I’ve been tagged by Jessica West and Tom Knighton to write 7 things about me and/or about my writing and post it on Facebook, which I did. Jessica then thought my revelations entertaining enough to reproduce here. I’m not entirely convinced it’s that entertaining, but it’s a fun thing to do, plus I get to post an old photo of me from my arrogant days. I’m very much a humble soul now, so it’s good to see how far I have come. Also, I’ve added a further three things just to make the number even.
- Woelf DIetrich is a pen name. My real name is Melt Strydom and I created Woelf in case I started lawyering again. I’ve invested so much time and emotion in my pen name, and sometimes refer to myself as Woelf or sign my private emails with Woelf, that I don’t see myself ever writing under any other name. I took the name from Wolfdietrich, and given what I love to write about, I thought it apt.
- I was born in South Africa and tried my whole life to get away from there so I travelled a lot.
- My first ever story was at age 12 or 13. My teacher asked us to submit a story no longer than one page. I gave her eight pages. The plot, if you can call it that, involved a soldier in Vietnam out on patrol who is called back to protect his base from enemy attack. Having him chase back to camp to defend it against a “horde” of terrorists certainly wasn’t a deep story and it had no political message. It couldn’t have. I was young (and no Internet) and didn’t even know why there was a war in Vietnam in the first place. In my young mind it was perfectly acceptable for my hero to patrol the jungles of Vietnam alone in a jeep. In those eight pages he drove over and through “bad guys” while mowing down the ones left standing with his “machine gun”. He crashed through walls made of bamboo and forced his way in amidst enemy gunfire and explosions. Nothing could stop my hero and his trusty jeep. Adjectives were aplenty: bloody mess, bloody pulp, bloody tangled mess, and I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the carnage left in his wake, or rather, my vision of it. To keep the story “grounded” I allowed my hero to get wounded a couple of times. He survived and received a medal for bravery and the pretty nurse who attended him. She gave him a kiss and I thought it was hardcore because it was a full-lipped kiss.
- Hemingway, Gaiman, L’Amour, Howard, Burroughs, and Gemmell inspire the crap out of me, and they are also the reason why I constantly doubt my writing ability.
- I skinny-dipped in the Red Sea twice.
- I do not recall a time I didn’t want to be a writer, but I’ve been severely undisciplined with a really noisy brain and instead of writing I did stupid things. I once considered a career in Marine Biology. I was spearfishing a lot at the time and loved the ocean. Well, I still love the ocean. Before that I wanted to be Indiana Jones.
- The year before I went to law school I started making stained glass terrariums and vases. I sold enough to scratch out a meagre living.
- The first time I ever smoked Hashish was in Egypt, in a backpackers called Happyland Camp. The second and last time was in Harare in Zimbabwe. That was twenty years ago (Shit, I’m getting old).
- I’m planning a great historical novel about the Maccabees.
- I long for writing success so I can provide for my family. I’ve come to realise writing is the only thing I can do that provides peace to my mind, and yet I constantly fight against the fear that I’m not good enough.
And that is that. I hope you guys had a good laugh.