Local author's journey of self-discovery
By NERIDA BLOK
GEOFF McCLELLAND is not your average author.
For a start, the burly 42-year old father of three, whose troubled youth saw him end up on social service for 17 years, said he was unable to read or write until the age of 24.
"I was expelled from high school when I was 15," said Mr McClelland, who now runs a picture framing and art import business at South Lismore. "I had no interest in learning."
Feeling lost and hollow having failed at a number of jobs, the Leeville man was in his mid-20s, with a wife and three young boys, when he armed himself with a dictionary and a desire to fix past wrongs.
"I could see the effect I was having on my own kids ? the way I spoke, felt, talked ? everything," he said.
"My kids were doing all the same wayward things I did."
So he took himself off to TAFE'S Adult Education, determined to become literate.
"It was crunch time," he said. "I could either learn to read and write, or carry on hopelessly lost."
Mr McClelland's path to self-discovery and developing an understanding of how looking after your thoughts can change your life provided the basis for his first and recently self-published book, Changing Sux.
The book, which contains motivational thoughts, is dedicated to the 'ordinary individual'.
"For people who think they aren't good enough," he said.
"Anybody can achieve, absolutely anyone."
The title, he said, was self-reflective.
"When you try to change, it's probably the hardest thing to do," he said.
"I'd made a mess of my family ? I screwed up big time."
However, Mr McClelland said he learned that one's path did not have to be pre-determined.
"You can choose the direction you wish to take," he said.
He said he hoped the book, which took four years to produce, would encourage other people who couldn't read.
"My aim is to try to get those people to pick it up, simply because I couldn't read and write, yet I have done it," he said.
"I want to try to show them reading isn't too bad."
With just 25 copies published ? mostly for mates ? any financial returns will be a bonus.
Rather, Mr McClelland said his reward was knowing exactly where he was going.
"I'm now on the journey to where I want to go," he said.
"The one I chose, and not the one I have to have."