer. But I didn’t have the confidence to just do it, oh no. First I’d need adventure, and lots of other experiences, to make what I wrote worth reading. And in my mind, step one was to become an astronaut (I know, right? Crazy, foolish kid).
Here was how I’d do it:
• Go to University to study ‘The Sciences’.
• Get my pilot’s license (because I had seen ‘The Right Stuff’ and thought all astronauts were pilots.).
• Be accepted by NASA and blast off into space! Yes, I know there are a lot more steps to take to truly do this, but keep in mind I grew up in the Eighties, before the Intraweb existed to crush the dreams of every child out there.
• After witnessing the beauty of Earth from space, I’d want to return home, pack my bags, and travel to every continent I’d seen from above.
• Only after all that would I sit down at my typewriter (Late Eighties remember. My family didn’t have a computer. I’m still trying to catch up to the information age because of it. Thanks Dad). With the punch of the first key I’d begin my life as a celebrated author of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I know: Exhausting. In hindsight I should have changed step one to ‘Study the English’, skipped steps two and three, and just gone travelling. But my teen brain didn’t think like that.
Now here’s how it all really turned out:
• I did indeed enter ‘The Sciences’. And dropped out before the first year even ended. Hated the math. Curse you Calculus! *shakes fist at the Math Gods* Failure? Yes, but I tried. Better to fail SPECTACULARLY that not to have tried at all, I always say.
• Who needs science anyway. PFFFT. So instead I jumped to getting my pilot’s license. This I did succeed at. Well, sort of. The plan had been to become a commercial pilot, fly in the bush in a De Havilland Beaver, later for a major airline. Alas, my student loan got me a private and a night rating, and then the money ran out.
• This could have been the end for our daring adventurer, but fear not! The Canadian Government needed me. Transport Canada was hiring for Air Traffic Control, and so I thought, if I can’t fly planes, I’ll simply tell them what to do. And a career was born, with one cool benefit: Time, and money to travel.
• So I finally achieved one of my teenage goals, and I travelled. Every chance I got. Five continents and forty countries later, I was exhausted, and decided to add another goal for myself: a family, with home and hearth. My teenage self never even thought of that one.
• Ah, family, the greatest adventure of all. Yes, single people of the world will scoff, but it’s true. Picture raising kids like a Quest adventure. Your final goal: get your kids to adulthood in one piece. Along the road there will be highs and lows, epic battles, moments of catharsis, comedy, tragedy, demons to fight (terrible twos, teenagers), etc. Hopefully, by the end, love will have conquered all. Oh, you’ll have emotional scarring, and PTSD, but the greatest adventurers rarely think of the aftermath of adventuring, now do they?
• After marrying my lovely wife we began our family. That’s when panic set into my brain. Wait a minute, hadn’t I wanted to be a writer? Oh yeah! So, as the first baby approached I began, and it felt awesome. Turned out I had things I wanted to say, and the more I wrote, the more stories I had that wanted to be told, and I wanted to tell them too! Back in my youth I had no confidence in my writing. Really, none at all. It’s why I thought I had to have adventures, live a little, before trying to write. If I’d had more encouragement back then maybe I could have pulled it off. And I’d probably be a better technical writer for it today, but I don’t think I’d be as good a storyteller, if that makes any sense. I needed to grow up, to experience, to become who I am.
• I have written here before about how I kept submitting short stories, and getting rejected, until Tesseracts Nineteen finally accepted me. Now, I know I’m nobody still, just a guy with three stories published, but to my teenage self, and to me, it means the world. I believe that anyone who writes has the right to call themselves a writer, but I never believed in myself enough to do that, not as a teenager, and not in my twenties. Now I do.