The biography of my Uncle Dave Dryburgh, begun in London in 2014 has been on the back burner for about four years. One might say that it is not even on the stove anymore. “When you put something on a back burner, you make it a low priority. In other words, you’ve decided that the task or activity on a back burner isn’t immediately important.” The book was abandoned when the harassment by Julie Wheelwright, the head of the Creative Non-Fiction program at London City University made my life unbearable. Rather than discipline her the School disciplined me, even though initial findings were in my favour.
Next along came the book on the Tate Britain, when that was completed along came the blog. I write about a thousand words every day, probably about four books worth of blogs. But it does seem that now might be a good time to get back at the book. Knee surgery postponed to May 12 and then this ridiculous thing called ‘home shelter.”
The book is probably at least 3/4 completed and is the story of my relationship with him which is pretty tricky because he died in 1948 when I was five and I am not sure I even met him. Everyone who knew him, save my father, is dead and there is no memorabilia , no pictures, diaries, letters. Only his writing, his daily column in the Regina Leader Post. But I was able to peace together his short existence on this planet.
The book will modelled on a biography, Stuart a Life Backward, which begins with a homeless man’s death and works toward his birth. The end becomes the beginning. I have been casting about for the end, which is the beginning and I think I have found it.
My uncle (his parents and five of his brothers leave Scotland, and settle in Regina, Saskatchewan. Uncle Dave, then 12, has little to do with the family, instead takes his soccer ball to a nearby field and becomes a rather renown soccer player. The games were not reported in the local paper so he undertakes to do so on a voluntary basis. Plans were for him to apprentice under his father to become a cabinet maker but he caught pneumonia and the doctor insisted he change professions because of his lungs. So he goes to the Regina Leader Post, and gets a job working as a sports writer and quickly becomes the Sports editor.
He was a magnificent writer, coined words and described all manner of games, with knowledge of the rules and protocol. So soccer is pivotal to his writing.
His niece, after retiring from a career in the law, takes up writing, ends up writing a blog. This blog writing leads to many adventures and causes her to meet many people, including the Royal Family of Dubai. The Emirates Stadium is a football stadium in Holloway, London, England, and the home of Arsenal. With a capacity of 60,704 it is the fourth-largest football stadium in England after Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. How likely is that? So, in a strange way soccer (called football in England) is a common thread. It is all rather unbelievable when you think of it. Quite improbable. Truth being stranger than fiction.
The book is going to be an iBook – the world of publishing is just too bothersome with its agents, hit publicists, its editors – all with their opinions of what sells and not sells. Suddenly one finds that your book no longer resembles what you wrote in the first place.
In a way, actually in every way, my life is much more interesting than my uncle’s – particularly of late. More people read my daily blog than the circulation of the Regina Leader Post. I had the Vancouver Library research those statistics. Dave Dryburgh drowned in 1948 – he did not live until his fortieth birthday. Neither he nor his niece Alexis had children. His wife Eunice lived until she was 90, never remarried and her ashes are in the same plot in Regina, Saskatchewan. I visited the graveyard with one of my cousins – it forma a rather hilarious chapter in the book, believe that or not. It became so funny with us hunting all over to find the headstone. Perhaps I should feature that chapter in the blog.
But the fascinating thing is this – more people read my blog than ever would read the book. A writer wants to be read. My retirement income meets my needs, so making money from the book is not a necessity. I do not have anyone to leave my money to when I die. So it is all rather academic, in a way. Oh well.
I met with Wise Man last week and learned many interesting things. He spoke of an article in the New York Times which traced the history of the rulers of Saudi Arabia from the beginning until current times. There was constant intrigue, power plays and much misery. It is a horrible life apparently being a Ruler or a Crown Prince. It doesn’t sound like a bad life from the outside with all of the money, palaces and ceremonies but apparently it is not a great life at all. There are, of course, parallels to the Royal Family of Dubai and it does explain many things. Many worth considering.
We analyzed a dream that I had two weeks ago, a hopeful dream. It concerned destiny. The comfort was the realization that even if something or someone is destiny it is still possible to choose. To say yes, or no, to destiny. That provides considerable relief and one needs relief in these troubled times. These ridiculously troubled times. The more one learns of the transmission patterns of the coronavirus, the more one sees how ridiculous this shut down is.
That shall be the topic of tomorrow’s blog.
The tree outside my window is beginning to leaf out, it is a message of hope. I will take a picture of it and include with this blog.