Category Archives: Blogged Passages

An End to Freedom

An End to Freedom

 There upon the snow I see it spattered.

Thin red trail of life about to fade.

Paw prints in the powdered snow,the only other mark to show

Where this once noble creature quietly laid.

Though my life and dreams have now been shattered,

Still I must conclude this cruel deed.

Following that bloody spoor, I pray I’ll find him well before

His spirit goes to where it can’t be freed.


We’d survived alone with few possessions.

Me my bow, and him his stealth and speed.

Both had years of hard earned skill, but neither one would ever kill

The more than we could carry, eat or need.

Sometimes I would see his paw’s impressions.

Often he would catch my wind-borne scent.

Once or twice I caught his eye.  We’d watch as brothers, passing by,

But never go the way the other went.


Then the settlers came upon these ranges.

Bringing foreign beasts and different ways.

We’d been living high and free.  The land was shared by him and me

While spirits watched us from the ancient days.

Soon we saw the first of many changes.

Trees were felled and streams were damned and filled.

Game was mercilessly shot, and left, most often, there to rot

Upon the blood stained land where it was killed.


Soon there was so little food for killing.

That first winter left us nearly dead.

He and I both quietly knew the land would no more carry two

Both needing to be regularly fed.

First we shared, as brothers, true and willing.

Each would leave some kill to feed his friend.

Then the railway pushing west dispersed the herds, and killed the rest,

We knew our time was coming to an end.


Late at night a Manitou would find me.

Speak the ancient words I knew were true.

Steady came the quiet voice to tell me I must make the choice

To live as then and die, or start anew.

Waking dreams kept trying to remind me

I must help my brother stay alive.

With him now my spirit ran, but there within the time of man

I knew he was too gentle to survive.


So I left my hills and spirit brother,

Hoping without me he’d find more food.

That was all I had to give.  My freedom, so that he might live.

My noble past to join this savage brood.

There I tried to live as someone other.

Learn their selfish ways my soul decried.

‘Till my spirit screamed aloud to tell my heart, once strong, once proud

How fast my soul had strangled there, and died.


That was when I walked back to the ranges.

Bow upon my back and knife to hand.

That was when I heard the gun and saw my brother fall, then run.

And that was when I came to understand.

There are some who’ll never live with changes.

There are some who’s freedom they can’t give.

Him and me, our souls must fly forever ‘tween the grass and sky

Where savagery of man could never live.


Passing then the two who shot my brother,

Hearing then their mocking of my friend,

Boasting he would die in pain, no more to kill a calf again.

I gave to them a fast and peaceful end.

May they find forgiveness from Our Mother,

May their haunted spirits lie at rest.

One with eye’s yet open wide, his throat now slit from side to side,

The other with my arrow in his chest.


Now upon the snow I see them spattered.

All my brother’s hopes before they died.

Paw prints in the powdered snow, the only other mark to show

Where this once noble creature quietly cried.

Now with my hope destitute and shattered,

I must let my brother’s spirit free.

Following that bloody spoor, I have to free his soul before

I turn the knife and do the same to me.

Disrespecting Cultures

Unfettered encroachment of the developed population upon traditional lands of  Aboriginal Peoples is endemic wherever Aboriginal Peoples still exist from Indonesia to Botswana; Siberia to Guatemala. South America, where there are yet the greatest number of uncontacted tribes, perhaps boasts the worst record of encroachments and magnitude of disrespect shown these people as the interiors are systematically opened to satisfy the greed and the colonial rape, pillage and plunder mentality the developed world still perpetuates upon the less developed. Even the seemingly innocuous industry of eco-tourism participates in its own way in this insensitive exploitation and cultural genocide.

Disrespecting Cultures

He felt ashamed to be there.

Everything had been so good until then but this was to be the low point of an otherwise great first trip into the Amazon jungle.

They’d flown over the Andes to Iquitos in North-eastern Peru where he was intrigued to see big ocean going cargo ships that had come up from the Atlantic, such was the magnitude of the greatest of all rivers. The boat ride downstream had been fun, stopping at several rickety floating docks on the bank to discharge and load people, luggage, foodstuffs and livestock. Everything was done manually and, to his eye, with a fairly decent level of efficiently in the end even though appearing unorganized at times.

At one such stop he’d translated the international signal flag design on the t-shirt of a cargo handler, a river Indian he was sure had never wandered far from that area. It read “Caneel Bay St John USVI”. He smiled, having gone past that very place on the ferry from Tortola less than two weeks previously, and wondered how it had come to be the property of this fellow who would never have even heard of the place.

The rudimentary lodge in the jungle was sensible for the environment in which they were staying and, given his unease with unnecessary comfort when traveling in natural places, he was very happy with the arrangements his girlfriend had made for them. He’d loved the jungle hikes, the river trip to see the pink dolphins, sightings of sloths, tarantulas, macaws and other indigenous creatures and flora, and enjoyed the antics of the semi tame monkey in the nearby village that seemed to enjoy riding on his shoulder and explaining the events around him by muttering into his ear.

The visit to the Amerindian village was altogether different and, given that he had been keenly looking forward to it, utterly disappointing. They had been taken with a few other “first world” people from the lodge to a settlement of the Yagua indigenous people from whom he had hoped to learn of their culture and, if possible, try to understand a little of their world view from any Elders that may be open to discussion. Instead he had been treated to a ridiculous spectacle of staged dance and a blow pipe show and competition put on purely for the participation of, and photo ops for, the tourists.

There were no translators available through whom to communicate with the villagers and very little authenticity in anything he saw. It was a sham of Aboriginal culture designed to give the paying tourists what they wanted, not what was anthropologically real.

There was no blame to be placed on the Yagua. He reckoned they were just being exploited by tour operators, and that although they probably only received a pittance compared to that which the tour operators charged, this was still a necessary income source for them as they struggled to adapt to the new order brought about by the tragically destructive encroachment of modern society. It would have been made all the more necessary as the advancement of so-called civilization into their territory increasingly diminished their ability to live their traditional ways from which they had little difficulty finding adequate sustenance for centuries.

Ancient wisdom sparkled in the eyes of the Elders. He silently speculated on how they felt about what they witnessed happening to their people. As they strutted back and forth in their grass skirts, their faces painted for the white people, he wondered what longing they must endure for the old life when they could walk with pride through the jungle at ease with their rightful position as one of the alpha predators.

He wept internally for them when he thought of the ignominy of their status in their own land, reduced to little more than a side show for paying spectators. He was angry and indignant for them with each new demeaning spectacle the tour group leader had them perform.

Disgusted he walked away from the group and round the back of one of the thatched huts from which the villagers had emerged. Beyond another such building were some more villagers, young Yagua adults and older teens, only they were wearing jeans and t-shirts, shorts and tank tops. He noticed, with more than a little curiosity, two wore expensive Nike running shoes.

The group seemed ill at ease with him being there and seeing them. He realized that tourists were not supposed to witness the reality of their existence. These young people were concerned that the scam would be revealed, the myth that the indigenous lifestyle still thrived would be busted and with it would go the much needed revenue it brought to the village. He tried to wave and smile reassuringly and, not wanting to make them any more uncomfortable, returned to the tour group that he was now starting to despise.

Upon approaching the others he saw that a bartering session was underway between the Elders and the tourists and was amazed to see a good leather belt disappear from the waist of a pair of dockers to be replaced by a length of woven grass that would not hold together for more than a few days. A pair of good sunglasses went for a crude model of a bow and arrow, but the best, to his mind, was when a pair of Nike running shoes was traded for two miniature “shrunken heads” made from he didn’t know or care what, but knew it wasn’t the real thing.

He looked back in the direction of the group of younger villagers now hidden from view again by the thatched huts and nodded his understanding. He then turned back to the Elders and nodded his approval. At least at this level of cultural interaction the Yagua was still the alpha predator and it would seem their gullible prey was in no short supply.

There are over 150 million Tribal People in the world spread between 60 countries. Even today more than 100 tribes are classed as “uncontacted”, which means they have chosen to stay isolated from the modern world. Particularly in Latin America, but also on a general global scale, these Aboriginal cultures living their ancestral lifestyles do not receive anything like the respect they deserve or their people the basic human rights the UN mandates are applicable to all humanity.

In parts of South America while seeking (often illegally) appropriation of Indigenous People’s lands, ranchers and mining companies (oil and ore) regularly terrorize these defenseless people up to and including assassination. Governments like those in Botswana and Indonesia may on paper grant albeit un-enlightened rights to their indigenous peoples, but in reality persecute them and try to force them off their own lands by a number of means varying between intolerable hardship to torture and death. This so their ancestral lands can be exploited for financial gain from which the Natives, who’s land it is, will receive virtually nothing.

Settled and developed countries like The United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, China, and New Zealand also have a great deal to answer for in terms of their present and previous dealings with their own indigenous populations.

The sadness this unjustness, cruelty and less than human behaviour causes me is greatly augmented by the realization that it is among these people, many of whom yet understand the wayto co-exist in balance with our planet, that a good chunk of the salvation of our species’ chance to survive is to be found. If we continue as we are upon our destructive exploitative path, in a few fleeting generations the so called civilized world will have depleted this earth beyond its ability to sustain human life in any but the smallest of numbers, and the outcome thereafter is grizzly at best and utterly alarming.

It is upon taking the ancient and natural wisdom of these tribal peoples, these natural conservationists, these less artificial beings who yet understand the physical and spiritual need and practices to remain in balance with our environment, and combining it with the modern world’s ability to create beneficial (not exploitative) technology, that the long term survival of our species as we know it hinges.

But why should they help us? What have we done to earn their respect sufficient to encourage them to do so? They, those that are left, will no doubt still be able to survive via their traditional life-styles in their natural habitat as it recovers from the wounds inflicted by industrial man long after we have gone. Why should they be bothered to help us survive when all we have done is diminish their existence for so long, as we have everything else that is natural upon this planet?

Mano-a-Mano at Mingo Cay

As they rounded the mark they gybed again putting them on the same point of sail as their arch rival for the start of the windward leg. Both boats tightened up until they were as hard on the wind as they could be. All but the skipper at the helm, and the two trimmers moved to the rail to act as ballast as the boat heeled over driving to windward. Even those three moved as far to the high side as they could while still doing their jobs. The other boat’s bow was almost on their stern but just a little off their downwind quarter and so was eating their dirty air.

“He’s going to want to use the advantage of his larger genny so he’ll want to get out of our dirty wind.” The owner/skipper said quietly. “He’ll throw in a tack quickly, then tack back again once he’s cleared our stern and then try to power through above us and get the upwind advantage. He can do it too if we let him.”

“Then what’s the plan?”

“Going to sit in his face!” The skipper said. Not all of the crew understood that particular term, but the regulars who had the key jobs on board all did. Then he said to the first man on the rail, the fores’l sheet tailer, “Stay looking back at him at all times and let me know as soon as anyone twitches like they’re about to tack. The rest of you stay ready to tack with no notice. And remember, don’t let them know what we’re about to do.”

It was only a few seconds before the man on the rail quietly said, “They getting ready skip.”

“OK everyone.  Don’t move …… just think ready.”

A few seconds later the man on the rail said, “They going skip! They going!.”

“READY ABOUT!!!!” Yelled the skipper without looking back, and in virtually no time everyone was in their positions shouting “READY!”

“HELM’S A-LEE!” And the boat’s bow started swinging rapidly across the wind, almost in unison with the other boat, as the mains’l trimmer adjusted the traveller to the new tack and the heads’l trimmer yelled his customary “PULL! PULL! PULL!” to the tailer as he released the other sheet before moving swiftly to the other winch, deftly inserting the handle and changing his cry to “TAIL! TAIL! TAIL!” Once the sail was almost completely in he grabbed the sheet from the tailer and said “I got it” and continued his fine adjustment while the tailer climbed up to the rail to add his weight there.

At the end of the exercise they were in pretty much the same position as they were before related to the other boat though now on the other tack. Their rival was still eating their dirty air which negated the advantage of their larger heads’l.

“Great job guys!” The skipper said. “But stay alert. He’ll be doing that again real soon.” He reminded the tailer to keep his eyes on the other boat and sure enough it was not long before he quietly said, “They getting ready again skip.”

“You know what to do guys.” Which everyone realised had replaced the normal “Ready about” command.

“They going skip! THEY GOING!”


And another flawless tack ensued allowing them to maintain their advantage right on the other boat’s nose feeding them the turbulent wind off their own well-trimmed sails.

“He’ll try that one more time and if we do a good job he won’t try again on this tack.”

Almost a minute later the other boat threw in another back to back set of tacks but this time there was no warning. The alert tailer reacted at the first sign enabling them to maintain their advantage.

“What makes you sure he won’t go again?” The mains’l trimmer asked.

“He doesn’t have enough room now to get through on the upwind side before we reach the rocks and have to tack away again.”

“So what’s he going to do?”

“Drive us onto the rocks. By so doing he’ll try using our lead to his advantage and force us to tack before we run aground. Then he can tack on the cleaner air higher on our stern and not in the dirtier air on our quarter and then overpower us on the next leg. Once clear of the rocks, if we want to throw in another tack to try to get back our old position of feeding him dirty air he’ll be on starboard and we’ll have to let him through. He held off with his last tack to position us right into the rocks on this tack. He’s clever”

“So what do we do?”

“Sit in his face as long as we dare before we hit the rocks ……. and see who blinks first.”

“….. Shit….”

True enough, the other boat made no further attempts to throw in another tack, but held position about two boat lengths behind. After a while the skipper called to the foredeck man, who was the smallest and lightest of the crew and the most forrard sitting on the high side.

“Watch those rocks up ahead, and when we get to about two hundred feet or so then stand at the mast and start calling the distance to me. Call it by boat lengths not feet, keeping in mind it’s roughly three boat lengths to a hundred feet. And look beneath the surface for the closest point. Not at the water line.”

Intrigued, some worried, glances were exchanged among the crew who were now starting to experience more than the normal rush of adrenaline that comes with a close fought windward leg.

Then the skipper looked at the two trimmers and the tailer and said, “And you guys better look sharp and make no mistakes. This will be close. He means business and he’ll  have two or three boat lengths in reserve that we won’t when we get there. But still don’t let them know when we’re about to go.”

As the rocks raced swiftly closer the foredeck man stood up and held onto the mast on the windward side of the heads’l. “About seven boat lengths!”

“Thank you.”

“Six……….. Five boat lengths ……… four………… three.” He never looked back.

“They getting ready skip.” The tailer quietly said.

“Thank God!” Sighed the heads’l trimmer.

“TWO boat lengths.”









“High side everybody!” The skipper reminded them. “Thank you!” He called to the foredeck man.”

“….. Shit! ….” Said the mains’l trimmer as he watched the jagged rocks speed past just a few feet from the rail.

“Settle down.” Said the skipper. “We won’t have to do that again this race. Clear water from here on.” Then with a wry smile at the two trimmers he said, “That’s one advantage of being the owner as well. Don’t have to answer to anyone except the insurance company.”

“What if he hadn’t thrown in that tack when he did?”

“I’d still have tacked when I did. Couldn’t have gone any closer. Only had to make sure he couldn’t get high on our stern on the next course…. Didn’t need to go any closer to the rocks than he could have, just no further away. In fact if I’d know he was going to chicken at four or five boat lengths I’d have tacked sooner.”

The course they were on took them to the windward mark. During that leg the other boat made two further unsuccessful attempts to get the upwind advantage but they rounded the mark pretty much in the same relative positions as before, hoisting their spinnakers and lowering their genoas as they did so.

“D’ya reckon he’s given up trying to get above us?” The heads’l trimmer asked once round.

“No.” The skipper responded. “You don’t get to be North American champion by giving up. He’ll try to get us on the downwind leg. He’ll try smothering our wind from behind, then, as we slow, he’ll try sailing through us. If he makes the next mark before us then he’s got us. It’s a windward finish and his bigger genoa will give him the extra speed on the last leg.”

“What’s the plan now then?”

“Sit in his face.” said the skipper ……..

If I could Change

If I Could Change

If I could change one day it would be this day.

I’d make it the day when we could see the wrongness of our destiny

So we might try to change the course we’ll take.

So we might stop and look behind with eyes that can no more be blind

To all the depredation in our wake.

So, through our blood stained tears of guilt for all the wastelands we have built,

We’ll mourn the wondrous beauty that’s now lost.

And we’ll account our selfish ways of unchecked greed that filled our days

No more in terms of profit, but of cost,

And recognize the debt we now must pay.


If I could change one mind it would be my mind.

I’d start to believe that I’d be heard and so would shout out every word

That told of where our attitude was wrong.

I’d start to trust these thoughts I bear that yet, with effort, we’ll repair

The damage we’ve inflicted for so long.

With confidence I’d find anew the strength to share with all of you

This true direction humankind should go.

And, never doubting I might fail, I’d lead toward that Holy Grail

Of balance; though that path I do not know,

But trust, that with your help, we yet will find.


If I could change one heart it would be your heart.

I’d open it up to what once was, to love the Elder ways because

There lived the time when man and earth were friends.

When all of nature, all of man, fit well within that master plan

Ordained to satisfy our mutual ends.

Not as we see our world’s now turned where we ignore the lessons learned

From evolutions omnipresent school.

Where we believe we have the right to take all we desire on sight

And shatter every natural golden rule

The universe decreed right from the start.


If I could change one dream it would be our dream.

I’d centre our vision toward the day when we might wake to quietly say

We’ve found the new tomorrow at our door.

When we can see we can remain amid The Balance we’ll sustain;

So we can also be sustained once more.

That here’s a place where we can live where, yes, we still can take, but give

Yet more back to the Earth than that we took.

That here no more we tear apart her very soul, her very heart

Upon which all of us depend, but look

Instead with eyes that see how wonderful our lives can be

Unthreatened by our own unsated greed.

Now driven not from want, but basic need;

Allowing earth to heal instead of bleed;

To worship not the harvest, but the seed,

And so from avarice be ever freed

To join once more the Universal scheme


If I could change one day it would be this day.

I’d make it the day we’d start to see the rightness of our destiny

The day we changed the course we choose to take.

The day we stopped and looked behind upon the years when we were blind

And smiled that they are now all in our wake.

The day we made the pledge that we are never going to break.

To join once more The Balance, and within it ever stay.

His Secret Mistress

Much can be inferred about a man from his mistress: in her one beholds his weaknesses and his dreams.

 ….. George C. Lichtenberg


His Secret Mistress

This is a tale of an immoral male

With a love that he keeps on the side.

Who at every chance will exploit that romance

That he hasn’t a choice but to hide.

His wife of twelve years always fills him with fears

For there’s no way that she understands it.

So he tells her his lies and then goes to his prize

Every time that his lover demands it.

He knows she’ll be there quietly waiting just where

He had kissed her goodbye the last time.

The thought of that place brings a smile to his face

As he savours his secretive past time

When he goes to great pains with his shackles and chains

And his ropes and his bindings and lashings.

Though he knows it’s all wrong, the excitement is strong

When releasing those deep hidden passions.

While he loves well his wife, he’s this other half life

That he craves every day that he’s waking.

And he knows it’s not right when the money is tight

To be splitting the wages he’s making.

But his lover’s not cheap if he needs her to keep

Looking good like he wants when he sees her.

So he scrimps and he saves for the one that he craves,

And he hopes that his purchases please her.

But when they’re alone, just the two on their own,

He knows that her worth can’t be measured.

He hasn’t a care what it cost to be there

When he’s being so royally pleasured.

She’s curvy and fast, built for fun that can last,

And she gives him the joys that he yearns for.

And she treats him so well that he always can tell

That he’ll get what he always returns for.

Yet he knows in his heart that when they are apart

One fine day he will have to stop lying.

And his wife will find out just what he’s been about

With the life on the side he’s been trying.

And what’ll he do when he finally comes true

That those evenings weren’t spent down the pub?

But were all spent afloat on that thirty foot boat

That he keeps at the local yacht club.

To self-publish or not to self-publish? That is the Question.

To self-publish or not to self-publish? That is the Question.

So what are the differences between self and traditional publishing?

To my mind there are basically just two big ones, each of which has a bunch of sub categories. And before I go any further I must explain that in this post I’m not talking about the family memoir or the history of your village fire station type book with very limited and local appeal. I’m talking commercial venture.

1/. With one you should be able to ensure you get your book published, no matter how good or bad it is, but you’re pretty much on your own in doing so.

2/. With the other you should be able to obtain a load of assistance in areas where you likely lack expertise and resources, but there’s no guarantee your book will be of any interest to the publisher or ever get anywhere near the printing press. Oh, and you have to think about giving up ownership as well.

In the first case it’s not enough merely to be able to write a good book. In fact, that is not even necessary to be published via that route. You can write a terrible book but if you have the resources you can still get it published. But will it be read? And once read, will it be recommended? Will it sell?

Probably not, unless you are able to do all that is needed to make it good, like the financial resources, contacts and patience. Let’s not forget the ability to shelve your ego as well, for this is your creation that, if you go with professional help to improve, someone else who is technically working for you (and may not see it as you do) will likely be wanting to change.

Those added layers after you’ve written your masterpiece don’t just include proof reading, copy editing, cover design, lay-up, digitization (for P.O.D.), ISBN registration, setting up Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Lighning Source, Ingram Spark, Barnes and Noble et-al accounts, etc., etc., etc. It includes marketing, tying the cover design and blurbs to your target markets (which of course you have expertly pre-established) as part of your integrated marketing strategy, establishing contact with and exploiting media, organizing launches and public readings, generating websites and blogs and twitter feeds and facebook groups and creating Amazon and Goodreads author pages and so on and so forth…….. And even then, the book may still not sell.

Via the other route much of that will be done for you or, if not, at least assistance and guidance will be there for the bits you may still need to do yourself. And the capital outlay will likely not be nearly so onerous for you, both in post writing time and financial terms.

So why consider the self-publishing route at all?

In a large number of cases it boils down to the chances of getting the book published.  If you self-publish you control whether the book ever makes it to print, which of course means you can be assured it will if that’s what you want. If it’s not a good book, or a good book that has no appeal, it will not be published via the traditional route. Which means that one heck of a lot of books that people write will not be published via the traditional route, including some gems that the traditional editor didn’t notice before sending the rejection note.

Another factor that must be considered that impacts the to-self-publish-or-not-to-self-publish decision is ownership. If the traditional publisher wants to recoup the quite extensive outlay it will be putting up to have your book hit the shelves, and they most certainly will want that, they will require some safeguards their return on investment is at least protected if not guaranteed. They will then, to a greater or lesser degree, likely want a piece of the ownership of your work which means you are no longer free to do with is what you wish. It is no longer entirely yours whereas with self-publishing, of course, it is. To some that is very important.

Here I will make a brief comment about the various “publishing houses” through which you can self-publish. Unlike the traditional publishing houses their goal is not to sell your book(s) to the targeted markets. Their goal is to sell YOU their self-publishing packages. YOU are their targeted market, not their client, and therefore your own product, your book, is not the product they are selling. Their interest in its salability is in many cases negligible and any “added services” they may offer you are often merely just other products they are hoping you will buy from them that may or may not have any influence over increasing the sales of your book. Beware who you choose for like anything you buy there are some products that are inferior and over-priced. Do your research.

So why did I self-publish?

Because I write largely in a genre that no traditional publishing house in their right mind will touch unless the writer has a proven track record and a bit of a following.  As an unknown I had little choice but to initially go that route although my desire has always been to go with traditional publishing houses. For me self-publishing the first three or four books are stepping stones along the path that leads, I hope, toward traditional publishing. It remains to be seen whether or not that path leads to where I hope it will.

For anyone reading this post who is considering the road to publishing I suggest you weigh up the pros and cons of both options for they both have merits and draw-backs, probably in equal strengths once quantified, which vary greatly according to each individual writer’s perspective. The decision then rests with what your goals are. What is important to you. The reasons why you are considering having your work published. And especially in the magnitude of effort and resources you are able and prepared to commit to achieving those goals.

The Deflatable Dinghy

We toil and strain toward a faraway goal, sacrificing whatever we must in order to stay on course to get there. We scheme and plan and concentrate much of our energy on hitting that distant target and set aside swaths of our lives, be it university, an apprenticeship, climbing the corporate ladder, etc., in hopes that one day we might reach the summit we seek and attain the life we have selected. That course is called by some “ambition” and for many it is how they are raised to think life should be set out.

 But then there are those magical times for a few lucky people when a simple bit of frolic meant purely to amuse oneself and with no serious intent in mind at all can start them out on a whole new journey, unplanned, unexpected and probably undeserved. A journey that takes them to places never considered to do jobs never contemplated and point toward a wonderful future hitherto unimagined. Like that destitute time way back when, in Antigua…..

 The Deflatable Dinghy

Back then he knew pretty much nothing about marketing. He was just a young guy out in the world to see what there was to see, experience what he could and have as much fun doing it as possible. Had he known about marketing he might well have done something along the lines of what he did, for it certainly got him noticed at a time when he needed to be and helped promote the product that would become his career for many years to come. But he didn’t know any of that then. He was just having fun.

More or less destitute once again, and in a foreign country with no support network, he needed something far more secure than the odd jobs on boats by which he was eking out his day to day survival. Although having no inkling of it at the time, one of his more off-the-wall pastimes was about to provide the very promotion required to raise his profile and help steer his path more toward the direction it desperately needed to go.

He was living, actually he was “squatting”, on a cockroach infested power boat that everyone reckoned had been abandoned in the mangroves. It was still sound but badly run down and apparently no-one associated with it had been aboard for the better part of a year. The batteries had been dead for months, the engine didn’t run and the bilges, which he bailed periodically by the reliable old bucket-and-chuck-it method, smelled of stale who-knew-what. One of the heads still worked, which was an obvious blessing. 

Somebody from another boat had lent him a very old, soft bottomed, frequently patched, rubber dinghy which proved to be as much a deflatable as it was an inflatable. They also lent him the very essential pump with which to regularly fill it with enough air to keep it buoyant for a while longer. He had to remember to pump it up before stepping into it after being ashore, for it would generally become so soft that if he didn’t pump it any weight placed in the centre (such as a person stepping into it) would result in the middle section sinking while the fore and aft sections folded upward in what appeared to be an attempt to meet each other around ear height of the person then standing knee deep in water and slowly submerging. 

He’d scrounged a couple of oars, one wooden and one blue and yellow plastic, from other sources and so was able, though not exactly in style, to make it to and from shore or back and forth to the odd jobs on other boats which kept him in food, beer and cockroach spray.

He was not too put out by his relative poverty though, for in English Harbour the company was good and for the most part you were not judged by your status or financial means, but by your ability and character.

The inadvertent marketing initiative he created for himself came in the form of his recreational use of that deflatable/inflatable dinghy. He would amuse himself by jury rigging different sail designs fabricated mostly from the oars, a semi bald besom he’d found on the cockroach ridden hulk, and various lengths of frayed and different coloured line he found washed up in the mangroves. The sail was always his old green rain poncho with the rusted grommets that seemed miraculously to be able to withstand any and all abuse without ripping out.

He would row out through the anchored fleet from the stagnant air of the mangroves, stopping periodically to pump up the leaky hull chambers, and upon reaching the outer precincts of the bay before hitting open water where such a craft would definitely not fare well, he’d erect the latest version of his rig. He’d then casually sail back, downwind, zigzagging through the anchored fleet with an air of insouciance becoming such a makeshift craft.

A typical rig would have the wooden oar for the mast resting on a rusty tea tray to spread the load over the rubber bottom of the boat where water always sloshed. The besom would form the gaff lashed close to the top of the oar with a foot or so of overhang facing for’ard. The backstay was a discarded piece of a larger boat’s main sheet, too thick by far, and only just long enough for the task. The forestay was his left foot placed half way up the “mast” pushing it forward. The shrouds were mismatched pieces of worn out halyards that ran from the top of the “mast” to the rotting grab lines either side of the dinghy’s sponsons. He wasn’t sure what the correct nautical name was for the tensioning line that ran from the front of the “gaff’s” overhang through the anchor ring in the bow and back to where he sat in the stern, but he called it the cunningham. 

The rudder was the plastic oar in the only functioning ro’lock which was on the port side (row forward to turn to starboard, backward to turn to port). The sail, of necessity, was loose footed with the luff and the head lashed as best he could to the mast and gaff with whatever small stuff he could find. The leech was tensioned by the sheet which was another piece of tatty old halyard tied to one of the poncho’s indestructible grommets which doubled as the clew.

Really needing three hands to operate this rig, one for the cunningham, one for the sheet which he would play against each other to obtain sail tension and trim, and one for the steering oar, he had to improvise by employing his spare leg and wrapping either the cunningham or the sheet around his right shin which he would then move back and forth, or side to side, depending on whether the need was to ease off or take in which ever line was connected.

Needless to say he could not sail to windward and even a close reach was not possible, but off the wind his “yacht” sailed surprisingly well, and as for downwind, well, anything will sail downwind, but this ocean greyhound was not too shabby at that point of sail, all things considered, as long as he had recently pumped the chambers up and bailed as much water out as he could.

Obviously gibing was an issue as the besom/gaff could not pass under the over-sized back stay, but he got around that by rowing out to a position that presented an angle on the wind such that he’d never require a gibe before reaching his destination.  To overcome the problem of the “sail” preventing him from seeing most of what was on the lee side he kept the hood of the poncho lashed in a rolled position and just poked his head through the hole from time to time and looked around.

Yes, it was a ridiculous sight; a tanned and hairy young man clad only in an old pair of tattered shorts cruising through the plush sailboats of English Harbour with a big grin on his face in a rag tag raft that would have left Robinson Crusoe ashamed; but it was an amusing sight none-the-less, and certainly an eye catching one. And, as he found out when passing some of the boats, or when recognised in the bar ashore in the evening, it was a great conversation starter. It earned him a number of beers from people who wanted to joke about his boat or congratulate him on his ingenuity, and bit by bit he started to climb the social hierarchy.

The most interesting aspect for him though was the fact that although he was an experienced sailor of merchant ships and had two circumnavigations of the globe and a dozen or more trans ocean crossings under his belt, the assembly and usage of his jury-rigged sail boat seemed to hide the fact that he actually knew very little about sail boat sailing. The misassumption being made by the dozens of experienced sailors around him was that anyone who could take those sparse and decrepit resources and convert them into something that actually sailed had to know what they were doing.

As a result of the notoriety his well watched voyages earned him, he was invited by a group of wonderful, yet semi wild and oft kilted Scots to crew on a beautiful 49 foot sloop during one of the Wednesday afternoon races.  Being both fit and capable of following orders he performed respectfully enough to be asked back the following week. This eventually led to being invited to help sail the same sleek yacht during a week-long circumnavigation of Guadeloupe where his sailing skills rapidly developed, not to mention his ability with a couple of the wild Scotsmen to paddle clandestinely ashore and crash parties at Club Med.

Soon after that he was asked by an American family, who had often watched him sailing his junk-yard boat past their own beautiful yawl, to help them sail it from Antigua to the British Virgin Islands. So, with the deflatable dinghy, that had inadvertently marketed him so well, now back with its rightful owner, he left his stranded hulk in the mangroves, bade farewell to the cockroaches and set off for islands and adventures new, sailing this time on a craft that could actually point higher on the wind than a beam reach, toward the next chapter of his life.

Not long after arriving in Tortola he found himself no longer sailing under canvas, or the modern versions thereof, but back on a power driven vessel once more; and what a vessel that was!  The grand old 146 foot, three engined yacht was formerly owned by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and maintained in the manner they’d had it furbished. He’d signed on initially as a deck hand but soon, as a result of his merchant navy officer background, became first mate. 

Some of the stories from his sojourn on that vessel may well appear elsewhere in this series, but to bring full circle the story of how successful the inadvertent marketing strategy of the deflatable had been, several months after his arrival, while working on deck of the big power boat, the wild Scots from English Harbour came sailing, proudly kilted, into the very marina where he was berthed. This was to be the end of their voyage from the UK and they were planning to leave their boat in the British Virgin Islands where they hoped to find someone to look after her until they might re-join her sometime in the future and sail onward. Not only did he agree to be that person but it was decided he would spruce the boat up some and see about putting her into the charter trade with himself as skipper. 

And so began a new career that spanned several years and established him in the British Virgin Islands where he finally, after so many years of semi destitute travel, settled down (… least he thought he had).

Over the next 30 years he often looked back at that deflatable rubber dinghy that was so obviously past the end of its useful life on this planet, and smiled as he retraced the line that emanated from its leaky bow to where he stands today, marking straight and true the course his life was to run through some of his best times and most notable achievements. 

If he hadn’t just for the hell of it jury rigged that rinky-dink mast and sail, zigzagged his grinning way through the plush boats of English Harbour and attracted such favourable attention back in the early eighties, what other path, he wondered, might his life have followed? Would he have climbed as he did from the penury of a squatter on a cockroach ridden hulk to become, among other things, the founding VP of a Rotary club, or a director in a chamber of commerce, or would he have remained a penniless itinerant still languishing in some stagnant mangrove stand in some corner of the world where he’d washed up on the tide? 

Who knows?  But there is one indisputable fact about which he will always be certain.  He learned more about marketing from that deflatable and dying wreck of a dinghy in Antigua than from any of the management courses he attended in the USA afterwards as his successive careers unfolded. For none taught him that when the chips are down that’s when you just get up and do something….. anything ….. even if it’s a little off-the-wall ……. to market yourself and set in motion whatever chain of events you can that might lead to positive change. And to never think that you don’t have the resources to do so, for there is always something you can conjure up….. no matter how unlikely …… no matter how ridiculous …… that can be enlisted to serve the cause.

If a person is honestly open to opportunity and change then they never truly know where life will take them no matter how well they have it planned. Ambitions and desires can be good motivators but if pursued too rigidly can cause an individual to miss so much that’s out there. Oft-times though we need to trigger those opportunities even though we might not know what or where they are. As the old adage tells us, if we keep doing the same things we will get the same results, which is fine if we are happy with those results. But if, like so many folk bemoan, we are not then we need to do things differently to trigger those different opportunities. Especially if we find that the pursuit of our ambitions and desires have led us onto a path that really is not what, or going where, we thought it would be.

Back in the day when this story happened I really had no ambition other than to see as much of the world as I could by whatever means it took to do so. I was free of any restrictions and eager to find those triggers. That steadily changed though with years and responsibilities and now my kids are at that stage of their lives when they can choose their careers, knuckle down and lock themselves into paths that lead them on toward their ambitions which society has encouraged them to have.  Or ……… they can do what they’re actually doing with my blessing; setting themselves loose on the world to see what opportunities might exist if they create a few off the wall scenarios that might pull a few triggers.

…… I really wish I’d kept some design plans for the various rigs I used on that deflatable dinghy. Reckon they would be a great asset to pass on to my kids to help them get a real head start in life! 








There’s no way I’ll forgive you all the suffering I’ve dealt

That brought me all those anguished tears I’d weep.

There’s no exoneration for the ache my heart was dealt

That caused these lonely days, those desperate nights devoid of sleep.

Nor any absolution for this sadness still inside

Nor for the utter agony I’ve known.

For why should I forgive you for the way our loving died,

When all the blame that must be borne is mine, and mine alone?


For you were not responsible for any wrongful deed

Beyond the gift of being a loving friend.

You gave to me your beauty and I paid you with my need,

Requiring far more energy than anyone should spend. 

So how can I accuse you for the times we two have shared?

….. That you showed me a better way to live?

….. That you had loved so tenderly, and genuinely cared?

….. That you received far less than all the gifts that you would give?


Of what could you be guilty then for which you might atone?

….. For gently trying to slow my racing heart?

….. For teaching me the many magic roads that you have shown?

….. For showing how my past might end, and future now might start?

No.  There can be no accusation.  There can be no blame.

There’s nothing to forgive or to forget.

For you were never guilty.  It is I who bears the shame

For how our loving friendship has so tragically been set.


So how can I forgive you for an uncommitted crime,

 Which generates no need to reprehend.

Nor can I beg forgiveness, but I’ll ask of you for time

To find where I again may earn the right to be your friend.

And I will ever thank you for the lessons I have learned

That influence how now I choose to live,

And help me reach that time when I have genuinely earned

The right to look back to the fool I was, and to forgive.

Adventure on the Low Seas

Someone famous once said something along the lines of all the world being a stage where we are but performers upon it. That is arguably very true of the charter boat industry where entertaining the guests is the be-all and end-all of existence. But sometimes the best entertainment is not that which is planned. 

Adventure on the Low Seas

What started as a bit of harmless fun designed for the amusement of the charter guests turned into a fiasco that ended up entertaining them even more, but not in the way intended. It was also to cause the skipper much humiliation at the hands of his peers

A regular feature of his charter, as long as the ground sea wasn’t running and the winds were favourable, which was most of the time, was to sail through the western approach to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. For most charter boats that was no big deal, but this was one of the larger ones at 72 feet over all and with a draft that just about matched the maximum depth of water in that virtually tide-less channel. This meant the narrow passage offering sufficient depth for the yacht to sail through had to be hit dead centre, and there weren’t any buoys back then to mark the channel. The approach was always made during the latter half of the afternoon with only the mains’l up and the sun losing altitude almost dead astern, so there was no glare on the water, the coral heads were easily visible and the endeavour was pretty much risk free.

That was until the day the fiasco happened.

In that area where tides were rarely a consideration the tables were seldom referenced by most skippers. It could then have been an unusual and unreferenced spring tide that caused the depth to be just a couple of inches less than usual. It could have been that the skipper misread one of his lay lines and was just a tad too far to the north; it wouldn’t take much. Or it could have been that the recent ground seas stirred up by the big north swell since his last attempt at the passage had moved the channel around a little. 

Whatever was the reason for the apparent change in the channel, this routine part of their passenger entertainment programme became anything but routine.

As was usual for this event during the charter, the guests were primed and in the cockpit counting down the depth in feet beneath them. The transponder was situated about two and half feet above the deepest part of the keel and the depth gauge display had not been corrected for this, so the guests deducted that amount every time the digital reading changed before they called out the new clearance beneath them. As the numbers decreased the pitch of their voice increased in unison with their anxiety, choreographed by the shipper and his first mate.

“Two point five feet …… two point one ……… one point eight …….. one point five ………”

The skipper knew they would count down to zero point three, which still gave them three or four inches beneath the keel before the numbers started to climb again. With a few well timed (and much practiced) “it’s getting close….” and “we could soon be in trouble…..” and “most boats this size wouldn’t even attempt this channel under power” thrown in he built up the tension which led to the eventual collective sigh of relief and cheers as the shallowest point was crossed and the yacht sailed safely into deeper water once more.

“One point three ……. one dead …….. zero point nine ……. zero point eight……”

“Better hold on to something solid.” The skipper advised, winking at the mate who had seen this act several times before.

“Zero point seven ……… zero point six ……… zero point five ……..”

Two more to go, the skipper thought, already looking ahead to see how crowded the Bitter End anchorage was.

“Zero point four …….. zero point three …….”

The skipper nodded at the mate to get ready to trim the sail for they knew there was often a bit of a wind shift just past the shallowest point between the southern tip of Mosquito Island and Anguilla Point where they started to encounter the more localized winds of the North Sound.

“Zero point two ………”

The passengers voices were loud and high, a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The captain checked the depth gauge and looked over the side, a curious half frown now on his face.

“Zero point one ……..”

The mate looked at the skipper with raised eyebrows.

“Zero point zero ………”

There was no sudden thud or lurch. The yacht gently came to rest as her keel buried itself in the sandy bottom.

The skipper and mate looked at each other with blank expressions.

“Pass the main sheet over here.” The skipper said, as calmly as he could manage. “And get the dinghy in. Take in the painter.” He was worried that if he had to use the engine to free the keel then the slack dinghy painter might foul the propeller. The mate jumped to the tasks.

The skipper let out some of the main sheet and luffed the sail so as to take the pressure off the rigging. He knew the bottom was loose sand and that no damage would be done to the keel with such a slow gentle grounding. The effect of luffing was sufficient to bring the boat upright from the gentle angle at which she had been sailing. She rolled slightly the other way before settling back upright again. He walked forward and checked the sea bed before him and saw that they must be sitting on the very pinnacle of the sand bar, for the water clearly was already deepening just forward of where he stood. It also looked marginally deeper just a few feet off the starboard beam to the south. He reckoned he was about a dozen feet too far north.

Walking back to the cockpit he studied the water to the south and silently cursed himself. He called to the mate without looking aft to make sure the dinghy was OK, and on receiving a positive response started the engine. It only took a few seconds of moderate forward thrust for the boat to be free of the sand, whereupon he trimmed the main sheet, cut the engine and they were sailing onward once again.

“Told you it could be a bit tricky, that channel …. We were lucky to make it through.” He continued playing the game with the guests. It worked. They raised their glasses to their good fortune in sailing safely through such an obviously treacherous passage. They toasted the good seamanship of the skipper that enabled them to do so. He cringed inwardly at the deceit.

The skipper called to the mate to let the painter back out as the boat gathered speed and started sailing through the deeper water toward their overnight anchoring spot.

The cook, coming up on deck to find out what happened was the only one on board whose eyes were facing astern. She quietly asked the skipper, hoping the guests wouldn’t hear, what the mate was doing standing in the dinghy frantically waving his arms several hundred yards behind them.


The skipper spun round. Sure enough, there was the dinghy with the mate frenetically trying to attract their attention steadily getting smaller in their wake as he drifted back out to sea as the gentle trade winds pushed him further away from the entrance to the sound.

“What the ……….. !!!!”  Was the skipper’s reaction. “What in the name of all that’s holy is he doing?”

He suddenly realized that although the dinghy had a powerful outboard motor, it was policy to bring the fuel tank and all other loose items, including the oars, on board the larger vessel while the dinghy was being towed. The mate had a boat and an engine, but no fuel, and no oars as back up. Had they been in a river he would not just figuratively have been up the creek without a paddle.

“Looks like he’s calling for help.” Offered one of the guests.

“We can just turn round and get him.” Said another. “We got through the reef before; we can do it again.”

Hardly a reef, the skipper thought. But he was concerned. To head west now to go back through the channel meant he’d be looking straight into the afternoon glare on the water with no chance of assessing the depth ahead. Knowing he’d missed the channel when conditions were perfect he was worried that he’d miss it even more and hit shallower water going back out. Or even strike a corral head.

He weighed his options. He could go all the way up Colquhoun Reef through the deeper northern entry with the sun at a more favourable angle, round Mosquito Island and come down from the north to pick up the mate and the dinghy. But that could take well over an hour or so with the mate out of sight for much of it.

He decided to chance his luck and use back-bearings to try to work his way out through the channel using the more predictable engine rather than the sail.

With the help of the cook and a couple of willing guests substituting for the mate he furled the mains’l, explaining that he was using the engine this time because he wanted to make speed to ensure they found the best over night spot before the other charter boats beat them to it. The guests were happy for not only had they already experienced and beaten the treacherous western approach but were now embarking on a rescue at sea mission. This was above and beyond anything either the brochure or the broker had promised!

This time, as he approached the sand bar, he was not playing when he studied the readings on the depth gauge. Placing the cook on the bow to watch for corral heads he knew the glare off the water would make even that task a challenge and that predicting the depth ahead would be nigh-on impossible even through her polarised sun glasses.

But then luck turned his way. The cook called that she could see the discolouration in the water from the sand they stirred up when they touched bottom the previous time. It was off their starboard bow on a slight angle away from the sun so the glare was nowhere near as bad. He asked her to see if she could locate the northern most line of it and keep pointing to it. From that he estimated where he had hit the sand and very tenderly eased the boat to where he thought the marginally deeper water may have been just a few feet south.

He felt the keel rub against the bottom as he ran aground again but with the engine pushing gently ahead it was not enough to arrest the forward motion and with only a little extra thrust on the throttle he slowly moved clear into deeper water.

Coming alongside the somewhat embarrassed mate in the dinghy he asked what had gone wrong.

“Nothing.” Replied the mate. “I did what you asked. You said get in the dinghy and take in the painter. That’s what I did.”

The skipper didn’t say anything then but later, after they had grounded lightly on the sand bar for the third time re-entering the North Sound, had found a half decent spot to overnight and were ashore at the guest’s behest to celebrate with them their epic adventures, he pointed out to the mate that his words were actually “Get the dinghy in.” Not “get in the dinghy.” And that by “take in the painter” he had meant the mate to take in the slack in order to shorten the painter so it couldn’t become tangled in the prop, not to un-cleat it and take it all into the dinghy.

The mate said he’d figured it was something like that when he saw the yacht motoring away from him. He hadn’t wanted to disturb them while they were attempting to re-float the boat and by the time the engine was switched off and no longer drowning his voice they were too far away to hear him.

As if the incident hadn’t been embarrassing enough for the skipper to deal with in his own mind, the real ignominy came when he overheard his guests bragging about their adventures on the high seas to another group of charter guests also ashore with their skipper who was listening intently with something of a smug look on his face. He knew that skipper well for he was based in the same marina. He also knew the other skipper could see right through the interpretation the guests were putting on the afternoon’s events and all too well recognized the “Just you wait until I tell the other’s back at the marina what you did….” look he wore.

“That’s one way to clean the barnacles off your keel.” The other skipper said as he passed him on the way to the toilet.

On his way back he said, “If you ever think of getting out of the charter business I hear there’s good money in dredging.”

And that, the skipper knew, was only the beginning of what awaited him at Peg Leg’s Landing back at Nanny Cay the moment he walked in after the charter was over, for he knew the news of his running aground three times within half an hour on the same sand bar would precede his arrival by days, and that the story would have grown out of all proportion by the time he got there. Not only that, but his peers would have had lots of time to perfect their sardonic wise cracks at his expense.

Maybe, he thought as he hid his shame in his pint mug, he should listen to the suggestion of the other skipper and instead of going back to the marina to face the inevitable ridicule he should just sail off to another island, put the recent experience to good use and take up dredging.


One of the problems with working your way up in the standings of any profession is that the higher you climb the more conspicuous you become. Ignominy is thus more easily attained by the successful than by the failed, and generally far more difficult to recover from due to the extra distance fallen before hitting the ground. The skipper of a 72’ LOA crewed charter boat is far more visible than the charterer of a 38’ bare boat who if they touched bottom during a charter would hardly garner a comment.

 The British S.A.S., arguably one of the top, if not THE top fighting forces in the world, has as their motto “Who dares wins”.  That’s all very well and good because it is true that you achieve very little if you don’t try, but shouldn’t that expression come with a caution on the label? 

Yes, the winner was one who dared, but that does not mean that everyone who dared won; just that the one that won was one of the ones who dared. There are likely many others who also dared that are flopping around on the ground trying to ease the throbbing from their broken reputations or bandaging their bleeding self-esteem purely because they dared to try when they perhaps shouldn’t have. In the world of sailing that is particularly true and there are a great many washed up wrecks, both structural and human, scattered around the coastlines of the world, to attest to that fact. But sailing through a narrow shallow channel next to a gentle sand bar in the British Virgin Islands with the sun behind you should usually be a pretty safe dare ……… usually.

Blog Tour

Hi there!

A slight divergence here from my normal blogged passages which are typically about my books and poems.  I’ve been invited to take part in a “My Writing Process” blog tour, which takes place on writers’ blogs every Monday. It’s a concept that allows readers to discover how an author’s writing process works, how they come up with their ideas and what techniques and strategies they use from start to finish.

I was invited by author/editor M.J, Mores, who posted her process last Monday on  Mel writes science fiction novels as well as magazine and guest blog articles about writing, editing and publishing and her website and blog are worth regular visits, especially if you are interested in various aspects of the writer’s trade.

Once I’ve done my bit I hand the reins over to three more bloggers who I will introduce you to below.

OK….. I’m going to attempt to answer 4 questions about my writing….. Fasten your seat belts.

What am I working on?

Right now I have book 2 of the Wanderings and Sojourns series “On Tropical Islands and Sparkling Seas” at the publishers, so I’m working on the lay-up and proofing rounds for that. It should be out May/June of this year.  I also have book 4 about one third written. Working title for that is “On Lands of Conquest and Iberian Seas” as it is all about my travels through and wonderful times spent living in Iberia. It will follow the same format as books 1 and 2 with 25 stories and 25 poems. I am also finalizing the first in a new series of illustrated children’s books which is just about ready for the publishers but have decided to put that on hold at least until I am through the publishing process for Book 2 in the Wanderings and Sojourns Series.

Why do I write what I do?

Well the short answer for the Wanderings and Sojourns series is because I was told I should. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled extensively, lived in many lands, had a lot of interesting experiences and when recounting some of the tales several people have told me I should write a book. So I did.  Based on the response to that one I wrote another, and so on. The other reason, of course is because I love writing and have done so as a hobby for decades and figured it would be good to share some of what I write and, I must admit, if I can make a couple of dollars doing so to help me through my old age then so much the better.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult one to answer because I don’t know what my genre is. It’s kind of travel, kind of memoir and involves a lot of contemporary classical poetry, but although it’s all of the above it is also none of them. When you mix them all together you get a level of philosophical insight that redefines any of those genres into something quite unique. I have never read another book similar to my Wanderings and Sojourns series, and never heard of any either. That in itself makes them different of course in overall perspective. In structure what I do that’s different  is combine true interesting stories from my life and endeavour to contextualize them to try to seat the reader into them somewhat. Then at the end I make a few comments designed to get the reader to think about them as they might have related to their lives had it actually been them that was there. Some of the stories and contextualization’s are a little controversial but never meant to be offensive, as I touch occasionally on the topics of relationships, religion, war and such of which different folks can have very disparate views and become quite impassioned.  But for the most part my stories are relatively benign though generally quite fascinating and the feedback I receive suggests that I haven’t really offended anyone yet.  They make great bed room (or bathroom) books as you can pick them up and just read one or two of the stories and put them down without needing to pick them up again until next time you have a little time to read. Each story and poem is self-contained so you definitely don’t need to read from start to finish in one go. In fact some people have told me they open the books at random and read whatever story or poem happens to be at that place in the book.

How does my writing process work?

Hah!!! I have a process?

Seriously, I just sit and write whatever is in my head at the time and very often the story or the poem is processing me, not me processing it. I think I break most of the rules I have heard in different presentations and work groups. For example: I edit as I go, which apparently is a no-no. You are, so the experts say, supposed to just write freely and then go back and edit. Not me.  I prefer dealing with any changes as soon as they hit me and as I am always reading back over what I’ve already written to make sure I’m staying on the path, I am always seeing things that need changing. The advantage of that is that as everything in a story is interwoven, to change as you go means that you don’t have such significant changes to make at the end because you have already adjusted your sails early on and so anything you write afterwards already has that adjustment built in.

With poetry, when I think a piece is finished I put it aside for many days and then come back to it. I find I must distance myself from poetry far more than from the stories because I can become too emotionally involved with the nuances and subtleties of a poem. While I’m writing them I am right there in the soul of the poem so it all makes sense to me, but a few days later it may not. And if it doesn’t make sense to me then it won’t make sense to anyone else, so that is when I do the re-writes.

OK. So there’s a few little insights into my world of writing. No I’m going to introduce you to three more folks who write and blog and who you may like to read about next Monday (March 31st) when they participate in this same process.

1/.          Julie Achtermeier is a freelance corporate, health, and humour writer. (I love her humour… you’ll be able to relate to it) Her blog is at

2/.          Douglas Owen is a writer of Science Fiction, author of the YA series “Spear”.  His blog is at 

3/.         Murielle Bollen writes  the spiritually inspired Tasting Life series, (traveling around the world and into the depths of the soul) and her Butterflies Newsletters invites you to taste life differently and to the fullest. You a find it at