By way of introducing myself to you, let me be candid and admit on the whole I find it easier to write glowingly about others rather than myself – that statement may come as a shock to many of my friends, undoubtedly. However, I have been dunned, in fact brow-beaten by a dear friend (Ara you will remain shrouded in mystery) who asserts I owe it to my readers to divulge something of myself, to dredge up interesting tidbits that may entice them to pay attention to my literary output. I’m not so convinced my life’s story is of much interest to others but it is to me for many reasons, not least the fact that it reminds me there is nothing but life and all else is but conjecture. Notwithstanding a tad of modest reticence a promise made is one I always try to keep, even if it hurts.
Thus, I was born in France, spent happy childhood years roaming the hilly vineyards of Champagne and came to Canada as a teen-ager. The acidic culture shock etched an indelible mark I’ve never managed to erase neither, upon reflection, did I care to do so then nor now. I am as I am defined by several cultural and ethnic backgrounds and that is perfectly acceptable to me although I did occasionally surprise acquaintances or former colleagues by what they considered eccentric behaviour, an apparently insouciant manner of coping with harsh daily reality or a visceral reaction to any one who deemed to possess any authority over me unless I absolutely believed such a proposition was justified. The notion I may have been looked upon with suspicion since I didn’t play by established rules was always fine with me too and I am quite satisfied with what I’ve accomplished in the modest but interesting manner I have until now, with a decent career but much more with the unrestrained enjoyment of my travels; I hold a firm belief more challenges and adventures are yet to come. I daily thank my great good fortune I owe nothing to anyone nor need to be overly concerned about how to earn my daily bread. I am a man of modest desires except for the ever present itch to seek vistas other than what’s seen outside my window.
Under the ‘Bon Voyage’ page you’ll discover a range of photographic essays describing several foreign trips of the past few years. So far France, that most scenic of all countries (my personal and hopefully unbiased opinion), is featured as is a recent foray to South Korea, London and Paris. The invention of the digital camera and the ready availability of blog providers allows me to post what I consider the best of what I’ve enjoyed and to pass on to the prospective traveler local information and useful hints. It’s a good thing I can’t include some of the three thousand or more slides and countless print photos I’ve accumulated during my wanderings around the world or I’d be doing nothing else with my free time but sharing the best with you.
My joy, to be candid, in sharing my love for the incredibly varied beauty of this world, is mitigated by witnessing the unconscionable environmental depredation let loose on all of us by unchecked corporate greed and craven political inaction. I feel it incumbent on me whenever fitting to express my contempt for these office-bound ecological rapists, Wall Street pirates (not exclusively only in America, plenty more around the world) and rapacious CEOs to add one more voice to the ‘green movement’ push back. In most democracies politicians are vulnerable to public opinion and thus can be swayed by the fear of losing votes and hence a privileged place at the trough. As for the corporate bandits nothing I’m afraid will bring them to an epiphany in the form of a sane realization of their malevolence, it’s in their DNA, so I will confine myself to express my scorn for their intellectual shortcomings and revulsion over their unambiguous immorality. Some (who are not in-the-closet eunuchs) have families too who breathe the same air we do, eat the same food and drink the water, so let us remind these culturally deprived midgets they too live on Mother Earth and dirty money will not buy a gram of immunity from the reality of a devastated homeland, a too sad reckoning coming sooner than later courtesy of very real global warming.
Already a cooler head than mine, I’ll readily admit, has cautioned my angry rhetoric is somewhat harsh, as was delicately pointed out. I agree about the less than elegant verbiage but on the other hand it reflects my feelings of outrage, thus I’ll risk offending and hold on to my convictions. In the final analysis being true to oneself is not open to debate, certainly not something I will consider and if as is purported to be true, one mellows with age, absolutely count me out, not in my lifetime at least.
And yet, admiring the Taj Mahal, in tears under Michelangelo’s sublime Sistine Chapel, gazing upon the majestic Gothic cathedrals of Europe, Nara’s awesome Buddhas, the ancient temples of Asia, I am a steadfast believer in mankind. The art and culture that man’s inherent genius has wrought even during the worst of times, through wars and pestilence, ignorance and superstition is our common heritage. No, I will not despair even faced with the daily growing economic inequities perpetrated on the majority by the blind greed of international capitalists who hijack prosperity for themselves only. As I seek out and celebrate these wondrous achievements, a quiet but persistent voice assures me – sanity must and will prevail. These self-anointed ‘captains of industry’ should use their power and money to sanctify and preserve our environment, and even more, to promote, protect and add to the world’s cultural heritage. Hand over our splendid planet with more splendid achievements and with a liveable environment for future generations; is that too much to ask for? They must respond now or they’ll succumb to their own mediocre standards of morality and fade into the dust bin of history, a mere footnote before becoming extinct as the unlamented dinosaurs of the past.
As a journalist I have been writing for a living all of my adult life and love working with the subtleties and exactitude of the English language. It was my third language learned and possibly for that reason I appreciate the depth and breadth of its vocabulary, the knowledge there are always exact words to describe an emotion, event or situation. Shakespeare wouldn’t have been the consummate wordsmith, able to impart soul-searing emotions, accurately portray characters and epic-scale images had he been born to another language. I love the French language for its poetic nuances and resonating tones but for my humble usage it remains best used in rhyme, song and in animated conversations between friends.
Over the course of many years I have created a range of literary efforts. A novel, short stories, essays, fables and fairy tales but I call them only ‘efforts’ as a lucid friend punctured my balloon one day when I declared myself a ‘writer’. Let others make that judgment said he in his best Solomon impersonation. Alright then, I leave it to you my dear prospective readers to render your judgment. If not of a literary award quality with a bit of luck my stories will at least entertain you the adult but of greater significance that my youthful readers will discover there’s at least one ‘grown-up’ who is always firmly on their side.