About | Who I Am

If you're looking for something succinct, my press kit has my current bios and a couple of hi-res photos. However, if you were hoping for something a little more personal, you're in the right place.

John Mavin

I'm a writer (it's one of those life-long dreams).

I'm also a teacher (something I absolutely love doing).

In the past, I've been an archaeological field director, a grocery store clerk, an oil-well cleaner, an editor, a technical writer (which isn't really the same thing), a graphic designer, and a software developer in places including Ontario, Australia, New Zealand, and British Columbia. I've even been a walnut harvester, a composer, a grass cutter, a jury foreman, a production coordinator, a slush-pile reader, a bottle hunter, an addicted gamer, a humbled father, and a staunchly-monogamous husband. But through all my other roles, even though I've always wanted to be a writer, it still took a long while for me to do something about it. To be honest, it took getting the shit scared out of me in New Orleans.

You see, back in 2004, I was a software developer who wrote bad stories for fun on the side. My real work was interesting, the pay was good, but on the whole I wasn't very happy because I wasn't doing what I'd always thought I wanted to do. However, one of the cool perks that kept me on the job was an annual conference I got to go to. Through this conference, I've been to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland (they kept each park open late only for us, which was awesome), as well as Salt Lake City (where I got to meet a bison without a protective fence and went skating on the Olympic ice). But in 2004, the conference was in New Orleans and the organizers hosted our event party at this cool place warehousing the Mardi Gras floats. They also booked some Tarot readers.

Now, I don't know if I believe in Tarot readings or psychics or other preternatural things or not. What I do know is, on a lark, I decided to get a reading. After all, it was a party and I was supposed to be having fun. As I drew the cards from the top of the deck, the reader started to frown. I tried to vary where I was picking from in the deck, but her expression grew even more sombre. When I was done drawing cards, she shook her head and told me very sympathetically that I was on a path for destruction and unless I changed my ways, I was going to die (this is where the had the shit scared out of me part comes in). At the time, I remember thinking this isn't a very fun party game. But the reader never cracked a smile and so I started to take her portent to heart. To save myself, I chose to interpret her warning to mean I should stop being a software developer and start making my dream of being a writer come true. I hoped that by giving writing a real, honest, both-feet-in effort, I could avoid a looming death-bed regret (I also remembering hoping I was right and this wasn't a medical thing).

So, to stave off my impending destruction, I completely refocused my life. I enrolled in some continuing education classes in creative writing and for the first time in a long while, felt truly happy (like I was where I was supposed to be). The instructors were encouraging, my classmates were invested, and everyone took the writing thing seriously. I learned heaps. Eventually, I got enough decent material together for a portfolio, which I used to apply to Simon Fraser University's year-long program, The Writer's Studio. Shortly after I got in to SFU, I was downsized from my software development job, so I had the luxury of focussing on writing full time. While at SFU, I got involved in the local literary community, met tons more interesting people, and learned heaps more. Emboldened, I took my biggest leap and applied to the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. I've got to say when I got my acceptance letter from UBC, it precipitated the biggest happy dance of my life. UBC was a tremendous experience for me, where, again, I met tons of interesting people, got involved in teaching creative writing, and learned even more. Today, I'm so glad I switched careers and am very happy with my present role. Hopefully, I've successfully ducked the Tarot bullet, although, now I think about, I did destroy my old life, so I guess I made the prophecy come true all on my own.