I have chosen to interview Brent Man as a writer, and after thinking long and hard, I decided to ask these questions, for this is where my curiosity peaked. I was curious as a young writer on how one decides to pursue writing to the utmost extent, and what decisions and choices they made along the way.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
At this stage of my life (almost 54) and second career, finding time to write is my biggest challenge. I am a retired Army officer who was in the military for over 30 years and did numerous courses and three overseas tours that took me away from home for extended periods during our marriage. Now, having retired from the Army six years ago, I’m the Director of Operations and Infrastructure with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch – Alberta Region /Indigenous Services Canada. One of the units I lead processes over $170 million of grants and contributions funding every year and another looks after many of the administrative and contracting needs for over 300 employees in our region. I’ve been married 25 years to a very patient woman who waited for me to come back from my various courses, exercises and tours and wants my time. We also have five grandchildren, from age 12 to 2 months old, with whom we want to be active in their lives. Because I was away so much and didn’t have much time for hobbies, I study martial arts (karate) two nights a week and take drum lessons one night a week. Finally, I love to read, something which I’ve been passionate about my entire life. Thus, writing only happens on those days, usually 2-3 hours a few times in a month, where I’m not doing husband work, house work, grandparent work, karate or drum practice or work-work. I plan on retiring in six years, so I expect to have a lot more time once that happens. But limited time is definitely a factor. The only reason I can do this response is because I get to work at about 6 am and will have this and most of my emails answered before my first of six meetings today that start at 8 am.
Did any specific experiences in your life draw you to become a writer?
As I mentioned above, I am heavily influenced by my time in the military and post-secondary education. In particular, my Master’s degree helped me become a more effective writer because I hold myself and my sources more accountable for what I’m reading. I want to be a published writer because after I finished university and got back to my leisure reading, I was seeing a lot of poorly crafted or written books that made me think, “I can do at least as bad as this person – and they got published!”
What would you consider your style of writing to be?
I’m not familiar with a lot of writing styles, but if I had to put a name to what I do personally, I would call it deliberate. I have something to say, I say it, then move on. I don’t lose a lot of sleep over whether anyone likes it or not. However, my work/professional writing is far more regulated and carefully worded as I have to strike the correct tone and conciseness required, without being offensive or disrespectful to our First Nations partners. That can be quite challenging when you are writing someone to tell them that they have to re-pay $400,000 that their community may need desperately in other areas.
Something that really peaked my interest was how much of an impact Brent’s time in the military has impacted his writing and choice to become a writer. You can tell Brent is a good writer from his articulate and long answers to my questions.
Brent has chosen writing as his second career, following being in the military, this goes to show that people can work to achieve their goals and accomplish more than one career path. Many people decide on a career and feel as if they must stick with that career, and that career only. Brent seems like a very driven and goal oriented man. When he sets his mind to something it seems as if he will foresee it. I feel as if I have an insight into his life after just a few simple questions, this shows me that Brent can answer questions to a great extent and really use them to his advantage in order to get what he has to say across in a deliberate manner. Brent mentions how he would see his writing style as a deliberate one, for he writes with purpose in order to get a point across.
Brent is a dedicated man, to his family, career, hobbies, and goals. Brent’s week consists of work duties, husband duties, grandfather duties, etc. He has set goals for himself and has made a plan on how to achieve these goals. Brent has no issues with keeping himself busy or finding things for him to do. He starts his days bright and early and still finds the time to have his hobbies such as; Martial Arts, and drumming. He also finds time to spend with his wife who has been very patient and supportive of the courses he has taken, as well as his five grandchildren.
Brent’s decision to be in the military and his Master’s degree had lead him to wanting to become a published writer. He saw some poorly made books, which made him seize to believe he too could write at that level at least, if not better. This drove him to pursing a goal of becoming a published writer, on top of all of the other responsibilities he has, and goals he has set for himself.
I believe Brent is a well-rounded man who has already accomplished so many things in his life. He is a Husband, Father, Grandfather, working man, and has served our country. He has not stopped there for he is still pursuing to become a published writer as well as receiving his black belt in Martial Arts.
Overall you see how one decision may lead to another and how with the right balance you can have time to work towards achieving all of your goals. Brent has worked towards many things, and becoming a published writer is just yet another. Brent inspires me to work towards my goals, and by doing so you can achieve a well-rounded life, with many accomplishments to be proud of.