I knew at a very young age I wanted to be an artist. (See also my blog post.) But, parents being parents, they soon talked me out of that notion. So, I forgot what I really wanted and became convinced I’d someday be a garbage collector instead. I left school at 15 to become a printer, then a reprographer, then a teacher, a translator, designer, web designer…
Sometimes I’d see destiny in the form of a garbage truck down the road. In truth, at 65, I believe there are worse things than being a sweeper. There’s something noble in cleaning up the mess of the world.
But, translating led to writing, and designing logos led to drawing and painting. On this web site, you can discover the fruits of my labor, and hopefully, buy a book or a piece of art or two. I’d give everything away for free but I do need the money.☺
And now for the boring bits: I was born in 1957 in Rotterdam, then the world’s largest port and not the most romantic of towns. Twelve years after World War II the city still looked like a wasteland where bricklayers and carpenters not writers or singers were the heroes of the day.
We kind of missed the sixties and went straight from the fifties to the seventies. I joined the workforce at 15 as an apprentice printer and broke free at 22 to travel to Spain and Morocco, then to the US, Mexico and South America. Like many travelers, I taught English to support myself, and I also lived in Barcelona, Spain for a year and worked for Olivetti in Ivrea, Italy.
At 28, I went back to school and studied English and Spanish at the University of Leiden and translation at the University of Amsterdam. I set myself up as a translator and stuck with translating books, software and all sorts of texts for nearly 30 years. I got married, got a son who is now 20, got divorced and finally remembered what I wanted to be before I thought I’d be a garbage collector.
If I were to tell you who I am now, I’d say “Hey, this isn’t a dating site.” But if it was, I’d tell you I like cooking and Asian food, I’m vegan except when I’m not, I believe monogamy isn’t natural but in practice, I find one relationship more than enough to handle, I love to read but value style and craftsmanship over what passes for literature, and I don’t believe in deities. Oh, and I love technology but I’m not sure I like where it’s taking us.
In a world that’s bursting with talent, it’s hard to choose, but some authors I love include Anthony Burgess, Bill Bryson, Daniel Quinn, David Lodge, Douglas Adams, George Orwell, Henry David Thoreau, Jack London, Jane Austen, Jean Liedloff, Robert B. Parker, Salman Rushdie, Terry Pratchett and so many more.
With movies we aren’t spoilt for choice, either: A River Runs Through It, Chinatown, Departures, Der Himmel über Berlin, Eat, drink, man, woman, Get Shorty, Groundhog Day, Le huitieme jour, Le mari de la coiffeuse, Once upon a Time in Mexico, Secrets and Lies, The Apartment, The Gods must be Crazy, The Life of Brian, Vertigo, anything with Shirley MacLaine in it.
In music there’s even more to choose from: Alan Stivell, Angelo Branduardi, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Clannad, Eleanor McEvoy, Eric Clapton, Eva Cassidy, Flaco Jimenez, Inti-Illimani, J.J. Cale, Jaime Torres, John Lennon, Jonny Lang, Kinky Friedman, Krishna Das, Leon Russell, Loreena McKennitt, Mikis Theodorakis, Mississippi John Hurt, Moya Brennan, Patrick Ball, Pink Floyd, Prem Joshua, Quilapayun, Ry Cooder, Shaina Noll, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Andrews Sisters, Tony Joe White, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, etc.
So, there you have it: Me in a nutshell. Want more? Read the blog or get in touch.