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I have always wanted to write.  I realized there is a discipline in writing novels that I don’t have.  I am also dyslexic, in my younger days I went at least twice a week to the children’s hospital to get the issue ‘corrected’  while I can see my letters and numbers straight I don’t believe one ever becomes un-dyslexic so writing is that much more of a challenge, but of course not impossible.

 I’ve made many attempts to sit and write, but always, after a few pages the words fall flat, all the character’s sounded the same, they all sounded like me.  If I, the writer feel they are flat, why would anybody want to read them?  Despite everything there was/is always the desire, that belief that if only I could find the right medium, the right angle then I would be able to write.

In high school I wrote two papers that I was really proud of.  One was a letter to my mother.  We had a substitute teacher who had no control of the class. In my letter I wrote about the chaos that was unfolding around me.  My mother told me that in reading my words she felt like she was there with me. Of course that is what she is supposed to say, she is after all, my mother.  But a year or so later I heard her talking to a friend about that letter and how, while she was reading it she felt she was there with me.  Those comments have always stayed with me, fueling the fire to write.

In high school I had a very strict English teacher Mrs. George.  She was only really interested in the ‘A’ students.  Each year she would take a handful of students to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.  Only the best of the best students got to go.  Mrs. George always had her nose in the air, her half glasses balanced on the tip of that nose. If you were one of her favorites you could do no wrong.  And how those ‘A’ students loved her.  If however you were part of the majority and simply didn’t measure up to her strict standards then she only spoke to you if she absolutely had too and then she would not talk to you, she would talk down to you.   I was nowhere close to an ‘A’ student and therefore I was just an annoying blip on her radar that she had to deal with every once in awhile because it was her job.

My big assignment for Mrs. George was to write a report on Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to write an acceptable report for Ms. George. Knowing I was going to fail I decided to fail with style, I wrote the entire report in the vernacular of Tom Joad.  A few days later she handed us back our reports.  She walked up and down the aisle of desks and placed the reports on the respective desks, making comments on each one, both good and bad.  She stood in front of my desk for a moment and did not hand me back my report.  Instead she simply said, ‘see me after class’ I heard my friends snicker.  Sure most of them failed the paper.  I however, obviously failed in epic style.   She ended up telling me that she never had anyone try to write a report the way I did. She handed me my paper and there on the top was an ‘A+’ she congratulated me, she went as far to say that she never thought I would pass.  Mrs. George told me that by far it was the most entertaining report she had ever read. I have never forgotten those words despite the fact that the next day I was once again just an annoying blip on her radar.

Yet, I never understood that you can write something aside from a novel.  For me it was always a novel or nothing.  While the desire to write never went away I couldn’t seem to learn the lesson Mrs. George and my Mother was trying to communicate to me. 

Having reached my mid forties I took a look back at my life and realized I have experiences, experiences I can write about.  I can write about the world around me as it is happening just like that letter to my mother all those years ago.  I could write about my past experiences just as I wrote about the dust bowl through the eyes of Tom Joad.  Best of all I don’t have to write a book, I don’t even have to write short stories, character development is easy because I am the character.   The internet makes it possible to write as I feel when I feel, I don’t have to rely on anyone else to ‘get it out there’ I could blog!

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It is the end of June and for the life of me I don’t know where the summer went.  It seems like I just posted my 60th post, and here I am ten posts later, The season is simply moving much to quickly.

The following are some random thoughts on my writing experience.

Since my 60th post I have started to write ideas down. I have yet to use one idea I’ve actually written down, but I will continue the excercise because one idea leads to another.

I’ve found that the blogging community is quite giving, recently I’ve had two people give me a ‘shout out’ so to speak.   Jeeney who found me through my sisters blog had some very nice things to say and writes on some very interesting topics.  Also this guy in Chicago, picked up my Technology blog and thought it worth re-posting.  He is a mac tech guy and has some interesting tricks and tips on his page.  Both of these ‘shout outs’ has gained me a few new viewers.  I have to admit I do not read a lot of other people’s blogs although I am going to start.  I do follow the ones to the right of this post and I hope for that list to grow.

As I’ve stated before I’m always checking my stats, every time I turn on the computer I check them and read all the comments and it is always a thrill when somebody new comments.  It is also a big thrill when a faithful reader and good friend comments who has never commented before such as in the case with Jesse on my language post.  I’ve known Jesse for some time and he has read my blogs since I’ve started blogging so it was great to see his comment.  And of course I always love and appreciate my regular commentors.

I primarily write for myself, but I do need an audience, after all if I didn’t I would just write in a diary and lock it all away.  Of course what would end up in a diary would be a far cry from what ends up on here, but that is another story.  I was once listening to an actor who said that he acted for the love of acting. I know plenty of magicians who you have to pay NOT to perform and still they will find a way.  I understand it, I’m not sure I can explain it all in a few words, but I can certainly understand the feeling. While I can’t say that I enjoy the writing process, I do enjoy the finished product.  That often worries me because in the end I hope to write a book, get paid, retire…you know, live the dream.  A common thread I hear from writers is that they love to write. The point being, can you act without an audience, is there satisfaction in it?  I imagine there is, there are plenty of magicians who don’t perform, same as singers I am sure.  But I imagine deep down we all want that audience. 

Training a husky, (stick with me there is a point) is not like training a lot of other dogs.  Other dogs want to please you, for a husky the first thought is always, what is in this for me.  Now when I look around I’m always thinking, hmm, how can I work that into a blog. Years ago I was walking through down town Vancouver with Greg Frewin.  Every now and again Greg would stop and take a picture of the strangest things, a lamp-post here, a mailbox there.  Finally I had to ask him what the deal was.  It turns out he viewed everything as a potential magic prop, and when something caught his eye he took a picture.  I should point out that Greg is not only a truly amazing magician he is also an extremely successful magician.  

Perhaps at 44 years old I’m finally understanding Shakespeare when he says, ‘All The World Is A Stage’

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I was asked today how I dealt with stress.  My first thought? I just stuff it down till it’s a burning, churning boiling knot in my gut.  While I admit that does happen on occasion it is not my usual method or is it?  I suffer from Crohn’s and when I think about things that are unpleasant my stomach tends to hurt. For the most part I can tell when its a stress related kind of thing because I can usually will the pain away.  If it is something I’ve had to eat or simply the disease roaring its ugly head willing the pain away doesn’t work.

Lately I’ve been undergoing quite a bit of stress.  My stomach doesn’t hurt anymore then it usually does, but my jaw hurts each morning from clenching my teeth.  So how do I deal with stress?  The question alone is stressing me out.

Does blogging help?  I gave myself two rules when I started blogging, first no rants, second no blogging about work. I have failed on both counts, a few of my posts are metaphoric in nature and not only are they rants, they are rants about work.  It is strangely thrilling for me to tell a story from my life and have it ‘secretly’ mean something else.  I guess its true that the best place it hide something is in plain sight.

So, how do I handle stress? I do have a few techniques.

Breathing!

Many moons ago on the way to the hospital an EMT gave me some breathing techniques.  Just getting more oxygen into your lungs does a body good.  Secondly concentrating on the breathing allows you to focus on breathing and not on the pain.  It’s like a magic trick. When I get frustrated over a particular task, or when things start to come at me all at once I just stop, take a few breaths and bring everything into focus and only then do I continue with the task at hand. 

Hope/trust

At some point I just have to take a leap of faith and know that it will all work out.  I am not fond of flying. But I have hope that the pilot really doesn’t want to die either.   So I’ve shifted the responsiblity to the pilot, doesn’t mean we are not going down in flames but it does mean there is nothing I can do about it so why waste my time worrying over it, right?

I do have an underlying faith that one way or another everything is going to work out.  What other choice is there?

 Yes I know, it’s all so much easier said the done, but then again I have to ask, what other choice is there?

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