Interviews With People came from my 2013 New Years Resolution to ‘get to know everyone well’. We’re only up to interviewee 6; there’s a long way to go, but so far I have enjoyed ths series immensely.
I try to be as open and honest as possible on this blog and I have been overwhelmed by how generous people have been in sharing their own thoughts and lives in this series. Learning and growing by sharing stories. That’s what it is to be human!
If you’d like to be an RD Interviewee 2013 read the original Interviews With People post and follow the directions.
This week I got to know Geoff, about his views on men and marriage, his early writing goals, his relationship with his children, and his driving need for sponsorship (which further discussions revealed were a bit toungue-in-cheek) ~ RD.
Getting To Know Geoff
My name is Geoff. I am single (now & forever), approaching 54, two sons, 10yr old, 25 yr old, yes, same mother.
I don’t work because of health issues and do not drive which makes it difficult for me to get around.
I live in a rented sardine can in Frankston, have about 38 percent share custody of Mr 10, which keeps me in this area. The biggest and best part of my life was spent in Richmond (about 30yrs).
I wanted to be writer when I was younger, but many considered that poofy. Never even learnt about script writing; something I once thought would make me wealthy. For various reasons I lost my way. If I ever do find a rich widow or win lotto there will be a book explaining why.
There are many things that upset me about the world. Nobody willing to sponsor me (that means give me $2m, interest free). All I want is the achievement, not the glory. Ignorance bothers me. Arrogance bothers me. Those not prepared to ‘give a mug an even break’, really bother me.
Example, I wanted to make an ad for Subway, trying to get sponsorship and lose weight in process. They are a franchise so very complicated process. Would have meant using WW as well. They continue using celebs, I cannot afford to eat healthy [poor excuse I know]
Why do you love THAT person so much? Prefer not to use boys or mother (deceased) in my answer. So I have to question whether or not I’ve been in love at all. However, in my opinion, it’s easier to converse with the female sex. Men are dangerously competitive among themselves.
The highest and only proud moment of my life… my sons! Still have a desire to create highlights in the future (always thought 72 would be good age to reach). Nobody would risk on me because it would cost them big upfront. Personal sponsors obviously want guarantees….there are none!
Lowest point? Failing my boys by not achieving (no example, or legacy) and being easily led as youth… we were very poor. I never learnt respect for money or assets.
Getting To Know Geoff Well
RD: When I read ‘I am single now and forever’ it makes me very curious. I wonder about the motivations behind it – is there a fear of being hurt or of hurting others, a sense of resignation that you are not worthy? Are there limits being imposed by the pain and anger of past relationship ‘failures’? What personal beliefs, experiences or philosophies lie beneath that statement?
Geoff: I think in many cases, we make decisions in life, based on what we observe, what we are taught, and what we feel works for us. I was in an on again off again relationship for twenty-three years, but never been married. Now, there is no room in my life for that commitment, I’m very selfish in my ways. Marriages fail everyday, in my lifetime. I can honestly say I’ve witnessed maybe four ‘happy’ marriages. There is a far better success rate for relationships, and of course, friendships. My two best mates both passed away at 45, one when I was 43, the other when I was 47, these friendships lasted over twenty years.
RD: Let’s talk fathers and sons. I have four boys. I worry that I’m not doing enough, (and sometimes I even wonder if I’m overdoing certain things) and that they might suffer at some point in their lives because of me. You talk of the fear of failing your children. You also talk of being easily mislead as a youth, which makes my thoughts turn to your parents. Can you tell me a bit about your father? How has he influenced your own parenting? What, in your approach to parenting your own children have you borrowed from your father? What have you rejected because of its negative impact on you?
Geoff: Never really knew my father, and although my stepfather for almost thirty years was a great mate, I didn’t have much to fall back on. Independence came my way from around 10. We lived in a far safer world back then, but I could never allow my boys that freedom.
Always been one to tell my sons things from the past but that can have consequences in so many ways. The worst thing I have found? Kids take everything literally, so when dad talked himself up it often came back to bite him. Whoever is responsible for exaggeration, has much to answer for.
Mislead? Ummm…there is a weakness in all of us, at times I compromised who I was, just to be one of the guys, but learning along the way that I would never be one of them.
As for you doing too much for your sons? Not really possible; it’s how you do it, and the reasoning behind it.
RD: I see a thread in your back story, highlighted by these statements –
- I wanted to be a writer when I was younger
- For various reasons I lost my way
- Never learnt about script writing… thought it would make me wealthy
- Still have a desire to create highlights in the future
- Lowest point? Failing my boys by not achieving…
I feel compelled to push through the risk of sounding like an arsehole to ask this – why aren’t you writing right now? Your writing will answer all the questions raised in you back story. It will guide you back to the way you lost. It will explain the why of your life. It will be a lasting legacy to your children – a massive, rolling, achievement – regardless of whether it makes you rich or not.
Geoff: There was a time I would write things, every time we moved house, most of the writings met the trash can, and we moved house, often!
My story would need a female ghost-writer, because I just cannot do it justice. I’m too close to the subject matter.
Still, I need to keep stuff for tell all book…didn’t really get to me being easily led, being so scared in court that my hearing ‘left me’…watching my sister on her ‘death bed’, a few hours after what seemed a simple birth…OR, the night I almost took a drag queen home.
RD: You say that men are dangerously competitive among themselves. How do you explain this belief to your boys? Do you think that men also have access to more caring and selfless attributes? Is there a man in your life (besides your boys) who you wish only the best for, regardless of you personal hopes and goals?
Geoff: Not sure there is a need for me to guard my boys against men, and some of what I say is tongue in cheek, yet at the same time, we all experience differences in our lives.
My sister has been with a guy for about eight years. I would be very happy being like him. And through my friendships, my mates have said there are qualities in me they would like, and vice versa.
Men certainly can be caring, giving, warm, loving, etc etc etc, but not in the maternal way a woman can. A lot of men ‘expect’ certain rights, getting ‘rewarded’ for being a good husband or father, that puzzles me. The reward is in the results…I could go on, but it doesn’t read well.
RD: What made living in Richmond so great? What was so great about that thirty years? There’s a long way to go man! How can you get that great back again?
Geoff: Second part first… I doubt I’ll ever get that great back, nothing stays the same.
We moved to Richmond in ’69. My mum and her man decided they wanted to be together, therefore a new beginning was upon us.
At first I missed my mates in West Brunswick, yet for some reason, I never returned to visit them. Sitting here now has me asking, why? …no answer…
Not easy explaining those years. From 10-16 my life was that of a fairly normal boy, not to many cares, although regret leaving school the day I turned 15. Had I continued, would I now be in a better headspace? Off course! But then I wouldn’t have my sons, and many of life’s experiences.
Richmond is a bit like Nanna’s apple pie; you desire it, enjoy every bit. When it’s taken from you, there can never be another as good.
We (five of us), went to the football or cricket almost every week. That meant public transport, walking long distances, even getting cabs, often on my/our own.
There were 71 licensed premises in Richmond in 1970 (well they said they had licence). By the time I turned 18 (1977), probably only 52 remained, but I had been in most.
Hotels were where mateship blossomed. For a couple of years, every Saturday morning would see me playing pool at the local. So many of the locals were like family, and there was a social club bringing everyone together, especially at Christmas.
Luckily, there are no pictures of me in my Sylvester costume.
RD: There are expectations around us from the moment we take breath – ways we should act, things we are expected to achieve – and to live outside those expectations (for whatever reason) takes courage and resilience.
I want to share this Bukowski poem with you (below interview) which has always proved a motivator to me (lucky enough to find it on YouTube). For years it’s helped me to put aside the TV, the long pointless walks, the extra hours of sleep. It’s a little extra fuel to the fire and makes me burn.
I’ve always thought of 71 as the age to reach (my Pa died when he was 71), you say 72. What can you get done between now and then?
Geoff: Could certainly relate to that poem, honesty is something that draws me to writing.
Speaking of honesty, these days I’m not much of a reader, and even in my youth, was more the outdoors kind.
My thoughts on 72 being the ideal age to reach? To be honest, it is based on family history, the fact that I am hopefully still able to function without assistance, and looking at life now, often I’m just passing time.
My mother passed at 67 and by all reports, my father passed away in England at 69. His parents were late 60’s, early 70’s. Mum’s father died in his 60’s; sadly she lost her mother in her 40’s.
What can I still achieve? Well, I’m pretty set in my ways but believe I could make things happen, just like last year, the year before….
To be frank, not even sure what job title fits my ambitions and expectations. TV/Theatre assistant/director/producer/creator/writer…. I could, in my opinion, be a success, make money – not only on a personal level – but for investors and employers, yet the limelight is not something that appeals to me.
Of course, 30 years ago that may have been part of the attraction. Today, just get Channel 9 to call me, lol.
There would only be a 5-8 year life span and after that, anonymity…oh!
To follow Geoff on Twitter – @aussieblonk
If you’d like to be an RD Interviewee for 2013 read this post and follow the directions.