A member of Lambton Writers’ Association, John Loeff worked at Ontario Hydro for 29 years before opening a private practice in marriage and family counselling. He also held a position at Baker College in Michigan where he taught psychology and became an associate dean. Some of his interesting work and themes are described in the following interview.
J: Two reasons for becoming a writer. When I worked at Baker College of Port Huron in Michigan, there was an interest by some people in my previous work, like my thesis and my dissertation. The second reason is that in my private practice as a psychotherapist, I noticed male clients who had absolutely no direction in life. I had the same experience with some male students from Baker College. How do we curb their urge for alcohol, drugs and sex? How can we provide these individuals with some direction and objectives in life? I put one and one together and came up with the idea to publish one book with some ideas and suggestions. That was almost ten years ago.
G: How did your previous work and life experiences influence your writing?
J: Frankly speaking, I had no clue that my experiences prepared me to become an author until I started to write. When you start to write about certain topics, the experiences pop into your head and all you have to do is make it a logic story or explanation.
J: My books are non-fiction and mainly about relationships and personalities. What should I know about building a partnership that lasts more than one year. When you are on your third or fourth partner, this might be an excellent question to answer. Which building blocks do I need for a long-term relationship?
G: Are you currently working on a project?
J: One year ago, I decided to go my own way in publishing. That means – more or less – revamping your old books, removing all signs from the previous publisher and coming up with a front and back cover.
G: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
J: Yes, in front of my computer in my ‘writing’ room with a Tim Hortons coffee.
G: What kind of books do you read?
J: As an avid reader, I read psychology, psychoanalysis, object relations and economics.
G: Do you wish to share anything about your personal life?
J: I lived in the Netherlands for 26 years, served in the military for 18 months and we immigrated to Canada in 1969. My wife Grace and I have been married for 48 years. We have two children and three grandchildren. I worked for the ‘old’ Ontario Hydro 29 years and for Baker College – an accredited career college – 11 years. Upon retiring from Ontario Hydro in 2000, I opened my private practice for marriage and family counseling in Sarnia and I did that for five years. The Baker College experience includes teaching, the library and the learning center and my highest position was Associate Dean of General Education.
G: Have you participated in writing contests?
J: Yes, but I did not win.
Award: Phillis W. Meadow Award for Excellence in Psychoanalytic Writing.
Title: What is your personality? (11 pages)
Awarded by: Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in New York.
G: What have you published to date?
- Building Long-Term Relationships
- An Unsuccessful Journey
- The Cultural Cliff
- A Successful Journey in Life
G: What are your thoughts on traditional vs indie publishing?
J: Well, we need both traditional and non-traditional publishing. Moreover, many of the younger generation prefer eBooks and the older generation in general prefer paperbacks. So, I publish in both formats.
G: Anything else you wish to elaborate on?
J: I would like to thank the Lambton Writers Association for supporting us. The bi-monthly dinner meetings are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!