Today I feature a man who has had a very interesting life. He is also a very passionate writer who has pushed on regardless of circumstances – JOEL SAVAGE.
Joel is a freelance writer in Antwerp, who enjoys the challenges of creativity and adventure. Growing up in environment where he sees the experiences of hard living and those dying in desperation, it deepens his understanding and knowledge to start writing books inspired by true events.
Joel Savage was born in the central region of Ghana, Cape Coast, on January 19, 1957. He attended the Ebenezer Secondary School and Accra High School in Accra, Ghana. He later studied at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. Joel was a freelance writer for the Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator.
He became a naturalized citizen of Sierra Leone in 1985 and of Belgium in 2008. His first book ‘The Writer Died’ which focuses on his father’s childhood and adult experiences reveals the ordeal of a neglected child. His second book ‘Road of Agony’ reflects on his life as he struggles to take care of the welfare of his family after the untimely death of his father.
As a passionate writer Joel records his life experiences as a roofless illegal immigrant sleeping at the central train station in Rome and shifting camp to Amsterdam, only to be incarcerated in his third memoir ‘Overseas Chronicle-The Rome and Amsterdam Experience’.
Leaving his wife and a year old child in Africa for nine years, they finally joined him in Europe. But the happiness of the family turned into nightmare as his wife was diagnosed with aggressive type of breast cancer. Those days of sorrow is recorded in Joel’s fourth book ‘Heart of Endurance’.
Having dedicated his life to writing non-fiction books Joel’s amassing experience and skills from previous publications enabled him to write his fifth book ‘Little Boygium-Wonderful Experience’ about his life in Antwerp, as he tries to integrate as a forklift driver, whilst he writes his books amidst scorn, underestimation and racism.
‘AIDS doesn’t discriminate, So why do we?’ is Joel’s sixth book coming out in June from his publisher ‘Virtual Book Worm’ in the United States of America. The book which is dedicated to HIV/AIDS victims worldwide eliminates the fears of caring for such patients and brings the human side to the forefront. Close the door against Aids, not the victim.
His seventh book ‘The Passion of Reggae and African Music’ the writer speaks to some of the masters behind the contemporary Reggae and African music. Read the live performances and interviews Anthony B, Joseph Culture Hill, Lucky Dube, Capleton, Gregory Isaacs, U-Roy, Julian Marley, Luciano, Tutu Puoane and a host of others.
INTERVIEW WITH JOEL
Welcome, Joel …
Tell us about you and what you do.
As a family man with three children, I work as a cleaner in a school and do write professionally during my leisure time.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
When I published my first book, ‘The Writer Died’.
What was the saddest moment?
I went to a shop in Amsterdam, bought two items worth 25 Guilders and gave the shop owner 100 Guilders (The Euro wasn’t in circulation yet) I was expecting 75 Guilders return, instead he gave me 25 Guilders. According to shop owner I gave him 50 Guilders. The most painful part of the story is I borrowed the 100 Guilders from a friend. The shop owner never believed me. The argument went on and on and eventually, I left the items and the 25 Guilders he gave me to the house. I left everything because if I had taken the money, he would have thought I had wanted to defraud him.
What surprised you most?
I work in a school where it has over forty teachers. Once I tried to raise money to support the publication of one of my books. I was surprised when I became a subject of mockery and laughter that day at the school.
What was your greatest disappointment?
When I mistakenly burned down a dish washing machine.
Who did you misjudge? Why?
I haven’t misjudged anyone, but many times people I respect most prove by their own actions that they don’t deserve to be respected.
What or who was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is writing my books as a cleaner and forklift driver.
What has been your biggest regret?
Tried to raise money to finance the publication of my books, because of the way it ended.
What would be your dying comment? Why?
The Lord to take care of my wife and children.
Who or what stunned you the most?
When Armstrong, the cyclist confessed of doping and when Tiger Woods cheated on his wife with different women.
What would you like written on your tombstone? Why?
Just my name, date of birth and the day of death, to be identified.
Who would you rather have not met? Why?
I don’t have one in mind.
Who were you most envious of? Why?
I am not envious of anyone
Who did you forgive – for doing something you never thought you’d forgive?
Whatever happens to me benefits me. That’s how I take it.
What was your greatest moment in your life?
When with my family.
What is your greatest achievement?
Publishing six books in a very hard way.
What personal traits would you like to have in your next life?
To use my experience to help other up coming writers.
What advice would you give to world leaders?
They should treat everyone equally.
What advice would you give to parents today?
They should control what the children watch on the television and explore on the internet.
Who would you choose to be stuck on a desert island with?
I don’t wish that to happen to my fellow man.
Have any heroes? Why? Who?
Everyone who has done something little or great to help others in need is my hero.
What are the greatest legacies you will leave behind?
What others haven’t achieved yet.
What’s lacking in the world today?
There is no love, only greed rules the world today.
Any pearls of wisdom for the rest of us?
Writers and authors must help each other. There shouldn’t be discrimination is the in the publishing industry, where many authors lack review because of where they come from.
What would be the last sentence you ever write?
When will terrorism, racism and discrimination end?
What inspired you most?
I grew up in Africa. I witnessed many sad things in life which changed my thoughts and inspired me to be a writer, even though my father was a journalist.
Who or what made you laugh the most?
Listening to speeches of children and what they do is my happiness.
What would be your top three chosen careers in your next life?
Learning to play the piano, acting and cooking.
What is your prime focus in life today?
To be read globally like other famous writers because I have a different message in my books as an African writer, which many would enjoying reading and talk about it to others.
Do you have any fear of doing something wrong?
I’m careful and conscious of what I do or say. There isn’t any fear of doing something wrong in me.
If or when you reflect on your past, can you identify any world events that you believe had a significant impact on you?
The terrorism attack in America on September 11, 2001.
Do you think one can live a purposeful life without knowing the meaning of life?
Yes many actually do not know the significance of life. They are those who can’t face turmoils of life and easily succumbed to pressure, depression and suicide.
From your perspective – what is the way forward for the world?
Just love thy neighbour as thyself and treat people with respect and dignity.
Imagine that you were given a chance to live again, what will you do first and what will you do differently?
I will use that opportunity to let to others understand the consequences of bad life and try to change those deep in the same lifestyle.
Do you have a bucket list? Tell us more.
I don’t have many things ahead of me before I die, but it’s my desire to live a happy life when I retire as a writer.
Any great claims to fame?
Yes I pray to be a successful author, that’s all.
Anything you’d like to add?
I invite everyone to try reading at least one book by an African writer. They would realize that they have missed something which can’t be read in any other books by European and American writers.
Clancy’s comment: Many thanks, Joel. I love ya passion for writing and love ya passion for life.