Sunday, 11 November 2007

Blast From the Past


I've been trying to get back into my current writing projects. One of them is The Yearbook, inspired by a year I spent in Spain in 1974. I found the old yearbook and started flipping through it to gain some motivation. On impulse I decided to Google a couple of the teachers. Well, I came up with two hits:

John Pharms had a difficult childhood and obtained a scholarship from West Michigan University due to the assistance of a mentor who believed in him. He spent a couple of years as a student teacher at the American School in Mallorca. I remember him as a big man with a huge smile and a voice that struck fear in us all. He taught us Phys Ed and one of our tasks was to clear a vacant lot of branches and rocks so we could play baseball. That wasn't the fun part; it was even more challenging finding the baseball when it rolled into a patch of prickly pear cactus.

He was thrilled to hear from me and will be happy to help me jog my memory about that incredible year at the American School in Spain. I went to his website and discovered that one of my classmates who was very close to Coach committed suicide shortly after I left. Coach had taken him under his wing and made him manager of the basketball team. He was devastated by his 'little brother's' death and made it his life's work to encourage young people to pursue their dreams. He's a motivational speaker for disadvantaged youth, based in Michigan.

The principal Peter J. Foley once served in the Peace Corps. He is now vice president of an incredible private boarding school in Thailand. He was an unconventional principal in a time and place where discipline didn't seem to exist. He seemed more like one of the students, and everyone treated him like a pal rather than an authority figure. He also sent me an email, and wants to hear more about my books. He says he's been working on a manuscript for the last five years, and needs a kick in the butt to finish it. He could probably fill volumes with his wealth of experiences.

Chatting with these two gentlemen has definitely given me a kick in the butt. The memories are flooding back and I hope I can weave them into this novel with some measure of success. Stay tuned for more developments.

Image: Rear view of The American School circa 1976.

8 comments:

Bernita said...

I just noticed you are another Down East ex-pat!

moonrat said...

now i've started googling all my old teachers. i'm sure i'm JUST the person they want to hear from... tee hee...

Chumplet said...

Yes, Bernita, my parents were born in New Brunswick, but I was born in Montreal because my dad travelled a lot. We go back there often since my mom moved back to Saint John. Ah, the smell of salt and fuel oil! Mmmmm....

Welcome, Moonrat. I hope your teachers don't avoid you!

Verification: txzki - isn't that a dipping sauce?

Fabian Trunz said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, I hadn't actually expected any readers in my first month or so here, so it came as a bit of a surprise :P

I'm still trying to get used to this whole world of writers and publishers and editors and agents, at least nine tenth of whom seem to be scam artists, at least according to the internet. The whole seems so ridiculously complicated, but then, some people say that realizing that you don't know something is the first step to attaining wisdom.

Evil editor has helped, so have the NaNoWriMo forums, where some published authors actually answer questions. It's such a great feeling to actually be able to talk to these people. I feel so privileged to live in an age where that's possible with just a push of a few buttons.

And... I'm rambling your comments page full with irrelevant drivel, sorry about that. I guess it's better suited to being a blog post than anything else. Oh well, maybe later. Have a nice weekend!

Chumplet said...

Thanks for visiting, Fabian. I visited Geneva once, many years ago while awaiting a visa for Algeria. Lovely city.

You'll find that the online writing community is the most open and helpful group of people around. I've made many friends and I hope to actually meet them someday!

Fabian Trunz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabian Trunz said...

I've bumbled around in a community of random artists, coders and programmers before I decided to come here. I'm still in contact, they're an awesome bunch as well. It's just that they really couldn't help me much with my writing. Most people don't really know much about the publishing industry after all.

I've never been to Geneva... kind of sad, I know, but I grew up in a German speaking part of Switzerland and I don't really like French all that much. More of an English person :P Bern is great as well, you should come visit again!

I'll hope I'll make good friends, just as you did. Hope your writing is going well too!

Kanani said...

well, speaking of memories, you've been tagged over on my blog.

I think it's great you've been in touch with some of the teachers.