Looking back as an only child of poor working-class parents, I was left, largely, to play on my own with few toys, to make up my own fun, play, and worlds. My imagination started early from being left with an old radio to entertain me whenever my mother ‘stepped out’. Voices, music–all ‘got in me’ then. My mother remembered me running into the house whenever favorite ’50s songs came on the radio. Anyway, this has much to say about why and how I became attracted to popular music at a very young age. The creative expression of music part publicly lasted from grade 10 to 2003. A singer, a songwriter, a guitarist, always a band leader.
Likewise, without toys, I was left to make my own–6 or 7ish pretending hockey sticks were James Fenimore Cooper rifles, for instance. Classics Illustrated comics (I now own a copy of each title–most I never saw when young) were my first main reading and ‘story’ got into me there, inspiring various approaches, tones, values, and behaviors. All hemisphere crossings, no question.
Whatever stirred my initial imagination became ‘large’. My private world was inhabited with various characters I would play myself, sometimes with a pickup or passing friend or my dog. It was a free and glorious time. I made it all up as I went. There were only people and things to be curious about. With both parents working or away, I was free to look after myself (a latchkey kid all through school) and play pretty much through high school as well, as my marks then will attest.
Looking back, I see though that the possibilities for expanded thought and experience came mainly by that insatiable curiosity and my primal, unfettered imagination–key qualities I still have today. Those qualities blossomed even more in the luxury of 5 heavily book-based university years (education was instrumental in setting up a career the next 30 years in teaching). Though music would continue to be a sideline (performing for thousands and making not-bad money too) until 2003, it was specialized reading (literature) which fired the imagination, passion, and desire to share the gifts of lit, culminating in teaching.
I was and have been very lucky further with the hemisphere transition into creative expression via writing, including books, poetry, and a blog. My books have sold over a million copies. Not bad for a poor working-class only child.
And so the hemisphere crossings continue, what with the finding a comfort zone for innumerable topics and depths on these blog pages, and the grandfather experiences, connecting with a young version of myself and son, my childhood, my son’s childhood, and how we learn, grow, and develop–educationally speaking–from the beginnings to my own advancing age.
My life has been one of constant growth and adaptation. It has Largely been an inner one I once shared more in person with others and the rest of society. It was an inner life which has always sustained me and made me what I essentially am today–very autonomous and my own more-than-integrated person. In many ways, the hemispheric crossings have been the most fun, the most pleasurable of all. ”
Tothineownselfbetrue.ca’ is a record of all those defining moments of being and becoming, my character, and values.
Have I said before that I have been a lucky man?
An abundance of freedom and leisure (in childhood, after school, in university, via school leaves, and finally during 12 years of retirement) also played a great formative role as well. One needs time and no bosses to think, grow, change, imagine, create, write, or perform.
“crossing hemispheres’ term–with a thank-you to Jerry, a good friend-collaborator and Jane Healy’s educational classic Endangered Minds