About Johnny Parker
Dreams in a Drawer
Mrs. Darling: “There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before one’s self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.
Michael: Where did he put them?
Mrs. Darling: He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… He does. And that is why he is brave.”
JM Barrie – Peter Pan
This little passage from Peter Pan always resonated with me. It’s about ordinary people who have hopes and dreams but who keep them locked away because they have to put other people and responsibilities first.
The pain of my character’s unrequited dreams drives the light and dark humour of the stories. Tales of ordinary people with hopes and dreams. The ones brave enough to follow them and the ones who lock them away.
Take Harry Harris, for example. Harry, after long years as a family breadwinner, has dared to open the drawer of his dreams. He yearns to be a writer, but as the rejection letters pile up, guilt drags him back to a ‘proper job’. Not his old, well paid, computer job, but a bookies cashier.
Harry hopes his minimum wage gamble will buy him time to sell his screenplay to Hollywood, but life with the losers could be a punt too far.
I’m very excited, in a British non-excited way, that the first book in the Harry Harris series – Don’t be a Hero – is lukewarm off the press and getting the once over from my beta readers as we speak.
They say write about what you know, well Harry Harris is pretty much me. I wrote a screenplay, still unsold, but good enough to be selected at the London Screenwriters Festival for scrutiny by a Hollywood script guru – “It’s good but needs more work.”
I’d also been the family breadwinner for thirty-five years and yes, I did jack-in a well paid IT job to be a part-time minimum wage betting shop cashier (scary). I also had to be brave and break this wonderful news to my beautiful, long-suffering and very patient wife. I lived to tell the tale, literally.
Family has always been important to me and is the root of my writing.
Harry Harris represents my transition from full time dad to empty nester looking for a legacy.
A Smack at the Boche is my Uncle Ronnie’s World War Two Royal Navy diary. A biography that is his legacy, sharing wartime experiences of being separated from family, for future generations.
In Sting Like a Butterfly, two lost souls find each other through a Salsa dancing class. I met Andrea at Salsa class and it’s formed a stable family partnership which is the rock for a football team of grandkids.
A little trumpet blowing…
All this creative endeavour is laced with real characters and an attempt to be funny. I found out I could write humour when my secondary school teacher said my homework was laughable. That must have been true, because I’ve gone on to win prizes for comedy stories and short films. If you click the Prize Winners tag you’ll see them listed.
Yes okay but what about Johnny the person?
I’m afraid there isn’t much juicy scandal, nothing out of the ordinary, but then the unexceptional can be pretty interesting: Big Brother and Gogglebox being two prime examples.
First off I have a gorgeous wife, Andrea. She lets me do amazing stuff, like quit my job to ‘find myself’ and to go off round the world for months on end. That’s pretty exceptional! She’s also a brilliant sounding board. I can toss a concept at her and she turns into an idea Gatling Gun, firing stuff at me quicker than I can write it down.
Between us we have six kids and a growing army of grand kids plus a small menagerie of food stealing cats, house wrecking dogs and a couple of Goldfish who float around all day saying ‘Bob’.
The little ones (not the fish) are amazing inspiration machines. Their preschool way of looking at stuff from crazy angles is a writer’s dream. I need to be more toddler!
I’m desperately trying to give up the day job and live the passive income dream. I’ve had several goes and each time I get a little closer. Fingers crossed I’m going to get that hammock in the sun one day.
Typing is a Walter Softie job, so I like to get my hands dirty in the allotment digging out healthy crops of weeds.
For entertainment (note irony) I watch Tranmere Rovers. They are a bit like me, always dreaming of the big time but never quite making it. Who know’s this might be a promotion year for both of us.
Well done for getting to the end, and you’re still awake!
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Thanks for visiting, happy reading and if you want to drop me a line about story ideas, advice on how to become a millionaire or even fellow sob stories of following football minnow’s then please do.
PS – Teacher, if you are reading, thanks for the inspiration.
PPS – What do you call a chicken staring at a lettuce? Chicken sees a salad. (Sorry)
Handy Links –
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