Friday, July 29, 2011

Child of the North - Part 2

I'm going to be adding to a 'short' biography to my new book, and I thought it would be fun to share it with you as it unfolds. I'll be adding to the previous days work, so you'll see each post get slightly longer - that's in case any of you missed the first bits; you can't start a story in the middle, can you?

In a raging predawn Canadian blizzard, a policeman struggled to drag my pregnant mother through six foot snow drifts to get her into the hospital. By this time she was well into labor. It was a Thursday - Thor`s day. That`s how I came into the world.

I suppose it`s no surprise then that I've been fascinated by our Northern Culture my entire life. I’m proud of the tenacity and resourcefulness my ancestors embodied which brought me into this world.

For thousands of years our Northern forefathers endured biting cold, limited resources and invading empires. Despite this, their culture flourished and their legacy endured; my passion is this legacy and its echoes into our modern world.


Early Years

One of my earliest memories was from Kindergarten when I was five. The teacher was asking children in the room what the wanted to be when they grew up. Of course you had the kids who wanted to be doctors, firemen, policemen, maybe even a lawyer. Then the teacher got to me.

    “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

    “An Eagle,” I replied.

The teacher just shook her head in irritation and moved on to the next kid.

And so began the theme of my life, a theme influenced by others, but crafted by me. I was never comfortable accepting the societal norm; I tried.

I was fortunate to be born with good genes – I was a strong young man, handsome and popular, even if I did defy convention.

On Writing

I first started writing for the oldest and noblest of reasons – love; more accurately, teenage infatuation. Some pretty girl had batted her eyes at me, and I suddenly wanted to be Shakespeare, although the possibility of creating my own reality was also incredibly engaging. My poetry gave birth to the perfect world where I said exactly the right things to the girl of my dreams. What possibilities! My interest soon expanded to prose, where I could explore the same worlds in more detail, if not slightly less lyrically, and I wrote a few short stories.

Unfortunately, as is too often the case, I was told I would never make a living as a writer and I should focus on school or work for my father’s business. My parent’s generation were perhaps more pragmatic than ours; their parents knew the hardships of both The Great Depression, and the Second World War. It was with that influence that their youth was forged, while my own was cultivated in the more liberal 70’s, and I saw possibilities that perhaps they did not.
Despite my dreams, I got married, went to work and started a family.


Our ancestors believed strongly in luck. In fact they believed that luck could be passed on in a family. Men sought out the leadership of luckier men - better to be on the side of the lucky leader in battle than the unlucky one.

I feel that luck is nothing more than preparation meeting opportunity. The ‘Lucky’ are on the lookout for opportunities, and have cultivated the skills and the will to take action. They often pass those drives and habits on to their children, leading to the notion of familial luck passed down by blood.

Whatever the case is, I indeed have had my share of luck. My most lucky moment was when I met and married my wife. We were young and impulsive, and had only been dating a few months when we ran off to elope. I was twenty three, and she was just nineteen, and attending university. As I write this, we have been happily married for nearly twenty years. Certainly there were trying times. There were times with no money, times with lots of money, times of great pain and family strife, but mostly warmth, and happiness.

‘Luckily’ our impulsive decision resulted in a wonderful life together.


Being married, and having my son born two years later, shaped my life considerably. I became not a family man, but simply, a man. This was my call to action to grow up, now being concerned for two lives in addition to my own.

My son and I on the Blue Ridge looking over the Shenandoah Valley
Being a father has shifted my view of the world so dramatically, it has quite literally made me a different person. I can’t imagine what kind of person I would be otherwise; I don’t think I'd want anything to do with that person. If there's one thing in life I am most proud of, it's that my son and I have a wonderful and loving relationship, and I believe, I've been there for him as a father.

When asked who my heroes or inspirational figures are, without fail I’ll say that they are the fathers who show up for the job every day, the fathers who try, and treat their role seriously. I have an uncle and a cousin who are such men, with families to be proud of.
Those are my heroes.

Stay Tuned for more of my 'short' biography.

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