Principal Parts 2017-08-15T18:01:23+00:00

The Sum of a Few Parts Paul

With few books around the house and a penchant for physical activity, in his youth – when he was not wandering the woods behind his home – Paul religiously observed the Sport Calendar, throwing things in the fall, dribbling and shooting things during the winter and hurling or jumping over things in the spring. Oddly enough, when not beating the track he was treading the boards, for Paul loved the stage and had joined a community theatre group. The call of the footlights conquered his love of sport, ushering him to a coveted seat in downtown Toronto to complete a four-year professional theatre degree.

Having scanned, analyzed and sweated over the text of a heap of plays, having memorized scores of lines, and read through a syllabus-load of English courses, the power of a well-told story drew Paul deeper in. But growing restless as a vessel for other’s words, he began writing: short stories and poems first, and eventually, novels.

During those dusty years Paul uncovered a secret garden veiled from him all his life. Like Hodgson Burnett’s young protagonist, Mary Lennox, with the help a dear friend Paul abandoned the dead halls of a dark and forlorn house for a place incomparably richer. Paul married his dear friend, embarked on a long study of the Old and New Testaments (to piece together what had happened to him), and found a job teaching. 

Busy studying, writing curriculum, and raising a family, Paul submitted but a handful of work, nevertheless published a few poems, won a Toronto-wide poetry contest and placed second in a Canada-wide short story competition. In the last couple of years he has been busy with larger projects in middle grade fiction.

The authors who have influenced Paul could fill a generous fire lit drawing-room; but a closer fellowship among them, those who have laid hold of his heart, include: St. Paul and the gospel writers, Walter Wangerin Jr., George MacDonald, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Hans Christian Andersen and Aesop; The poets Seamus Heaney, Margaret Avison, Emily Dickinson, and T.S. Eliot take a seat among them; and, crowding round the fireplace, preferring to stand stories on their feet, the indomitable dramatists – of course!

John Paul currently lives in Cabbagetown, a Toronto downtown neighbourhood abounding in rare birds and odd bods. From there in his barber’s chair he writes children’s novels, short stories, poems, and book reviews. He is the creator and author of TheWritersLessonBook.com, a popular website for writers of children’s and literary fiction, offering free tips and techniques hand-picked from the great books we love to read. He likes cats, canines and crows, creeks and curios, croissants and coffee and all kinds of imaginative creations – though not necessarily alliterated nor in that order.

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