a b o u t . j a m e s . t a r i s . . .


Early Childhood

I was born in Salamina, an island off the port of Athens, Greece. Just before I turned one, I came to Australia with my mother, and older siblings, Sonia (9yrs) and George (4yrs) to meet up with my father who had arrived in March the year before. Almost a year later, my younger brother, Spiro, was born.

My childhood memories are very pleasant. I was a clever child and I couldn't wait to go to school. In fact, my most treasured award is the Dux Award I achieved in the last year of primary school (Grade 6 in North Brunswick State School). And I was a bit of a scoundrel too.

When I was 4, I remember wanting to go to Greek school with Sonia. But of course I wasn't allowed. Needless to say, I decided that I'd go anyway! I managed to escape from home after my sister had left, and made my way to the tram stop (at least a 15 minute walk from home). The tram finally reached the end of the line, and I was still on it, not knowing why it hadn't stopped at the Greek school. I was taken to the police station, and soon after my frantic parents came to collect me. But not before the police constable had threatened to throw me in the fireplace if I ever did that again (at least that was my parents' translation ... and they couldn't speak English!)

My Work History

After I finished 6th Form (Year 12), I went back to Greece with my family. Luckily I managed to score a job as a Flight Steward with Olympic Airways, and I flew on domestic flights all over Greece for 5 months. I would've still been there, but my father sent me back to Australia when President George Papadopoulos (the Greek dictator at that time) called in the army to shoot the students who had taken over the Polytechnic in Athens and were protesting for the ousting of his Hounda Government. Not a good time to be in Greece, especially when I was due to go into the army myself.

Then in Australia I took on a range of different jobs. But my main professions have been as a:

Wedding Portrait Photographer
Sales Agent for Encyclopedia Britannica
Desktop Publisher



While working for Encyclopedia Britannica (EB):

I sold over 600 encyclopedia sets in 6 years.
I won many company awards including:
- �Rising Star Award�
- �Man of the Month Award� (4 times)
Qualified for: - �200 Club� - ie. over 200 sets sold in one year (twice)
- �Century Club� -ie. Over 100 sets sold in one year (4 times)
- �Master Sales Level 10� (highest level of achievement in EB)
- 10th Position in �Benton Award� (ie. in total sales for the year) from all of Australia and New Zealand (out of 250 sales agents)
- �Ten-a-week� Ring Award - ie. 10 or more sets sold in a week (4 times)

While running my studio, James Taris Photography & Video:

I adopted and improved the �Win-A-Family-Portrait� competition marketing system to the extent where the studio became acknowledged as one of the busiest Portrait Studios in Australia (over 10,000 sittings in 7 years).
I also developed the �Studio Associate System� for studio sub-contractors.

As a member of Toastmasters International:
I achieved the following awards.
1997 - CTM (Competent Toastmaster)
2001 - ATM Bronze (Able Toastmaster Bronze)
2003 - ATM Silver (Able Toastmaster Silver)

Founded LETS Groups
As a keen believer in LETS systems, I founded my own LETS Groups and helped launch LETS overseas.
1995 - Melbourne LETS
1996 - LETS Intertrade (a group enabling LETS members from any of the 200+ groups in Australia, to trade with each other)
2001 - LETS-Linkup.com (web site listing over 1,500 LETS and community currency groups from 38 countries)
2002 - Helped launch LETS in South Africa (Cape Town)
2005 - Currently helping to launch LETS in China (Shanghai)


Travel History

. . . .. . . . . .


2001 - This 2 month trip was fantastic. My book, Athens to Santorini, gives a detailed acoount of my day-to-day experiences.

The places I went to were:


1973 - This trip was waaaaaay back in 1973 when I was fresh out of High School. The highlight of that trip was when, at 18, I scored a job with Olympic Airways as a Flight Steward! I flew with them for 5 months, so I got to see all of Greece (mostly from 30,000 feet). I only stayed in Greece for about 11 months.


2001 - The highlight for me that year was my trip to Sydney with my 2 daughters. It was a short trip (less than 24 hours), but we'd never flown together before. And they were very kind to their father. . . didn't give me a hard time at all. We visited ...

SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE (walked across it!) ... SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE (but it was closed!)

2000 - I started the new millennium (or was it the last year of the last millennium?) with 5 interstate flights to Australia's capital cities. These were a mixture of business and pleasure, but very enjoyable, and I followed up with another 4 interstate trips by the end of the year. The cities I visited were:



2005-6 (Apr 2005-current) - Shanghai, Yiwu

2004-5 (Nov, 2004/Mar, 2005) - Shanghai

2004 (Sep/Oct) - Shanghai, Suzhou,

2002 (Oct/Nov) - Hong Kong, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai

2002 (June) - Hong Kong, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Dengfeng, Beijing


2002 (Aug/Oct) -

England - Bristol, London
Wales - Cardiff
Spain - Barcelona, Girona, Sa Tuna
France - Paris, Montelimar, Aurillac
Germany - Frankfurt, Braunfels, Wetzlar, Nuremburg, Erlangen,
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Denmark - Coppenhagen
Norway - Oslo, Aas


2002 (Oct) - Cape Town, Mitchell's Plain, Ocean View, Gugulethu


2002 (Dec) - Fukuoka, Nakatsu, Beppu, Oita, Yufuin, Kagoshima, Ohmata, Hagosaki


2003 (Mar-Apr) - Wellington, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Mokau, Rotorua, Huka Falls, Taupo, Turangi, Mt.Ngauruhoe, Mangaweka, Palmerston North, Masterton, Carteton, Picton, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Invercargill


2003 (June) -2004 (July) - to 5 continents, through 13 countries, in 400 days.

China - Shanghai
Greece - Athens
Finland - Helsinki
Sweden - Stockholm, Gotesborg
France - Paris, Montelimar, Aurillac, Bressuire
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Scotland - Edinburgh, Dundee, Luthrie (a 24-house hamlet)
Morocco - Casablanca, Marrakech
England - London, Bristol, Bath, Bradford on Avon, Falmouth, Milton Keynes
Wales - Brecon
Canada - Welland, Port Colborne, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, Granby, Ottawa, Tamworth
USA - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buffalo
Australia - Brisbane, Logan, Caloundra, Caboultia, Bribie Island, Mt Tambourine, Nimbin


Public Speaking, LETS and Media Attention

My Training in Public Speaking

In 1996 I joined Alfred Toastmasters (TM) in Melbourne, Australia. Since that time I've given about 20 TM manual speeches (these are speeches which get evaluated and progress you to higher levels of achievement). Most of my enjoyment has come through delivering humorous speeches. The spontaneous laughter from the audience is one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had (we won't talk about the most frightening experiences though).

Speaking Engagements

I've been called on numerous occasions to speak to LETS groups all over the world.

1998 - Speaker at the State LETS Conference (Frankston, Australia)
2001 - Speaker at the National LETS Conference (Brunswick, Australia)
2002 - European LETS Speaking Tour (England, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Norway)
2002 - Speaker for S.A.N.E. promoting LETS (Cape Town, Mitchell's Plain, Ocean View, Gugulethu ... South Africa)
2002 - Speaker promoting LETS (Fukuoka, Nakatsu, Beppu, Oita, Yufuin, Kagoshima, Ohmata, Hagosaki, ... Japan)
2003 - Speaker promoting LETS (Wellington, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Carterton, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru ... New Zealand)
2003 - Speaker at the National LETS Conference (Invercargill, New Zealand)
2003-4 - 400-Day World LETS Speaking Tour (Sweden, France, Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, England, Canada, USA, Australia)


Getting your articles published always seems to elevate you to the level of 'expert' in any particular field. Once you've been noticed, then you get a snowball effect of people wanting to interview you or have you speak for them at a conference or special event. This is exactly what happened to me. While producing a newsletter for LETS, a local community group in 1995, I began to submit articles which related to how members could improve their lifestyle. These are the articles that were published.

1995 - LETS - The Best Source of Honey Bees
1995 - You Can't Impress If You Look A Mess
1995 - Time and Space Sharing

Travelling overseas led to quite a large number of travel articles being published on the internet.

2001 - 2 mths in Greece ... collated as a book, Athens to Santorini
2002 - 3 wks in China (June) ... included in my book, Aussie Guest in China
2002 - 10 wks in Europe (Aug/Oct) ... included in my book, Global Quest for Local LETS
2002 - 5 days in South Africa (Oct) ... included in my book, Global Quest for Local LETS
2002 - 5 wks in China (Oct/Nov) ... included in my book, Aussie Guest in China
2002 - 9 days in Japan (Dec) ... included in my book, Global Quest for Local LETS
2003 - 5 wks in New Zealand(May/Apr) ... collated as a book, Land of the LETSGreen Dollar
2003-4 - 400-day World (Jun 2003/Jul 2004) ... collated as a book, 400-Day LETS Odyssey

Radio Interviews

I was interviewed many times on local, interstate and international radio stations.

1995 - Trading Goods & Services in your local area (Melbourne, Australia)
1996 - LETS - where you can get whatever you want FREE! (Melbourne, Australia)
1996 - Bartering in your local community. (Melbourne, Australia)
1997 - James Taris - Poet Extraordinaire. (Melbourne, Australia) (This invitation came about after I read some of my poems at a Poetry Reading. Unknown to me, Prodos, a radio presenter with his own weekly radio show, was amused with my humorous poems, many of which catered for young children. But I think what really caught his attention was the way I was dressed. All in black, with a long black coat and a mobile phone on my belt. Hardly the gear worn by a reader of children's poetry! And that was how he introduced me to his listeners!)
2002 - LETS in Australia and around the World (Radio ABC Tasmania, Australia)
2002 - James Taris And LETS In South Africa (Cape Talk Radio, Cape Town, South Africa)
2003 - James Taris And LETS In New Zealand (Masterton, New Zealand)
2003 - James Taris And LETS (Timaru, New Zealand)
2003 - James Taris - The LETSaholic (ZIP Radio, Japan)
2004 - (Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada)

2008 - LETS ... with Michael Linton (VIRATO LIVE, USA)

Newspaper Interviews

2002 - "Elegy For A Royal Funeral Belongs To Everyman" (The London Times, UK)
2003 - (Invercargill, New Zealand)
2003 - (Espoo, Finland)
2003 - (Sisteron, France)
2003 - (Bressuire, France) ... 2 different newspapers
2003 - Tribune; Niagara Falls Review (Welland, Canada) ... 2 different newspapers
2004 - (Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada)
2007 - Shanghai daily / Expat Tales - full page article (Shanghai, China)

TV Interviews

2004 - Channel 10 - (Welland, Canada)
2004 - Hellenic Views (Los Angeles, USA)
2004 - Channel 9 - Brisbane Extra (Brisbane, Australia)

Web Sites

2001 - www.JamesTaris.com
2001 - www.LETS-Linkup.com
2002 - www.ChineseArt-ChineseArt.com
2002 - www.Rich-Bastards.com
2004 - www.TheGloryOfAthens.com
2004 - www.TravelWithoutMoney.com
2006 - www.Honey-BeeBooks.com
2008 - www.2pups.com


September 25, 2007

CLICK on the image for a larger view of the article

The information for the above article was taken from the answers I wrote to the following questionnaire:

[Questionnaire provided by Jenny Hammond, journalist for Shanghai Daily]

Side bar questions

• Where from
I was born in Greece, but in 1956, just before my first birthday, my family (parents, sister, brother and myself) migrated to Melbourne, Australia – where my parents had another son – and we've lived there ever since.

• Age
Born in January, 1955 … now 52 yo.

• Profession
Currently, in Shanghai , I'm a sales agent for a Chinese manufacturing company and a sourcing agent for foreign companies …but I've been around for a very long time – and can't help changing professions to satisfy my most immediate interests, or needs – so I've had many professions over the years:

Flight Steward (for Olympic Airways when I was in Greece for a year in 1973)
Wedding/Portrait Photographer (18 years), Sports Photographer, Commercial Photographer, Fashion Photographer
Graphic Designer, Web Site Developer, Desktop Publisher, Cartoonist, Art Broker
Actor, TV Host, Film Maker, Video Camera Operator, Film Editor
Publisher, Author, Travel Writer, Playwright, Poet, Children's Book Author/Illustrator, Journalist
Businessman, Sales Manager, Sales Agent, Salesman, Telemarketer
Public Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Sales Trainer
Director of Studies, Senior Teacher, English Teacher (from 2 y.o. to adult)
Painter, Plumber's Assistant, Storeman, Rubbish Remover

• Description of self in three words?
One-Man Show!

• Favorite place in Shanghai and why?
Tomorrow Square J W Marriott Hotel. Architecturally, it's my favourite building in Shanghai. I'm especially impressed by its extremely deceptive shape, brought about by such a simple design, which, at times, makes it appear skinnier at the top or skinnier at the bottom. Then once inside, the uncluttered view from the 38 th floor – the hotel reception level – is one of the best centrally-located 360-degree views you could hope for of this city. Coupled with a great coffee and snacks offer (only 88 rmb/person) this is a great place to bring someone for a luxuriously comfortable chat and great first impression of Shanghai.

• Worst experience in Shanghai ?
Being robbed of 1500 rmb, in a crowded street, by a 10-year-old boy, while everyone looked on uncaringly. By the time I realized he'd taken my wallet out of my shoulder bag, he was 100 metres down the street and well-protected by lots of associates who feigned assistance (stopping me as I chased him) while the boy disappeared into the side streets. Eventually, I accepted this experience as a cheap lesson in learning how to protect my valuables, thus foiling two future attempts at being robbed in public (both on buses).

• Strangest thing seen in Shanghai ?
I'm forever amused by motorcyclists, their passengers and their cargoes. Some of the more memorable recollections are:
- A motorcyclist with his son sitting behind him, facing the back, and reading his school book.
- A motorcyclist with his son sitting behind him, fast asleep, with his head hanging back over his shoulders.
- A motorcyclist carrying a large load of materials, which he held in place with his legs, while he was talking on a mobile phone and trying to control a left-hand turn.
- A motorcyclist with a child sitting on the scooter's footrest in front of him, his wife sitting behind him, and another child sandwiched between his parents.

• Ideal weekend?
For over a year I worked 7-days-a-week, so any weekend I have with no work is an ideal weekend for me.

• Motto for life?
While I was in Shanghai in June, 2003, I wrote a play, The Glory of Athens: an 80-minute, funny and inspirational one-man show (true to form!), where I had to memorise 10,000 words of monologue for the 7 roles I was performing. It's one of the highlights of my life, and my career, and I performed it in 10 countries while I was on a 400-day public-speaking tour through 13 countries on 5 continents. The highlights of that tour were my theatre performances in London and Hollywood (The Lee Strasberg Theater). Anyway, the play is really all about my life motto: Everything is possible if you truly believe!

• Things that could improve Shanghai?
First of all, I'm amazed at how orderly Shanghai is. To have a city of 17-odd million people functioning so well, is an incredible achievement just on its own. I've never felt so safe in any other city in the world and the people aren't desperate here, as may be expected from such a large population with very low incomes. The Shanghai transport system gives the best example of how incredibly functional this city is. However, there's always room for improvement, so here are a couple of things that Shanghai may like to consider (even though I'm sure they're already well aware of them):
No.1 … Air Pollution: Some months ago I was surprised to read a writer's opinion that air pollution was actually good for our health because it made our bodies stronger and more tolerant to impurities all around us. I'm still having trouble accepting that point of view, and am much more inclined to think that a cleaner atmosphere would be more beneficial for everyone. The cars on Shanghai roads all seem relatively new and aren't particularly offensive. However, the biggest culprits in this area are the diesel trucks and buses that billow out thick clouds of black smoke. This is particularly unpleasant when you're waiting at a bus stop and can't really avoid being enveloped in a hot gush of poisonous Carbon Monoxide.
No.2 … Street Pollution: Thirty years ago, Australia launched a "Keep Australia Beautiful campaign" where Australians were urged to dispose of litter thoughtfully. Almost immediately the streets became cleaner because there was a stigma attached to anyone visibly dropping litter on the ground, out of a car window, or dumping rubbish by the roadsides. I'm sure Shanghai would benefit from a similar educational campaign. The architecture, and skyline, of Shanghai is one of its greatest attractions. It especially shines after the street cleaners have done their job – even though the results are currently only temporary.

• Advice to newcomers?
Mix with the locals! How else can you really get to know the people and this city? And the best way to do this is to occasionally join one of the numerous English Corners taking place in Shanghai, especially on weekends. You won't have the usual communication problems because everyone there can speak English, to some degree, and is eager to improve their English. It's also a great way to make new friends. One friend I made a couple of years ago is an IT expert and has been a life-saver every time I have a problem with my laptop (read "lifeline"). They're also keen on language exchange, so if you want to improve your Chinese, you won't have to pay for it. Just teach them some English in exchange for Chinese lessons.

Main story questions

Background on yourself, where you are from, what you do here, what you did before Shanghai , qualifications etc

[see Where from] [see Profession ] [see What do you do in Shanghai ?]

I was always a high-achiever as a child. In fact, my most treasured prize was won in primary school when I got the Dux Award for being the top student in my school. One of the teachers told me it was because I had so much knowledge and skills in so many different areas. My habit of being interested in everything and doing everything myself has stayed with me ever since. So, for example, when I write a book, I am writer, illustrator, cover designer, layout artist, editor, printer, publisher, promoter, book seller (wholesale/retailer), etc.

Why and when did you come to Shanghai ?

My first visit to Shanghai was as a traveller in November, 2002. It was my second visit to China, my first being to Zhengzhou, and I was greatly impressed by the contrast of these two cities. So when I made plans for my 400-day world public-speaking tour, I made sure to include Shanghai in it. In fact, it was my first stopover from Melbourne, and in the 5 weeks I spent here, I wrote my play, The Glory of Athens. [see Motto for life?] That creative experience was crucial to making my decision to return again in September, 2004, when I was looking for somewhere peaceful to write and publish my books. I eventually wrote and published 18 books. Admittedly, I didn't expect to stay here for more than a year, but when a work opportunity, which was too good to refuse, came my way, I took it up and have enjoyed the benefits of a comfortable lifestyle ever since.

What do you do in Shanghai ?

Currently, in Shanghai , I'm a sales agent for a Chinese manufacturing company and a sourcing agent for foreign companies.

How did you get into this profession?

As you know, China is currently growing economically at an unbelievable rate internationally, and world trade is the number one business interest. So, because of my previous experience in business, sales, management and web design, a friend of mine introduced me to a Chinese manufacturing company that was interested in developing their international market.

What appeals to you about this industry?

When it comes to earning a living, selling has always provided a reliable source of income.

What does your job here involve?

- Designing, updating and maintaining the company's web site in English.
- Looking for sales prospects.

How have you made your mark here?

Mmmm … Even though I had some of my stories from my book, Aussie Guest in China, published on www.ShanghaiExpat.com , I'm not sure if I've made my mark yet in Shanghai as a writer or artist. However, a couple of years ago I rescued a 3-year-old boy who was stranded in the middle of a 4-lane road with cars, unbelievably, continuing to zip all around him as he stood frozen with terror, and sobbing uncontrollably. And then last year, I was disgusted to see a man molesting a young lady on a crowded bus and nobody doing Buy Rolex Swiss Replica Watches anything about it, despite her loud objections. Once I realized what was happening (if I understood Mandarin I'd have realized much earlier), I manoevred myself between them so that I became a human barrier between him and her. Fortunately, this ended the drama and she eventually disembarked at her stop without any further incidence. So, does that make me a hero? If so, then we can surely use a few more heroes here in Shanghai.

About LETS, what is it, how it started etc?

LETS, or Local Exchange Trading Systems, are local community trading groups where members exchange their goods and services with each other in a spirit of harmony and a genuine desire to help each other. The first LETS group started in Canada, in 1984, and has spread to at least 39 countries around the world. I've been involved with LETS since 1994, and am regarded as somewhat of a LETS guru. My web site, www.LETS-Linkup.com has information and links to over 1,500 LETS groups all over the world, and my book, The LETSaholic Twist, is now regarded as the LETS "bible": a definitive guide on how to start, grow and maintain a thriving LETS group in any local community.

When and why did you decide to launch it here?

Although there's been some initial interest in LETS, it still hasn't been launched here in Shanghai. But I've helped to launch LETS groups around the world, so I'd be very interested in helping out if someone wanted to start the first LETS group in their local community! Most mermaid style prom dresses LETS groups have about 100 members, although the group doesn't really become exciting until there are at least 200 members offering goods and services to each other. In small towns around the world, a LETS group may serve a whole town. However, because of the population density in Shanghai, I can envision a LETS group in Shanghai being able to serve a much smaller area, such as a residential building complex or even a University campus.

What sort of things do you write and why?

Most of my books are travel diaries. Since 2001 I've traveled to 18 countries, on 5 continents, on 6 overseas trips … and (except for my plane ticket) all of this was done without money! In 2004, at the end of my 400-day world public speaking tour, my ability to travel without money caught the attention of a major Australian publisher who offered me an advance of AU$5,000 to write the book, Travel Without Money. Unfortunately (or fortunately), contract negotiations broke down when I realized I would be restricted from writing and publishing anything for at least two years – and how do you live on AU$5,000 for two years?. This led to the foundation of my own publishing company, Honey-Bee Books, which I've used to publish all my books, as well as those by other international authors.

Because of my many, and varied, interests, my books are quite diverse in content. As well as my travel diaries, I have written books on poetry, public speaking, my play, children's books (which I took great pleasure in illustrating myself) and LETS. But if I had to make a choice, I'd focus on writing and illustrating children's books. My book, The Magical Tooth Fairy, which answers every question anyone could possibly ask about the Tooth Fairy, has proved to be quite popular around the world.

What is it like being an international author in Shanghai ? Highlights?

Shanghai loves writers, both local and international, so I've been fortunate in being given lots of attention, and shown lots of interest, during my stay here.

Low points? Problems you face/faced?

Unfortunately, China isn't an English-speaking country, so it's difficult to market my books locally. Thankfully the internet helps to overcome that problem and I get a regular number of online sales from countries worldwide.

Do you speak Mandarin, if yes, is this vital for what you do here? If no, does this set you back?

Ever since my arrival in China , I've been surrounded by people who wanted to improve their English, so learning Mandarin never seemed to be necessary. However, a couple of months ago I made a concerted effort to learn some basic Mandarin and I'm happy to say that I now believe that in the next 3-6 months I'll know enough Mandarin to make simple communication with taxi drivers, shop keepers and waiters, possible.

How would you describe a typical day's work for you?

Checking emails … updating and maintaining the company's English web site … generating leads … following up leads … looking for those elusive product sales.

What is it like for you working in Shanghai ?

Shanghai must be one of the most exciting cities in the world to work in. The pay is good, but the lifestyle's great because you get such good value for your money. And I can't think of anything you can't have, or find, in Shanghai that would be available in any other city in the world, except, of course, for casinos … and that's a reassuring relief!

What do you think of the publishing scene in Shanghai?

As I have my own publishing company, I haven't had the need to familiarize myself with the publishing scene in Shanghai.

What are your plans for the future?

There are two major projects I have to accomplish in the near future (probably next year).

- Firstly, I'd like to make a film version of my play, The Glory of Athens. My play has already attracted interest from the East West Theatre in Shanghai, and has always had positive audience reactions around the world. Although the stage performance of my play was filmed in Hollywood, I believe that a film version would be a more professional and entertaining way to show my story to a screen audience. I've had expert training and experience in TV Production, Film Making and Editing, so (as, by now, you can imagine) I plan to produce the film as a one-man operation … although filming myself may prove to be a considerable challenge (though not impossible). I like to work on projects at all times of the day, or week, so having only myself to rely on makes it much easier to progress with little or no waste of time. Fortunately, Shanghai's film and theatre industry are developing very quickly, so I'm now involved with the Shanghai International Film-makers Association (ShIFA) and the East West Theatre (EWT) – where I'll be debuting in my first Shanghai stage performance in November, in their play, Our Country's Good.

- Secondly, I want to complete my book, Travel Without Money. Although I began writing it 3 years ago, it stalled when I changed my attention to my other books. Actually, I did this because I believed that Travel Without Money would probably become extremely popular internationally and become all-consuming. Therefore, I wanted to get my other passions completed before embarking on my Travel Without Money project.

Tips for aspiring authors?

If you want to write a book … write it! Don't ask anyone for permission! If you're good enough as a writer, or if you're book is good enough as a book, will eventually make itself known. But if you listen to all the nay-sayers telling you why you can't write, or shouldn't write, your book, then you'll be forever stuck in the crowd, when you really want to be apart from the crowd, making your own mark in this world. Yes, writing a book could change your life, regardless of what you write about.

What do you do to relax?

An ouzo and coke used to do the trick. [Ouzo is a Greek spirit.] But I don't drink much nowadays. Instead I prefer to get comfortable on the couch, in front of my TV set, and watch a DVD. This is the only time I switch on the TV. Since my divorce, I swore I would never watch TV again, and I've stuck to my decision religiously ever since. I had accumulated so many dreams and ambitions that I knew I wouldn't achieve any of them if I just parked myself in front of the TV for 40 hours a week. It's one of the best decisions I ever made because instead of watching TV, I've spent endless hours writing books and designing web sites … both life-changing activities for me.

About your life here, family?

I was married for 20 years, but divorced in 1999. I have four children who still live in Melbourne. They range in age from 18 to 29, and two of them still live with their mother. Interestingly, the younger two are making inroads into the entertainment industry as singers and actors, and I have to admit they've got much better voices than mine. I now live alone in Shanghai and that's the way I like it. When I'm in writing mode, I get the urge to write at all times ralph lauren dress shirts of the night or day, and this habit can become quite annoying to anyone I'm living with. Or, if I want to be more truthful, when I'm in writing mode, I get the urge to write at all times of the night or day, and don't like being distracted … occasionally becoming reclusive for days, or even weeks, while I work relentlessly to finish a project I'm quite passionate, no, obsessed, about.


JAMES TARIS ... on the web since 7th April 2001

Copyright © 2005 James Taris - All rights reserved