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STEVE SOLOMON'S PAGE    

About Me
    In a rare emotional moment my father said that he only wanted me to accomplish one thing in my life: that I would wake up each morning and look forward to what I had to do that day--something he frequently failed to achieve himself. For him working was mostly an unwanted duty done to support his family. Seeing what his ongoing anger and resentment over this did to him and our family, I resolved to do better myself. So most of my work has been done at home, or out of the home; my two businesses both were started at home but grew to substantial size.

    I could use this space to try to explain "who" I am, but I won't do that because trying would be futile. There's little apparent consistency in most of the personas I've worn. However, I've observed certain qualities in myself that do seem consistent: like intensity. I tend to be totally absorbed in whatever I am interested in. When going through phases lacking this high level of interest I am bored and feel discontent.

    If you 'll click on the word "written" you'll see some short pieces I've written that have never been published on paper. These bits of fiction and fancy and meditation might tell you more honest truth about me than I could tell you if I tried.

    I understand plants and so I write how-to-vegie-garden books. My best two are in print at this time: Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades published by Sasquatch Press, Seattle, and Gardening When It Counts, published by New Society Publishing, Gabriola Is., B.C. Two older gardening-related books of mine are available on this web site.

    I have irradicable propensities toward independence, the expression of personal sovereignty and the exercise of liberty. In other words, I'm a free soul who hates paying attention to things I am not interested in. Consequently, I have rarely been comfortable in the role of employee.

    In my late twenties I became a secondary school teacher, this done out of a foolish notion that I could inspire a love of knowledge in the young by getting them to "do" history, which was something I had a passion for at that time. I tried to teach history in much the same way I present this website, by giving my students the original documents to read and upon which to exercise their historical imaginations. The method didn't work very well then because the students were too young to really appreciate history (a subject that should never be taught to someone under thirty years of age). I also largely failed because secondary school students rarely study because of genuine interest.

    So I found teaching secondary school history a very disappointing experience, containing little or nothing of the high purposes I'd envisioned when I'd decided to become a teacher.

    I gave up teaching after struggling with it for a couple of years, and then stumbled into creating my own work—self-employment—and learned business by doing business. This is a method of education the Latinos call autodidactico (a self-teaching individual). Once I got the hang of running a business, I realized self-employment was much more satisfying than teaching school. For, when "Johnny the high school student" did not want to study, the teacher was supposed to find fault with themselves for being unable to motivate Johnny to want to study. But when "Johnny the employee" did not want to work responsibly, the boss took a simple expedient, fired him and hired Freddy.

   Also, I could never have created this website had not my first business been a phototypogrphy business. I designed and processed books: all sorts of books, academic books, trade books, once my company even made a best-selling vegetable garden book.

    After seven years in the book trade I no longer found the process of doing business interesting in and of its own sake. I had also discovered that I was quite good at running a business, and had already created much more income than I knew what to do with. (Actually I'm really a simple guy with simple tastes.) So I sold the typesetting business and homesteaded in Oregon where I took to writing garden books and started a successful mail order vegetable seed business. I'm skipping lightly over quite a few years here, but after "bootstrapping", building and then selling two innovative small businesses I had accumulated a nice nest egg, no longer needing to create new income, though I have still not completely overcome a need for working-as-play. Thus has come about one of my better quips: "Considering the alternatives, I prefer self-employment to employment. After all, you usually make a lot more when you work for yourself and have much more independence. But my real choice is comfortable and creative unemployment."

    I've been writing a collection of sayings and observations since the mid 1970s; it is called, naturally, "The Wisdom Of Solomon." Most of these few bits of wisdom are my own creation or realisation; the minority have been ruthlessly stolen. Despite all I've been through this lifetime, my wisdom book is still only about four pages long. I suspect "The Wisdom of Solomon" might lengthen to five pages before this lifetime is over. Maybe six, if I live long enough. But probably not six because as I age there seems to be less and less really wise wisdom. Who knows, as I age the book might start to shrink.

   In 2006 I wrote the sixth edition (the best one ever) of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. I wrote it after living in Tasmania for nearly ten years. That edition will probably be my last book about food growing in the Cascadia Bioregion because I have become a Tasmainan; I shudder when I try to imagine myself in the current American milieu. In 2002 I wrote and self-published Growing Vegetables South of Australia. This book has been quite successful when measured on a Tasmanian scale; I have sold over 2,500 copies of it to a population of less than half a million people. I will send a copy of this book to anyone in Australia postpaid, for twenty-five Aussie dollars, paid in advance.

   I spend an hour or two almost every day of the year, growing a quarter-acre year-round veggie garden on the Island of Tasmania (Australia). Our garden provides more than half the total caloric intake of two adults in the form of fresh vegetables. This garden work, plus almost daily yoga practice, keeps me fit. I share life with Anne.

   I was born in 1942. Lately I have become more hermitish. I prefer my garden to most people; I prefer the company of writers (through reading their books) and of Annie to that of most other social interactions. We are very active patrons of the State Library of Tasmania. I wish I did not know what is going on in the world—I mean the sort of stuff that is usually called "news"—but as remote as Tasmania is, to my sadness it is still part of the American empire.

    Finally, if you wish to communicate with me via email go to my contact page.

All the best to you,
Steve Solomon

 

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