Short Stories and Novels Poem and Blog

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I think I would like to start out today’s blog saying I am really blessed. I encourage people to read the poem below today because it talks about something that is so central to my life, books. I have always loved to read, and from when I was a very young boy I was exposed to the best literature the world could offer. This was the legacy that my parents gave me, the incredible legacy of the attention span, presence of mind and strong desire to dive into books. After long enough, this desire allowed me to fulfill my second great desire, which is to be an author. Of course in other parts of this website you can have a look at my books and even read samples of my work from journalistic and plain old book sources.

I don’t know how much each reader of my blog knows about me, but I suppose it is best to start out by what seemingly defines me (though in reality doesn’t) which is the fact that I have a mental illness. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder many years ago and for some time I have been on medications to control it which doesn’t always do a perfect job. At first, this diagnosis led me to be put on a disability pension, which I have strong hopes to one day be able to give back, or at the very least stop taking. I believe, though I don’t blame those who can’t or don’t, that a person should try their very hardest to be as independent as possible, and not take pensions like mine if they don’t have to, even though mine is a form of insurance that I paid into for many years before getting. All that aside though, my pension gives me the time to pursue things that few people are able to do, the biggest of which is my reading.

I love to read, I have always loved to read books as heavy and difficult as I could manage, from long literary novels all the way up to philosophy textbooks. As a note, there are few books that can say they touch on both, and both of them are among my favourite books in the world (and I have read a lot of books!) these two I highly recommend if you have reading tastes like mine, they are “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Sophie’s World”. Perhaps one day I will write books of such scope, but at this point early in my writing career, I have published just two memoirs, three story collections and two poetry books.

One of the things I love to do but that my budget doesn’t always allow me to do is to attend poetry readings. It is such a thrill to share your work with your peers and receive feedback and often compliments. I am hoping to head out to a place that puts on something called a “Poetry Slam” this Tuesday and I think I will try and read some of the poems that I have recently written. If there are any aspiring writers or poetry lovers out there, I would love it if you could join my Facebook page, “Valhalla Books” which is an archive of my poetry for the past long while.

Really though, I wanted to write today’s post about my reading life. Quite often, I feel inspired to read the bible. I have a friend and neighbour who actually just completed reading a study version of the Old Testament, which took him 9 months to accomplish. This is a feat that I believe eclipses any of my efforts to write, except perhaps for my first book, “Through The Withering Storm” which took me several years and thousands of dollars to produce. I myself haven’t read the whole Old Testament of the bible, though I have spent many enjoyable days reading Psalms and Proverbs and taking instruction and appreciating the beauty of the bible. I was a book lover in grade 12 but at the time I hate to say I was an atheist, and a friend practically forced me to sit down and read the bible. Going in blind like that took many years before I really understood the flow and the point of the whole book, but it changed my life and my whole outlook on things. I am a much kinder and hardworking and caring person than I ever could be, and it traces back to that influence.

Well, dear readers, I think I should leave off at that. All this is a lot for just one day’s reading, so perhaps tomorrow if you check back I will have another poem for you about books. I would like to tell the story of my good friend Tommy and how we are taking a second load of a completely full U-Haul truck filled with books up to his retirement property. The photos above are of the first trip last year. Below is today’s poem, I hope you enjoy it.

What Are You Reading Lately?

A lifetime of joy

So many words to be spread

Inspires me to write down these lines

Dreaming of reading curled up in my bed

My cozy wood paneled room

Where my hours are spent

Reading new and old tomes

Enriched and content

I love to lay here with my books

Travel new worlds in my mind

You have no idea where you will go

Or what wonders you will find

From the smallest new meaning

Of the simplest human emotion

To an overpowering feeling

Wrought through love and devotion

My first love I suppose

Is really John Steinbeck

And the tales he has composed

Of strong men trying to make their lives better

Or the gentle lines of the Bronte sisters

Who seemed to live in simpler days

Those pages fill up my heart

I cherish each page

Have you ever opened a book of Jack London’s?

Of his ‘Tales of the North’

I have always loved them

Because the north is the land of my birth

Then of course there is Alice Munro’s stories

Always of such beautiful scope

Short stories but moving

Full of wisdom, brilliance and hope

Did you ever open a Michener Novel

Happy to know the story would last long and teach

From the simple people who live in this vast world

And about those who govern and preach

Will you open a ‘Dune’ novel

And come with me far into speculative space

Imagine for a few hours

What things mankind may one day face

And how I love John Grisham

His stories of Lawyers and crime

He weaves such incredible machinations

I have to make each new book mine

Even before I could read

For some reason I loved stacks of pages

I had such a deep need

To create something worth a man’s wages

Honor me brother and sister

Read the words I have tried to write

Let them comfort you

As you travel into the night

My stories are humble

The love of a woman and man

Or a few tales of jealousy

I write as well as I can

I just need to know before I pass on

That my words reached one other life

My readers are like my children

I have none nor a wife

When I was a young man

And started to love those outside my home

I saw I could help and in my way love them

With the things I learned reading alone

Books are such special things

They can’t ever hurt or lie to you

Sometimes you don’t know what a book brings

Read one now and feel new

Leif Gregersen

October 18, 2014

I am a 42 year-old author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and a huge book lover. For some of my words, you can visit my website, http://www.edmontonwriter.com where you will find my blog, links to sample writing, and descriptions and ordering pages for my books of which there are seven.

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