In college, I had a big head. I believed that I was destined to be one of the greatest writers of all time. Up there with Hemingway and Dostoyevsky. Swiftly after college, reality emerged. Much like my heroes in their early twenties, I was penniless and hungry. Unlike my heroes, I gave up, sold out and pursued suburban success.
Twenty years later I have fallen into the role that I was truthfully destined to be: a fully domesticated, stay-at-home father. I have been blessed with two beautiful school- aged boys. I should be spending my time cleaning the house and preparing savoury meals, but instead I write.
My first novel, Straight Men in Gay Bars, is memoir/creative non-fiction. It examines the notion of self and the perception of oneself. It ventures into a world of debauchery with a certain degree of childish charm. Straight Men in Gay Bars is a coming-of-age story with many seedy characters in the heart of Vancouver’s Gay Village, during the turning of the millennia. It’s written in the vein of Henry Miller or Irvine Welch. Told in the first-person view, with events borrowed heavily from my own life.
Deciding to write something a little more wholesome, something my mother would appreciate, my creative mind ventured into a new field, a cozy mystery. Death in Halfmoon Bay, takes many of the elements of a modern cozy mystery but is inspired by Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. I asked myself, what would Jane Marple be like if she existed today and was a grandmother. Suzanne Rickson is happily married and has two daughters. She and her husband, Charles, are living their golden years in a serene Westcoast retirement community until Suzanne is framed for the murder of her good friend. Armed with a keen sense of observation and a strong knowledge of mystery novels, Suzanne must establish her innocence. She does have one great advantage, for she already knows who the real killer is. Now all she has to do is prove it.
Some of my big head still exists. The Modern Absurdist is a collection of short stories focusing on our desire to find purpose in our lives, even when there is none. It grasps at the concept that wisdom is knowing that we can not always explain the unexplainable. Traditional absurdist literature was written 100 years ago. Giants like Kafka, Satre and William Burroughs explored the theme of purpose without God. And now I must throw in my own hat, and offer a modern interpretation
When my grandmother, Helen, passed away several years ago, we discovered that she had started writing her memoirs. We had grown-up listening to the stories of her childhood. She had told us about living through the German Blitz bombing of her home and how she had met my grandfather in an Army Hospital. We knew that she had emigrated to Canada as a warbride. But there were stories she had not told us. Family secrets that had been kept for years. Ever yours, Nellie, is my interpretation of her memoir. There are minor fictional elements that help push the story along smoothly, but the core of her story exists. My grandmother’s sheer determination to survive against any situation, any prejudice against her, and to pull herself and her family out of poverty, is why my grandmother’s story must be told.
My creative mind stretches in many directions. This is the prerogative of a prolific writer. I have many stories to tell and a strong desire to tell them all. I hope you come along for the ride. Not all my stories may be your cup of tea. But every once and a while we should take ourselves out of our comfort zones. Stick with me and you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.