I was raised on a small farm in central Alberta. My first ambition, a very serious one, was to live alone in a log cabin as a trapper. That changed to farmer, then biologist, then journalist, then florist.
In Calgary, I studied biology, then journalism. Amongst numerous more-nondescript jobs, I was for two years a reporter.
Then, over a four-year period, I went on some extremely long, arduous adventures by foot, canoe and bicycle, hoping they would break me out of my life-long shyness and anxiety. No such luck. So, having read that poetry was a possible route into the subconscious, which I assumed was the home of my anxiety, I took a poetry anthology out into a closed provincial park near St. John’s, Newfoundland. For a month and a half, I read, wrote and memorized poetry until it floated across the sky in my dreams. But it did nothing for my anxiety.
In 1987, I married Linda, a flower designer, and we opened and ran a flower shop in Vancouver for nineteen years.
When we sold the shop and semi-retired, we moved to London, Ontario in 2008 to be near our children and grandchildren.
With more time on my hands, I revved up my poetry writing, and, as a form of shyness therapy, began attending Ron Stewart's excellent poetry workshop. When I got used to that, the next logical step in the direction of my fear was to find a place to read to an audience. Since there was no open mic for regular “page poets” in London then, I decided I would have to organize one. In doing so, the constant social contacts that were necessary turned out to be just the therapy I needed. The stress nearly killed me but I eventually got used to it, and by the fifth season had lost most of my shyness. After 62 years, I felt like I was stepping through a door into a completely new life.
In the process, my ability to write decent poetry has dramatically improved. And I have a place to read it!
- The 2014 Ted Plantos Memorial Award from The Ontario Poetry Society.
- 2nd Prize in the 2014 Poetry London Poetry Contest.