It was Tuesday, November 19, 1996, and I was waiting in the lobby of the Alexis Hotel in Seattle. A tall, wiry man with a buzz cut and a moustache, Harris Tweed jacket, pullover, white shirt, and no tie came up to me and said, "Hi I am James Ellroy; call me Dog." "I'll call you Dog if you call me lad," I replied.
And that's how it was.
Note: My favourite Ellroy character, from the crime novelist's Los Angeles Quartet (LA Confidential is the better known volume), is Captain Dudley Smith, and he calls everybody lad.
To date, 7 August 2022 I have written 5615 blogs. I started in January 2006 and I had no idea what a blog was. Since then I have come to understand that what it really is resembles the old fashioned “Dear Diary”. I try not to rant and to put forward my religious or political views. If I happened to suffer with haemorrhoids I would not tell you. In this day and age of social media some of the confessions that people make make be blush and feel embarrassed. An acquaintance took a photograph of his wife sleeping and went into the (for me) gruesome detail that she snores. I don’t want to know about this stuff.
The final eye opener as to why I blog came from Joan Didion who wrote:
“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear."
I enjoy writing and I may have inherited a small portion
of the talent from my father who was a journalist who worked for the Buenos
Aires Herald and the Buenos Aires Standard in the 40s. I believe that if a newspaper hired me (most unlikely) as a columnist I could write one every day with no problem. In the past I wrote a monthly garden column for Western Living and one on Vancouver culture for an early CBC on line culture webpage.
It was editor Malcolm Parry of Vancouver Magazine who may have initiated all this when in 1982 during the Malvinas (Falklands) War commanded me to write about my experience in participating in a coup when I was a conscript in the Argentine Navy. My piece was placed on the cover. Through the years I have received some advice from good writers. John Lekich told me to always put something of the first paragraph into the final one. Les Wiseman told me that unless I was Dickens I should always begin in the middle and go both ways from there.
But It was Ellroy who gave me a final impetus to write. He told me that every day of his life he opens his computer to his manuscript. And he said this, “Sometimes just put a comma and then close the computer. For me that is writing."