My name is Taras and I am sort of an oddity. In University majored in History and Information Technology and before that I had graduated from college where I studied Computer Engineering. Such a combination might sound odd but computers and history are two things that I've been interested in and passionate about since I was 13. Actually, I've been interested about history since I was about 7.
I vividly remember the my first grown up book. It was the story of Spartacus and the Slave Rebellion. Written in 1870s by Raffaello Giovagnoli, it forever captured my imagination and introduced me to the wonderful world of Rome and ancient history. I must have read this book at least 15 times, from front to back, each time falling in love with the history, the characters and Rome. Since then, I've read countless novels, historical non-fiction, political diatribes and satirical poems. Reading is my one of my favourite pastimes.
My interest in computers began when I was 13. I borrowed an old commodore style computer from a friend of mine, incidentally also called Taras, and spent the next year writing my own games and music software, and recording the software first in my notebook then on the cassettes (only true old school geeks will know what I am talking about). I got to own a computer when my parents' friend donated to me his old 486 machine. I taught myself C and Visual Basic and spent the next three years writing software. I would say I was preparing myself for my future career in software development.
I started writing after I read the novel about pharaoh Rameses II. I was perhaps 12 at the time and was very much impressed by ancient Egyptian history. My novel was the whole of 15 pages long and featured the Hittites defending their homeland against invading Assyrians. It wasn't very good and I don't think anyone ever read it, so I stopped writing. My writing career seemed to have ended before it really took off.
A few months or a year later, my memory is a little bit hazy on the dates, I read all three of the musketeer books by Alexander Dumas.
The Three Musketeers captured my imagination and the style with which Dumas told his story kept me glued to the pages for the whole day. I finished the book before I went to sleep. I was in the hospital, recovering from a surgery at the time, and had plenty of time to kill. I read the second book in the series,
Twenty Years Later, the next day but took my time with the third part of the trilogy.
The Dumas books inspired me once more and I began writing. This time my novels or novellas or really short stories were based on characters in the Musketeers trilogy. These stories were imitations, nothing more, but I enjoyed writing them.
I continued with writing for a while. After reading poems of Ukraine's greatest poet Taras Shevchenko, I was inspired, imitating his writing and writing a few poems closely resembling his creations. I also tried my hand at writing plays. I wasn't very good and constantly writing dialogue was not as appealing to me as telling stories.
While I did not write prolifically, the few pieces that I did compose and the countless books that I read helped me win first place in historical essay competition at my school. I actually forgot about the competition and failed to prepare for it in any way. Everyone in grades 6 to 11 had to participate and on the day of the competition I sat down and wrote my essay. The topics were limited to Ukrainian history and I wrote about the cossack uprisings of the 1650s. I won and no one was more surprised then me. My teacher told me that my essay was a pleasure to read, factual and stylistic. I won the right, along with 3 others, to participate in a city wide History competition, which I also won. I came 5th at the provincial level and although I wanted to be first, I was satisfied with my achievement.
I moved to Canada a few months after and between the challenge of trying to adapt to a new country and learning a new language, I stopped writing. In high school and college I wrote little. It took me the better part of two years to learn the English language and another three to begin to appreciate it.
I read mostly Ukrainian books at the time. Believe it or not, my first fully read English book was
Teach Yourself Visual Basic in 21 Days. It sounds strange to tell someone that I learned English by reading computer books, but that is the naked truth of it. I learned English by being a nerd.
In my first non ESL English class I was introduced to John Irving.
A Prayer For Owen Meany was the first significant novel that made me begin to appreciate the English literature. Although, I could speak English then, fully grasping the idioms and appreciating the metaphors was still out of my reach. That came much later, although I wish it were much sooner. I learned to appreciate Shakespeare after failing OAC (Grade 13) English twice. My summer school teacher was one of the very few people able to explain the intricacies of Hamlet. I enjoyed that course very much.
I started writing essays in university and to my surprise received many positive responses with regards to my style and research skills. By this time in my life I had been reading avariciously and I guess it had begun to show in my writing. I remember my TA writing on my paper about Caesar,
It feels as if the Roman Legions are marching through these pages. I got an A+ on that paper.
During those years I didn't write anything outside of the school requirements. I tried getting my masters in History, but various circumstances did not allow me to continue my studies. I worked as a computer programmer and read. I was also starting to get the feeling that I should write. It took me a long time to acknowledge it and although I am not experienced enough, I will will practice.
This website is my writing pad, my practice range, my thought catalog. Some of it may be good, some of it may be bad, most of it will be ok, but I will try my best to write a few that may be great.