My sister arrived today, after a 3 day drive from London in her pick-up truck with her best friend and 3 whiny cats. She is making the move to be close to the rest of the clan and, of course, to find a job in this dicey economy. Nothing like a major change to jump-start ones life.
Now the "major change stuff" reminds me of a documentary I came across while flipping through the channels last night. Not sure if Bravo! in Canada shows the same stuff as elsewhere, but this was about the author W.P. Kinsella who wrote a number of collections of short stories and a few novels, mainly about life on the reservation for native people. He also had a following with his books about baseball. His first and most famous novel Shoeless Joe (1982) was adapted into the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams."
I can only paraphrase some of what was talked about. His early attempts at writing were met with cruel responses from publishers, basically telling him that he wasn't a writer. He worked as a government clerk, ran a pizza restaurant and drove a taxi. He attended the University of Victoria and received a Bachelor of Creative Writing in 1974 (at the age of 39). He earned a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa in 1978. At the time Shoeless Joe was published, Kinsella would have been 47 years old. I admire a man who stuck with his dream and didn't let the early setbacks deter him from achieving his goal.
I will attach the links to Wikipedia article here and to the Canadian Encyclopedia article here in case anyone wants to read a bit more about this author. One thing he did, though, that I didn't like was how he talked about other authors. He had given a talk at his old school and a person afterwards complimented him on his public speaking and generally being entertaining. He thanked them, and then went on to say that not all authors who give talks are entertaining. He specifically mentioned Canadian authors Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje as not being very entertaining while up on stage. Not very cool, I thought.
There were many who thought that the religious symbolism in Shoeless Joe and later, "Field of Dreams" implied that he was a religious man. He described himself as an atheist and thought that it was a credit to him that he could create this world within the story that was so convincing with its religious overtones. He said that he liked to put stuff like that in his stories as it kept the academic discussing it for a long time. Overall an interesting and somewhat controversial man. I would like to be a curmudgeonly author when I grow up.