We were lucky enough to receive a wonderful author feature from our author, Simon Boreham. Today Simon speaks about his writing journey, a history of his works and a taster from The Joyfinder.
Before 1989, having trained at the Savoy London, I followed a management career in the hotel and catering industry spanning 25 years in Kenya, UK and Hong Kong.
In 1990, with Dawn my wife and partner, we bought the 300ft Dragonfly Foods Tofu Manufacturing factory, established in Devon in 1984, as the fourth owner.
Having won organic food awards we grew the business in our second 3,000ft factory twenty-five times with listings throughout UK Health Food Stores and into Eire, France and Belgium, and within UK Supermarket chains of Sainsbury’s and Holland and Barrett.
At my age of 72 we sold Dragonfly in 2012.
Having written poems for over 20 years, I collated and published 2 pocketbook sized editions of my Fortunes of Love collection in 2016.
I wrote and published with Olympia in 2017 my first fiction novel The Fisherman’s Story, to be linked to and followed with my second The Go(o)d Year, also with Olympia in 2020. These two novels will now become part of a trilogy, with my memoir The Joyfinder.
Here is a taster from The Joyfinder with a nod to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
My first memory of knowing me was when I was four or five. I know this because of my yearning to touch the past.
My understanding of being alive started with the beginning of my stammer that still continues in secret as I get closer to the end.
But the answer to the question “What is the point of life?” had to wait for The Go(o)d Year.
We are sitting in our comfortable lounge in our usual places, me in my well-worn leather armchair with my legs sprawled one draped over its separated arms, Dawn obliquely opposite in her two-seater couch looking amazing as always despite the years, with her all-important magazines to one side, two meters apart because of coronavirus isolation rules, (that’s not a joke), so I ask her:
“Darling, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of me?”
“Tourrete’s,” she answered without hesitation.
I translated this into my throat noises and mouth, eye and face contortions.
“St.Vitus’,” she continues uninvited trying not to smile.
Ok ok, I know what she means. There is my knee pumping.
“Your mother had the same compulsion. So does Catherine. And you pick up bits from the carpet just like your mother.”
“And you are an obsessive,” she really pushed her point, enjoying herself, laughing.
Hey, that’s not funny.
“Stammering isn’t funny,” I said crossly, really thinking ‘that’s a bit harsh getting me to defend my stammer’, remembering the sublimation of breath that lies behind the interrupted and swapped words, the pausing and evasion tactics learnt to allow for free speech to flow. That is, of course, as long as I was not aware of public enemy number one: public scrutiny. Then all hell breaks loose, fear takes hold, my chest tightens and the struggle begins, contorting my mouth, gripping the cords of my throat, twitching my body and making me break out in sweat.
But back then, when I was about five, I had no recollection of this infliction, and, believe it or not, and I don’t care whether you do or not, until I was thirteen and on my first day at my new public boarding school, arriving late and standing in front of my new shit faced class being asked my name, relying on my mother to tell me after my brutal exposure that it, my infliction, had began in Kisumu Kenya on the banks of lake Victoria in the flat of my two cousins, above the Barclays Bank DCO branch that my Uncle Bill was manager of, when what I really remember about then was the intense excitement of being allowed to ride Micky and Johnny’s shiny new boy sized black Raleigh bicycles, and later chatting animatedly with them, about the bikes, in beds under mosquito nets that shared their upstairs front bedroom with it’s warm African open air explored veranda, and being told by Uncle Bill or Aunt Stella in their sternest of voices:
“Boys, get back into bed and stop talking!”
Then, returning home to my Ugandan Kampala cottage with the yet unknown B-B-B-Boreham answer that would not spoil other childish excitements and the years of growing up to reach that fateful day, including the never to be forgoten dawn hunt to hounds when my mother and I followed it on the plains north east of Kampala in the empty truck that had carried the pack in its wire caged back and eventually at the end of the chase would have the bloodied jackal, mbwa mwitu, a sort of wild dog substitute for an English fox, draped on the netting above the tired and satisfied hounds, then driving home, with Daddy who had come to fetch us, through the east African countryside, spotting loping giraffe, twiga, galloping zebra, pundamilia, bounding gazelle and impala, swala, dog faced marauding baboon groups, nyani, and then as dusk settled with the car headlights turned on, hearing the coughing grunting sounds of lion, simba, sights and sounds new and thrilling to me as I snuggled down under a blanket on the back seat in the blackness, with mashed bananas waiting with my Ayah Catalina as a treat for supper before bed, before the family said goodbye, kwa heri, in my first language of Swahili, and left for Palestine in 1946.