Paul Kilfoil's World of Travel, Technology & Sport

Posted on  by Paul Kilfoil.
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One of my earliest childhood memories is of wanting to become an author. I read voraciously when I was at school, typically two books a week, and would dearly loved to have been able to recreate the suspense, drama and excitement of the stories I read. I did have some talent as a writer - I always scored high marks in English essays and found it easy to get my stories printed in school magazines. Of course (unlike the real world), there wasn't much competition at school ...

The Bucket List ... a memorable movie

But actual publication of my work out of school proved to be extraordinarily difficult. I never got anywhere with the short stories I wrote in my late teens and early twenties, and finally had to admit that I had to do something else to pay the rent. Luckily I found I had an aptitude for writing computer programs, an endeavour in which I proved to be far more successful (which explains why you are now reading a blog that was entirely hand-coded in HTML and JavaScript, without the aid of a Content Management System like WordPress or Joomla). So in the 1980's I abandoned creative writing in favour of a career in software development.

Time went by and things went well. Then in 2007 I saw the movie "The Bucket List" (starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman), the story of two men dying of cancer and their desire to accomplish certain things in what remained of their lives. They wrote a list of things they wanted to do or places they wanted to see before they died, calling it the "Bucket List", and spent their last few months ticking the items off one by one.

The movie had a predictably sad ending, but it got me thinking about what I still wanted to accomplish in my own life. Many things came to mind, but one of them was the desire to have something published - not necessarily a book, it could be a short story or a non-fiction article, but it had to be paid for and not a "freebie" or self-published. It is ridiculously easy these days to self-publish your work (all you need is enough cash) and many newspapers print almost any story they receive as long as it's free. In fact, I have had several travel stories published in the Weekend Argus, a major newspaper in South Africa, but the newspaper refused to pay and simply said that if I didn't like it there were plenty of other writers who were happy to have their work showcased. That doesn't count for my "publishing" bucket list item - to tick it off I need a magazine, newspaper or publisher to consider my story good enough to be bought and published commercially.

The book in which I had 3 stories published

I still haven't achieved that goal, but recently I did at least have three stories printed in a book titled "Southern Write". This book was self-published in September 2018 by Fish Hoek Scribblers writers' club, a loose affiliation of wannabee writers that meets once a month or so in Cape Town's south peninsula. I am a member and have been attending their meetings since 2010. So my bucket list item may still be "unticked", but it was a good feeling to see my name in print ...

If you'd like to buy a copy of this book (it only costs 40 SA Rands), all the details can be found here. And if you're not close enough to pick up a copy yourself, drop me an email and I'll arrange to have one posted or delivered to you.

  © Paul Kilfoil, Cape Town, South Africa