With no academic background, Lionel Lazarus picked up his writing skills while working as a toolpusher on the oil rigs. Following a long career working offshore, Lionel returned to work on-shore in the health and safety profession. He recently retired to work full time on his writing. When not writing, Lionel loves to travel and to walk in the mountains. He lives in Ireland.
A recent question asked about the tone of Energy Wars. My answer was thus:
“Describing tone is not my best ability. The most I remember from English class was dodging the duster as it flew through the air, or putting my hands over my head to protect me from being battered by that said duster. It was quite a dexterous tool in the hands of our English teacher!”
Let me be clear; I bear no malice or ill feelings towards the teacher. Truth be known, I was a terrible student! I couldn’t spell or understand basic grammar, and it is something I still struggle with today. I was a typical seventies teenager, rebelling against everything, totally exasperating my poor parents.
On the advice of a friend who worked in the North Sea, my parents suggested I try working on the rigs. I jumped at it! In October 1974, at the age of nineteen, I set off for Great Yarmouth in England. I was working offshore within four days. I still remember that dramatic first shift as a roustabout and the beginning of a career where I worked my way from deckhand (roustabout) to manager (toolpusher). I lived in Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Malta, and Singapore, working predominately in the North Sea and the Middle and the Far East. The world was a very different place then!
In the latter years of my oil field career, born from the necessity of a changing industry, I developed some writing skills. I spent many a late night on a computer compiling technical procedures. The Microsoft spell-checker helped me over my difficulty with written language, giving me a tool to create something legible.
In 2001 I started a new career as a health and safety advisor in the booming Irish construction industry. Involving work on some of the large multi-national projects, I found myself – again – generating technical documents. My writing ability, while uncreative and focused on accuracy, continued to develop.
Those busy days on the large projects were momentous! Never a dull day, and all the while – although struggling with dyslexia – my writing skills increased …