Jor Barrie, a gentle soul who transplanted himself across half of Europe
Yay! It’s Friday again. Almost my favorite day of the week. I hope you’ve had a good and productive week. I finally got around to contacting a few readers again, and after having featured exclusively women so far, I’ve “lined up” a couple of men. While it is true that most readers are women, there are men who read, too. Today we get to meet a Dutch who escaped to Scotland, Jor Barrie. I met Jor through my publisher, he’s a big fan of her writing. I hope you enjoy this interview. I know I did:
If were were to do this interview in the real world, where would we sit and talk?
In the real world, we’d be sitting in a tea room, and I’d be drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, and I’d be eating cakes. I love cosy places and nice food!
Who is Jor in his own words?
I’m the nice guy who doesn’t fit in. Apparently, it’s important for the survival of the species; when for some reason the ‘normal’ way doesn’t work anymore, there has to be someone who can get the job done along different lines. In my case, it has led me on a spiritual journey which has taught me that being fully and utterly present in the Now is the way forward. After all, the past is no more than a memory, while the future is just a thought in our heads; both are illusory; Now is all we ever have.
So who I am is kind of fluid; I try not to define myself by my past.
What is one thing you would like the world to remember you for?
The world doesn’t really need to remember me, but if it does, I hope it will think I’ve been kind. I’m working on it!
I hear you’re an avid reader. What got you into reading in the first place?
It was definitely my mother who got me into reading; she would often read to me and my brothers, which really motivated me to learn to read myself. I grew up with the adventures of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton, followed by every book Agatha Christie has ever written.
I understand you like to read gay fiction. Why?
I didn’t start reading gay fiction until fairly recently, when I discovered that, being a gay man, gay fiction spoke to me on a much deeper level than non-gay literature ever did. It’s something that took me a bit by surprise; I hadn’t really expected it to make such a big difference! It also makes up for the lack of romance in the real world.
For some odd reason you end up on a remote island, a modern day Robinson Crusoe, with only three books to bring along as company. Which ones would you bring along?
Only three books! Oh my word…
Number One has to be The Power Of Now – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle. It’s my constant companion, and I think everyone should read it!
Number Two would be Leaving Flowers, by Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney; it’s a personal favourite because after having suffered from PTSD for quite a while and having built up massive defences to keep everyone and everything out, this was the book that somehow brought me back to humanity. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, but it still moves me to tears.
Number Three, well, I think I’d have to cheat a little and bring Love Unlocked, it’s a collection of seven brilliant short stories and novellas themed around the ‘love lock bridge’ (by Beaten Track Publishing) I just finished reading it, and some of the stories have become instant favourites!
Let’s get personal. What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
The best thing I’ve ever done was to move from The Netherlands to Scotland. It didn’t make my life any easier (quite the contrary), but I have never ever regretted it! I feel at home here, and to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery makes everything worthwhile.
What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up?
The first thing I think of is usually the last dream I had; I’m always trying to make some sense of them before they slip away… This morning it was the ‘Jardin de Tuileries’ in Paris that I’d been dreaming about; I have absolutely no idea how that came into my head, since I didn’t even know that it’s a park!
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been given lots of sensible advice over the years, and I’ve usually followed it. However, I really wish someone had told me to just follow my heart, rather than be sensible! That would have been the best advice ever! [Giving advice to yourself? Novel approach, but I think I like the idea…]
And the worst?
The worst advice ever came from my solicitor when I was making an offer on my present house; she’d told me to go as high as I possibly could, and because I was suffering from PTSD at the time, I blindly followed her advice and ended up with a mortgage that’s way too high.
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to?
The most beautiful place… that’s a difficult one. Glencoe here in Scotland on a stormy day is probably the most atmospheric one, but when it comes to beauty, I’m thinking of the mountains and lakes in a National Park in Washington State, USA. I can’t remember the name now; it was back in 1980 when I was there with my parents.
Do you have any regrets in life?
- On average, how many books do you read per week? 2
- Who’s your favorite author? Eckhart Tolle
- Your favorite drink? Mulled wine
- Your favorite color? Blue
- Who’s your favorite musical artist? Kate Bush
As you know, my “victims” get to excerpt revenge by asking me a question, and this is Jor Barrie’s challenge:
I’ve always been a bit hesitant when it came to age-gap relationships, but I get the feeling life is preparing me for one, and I do get a lot of attention from younger guys. Is there any advice you can give me?
First of all, congratulations! Not sure if I’m to be envious… I guess I’m too young, still. I think there’s two things that come to mind. In gay culture, youth seems really important, in dating and for more carnal pleasures, and there is, unfortunately, a time in our lives, once you pass a certain age, when your “market value” diminishes rapidly, only to increase again when you reach fifty. I think it could have to do with daddy issues, I don’t know. But it’s something I’ve seen quite a lot out there.
Now, to get into a relationship with someone much younger (my husband is twelve years my junior) isn’t always easy, and it was certainly not something I had planned. BUT, it has advantages: when I met Alex, I was already the owner of a home, and led a fairly stable life. He didn’t have all that, and it was easy for him to adapt his life to mine, there was nothing anchoring him yet. I had noticed that it’s much more difficult when your love interest is your own age, and you both have stable lives to merge, things to uproot, changes to make. I tried that, and failed miserably. I recall one guy I was dating for a while; when he prioritized his focus group meetings with public transport (sic!) over meeting me, I realized that he wasn’t my guy, and I broke things up.
The challenge for me was to provide Alex with opportunities to carve out his space in what was essentially “mine”. When we renovated the house, he had full voting rights, even though the house was mine at the time, and legally, still is. But it was important that it would be his home as well, our home, not just mine.
The real test comes when I retire. He’ll still be in the middle of his career, and since you’ve read Jonathan’s Hope, you know I’ve already spent time trying to think about the ultimate time in a relationship, and that thinking continues in the sequel. I don’t have the definitive answer to that. I can only hope we’ll figure it out, maybe compromising, with me working a few years (writing books?) extra and him retiring early. We’ll see. I don’t think there is an answer to your question really, just that all relationships must – to be successful – be based on honesty, friendship and trust, rather than more superficial values imposed by society. Do what is best for you and your partner, regardless what others think or say. I wish you the best of luck.
Thank you so much for doing this Jor! As a thank you, the book you requested, Jonathan’s Promise is yours, as soon as it’s ready! 🙂
If you are a reader (you cannot be an author of fiction!), you are welcome to reach out to me. I’m always interested to get to know my readers.
Have a relaxing weekend so you can tackle the coming week again!