When I was fifteen, mother wanted me to work in a fish factory,
she had spoken to the foreman where she worked and there was
an opening for me. I´m not blaming her, we were working class,
and this was a splendid opportunity. I refused and she was deeply
disappointed. I told her I wanted to be a poet and she laughed out
loud, this was a middle-class occupation and not for us, so I began
a course as a cobbler. This lasted a few weeks until I threw a shoe
at our teacher and was expelled, but was accepted to become
a training cook. Back then cookery was a lowly job, effeminate
not what real men should do and mother told no one.
The tragedy with being working class and wanting to escape is that
one becomes a stranger in one´s own community, an odd character
a figure of fun. But I persevered went to catering school and later
joined the merchant navy, where some years later, I became
a chief steward and an officer. Mother was proud. Only I didn´t like
my work as it gave me no time to read.
No, I was no good at my job, always in opposition to captain and
crew and lost my job, they said I was unstable and gave me a benefit
given to sick people. I drifted around the world and ended up in
Portugal and began writing. No, I´m not famous and few people bother
To read my work, but I had at last found what I wanted to do and that´s
all I needed.