Creative writer, essayist, failed radical, and believer in the oxford comma
Where I grew up the fantasy occupation for a boy was fireman. All those flashing lights, big ladders, and gushing water clearly stirred the loins of young British boys. I, however, wanted to be a brain surgeon, penetrating the mysteries of the mind not burning buildings. Unfortunately there was a problem: I fainted at the sight of blood. So with a small conceptual leap – into neuropsychology – and a large geographic one – across the Atlantic – I landed in Canada as a graduate student on a Commonwealth Scholarship.
To collapse the next thirty-five years into a trice: I was a brain researcher, political activist, academic, health policy wonk and foundation executive. Eventually, when they gave me a Wikipedia entry and started offering honourary doctorates and Orders of Canada, I got the message – “time you moved on aging boomer and made way for some hungry millennials who still have fire in their bellies”.
Thus I found myself in the enviable position of early retiree with time on my hands and an inclination to carry forward the family tradition of scribe – father a newspaper editor and brother a BBC journo.
And so to the present. My essays and creative non-fiction are the loose ties that bind to my past life of writing sometimes entertaining, but more often dry, academic articles and books. My short stories and novels are the antidote to that past life. They are an excuse to live, if only for a few hours each day, in imagined worlds rather than the real one.