You can read an excerpt from Leaving Dublin here on the Amazon website. What follows in this post is a summary, chapter by chapter, of what else you can find in my book of memoirs. If it whets your appetite for more, you can order your copy (paperback or e-book) here.
Piano Lessons. You can read some of this on the Amazon website. My mother tells my father it’s more important for us to have a piano than a family car. The lessons pay off. At age 14, I land a paying gig as a church organist.
Boys Will be Boys. It’s Dublin in the 1950s, long before the Celtic Tiger roars. Life for us as kids is a carousel of playing in the lane, going to the movies, and eating french fries. Our parents teach us that a good education is the key to everything good in life.
Coming of Age. I get my first summer job away from home and learn about girls. I join the civil service and become bored stiff. My friend Michael Murphy and I talk about moving to another country.
Coming to Canada. We immigrate to Canada. Vancouver is our chosen destination. We have no plan. We just want to see if the grass is really greener.
Journey into Show Business. I join forces with an Irish tenor named Shay Duffin. We call ourselves the Dublin Rogues. We make records and tour the clubs and concert halls of eastern Canada. My mother wonders when I’m going to get a real job.
Journey into Journalism. I go to journalism school for two months. That’s good enough to land me a reporting job at the weekly newspaper in Smithers, British Columbia. My mother is relieved. Zelda and I get married and Nicole is born.
Nights on Air. We move to Prince George. I read the news on CJCI Radio. I quit to play piano in a local pizza parlour. My mother gets anxious again.
Give My Regards to Old Prince George. I join the daily Citizen as a reporter. My mother is happy that I’ve finally gotten the music thing out of my system. I cover city hall and write pop music reviews.
Remember Me to Herald Square. We move to Calgary. I cover cops for the Herald and then start writing about theatre. What do I know about theatre? Not much but I’m a quick study.
The Tribute Column. After 13 years on the theatre beat, I’m ready for a change. I write features for the Herald’s Sunday magazine and then agree to write an obituary column for the daily paper. My colleagues think I’m one brick short of a full load.
Locked Out. We unionize the Herald newsroom and get locked out while bargaining for a first contract. After eight months on the picket line, some of us go back into the building. Most of us go on to other things. I write my first book.
In Search of a Literary Ancestor. I discover my maternal grandmother’s great-grandmother, Máire Bhuí Ní Laoire, was a renowned folk poet in West Cork. I write a book about her.
Moving to the Front of the Generational Train. Reflections on the lives and deaths of my parents. They wanted for nothing more than to give their children a good start in life. They surely succeeded.