My Days of Writing
After I’d left college in 1971 my girlfriend (now wife) and I started out on our world tour by hitch-hiking and working as a dish-washer and waitress, respectively, in the States for three months. We had numerous adventures and arrived back penniless and glowing.
Reality intruded into our lives. I was hit with the realisation that I had to get a job in order to earn some money. The student grant was gone. The real world beckoned.
I worked as a road-sweeper, warehouseman, animal house and laboratory technician. That was good. I was filling in time until we could resume our travels and adventures.
I’d started writing and painting in 1970. Somehow I had this idea that I could be content being creative and get by. It was not to be. We had our children. I ended up teaching and loved every minute of it (barring a few). It suited me to the ground. I am naturally exuberant, quick with the repartee and have a touch of quirky humour. I was the rebel the kids got on with.
But the writing was addictive. I still harboured dreams of being a writer and would happily have typed away in poverty if I could have scraped a living. That also was not to be.
The teaching was fun and exhausting but I’d promised myself that I would always save some energy for creative projects. The ideas stormed in my head and I found myself scribbling them down in classrooms, staff meetings and journeys. I wrote book after book.
At first I eagerly sent them in to publishers and collected the rejection slips. When one was picked up to be professionally read it was a great day. When one got taken up for publication we bought the kids Christmas presents with the promised cheque. The cheque never arrived. Somehow we absorbed the debt and I no longer sent off the books.
I came home from work, played with the kids and got them to bed, watched an hour or two of telly and around ten or eleven I got down to writing. I wrote until two or three in the morning and was up the next day at seven. I’d do that for three months at a time until I had a novel finished. I then threw the manuscript in a drawer and recovered before starting out on the next.
By the time I retired I had amassed forty books. I’d had a couple of science things published with Oxford University Press but I’d saved my fiction, biography and other weird things for later.
My career blossomed and my radical ideas were taken on and produced outstanding results. I felt like I was running Summerhill. I became Head and proved that you could be outstanding while treating young men like human beings and developing their social awareness. The community was buzzing and the kids beamed. Respect, tolerance, love, empathy and responsibility blossomed. My energy was channelled into making the world a better place.
I promised myself that when I retired I would rewrite all my books and look to publishing them. That is what I am doing.
My retirement is being spent reading, writing and travelling. That seems ideal to me. I mix that with friends, relatives, our children and grandchildren, a spot of wine, a laugh, a lot of loud gigs, a bunch of photographs, an argument, a film and my blog. I just wish I had more time in the day, more energy and the exuberance of youth.
I have been retired four years and have rewritten and written twenty four books so far. I’m working my way through.
I have a cunning plan.
I will write up all forty seven. I will edit and proof, publish on Amazon and then look to market and publish properly.
I’m not looking for a new career. I’m quite content. I want a creative outlet. I want an audience. I want to express my ideas, thoughts and feelings; I want to give vent to my passions. I seem to need that.
I’m not looking for wealth and fame.
I do want to be noticed. I do want my ideas to be valued. I am crazy about Rock Music, Blues, Nature, Animals, Sci-fi, the Sixties, the Environment, Education and Science. My wife says I’m opinionated. She’s usually right.
I just want to change the whole world!
(I only hope I have enough time left!)