A journalist, publisher of an online community newspaper, photographer and writer of novels, plays and short stories that address the human condition and serious environmental issues
I'm a journalist, publisher of an online community newspaper, photographer and self-published author of 13 novels, two plays and a collection of short stories. I write fiction (literary commercial) that deals with the human condition with most including a subplot that addresses a serious environmental issue (cli-fi, eco-fi, environmental fiction).
I’ve been a journalist and a publisher of community newspapers for over 40 years. Currently, I still edit and publish (and everything else) The REVUE, a quarterly online neighbourhood publication. I believe in healthy neighbourhoods and the focus of The REVUE is to nurture positive actions while addressing areas of concern. This is similar to my involvement as a long-time director at the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, an agency whose motto is “Building Better Neighbourhood’s Together Since 1977”. A great deal can and is being done at this level in the fight against climate change.
My work as a photojournalist includes documenting community events and celebrating those involved. As a landscape photographer, I don’t need exotic locales but find more than enough inspiration in the local parks, even my front yard. I still struggle to depict its beauty accurately.
When I began devoting more time to writing fiction, I read a book by Carol Bly, The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart’s Truth into Literature. She suggests that even before beginning to write a story, consider composing a 'Values Listing,' a written record of the things that are most important to you. Then, throughout the writing process ensure these values continue to be identified in your work. That means these values are present in the issues and conflicts your characters confront and that they themselves are grounded in or address these same principles.
I attempt to do this in all my novels, with most including a subplot that addresses a serious environmental issue. Author and teacher, John Gardner wrote that “True art is moral” in that it is an “honest search for an analysis of values. It is not didactic because, instead of teaching by authority and force, it explores, open-mindedly, to learn what it should teach. It clarifies like an experiment in a chemistry lab, and confirms."
If done properly, I believe imbuing an environmental message in fiction, regardless of the genre, can send a very powerful message with its ability to “clarify ...and confirm,” rather than the less effective way to “teach by authority or force.”
All my stories are backed by research, sometimes on the front lines, which gives me the opportunity of gaining further knowledge of everything from Spirit Bears to re-wilding macaws with further insight into the issues and the motivations and politics of the people involved.
As a journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, Canada, I’d like to offer my experience and services to members of the ClimateCulture network. I’m not sure how I can assist, but am willing to consider requests.