I'm spending more and more time here, so I figured it would be appropriate to tell a little bit about myself. Since I'm putting this in my very own space, I will have no qualms about running long, or doing so in a somewhat disorganized manner. The Present
I am a 39-year-old father of four: three boys (11, 9 and 7 years of age) and a girl (4 years old). I have been married for almost 15 years to a wonderful woman, who from the start became my Companion, Lover, Best Friend and Life Partner. I am currently employed in the IT field, working for a big governmental agency in Montréal, Québec. I do not like my job, but it is steady and allows me to provide for my family.
My wife is a stay-at-home mother, and we home-school our children. (Well technically we unschool
them, but that distinction is not important right now.) I love my wife and children with all my heart; they are everything to me.The Past
I was born to two hippie parents, way back in 1975, in the province of Québec. French is my first language. At a very young age I was attracted to books. It started with comic books like Tintin, Astérix, Les Schtroumpfs. My parents tell me that even before I could read I used to spend hours with those books, holding them upside down even.
It seems I had, from a very early age, an inclination towards immersion in imaginary worlds. My father took me to see the Lords of the Rings
movie (the Ralph Bakshi one) when I was three. It might be the first thing I saw in a movie theatre. The sight of the Nazgul plunging their swords into the beds... I cannot describe how scared and energized that made me.
My father made jewelry for a living, selling them in various craft fairs, and he worked at home. I could always go down to the basement, where he had his workshop, and look at him cutting and polishing stones, melting metal, filling rubber molds with wax.
Through these fairs, he had become friends with a man who made metal sculptures. One of these was a depiction of Frodo and Sam climbing a rock wall, followed by the slinking figure of Gullum.
I absorbed Star Wars
fairly early. I remember getting a R2-D2 action figure before I even saw the first movie. By the time Empire Strikes Back
came out, I was a fullblown adept. Winters are long and harsh in Quebec; it was my own personal Hoth. I played with the toys, alone and with friends. We also acted out the movies, improvising countless peripheral adventures.
The 80's were a very fertile period for a young boy. I was shaped by the movies I saw (Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Dragonslayer, Star Trek II, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins, The Neverending Story, Time Bandits, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Goonies, Back to the Future
Looking back, I see the years 1983-85 as my own personal Golden Age. During this period of my life I plunged headlong into Imagination through various games.
First, I was introduced by my cousins to a weird thing called a "gamebook", "in which YOU are the hero!" Titles like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Island of the Lizard King, The Citadel of Chaos, Deathtrap Dungeon
... and also the four Sorcery!
gamebooks by Steve Jackson.
Around the same time, I became familiar with a Saturday morning cartoon called Dungeons & Dragons
Soon after, my friend introduced me to another weird thing, a "role-playing game", in the shape of the D&D Basic Red Box.
Around the same time, I also became acquainted with video games. The same friend had a Coleco Gemini, and my father bought a personal computer, which was not a widespread thing yet. I eventually entered into a long love-affair with all of the Sierra Quest games, from King's Quest
to Hero's Quest
(It's also during this period that I fell in love for the first time, and that I became a big brother.)
Around the time that I was eleven, me and a friend rented Fright Night
, and in this pivotal period between childhood and puberty, I was stricken with vampire fever. I believed in them, I knew they were just outside my bedroom window at night. I asked my parents to buy me a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula
, hoping to glean some vampire lore from this massive tome. What I did take from it, was a full-blown love of Literature. Along with Twain's Tom Sawyer
, here I had two examples of "big books", with no pictures, that were considered "classics", having been written in another century, and not only could I read them, they fired me up with a renewed and strengthened love of Imagination.
Nothing could stop me now.
Soon enough, I fell into the DragonLance
books. At this point (circa 1988) I no longer had any friends interested in D&D, so this was a way for me to keep this passion alive. Then, a year or so later, I found a couple of friends with whom I started playing AD&D (2nd Edition), a campaign which lasted for around two years.
Late 1990, I watched the TV adaptation of Stephen King's It
, and that was my gateway to another author's realm. I proceeded to devour the book, and went on to read most of what he had written. I still hold a special love for It
and the Dark Tower
Sometime in 1991, I read Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire
, and fell in love with an author's work once more. Of course the Vampire Chronicles
spoke to the kid who had believe in vampires, but also to the burgeoning adult who even then had started to feel the beginnings of an existential dread.
Christmas 1991, I was in my room, bored with the family celebrations. I took a book from the family bookshelf, written by a guy called H.P. Lovecraft. I chose a story called Beyond the Wall of Sleep
. And I was hooked, once again.
In 1992, I got a school assignment asking us to write a short story. I had been meaning to try my hand at writing for a while (especially since I had made a new friend who was very artistic, and who was to be my best friend for the next few years), but this was the push I had been waiting for. Out came a bleak tale of a depressed teenager who is made into a vampire by the girl he's in love with.
The writing bug was in me. I wrote many short stories during the next few years. I also started partying with friends, having finished High School and now enrolled in a Literature college education which was to lead me away from school, but deep into my commitment to writing.
By the time I dropped out of University, in 1995, I was neck-deep into the writing of a novel. My influences had multiplied, and yet I had renounced nothing. My head was still filled with all of the things which I have mentioned so far, but now combined with other writers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Jack Kerouac, Victor Hugo, Réjean Ducharme, Sylvain Trudel, Clive Barker. Along with the music of baroque and classical composers like Bach, Paganini, Domenico Scarlatti, Buxtehude, Vivaldi. Along with the music of groups like Primus, The Doors, Ministry, Pink Floyd, King Crimson.
In 1996 I spent two months in France, wandering, thinking, writing. One evening, while I was in Paris, I saw Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man
, which led me to a host of new passions. The films of Jarmusch, of course, but also the work of William Blake (through which I discovered the work of Peter Ackroyd). And thanks to Jarmusch, I discovered the music of Tom Waits. From Tom Waits, I went on to Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bright Eyes, the Flaming Lips, Devotchka, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Reverend Glasseye, Godspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mount Zion, Beirut...
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
In 1997 two important things happened. I met the woman who was to become my wife, and I decided to go back to school, having reached the conclusion that the only way to keep on writing was to get a job doing something else.
I then spent a year and a half studying programming. As soon as I got out of school, I got hired for the job which I'm still doing now, and then I got married.
In 2002 my first son was born. Over the next few years, I would become a father three more times, gradually losing the time, energy and enthusiasm to work on my writing.
In 2009, after my oldest son had spent hours looking at my old D&D Monster Manual, I decided to buy the latest one, for the 4th Edition, and soon after I started a campaign for him and his brother.
Funny how it turned out, though. They eventually lost interest in the role-playing game, but not me. I had the bug once more. And just about then the Castle Ravenloft
board game came out, which I could play with my boys. Or... play alone, at night. Which I did, a lot. I then got Wrath of Ashardalon
, played that too. And around this time I started visiting BGG more and more. I now had the board game bug, too. I got Conquest of Nerath
, also playing mostly solo. I got Legend of Drizzt
. Then recently I got the new edition of War of the Ring
, which scratched that old Lord of the Rings
passion which had started when I was three and had been re-ignited when I read the books as a teenager, and then again as an adult with the Peter Jackson movies. And finally, this month, I plunged and got Arkham Horror
, which once again is a new interest which goes back to a long-time passion.
I do not write anymore, I barely play video games, I don't have a group to play role-playing games with, but with the recent advent of board games in my life, I can once again enjoy the rich worlds of Imagination which I have always craved, and I can do so in a playful and stimulating way.The Future
Well, this: http://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/21305/life-update
. To be continued...
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