The best word to describe Paul Douglas Lovell is “unconventional” and it makes sense that his author bio would also be far from typical. Coming from a motherless family of five children, this runt of the litter had to scratch and scramble for any attention he received. In his book, Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts, the reader finds a young Lovell in the 1970s living on the margins of society. Homelife was always unsteady with the threat of eviction and the struggle to pay for amenities. It was a cold and hungry existence. Petty criminality and abuse further distorted his outlook on life, and he quickly became a problem child. His time at school was spent on everything, but learning. Empty Corridors: Learning to Fail finds Lovell attending school in the 1980s, without much change. He was still labeled a problem. His academic knowledge was that of an eleven-year-old, and he left school without a single qualification, struggling to read and lacking ambition. Yet, within a year, a seed was sown. His practical side knew that a pen and paper would always remain affordable, and, because of this, Lovell yearned to become a writer. Even at sixteen, he knew he had enough fodder for a book, though it would be years before he would commit anything to paper. That required courage and understanding of his past. He tried his hand at fiction, which was a terrible idea. To this day he keeps a sealed envelope containing his first drafts complete with grammatical errors and misused words. One saving grace was that Paul was an empty slate, and, once he moved to London, he spent time gaining whatever knowledge and life experience he could. In Paulyanna: International Rent Boy, the reader finds Lovell living in London during the 1990s and working the streets, a profession he fell into and one that suited him. While unorthodox, and regardless of ethics and judgments, he felt valued for the first time in his life. Being paid for being himself felt like an achievement. He was encouraged to take a beginner writing course and a course in media studies. BTec courses were basic and underfunded yet perfect for Lovell who was like a sponge. While some students were able to converse confidently on a wide range of topics, Paul felt unsure of himself and even intimidated. But when he shared his childhood stories and American street tales, he found that he easily captured the attention of his peers. This ability to spin a yarn whilst at a house party helped him obtain a job in a production and distribution company. Music television was the perfect employer of a wayward soul partial to the odd cannabis joint. In charge of sending out transmission tapes to broadcasters, Paul was also tasked with writing synopses of the concerts to go along with the publicity materials and photographs required for TV listings. Here, Paul could further practice his art. To most, being employed would give a sense of security and perhaps the start of an illustrious career, but not so with Paul. He presumed it was only a matter of time before he would be rejected and fired, so he continued his nighttime activities. After moving to Switzerland in 2000, a new Paul emerged. This version of Paul was supported by his partner who bolstered his confidence and encouraged his ambition. While employment was difficult to find, funnily enough, he began working two days per week in an international school. Being a classroom assistant in the kindergarten was his favourite job. A smile crosses his face when he recalls the time he covered a class of teenagers for an absent teacher. He took a moment to enjoy the irony of scrawling “Mr. Lovell” across the blackboard. He told the boisterous children to misbehave more quietly, otherwise, he wouldn’t be asked to cover again, and it worked! The students settled down not realising that a former class clown and troublemaker stood before them as their teacher. Paul eventually left teaching and now spends his time writing memoirs, haiku, and trying his hand at creating collage, comics and images. The Redhead Notes
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