Where I'm Coming From

  • I decided I wanted to devote my life to writing humour when I was eight years old. I have a memory of walking through the parking lot of my elementary school and thinking that that is what I wanted to do. The details may be fuzzy: was it really in the parking lot of my school? Was I really eight, or was I a year or two older? (It had to be before I was 12 because that was the year my family moved to Israel to live, and I had made my decision long before that.)


    The first things I remember writing were parodies of Sherlock Holmes stories, which I was reading at the time. I used my father's legal-sized green accounting sheets; I had to write my stories (by hand) on the backs of the pages because there were too many criss-crossing lines on the front. I wrote three stories, one to a page. I remember thinking: How do people imagine enough material to fill entire short stories, let alone novels?!


    That was decades ago. At the time of this writing, I have a Web site of political and social satire, Les Pages aux Folles (http://www.lespagesauxfolles.ca) that is over 12 years old (which, as a friend pointed out, makes it positively Paleolithic in Internet ages); I have self-published five collections of Alternate Reality News Service articles taken from the Web site; I have produced the pilot for a radio series, "The Weight of Information," based on some of those stories (it's available in two parts on YouTube), and; I have had two novels published by Elsewhen Press, one of which is in competition this month on this site. I have a new collection and a new novel slated to come out in 2015. This doesn't include all of the unproduced scripts or short stories that I have in my back pocket, waiting for the day I am * DISCOVERED *.


    I guess I must have figured the whole writing thing out.


    The funny thing is that I might seem precocious, having decided on what I wanted to do when I was so young. Who does that? I mean, really. Most eight year-old boys are happy eating paste! Maybe they want to be cowboys or cops or astronauts, but they rarely follow through as, you know, life happens to them. I wouldn't be too impressed, though. I was watching an episode of a great TV show called The Green Room (basically, half a dozen stand-up  comics sit around and talk about comedy) featuring Eddie Izzard. He told a story about meeting his idol, Richard Pryor. In the course of the conversation, they found that they had something in common: they both knew they wanted to be comedians when they were four years old. FOUR YEARS OLD! When I heard that, I realized that I wasn't precocious, I was actually half a lifetime behind the curve!

    It's not just my Canadianness that makes me humble...

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