Like many writers my fascination started with the school magazine. Being a failure academically (the pointed hat was reserved for kids brighter than me) the selection of my essay for the magazine was a major surprise. When ‘Elvis’ the English Teacher came into the room waving my scrawl covered pages, I thought I was in for another rollicking for poor work, but this was one of the few times when I received praise… and publication.
I was about 13 and reading a lot of Hemingway, so my modest success convinced me that the bell was tolling for me to be a writer. The essay was about stamp collecting, and of course…it didn’t get me anywhere! I won’t reveal the time it took to get my next piece published.
I was still a teenager when I sat on the sunny side of a bullring suffering post ‘Cuba Libra’ despair, to watch the methodical slaughter of six bulls. The ‘sport’ did not appeal to me, Ernest would not have been impressed.
I wrote postcards home, one informing my Trotskyist father that living in a fascist run country didn’t really seem too bad. When I affixed the brightly coloured stamps I kept a few for the collection.