I was born in Concord, Mass., near Boston in the United States. We moved a bit further North to New Hampshire and this is where I have my first memories of cross-country skiing in the winter and heavy thunderstorms in the hot and humid summer. I went to the local Elementary school and part of the way through my second grade we upped sticks and moved to the UK. Arriving in Shiplake in Oxfordshire as a 7 year old was an eye-opening experience and at that time it was likely to be just a temporary assignment for my father who worked for a large American computer company. I settled into the local primary school where I felt out of place but was made welcome by some of the other kids there.
We ended up staying in the UK and I went on to do the International Baccalaureate at Henley College, the first year this was offered, as I thought I might possibly go back to the States for university. I ended up taking a year out to travel and work in the States, based in Portland, OR. but on the road covering much of the US west of the Mississippi. During this time I had a profound experience which influenced my interests subsequently and after spending some time in Nottingham and eventually going to Edinburgh University to study I decided to travel to India which also changed my perspective entirely. I had the opportunity to explore some of the thoughts that had arisen while in the States and learn more about meditation.
Throughout my formative years I was very interested in music and I created a lot using an electronic set-up which I pieced together. I also wrote poetry but this was more sporadic. Music was really my driving passion. It was also during the Rave era so my friends and I lived a kind of hedonistic lifestyle and the raves and clubs I went to certainly influenced my compositions. After coming back from India I spent quite a few years drifting, not really sure of what to do with my life. I questioned a lot of what I had been into but still continued to do some music, playing saxophone in a funk band called The Sentinels. I also taught and was going through teacher training at the same time. The subjects which I taught were modules on an ND Music course at Reading College and included music theory and history. I also did some Yoga teaching at Henley College where I had been myself as I wanted to give something back having felt that I really didn’t appreciate it very much.
Eventually I decided to plunge back into student life with the generous help of my family and went back to Edinburgh to study herbal medicine. I completed my studies after 4 years and qualified as a medical herbalist. I practiced for a few years and was involved with the professional body, the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, in the capacity of Research Information Officer. I ended up leaving and quit practicing during a fraught time of uncertainty over regulation and the downturn in the economy. Fortunately the connections I had made during my student activities working in the nursery of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh served me well and I got a job there. For the next seven years I was employed in a public facing role helping visitors and my interests in botany were able to develop as I also volunteered as the web manager of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s Scottish website. This was a great learning experience and kept me up to date with the activities of the BSBI in Scotland, in particular their field excursions which took place regularly during the summer and which I tried to attend if I could.
Also during the time I was working at the Botanics I started to write a lot more again and gathered up my old and new poetry to create a website which eventually turned into a much more expanded project of music and poetry which I called Kyberpoetica. The album of this was eventually released in 2014 and not long after my personal life took a dramatic turn. In the time of adjustment that followed I became much more involved in the arts scene, particularly with spoken word and poetry, but also getting to know a lot of musicians again and also artists who I had met working at Inverleith House at the Botanics in Edinburgh. I worked at the Scottish Poetry Library coordinating events with Kirsten Norrie AKA MacGillivray, both of us sharing an avid interest in Scots Gaelic. One of the events I organised which was certainly a highlight of my time there was a gig with Kathleen MacInnes singing in Gaelic supported by Laoise Kelly on the harp and Tiarnan O Duinnchinn on the pipes.
If you want to see more about the recent work I’ve been doing you can delve into the archive of blog posts I’ve been sharing on this website.