Mark de Gooijer is my name. I was born in Hilversum, The Netherlands, in 1957. I have lived in quite a number of places, in those days’ transfer was a fact of life for my father who was a teacher, and moving to another place was a more common option than commuting. Nowadays I live in the eastern part of The Netherlands. Far from the traffic jams and the bustle of the ‘Randstad’, the west of the country around cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
I am married with Erna and have two lovely daughters. I used to make a living with my computer keyboard as a technical author, I write manuals, technical descriptions and diagnostic procedures for complex electronic equipment. Currently, I have retired after a career of 40 years. I followed the advice of a wise colleague: “You can only extend your pension at the front.
I started playing the guitar at the age of seventeen. Music drew my attention in the quite cultural atmosphere on the grammar school department of the comprehensive school “Sweelinck”. The neighbourhood seemed to support this, the school building was at the Gabriel Metsu Street, just a throw of a stone away from the Concertgebouw, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum, all places of cultural interest in Amsterdam.
I once attended a jam session of a few classmates in a little cellar of a house at the Jacob Obrechtstraat, only a few blocks away. There my love for the guitar first awoke, in vain for the time being, because I did not have money for a guitar and guitar lessons. I had to restrict myself to longing looks in the window of Sacksioni’s Music shop.
Luck would have it that my sister had a boyfriend, who played the guitar (at least only if he succeeded to keep his mouth shut). He had an old guitar for sale, and for ten guilders I became the owner of a Spanish banana crate which normally only serves as wall decoration. It was a sheer rip-off, but a good guitar was much more expensive. I tried my best to tidy it up as much as possible, put on new frets, tuning pegs and strings and started playing from a chord book as the first attempt to master guitar playing. I still remember the painful and almost bloody fingertips, before I got sufficient hard skin.
After taking my certificate for high school, I moved to the east of the country to study at the technical university Twente. Over there in Enschede, I decided to take guitar lessons after a somewhat awkward purchase of The Baroque Guitar by Frederick Noad. I could not separate quavers from semibreves, but I still wanted to use the book.
Thea van der Meer taught me the first steps and Rob Wagenvoort taught me playing together. For many years, Ed Westerik has been teaching me playing. After he decided to stop the lessons, I passed a few years without guitar lessons. Well, that’s not the best solution, so I was glad that I found a new teacher -Robert Horna, a fine guitarist and a good teacher. Unfortunately, he moved back to Poland, but lucky enough I found a teacher again, Jaap Majoor. Later on, I decided to keep going without a teacher for a while. Until I found a guitar lesson opportunity with Annette Kruisbrink.
With the knowledge from my lessons, I could write my musical arrangements. You’ll find more about this ‘under’ the option ‘Sheet music’.
Another hobby of mine -writing Fantasy novels- started crystallizing at an early age. As a kid, I was fascinated by maps. I spent long hours copying them by hand from an old atlas, with all the tedious details. At a certain moment, I started to draw the maps myself. While designing far-away shores, I fantasized about the flora, fauna, history and civilization of these fantasy worlds. There the foundation for describing virtual worlds was laid.
At an older age, I started writing. Initially I made tiny pen and paper stories. Later on, the computer became a nice tool for larger scale projects. Currently I am active in the genre of short stories. You will find a story about my writing together with some fragments from my books ‘under’ the option ‘Writing’.
Because I wanted to publish an anniversary book written by me –Feast on Six Strings, Five years of Guitar Festival Nordhorn– under an ISBN, I had to register myself as a publishing company. So I did, under the name Mark’s Publishers. I’ve got 10 ISBNs to start with, so I am planning some publication in future. The menu option Mark’s Publishing provides more information.