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About this site and me

My name is Daniel James Sharp and I am an independent writer from Scotland. I have a day job but I yearn to make a full-time living out of writing (yes, that old impossible dream). I write/have written essays of various types (opinion pieces, book reviews, literary analysis…) alongside the occasional piece of fiction.

This website is mostly a static ‘home base’ for me (though I wrote a couple of posts on it a while back). I am much more active on Substack (see here) and I try to write as much as I can for respected, or at least respectable, outlets. This brings me to the main function of this website, which is to host an archive of my published output (see the menu above or here). This archive is updated whenever I have something new out (excluding Substack posts).

I’ve written for various outlets over the years (more details on roles I have/had in the archive) but am always looking to add more notches to my…desk. So I take commissions and am very much open to job offers. If I had a genie, one of my wishes would be to have a secure, full-time job as a writer, say as a columnist, but one where my independence is assured and where I could still publish as a freelancer anywhere else I like. I also like to travel, but don’t have the funds to do it anywhere as much as I would like, so a bit of foreign reporting (I have the desire to go to the far-flung, desperate places of the world for some reason) would be nice, too. Anyway, if you can grant me that wish, or, more modestly, want to talk to me about commissions, see the Contact page here.

To give you a little more of a sense of myself: I’m a graduate of English Literature and History from the University of Edinburgh and live in Fife, Scotland. Literature, science, philosophy, secularism, and history are just a few of my favourite things. I have the triple crown of vices: I smoke, I drink, and I am sedentary. I am opinionated and I like arguing. I cringe at some of the things I’ve written (the earlier the worse, usually) and am always seeking to improve my style, yet, as with all writers, I’m very precious about editorial intervention. (See? I’m giving fair warning, so I’m also honest.)

That’s the main stuff out of the way. I hope you enjoy what you find on this site and I appreciate any support you can give. Thanks for taking the time.

Below, if you are interested, is something even more personal.

A Couple of Personal Cosmic Tales

The website icon is the famous Pale Blue Dot picture of Earth from a long way away, and the main picture above the site title is of The Day the Earth Smiled, another picture of our planet taken by a probe very far away. To me, these images demonstrate the importance of humanism, compassion, and reason. Carl Sagan’s immortal words about the first of these images encapsulate these ideals beautifully, and never fail to fill me with awe.

The latter picture is also of personal importance to me. My father and I, shortly before he died, looked up from our beloved St Andrews pier as it was taken. If I recall correctly, I also had my telescope with me, but I wasn’t very proficient with it and the conditions weren’t great in any case. Still, I, perhaps we—memory fails me on the exact details—tried to look up, telescopically, at the time. We certainly looked up with our naked eyes at least. This was on our last trip to that beautiful place, so the photo may well be the last picture of us together.

Another personal cosmic tale, since we’re on the subject. Around the same time as that final trip to St Andrews, my Dad and I had our names and messages added to the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which launched in 2014 on a mission to a nearby asteroid, which I have just read is ‘potentially hazardous’ to us. The craft reached the asteroid in 2018 and returned the samples it took to Earth (by parachute) in 2020, before heading back off into space to investigate another cosmic rock. For at least a few years, our names and messages were floating about in space—some of the time near an asteroid that may well kill a lot of us one day. But let’s not be too pessimistic. Here are our messages:

  1. My message: ‘For whom it may concern: hello, greetings and well done.’
  2. Dad’s message: ‘God Bless Danny, Aileen [my mother], Sasha [our dog, now passed away] and all my family. 12/07/13.’

I have the certificates to prove it (though the asteroid’s name has been changed since 2013). I’m not sure if our messages returned to Earth in 2020 or whether Hayabusa2 is still carrying them through space. If the latter, I hope it’s not too cold up there. If the former, it was quite a nice round trip for me and my Dad, I think.

P.S. You can also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Plus, all of my links are available on my Linktree.

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