short stories

Don’t Give Up Five Minutes Before the Miracle Happens

“Inching Back to Sane” Now available here in all ebook formats.

Dare to Dream and Let Your Heart Soar!

Hello my dear readers! I don’t have a poem for you today, but I thought I would still write a quick blog and add a photo. I have been doing both good and bad lately, and I thought I would share a few things that I feel helped the good things to happen that you can take as advice to do, and share a few of the bad things that you can possibly learn from and avoid. I hate to sound preachy, and it makes for poor prose, so I will try my best to avoid it.

Anyhow, I have been saving for some time and I didn’t really know what I was saving for. I can’t afford the gas and insurance for a car, I don’t have any trips I desperately want to take, so I decided wouldn’t hurt to dip into my savings to buy a few things for myself. I started out going with a friend to a comic shop and indulging myself in graphic novels. There is a Canadian artist and writer who really touches my heart when he writes, he seems to have a soul tortured by depression, his name is Jeff Lemire, and I highly recommend him. I found a graphic novel of his I haven’t read, then also bought two volumes of what I feel are the most monumental comics in comic history, I bought “Ben-Hur” and “Great Expectations” from the “Classics Illustrated” reprints. I get so much out of these condensed stories, and it inspires me to pick up the novels or any novel or history book and explore more, so I feel these are also well worth the price.

Last night I called up a friend and despite that we haven’t talked in a while and I wanted to talk with her, she answered the phone to my surprise. She is a very healthy and functional person, but there are times when she needs her solitude, something I completely understand. We decided to meet for lunch tomorrow which made me happy, because I have been isolated beyond my own control and out of my comfort zone for a number of days. Fortunately today the office of my apartment building was open and I was able to sit over coffee and talk with a couple of my friends. I live in a ‘supported’ apartment building and there is a common area at the office where some people I know often go, and I find it very healing to go down there and chat when I can.

So there I was, feeling a bit down, a bit lonely and a bit worn out from all the walking I have been doing. I came back to my apartment and I noticed I had an email. Turns out I have been picked for a great new part-time job opportunity that will help me develop mine and other people’s poetry skills. From then on I was flying on a cloud. I just can’t believe that I was so close to desperation, so down on myself and then this happened. I told my dad about it and he was very happy to hear about it but he reassured me that it was my own hard work that got me to this point. I have been doing a lot of things, not only to battle my mental illness and try and find meaningful work, but it just feels so good to finally arrive at the point where I feel I no longer have to worry, that I am on my way as a writer and public speaker, and that there are definitely going to be many good times ahead. So, my words to you, dear reader, as I may have expressed them before, is to just pound away at your passion, just a little at a time if you have to. Maybe just do one thing a day. If you don’t have a passion, I would suggest going to a community college or YMCA and looking at a class schedule and see if you can afford to take a class or two or if there is funding (free is even better) try and find something that interests you, challenges you, takes you somewhere. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. All the best to you, dear readers, all the best and finest.

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Worrying and Self-Doubt

 

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/10-depression-quotes-that-may-change-your-life/

Well, it has been an interesting week. I finally have a few days off to do what I like which is nice. I have a hard time when I get stressed from doing too many things and sometimes I react to it by sleeping way too much. I know this wreaks havoc on my system and makes it very hard to function in line with the world of the normal people. So many good things have been happening to me, but I know that things won’t stay good for me if I can’t do something about my excessive sleeping.

I feel really blessed today because I was contacted by the City of Edmonton and asked if I could come and give a talk about mental health at the Edmonton Public Library. On Monday I will be just finishing up a six-week contract to teach creative writing and there are many other opportunities coming my way. Still, for some reason, I find a need to worry. One of the big things that I worry about is money. Every now and then I work or do some photography and make a few extra bucks, but then it seems that the money just runs away from me. I am at a point now where I have savings to at least get me through one month of difficulties, but I keep thinking about ways I could spend the money on what I deem “more fun” things. There are cameras I would like to buy, I am always thinking of buying a car or taking a trip. It all seems like such a waste and it took so much effort just to have just the small amount of savings I do have.

I also worry sometimes about my ability as a writer. I went to a story slam the other day and really felt outclassed. I was the first reader up and was quickly knocked out of the competition. This is even after winning two story slams last year. Another thing that happened was that I won a contest for a 24-hour short story that got me $300 USD. I took the story and tried to publish it elsewhere but with no luck. I am really feeling the pinch of not having been able to go to University and take creative writing. Fortunately, I have some good friends who help and support me in making my writing as good as I can make it.

One of the things that often gives me comfort when I find myself worrying is doing meditation or taking long walks. I had planned to walk the 2km to the post office today, but the ice and snow and freezing rain was pretty bad so I ended up taking the bus. When I do take the time to meditate, what I often like to do is to read some of my Asian books about spirituality say from the Dalai Lama or ancient writings like Lao Tzu and then just sit, either cross-legged or not, close my eyes and simply try to focus on nothingness, empty space as I count my breath, breathing in and out until a thought comes up that distracts me, then I go back to zero and try to make it to a count of ten. It can be very helpful to take some training in this, I once used to go to a real Tibetan Monk for classes and it was a big help, very healing.

 

Mental Health and Poetry With a Couple of Photographs

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Another Shot From My Day Trip To Jasper With My Dad.  So Beautiful There.

Check out today’s blog entry after today’s poem

First Responders

 

So long as heroes who make sacrifice are given due fame

So long as proud men and women seek the light

The human race will always be a worthwhile game

 

No one in the world is alone to blame

In the end the winners will be in the right

So long as heroes who make sacrifice are given due fame

 

Some evil people count destruction as their only aim

But as long as good people always keep up the fight

The human race will always be a worthwhile game

 

Raise up a cheer for those who carry the flame

By their acts they give the blind new sight

So long as heroes who make sacrifices are given due fame

 

Some feel the only good in life is gain

But our salvation still shines bright

The human race will always be a worthwhile game

 

Each of our heroes may not quite be the same

But on all of them shines a holy light

So long as heroes who make sacrifice are given due fame

The human race will always be a worthwhile game

 

Leif Gregersen

July 23, 2016

     Hello to everyone out there who faithfully keeps up with my blog.  I don’t really have a lot of profound words for you today.  I am lavishing in the memories of London, England from my June trip, it really was amazing.  I have been thinking about the Imperial War Museum which used to be a mental hospital.  I think it is kind of fitting to have such a place to commemorate war, it seems to be such an awful, crazy thing.  I had a near death experience not too long ago and it reminded me of my own mortality.  I fell off my bike on a steep trail and got knocked around pretty badly, even bit a good chunk out of my tongue and got the wind knocked out of me so it was impossible to breathe for a little while.  I wondered at that moment if I would ever breathe again.  I sure didn’t expect life would be this good or that I would be this frail at 44.  I remember as a kid reading about men in their 70’s doing these incredible feats, and I don’t doubt I could still do some things, but there are a lot of things I can’t do.  As a result of taking medications and my hands shaking, just about anything that requires a steady hand is impossible.  The medication also affects my balance and my memory.  My doctor and his staff are aware of all of these side effects, but we also agree that I am much better off with these problems than I would be if I weren’t on a medication that stabilized my mood and kept me from experiencing psychosis.  It is so hard to describe what psychosis is like.  You hear things, you think things, little things that happen seem to have huge significances, and you get a lot of irrational ideas in your head.  It is scary to think of how far gone I was during my last visit to the hospital.  I will never forget experiencing this horrible feeling of depression and restlessness and looking at a tile pattern on the floor and somehow my brain mixed it around and turned it into a vision of Nazi Germany and all the horrors they perpetrated. It may seem really odd, but it would make sense to someone who has experienced such things.

I don’t want to dwell too much on all that, actually this has been a great week.  I participated in a story slam, where you put in $5 and get to go on stage and read a 5 minute story and up to ten people can read and at half time they pass a hat which everyone puts $5 into.  The stories are judged and the highest score gets all the cash in the hat.  I went home the proud winner of $100 which isn’t huge, but enough to make a nice difference in my monthly budget.  It is funny to think of how much effort it took me to write the story, edit the story, prepare myself to read it and all of that.  Then it took tremendous effort just for me to get out of bed and walk the 2 miles to the place where the event was taking place.  I really didn’t want to go, I had no faith in my story or my abilities, and I didn’t want the stress of going there and going up on stage, but somehow I did it.

It was good to win that, but stress is eating a hole in me right now.  I am supposed to be moving this week and I still haven’t gotten word that my suite is ready.  I was really hoping to get out of this place I live in now and be done with it, but I just may have to stay another month which will cause all kinds of problems.  And then, constantly, I am bombarded with these thoughts, memories of my past where I play negative things over and over in my head.  Somehow I muddle through though and get things done.  I am now a paid blogger for healthyplace.com and I wrote my blog and recorded my video today for them.  Next step is just to post my blogs and then invoice them for my pay.  It is kind of cool.  That is what is great about being in your 40’s (I’m 44) there are so many little things you learn to do to cope with life.  I can’t imagine life without all my little jobs here and there.  Anyhow, that is my life for one more week, I appreciate you all following me, and as a token of that appreciation, I am going to post another photo just below.

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We Are All A Part Of The Same World

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Well, I just got back from watching the movie “Trumbo” and I really enjoyed it.  I hate to sound like some numbskull but I don’t know the name of the main actor.  He was the guy from ‘Breaking Bad’ and was absolutely brilliant in the role.  The main thing that bothers me about it is that I know when movies are made they end up very far away from anything to do with what really happened.  I am really intrigued by this story though, it was about a writer named Dalton Trumbo who wrote screenplays and was blacklisted in the early cold war years and was stonewalled from working in Hollywood because he had been a member of the communist party.  There were a lot of really interesting scenes in the movie, I think there were some accuracies, one of them that surprised me was John Wayne’s role as an advocate for anti-communist policies.  I don’t really know why this fact bothers me, I always really kind of liked John Wayne, I have always thought of him as larger than life, from such movies as “Sands of Iwo Jima” and many man others.  It could have to do with the fact that I had an Uncle who was John Wayne to me, he was tall and tough and didn’t take any bullshit.  I had a falling out with this Uncle when I was a teen and it really kind of hurt.  I am glad though and very grateful that I was able to visit him on his deathbed and I think he felt some pride in what I had done then.  Not to mention that, the old son of a gun borrowed five bucks off me and passed away before I could collect it so he had the last laugh.

To touch on the writing aspect of things, once again I wanted to tell people out there that have any interest in writing that they really should shoot for their dreams.  A few years ago I wrote, had edited and published my first book and it seems like I have been in a whole new time loop since then.  It is like life has slowed down and all my days are so much more meaningful, all the non-writing work I do has a point to it.  As some may know, I have now written and self-published nine books and I just want to write more and more.  And now as I have been concentrating my learning and effort and reading and everything really on this goal, things are starting to fall into place for me.  I just finished reading a book about a young woman with schizo-affective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and it gave me some really good ideas.  I have now been in touch with a psychiatric hospital and they are interested now in having me come and give a talk at one of their professional development events in the New Year, which means I might not only get a nice speaking fee I could sell quite a few books.  Things like this are popping up all over the place and I am actually thinking I am going to be run off my feet next month.  Not to mention that, I have been doing a lot of writing for magazines and now I am having no problem getting through each month and even spoiling myself and some family members with nice things.

So I will try and nail it down for anyone who hasn’t started the process.  Do you like to write?  If yes, move to the next item on the flowchart.  Choice A is, do you have a special angle?  Are you disabled, are you a minority, do you have a career or a true story that people find interesting.  If yes, then move forward to the non-fiction part of the flowchart.  Now, the other question is, are you creative or artistic, do you like movies and novels rather than true crime or non-fiction books like memoirs?  Then you may want to be a poet or a novelist or both.  There are so many things to explore, I could write a massive flowchart.  The fact is, you simply have to set out what type of writing you think you would be good at.  Then the next step is something that should be almost mandatory, you should keep a journal.  What’s a journal some of you may ask?  Is it a diary?  Not necessarily.  A journal is more your thoughts, your moods, what you want to capture, what you want to express.  Keeping a journal is something that I feel just about everyone with a mental illness should do, it is an excellent type of self therapy.   It is also a great way to get started as a writer.  The next step, whether you choose fiction or non-fiction is that you should start to expose yourself to the very best writing.  I love to go to big box book stores and scoop up all the literary journals I can afford.  Actually, today instead of doing this I went to the main library in Edmonton and scooped up a few that were available for borrowing.  I have found that when I read top notch poetry, I soon get inspired to write my own, and when I read top notch short stories I can get inspired or motivated to start to write, and I honestly think I write better after reading these journals.  The next step, first being writing a journal and the second being to expose yourself to the best quality writing in the genre you want to write (literary journals, award winning books, etc.) is to actually start to write.  If you don’t have good keyboarding skills, I suggest you take a course or get a typing tutor program.  Nothing in my entire education has served me more than taking one 5 month course in typing 29 years ago.  Nothing.  If I weren’t able to type I would be unable to keep up with my workload, would have been unable to write nine books.  Essential.

So where do you start?  I started my first book as short stories.  I told true stories from my life, put them into short stories and then collected them and over the course of a lot of years and a lot of trial and error, it became a book.  I don’t want to get too deeply into the process of self-publishing, I don’t even know if I am glad that I self-published, it has been very expensive and difficult, but it has been a transitioning phase for me.  I hate to admit it, but I am really not that good of a writer.  My whole education in English is nothing more than a grade 12 academic English course.  I have read a lot of books, but with the guidance I could have gotten in a creative writing program I would have been much better off, I would have been able to go past so many hurdles that knocked me on my arse.  We all have a different journey though.  I could also say I had some good times learning to write and I still find it exciting that I have a long way to go.  I have now gotten to the point where I am financially stable through my writing and disability pension, perhaps if I had gone to a creative writing program I would be much more demanding and whining about not having enough money and using that as an excuse to not create quality work.

Well, I think I am going to leave things at that.  Don’t forget to scroll down for today’s poem.  Tune in tomorrow and I will try and talk a little about magazine writing, something I think a lot of writers can use to help them get through the lean years of their careers and also have a lot of fun.

 

An Ode To Chief Seattle

 

The web of fate is woven by nature for us all

And a rare and lucky few will hear the call

Pulling them away from home, family and friends

But that doesn’t mean for these few happiness ends

 

In fact these wanderers can find things meaningful and more

By seeking self knowledge upon a distant shore

And new wonders of adventure and love can be found

When those who judge and hate are not around

 

Myself I think back often to a rainy day far from here

With new found friends that seemed so wonderful and dear

There was beauty and wonder back then in everything

We weren’t ashamed to laugh and cry and sing

 

But in the end the final choice was made for me

Now my body is chained to this place but my soul is free

I walk now down time worn paths to fulfill my dreams

And it is as if I’m walking on clouds and moonbeams

 

There have been times when life has knocked me down

But something deep inside made me get up for another round

You lose every bout where you stay down and give in

You must fight every battle with all you have from deep within

 

And you must love with every muscle nerve and bone

Never let yourself end up beaten and alone

Hold fast close friends and family and build a true home

And soon you will reap the seeds of love you’ve sewn

 

Whether you’ve been nowhere or to Australia and Rome

You can still feel sad and hurt and all alone

But I’m telling you my dear friends and family if you feel this way at all

Do what’s right and pick up the phone and please give me a call

 

I can’t promise to have any answers that will fix your pain

But I might have a hope of making you smile somewhat again

In the web of fate we are different strands but all one net

One family, one race, one world and in each other’s debt

December 18, 2015

Leif Gregersen

A Photo, A Blog, A Way To Help, A Way To Give

 

 

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This is a shot from one of the nicest parks we have in Edmonton, and we really have some nice parks.  If anyone has purchased my poetry book, “Poems From Inside Me” They will see on the front cover a gull spreading it’s wings as it flies over this small body of water.  Today is a little windy, a little cold and very wet and slushy, almost like a Spring day, but normally we are around minus 20 celsius at this time of year.  I could have posted a picture of Hawaii, but I figured it would warm my heart a bit more to see a place here when it is nice.  I think in many ways Edmonton’s summer is nicer than Hawaii, mostly because it doesn’t get as hot, it isn’t as muggy when it is hot and there are much more daylight hours than tropical locations because Edmonton is so far North.

I wanted to shake things up a bit today with the blog because I have been hard at work on a few things and just haven’t got the energy to compose a fresh poem.  I think I will post a ‘used’ poem on the page, as always I welcome feedback.  What I have been up to is setting up a crowdfunding web page with the hopes of raising $750.00 (already $50 has been generously donated) which I will use to hire an illustrator for a comic book script I have written, and hopefully this will help cover printing costs as well. I have a couple of rare opportunities, one is that I have gotten a part-time job where I will be going to schools and other classroom settings and talking about my life experiences with mental illness, and though I have two books on the subject, I don’t know if they will help teens much, partly because not all teens are into regular books, and not all teens can afford regular books.  So my idea is to print up and distribute this comic in these settings, and by some million to one shot, I was sent an email asking for proposals for presentations at a conference in California on mental health and comic books.  Can you believe it?  There really has to be some kind of major intelligent guiding force in this Universe.  Anyhow, anyone interested can check out my crowdfunding page at: http://www.gofundme.com/oneinfive1in5

I think what I am going to do is to post a video from Youtube I made below here, it is a narration of me walking through the mental hospital I was sent to as an 18 year-old and last left some 13 years ago at the age of 29.  Pardon if the first little while is boring, I decided to keep it because as I went towards the hospital on the bus a young woman started a conversation with me that seemed relevant.  Look for todays (used) poem below the video.  Actually, what the heck, I will put in three short poems, I had entered them in a contest to appear on the bus but they weren’t accepted.

 

The Truth of The Matter

 

The gentle blackbird asking nothing of anyone

A shiny object with which to line his nest, a little food

He reminds me of the young man I saw some years back

A thin shock of dark hair, a lust for life

A sincere smile, a shirt indicating his military unit

The blackbird is known all around the neighborhood

The young man seems the type to have many friends

I weep for my blackbird friend and this nameless young soldier

Both of them have been alone and in pain

Both of them must face life with just one leg

 

 

More Than a Scavenger

 

Someone once told me birds aren’t very smart

And yet I will never tire of marveling at their beauty

Even the simple gulls can soar and glide

Press their perfectly arrayed wings against the air

With just the right energy to carry themselves skyward

Once, in a place where many are old and forgotten

I felt generous and threw a pizza crust to a gull

It was too stiff for him to eat and he carried it

Over to a puddle and soaked it until it was softer

Bird-brain. Bah!

 

 

Hawrelak Park

 

I once saw a deer in my city

Those big eyes seemingly glowing

This gentle creature more beautiful

Than any made-up model

It’s slim legs ready to flee

At the sound of an unkind foe

It looked at me, looked at me

And somehow for a moment

I could see her soul; her sad tired soul

Longing for rest and peacefulness

In a city full of meat eaters

 

 

Late Night/Early Morning Thoughts of a Princess of Old

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This is a beautiful statue behind my favourite building, the Library!

Hello all my dear readers!  Well, it is only 7:00am but it looks like my day is off to a great start!  I just had a chance to read a great article about myself published in my home town newspaper.  It mentions my website, my new ‘gofundme’ campaign (I am trying to raise $750 to fund a community health graphic novel/comic book about mental health issues at http://www.gofundme.com/oneinfive1in5).  It even has a picture of my new poetry book, “Stargazer: My Life in Constellations”.  I have to apologize because I haven’t yet put a link for that book on this website or set it up so those who aren’t rich can get it in a cheaper ebook format.  Look for both in the coming week.

Today I am heading over to the University Hospital to set up a book signing at the gift shop.  I always like going there because I sell a few books and then they buy a few more to sell on their shelves.  I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel where I won’t have to worry so much about working as a stage hand.  I love the work, but it can be extremely strenuous and dangerous.  Just the other day I had to walk on some two inch metal slats eight floors above a stage that were spaced about two inches apart.  No real danger, but freaky!!

I have been considering taking my next vacation to Mexico.  The only thing that worries me about going is that cigarettes and booze are going to be so cheap I don’t know if I can keep my clean living promise to myself.  I would really like to tour some ruins and swim in the Atlantic, I have already checked some prices and places to stay.  Might end up later in the year than I thought I would go though, which would be fine.  I have high hopes right now that I am going to get published in Esprit De Corps magazine with a story I did on a battle during the Korean war at a place called Kap’yong where a small group of Canadians distinguished themselves by holding off some 3,000 Chinese troops.  I have also put out a few more proposals to magazines, they can be really great paying or really lousy.  One article I wrote they weren’t going to pay me anything and so I whined and complained and they decided to shoot me a few bucks for the effort.  I should warn any aspiring writers out there that when it comes to getting paid, you really have to be patient sometimes, even for magazine work.  I have had to wait up to a year for some markets to pay, but the majority of editors are really good.  The vast majority.

Once again, I want to let everyone know that I welcome any comments they wish to make.  If we can get this blog a little more active I will start having contests and give-aways.  First to answer a simple question gets a signed book delivered and so on.  Any writers out there?  I would love to follow your blog, just leave a comment and let me know who you are.

Look for today’s poem below today’s photo!!

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Here’s a nice shot of a cruise ship from the Big Island in Hawaii

Princess

 

In the darkness in morning I awake

And a brisk walk I always like to take

Down the frozen streets of my northern home

If the stars are out I don’t feel alone

 

The sky is my companion as I go

Walking here does me more good than I know

The air is clean and crisp the streets all mine

Renews my spirit more than sacred wine

 

I like my neighbors; I love all my friends

But on these moonlit walks my soul depends

Walking for me is meditating too

It’s so much more than just something to do

 

I need to walk and focus all my thought

I need to unlearn all my day has taught

In this city one tends to worry much

And more when you have no lover’s sweet touch

 

As I walk far I walk through my head too

And banish all my memories of you

God take me now if I can’t do the task

Some peace and strength to live is all I ask

 

I love someone who does not care for me

My meditation walks sets me free

But like all good things it too has to end

And then all those longings come back again

 

In every life some pain will come for sure

And sadly time can be the only cure

The best advice I got is to have fun

And know first love is not the only one

 

In my heart I want to be loyal still

But you can’t change a mind by force of will

The sad thing is I did not know her well

Though her smile could send you to burn in hell

 

A perfect face and lovely golden hair

Men would always see her and stop and stare

How I ever thought she could have liked me

Folks must still consider a mystery

 

So now I walk and count my breaths and think

About how life can sometimes really stink

One thing I can say that I know for sure

I now have a new girl and I love her

 

Maybe the Princess would have been a trial

I just can’t stop thinking about her smile

My new love was meant only to be mine

And in reality she’s just as fine

 

We always want what we can never get

I feel though that I owe a holy debt

I have four limbs, two eyes, a heart and mind

I have a real girl so sweet and so kind

 

One day I will get over what’s-her-name

And not feel I have to focus the blame

On things I felt but never talked about

Things kept inside because all of my doubt

 

 

Leif Gregersen

 

The Middle of Winter: The Middle of Summer

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Downtown Edmonton in the Summer

Well, here it is the middle of January and I have been happily writing poems.  I picked up a great little poetry review called “Tin House” and had fun reading it.  It inspired me to write a poem that I submitted to a poetry review.  This isn’t the poem I am posting below, these reviews have strict standards that you can’t have published or posted a poem you submit to them anywhere.  For some reason though, I had enough creativity in me to write two poems, so I will not deny my 193 fans the benefit of my literary musings.  I like to try and put some small measure of philosophy into my works, though I am not a philosopher in the more traditional sense.  I say that because I have a cousin who at one time was literally one of the foremost Canadian philosophers.  He had published a book on legal theory, was a fellow of Churchill College in Cambridge and was also a University professor.  One of the most interesting things about my cousin (Brian) was that he was also a boxer.  His wife is an incredible person as well, I have high hopes of visiting them in Ontario one day soon.

Aside from that, I suppose I could talk about my week a bit.  I did post already about my experience going to a college and job-shadowing a couple of public speakers who make an effort to educate college, university, high school and other groups about mental illness.  It really felt great, and people were so responsive.  One of the things I found most interesting was this woman (Michelle) who suffers from Schizophrenia was able to be quite candid about her voices and medications and some of the things her thoughts told her to do.  I think the greatest little tidbit of wisdom I heard though was from Jillian, who did an informational presentation in which she stated that you have a 400 times greater chance of being killed by a venomous plant or animal than you have of being harmed by a person with a mental illness.  Just yesterday I turned on the TV and there was a supposedly realistic television show that depicted a group of police profiling and chasing down a murdering schizophrenic.  It reminds me of a quote I once heard that stated, “against stupidity even the Gods battle in vain.”

Anyhow, back to the present day, I woke up after a nice restful sleep and a photographer from the St.Albert Gazette (the newspaper of my home town) came by and took a few pictures of me for an article they are running.  That event kind of inspired the poem I wrote and submitted to a literary magazine, but sadly I can’t share it here.  Hope everyone who reads these words is happy and blessed in the days to come, look for today’s poem after the below photo.

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Downtown North Vancouver, Across the Harbour From Vancouver

 

Downtown Edmonton

 

I need to be among all the action

See the women seeking satisfaction

Stroll through the night past all the sidewalk bars

The teenage kids driving their mother’s cars

 

To hear the rock and roll and see the moon

And everyone happy because it’s June

Some sit and drink their drinks, some just walk

I love to meet with friends and smile and talk

 

The bookstores stay open until it’s late

All the lonely people seek their soul mate

But me I’m happy just to breathe the air

I wouldn’t miss a weekend on a dare

 

Even in winter this place really rocks

I met a girl there once she was a fox

Every weekend turns to Monday I fear

Even when you have had your fill of beer

 

All things must end and something new begin

Just like a snake this world will shed her skin

And you and I will be the old ones then

I wish I could hold that off using my pen

 

At least I’m one who hopes and also tries

Perhaps these words will make me seem more wise

Wisdom or not my life will one day end

I hope when that day comes you are my friend

 

To all of you I want to say one thing

Walk down the road of life just like a king

Love yourself and love another too

Before the years slip past also for you

 

Leif Gregersen

January 16, 2015

Muse, Cruel Muse, I Need You Now

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The picture beside this paragraph is one of me and a promising young pilot from my former Air Cadet Squadron at Villeneuve Airport, where I took some photos for an article I was writing for the Lion’s Club magazine.

 

 

 

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This second photo for today is of another aviator, one I never tire of watching or photographing.  The young man above is likely flying military jets by now, but he will never have the real freedom and beauty of this little birdie here.

 

 

The Long and Short of It All

Well, I did have an incredible birthday, but life must move forwards.  I don’t like to say “life goes on” because I remember a day many years ago when I was 17 and I first had to seriously deal with death.  A good friend of mine, named Brad had killed himself a few short days before and I was completely devastated.  I was working at a gas station at the time and some people who also knew Brad came in and when I asked one guy if he heard, he smiled and said, “oh well, life goes on I guess.”  I will never forget that cold little bastard or the smile on his face.  Not three months later his mother committed suicide and I went through hell not knowing how to deal with the situation.  I don’t know if it was a direct result, but not long after that I found myself being confined to a mental hospital in dire need of treatment.  I am reminded of words such as, “For whom the bell tolls” and Tennyson’s incredible quote where he spoke of the loss of a friend and said, “I go on with a deep sense of longing and regret, among new faces and different minds.”  But the reality is, I now do kind of feel that when someone kills themselves, there are better things a person can do other than fall to pieces.  The sad fact of things is that many people believe that suicide is a form of revenge-getting.  And the person who kills themselves doesn’t have to live with the pain, the people he/she leaves behind do.  I also have been looking at the whole question of suicide a bit differently because recently I have been going to a Catholic Church with an incredibly kind and wise priest who once mentioned that while suicide is a sin, there are some people who are not in a normal state of mental health who kill themselves and will be forgiven by God.

I suppose I should turn to lighter subjects.  I am glad to be 43, and very glad to be in a healthy state of mental and physical health.  I keep active by swimming and doing a lot of walking and a bit of Yoga.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to do Yoga being a Christian because it is almost a religious practise that goes against some tenants of the Christian faith.  This does seem a bit silly to think about, but it is really important to me that I keep my faith and my ‘relationship with God’ in a right state.  I have to say I like a lot of what our new Pope Francis talks about, though some of the things he says leaves me confused.  I hope one day soon I get some bold followers who are knowledgeable in such subjects to comment and discuss these things with me.  I also hope that I get my lazy Sunday afternoon butt out of bed more often so I can get to Church for the first time in months.  I really enjoy going to Catholic services, there is something so holy and pristine about going there, I often feel very cleansed and renewed after a service.  I do have this problem though, and I suppose it has a lot to do with my illness, and the proper balance of medications I am on, I get paranoid and angry quite easily when I am out in public.  This is something meditation is helping me with, but I think I also need to look at other chemical therapies that can help me with this.  Well, that is about all I have to say for now.  Below I am posting a poem I just wrote that I am hoping to take to “The Stroll of Poets” where I recite my poetry in public each Monday night.  You can find the poem just past the attached photo.

 

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In the Darker Hours

 

 

Cruel, insipid muse, where can you be?

Inside I have quatrains longing to be free

Stanzas of of rhymes dancing in my head

They won’t let me rest as I lay in my bed

 

Perhaps it’s the comics, the TV and cartoons

Ingesting those media makes me feel the perfect buffoon

I should be drinking in sonnets and dark villanelles

Tasting ancient philosophy, feeding brain cells

 

Poetry you are such a cruel wench

Poetry, poetry you disgust me like a stench

All I can come up with since this past week’s start

Is four rhyming lines that stink worse than a fart

 

I tried going to a play, I tried expressive art film

Throwing in fiction short stories into the kiln

Yet all I have brewed is words stale and flat

Un-chewed, undigested verse chunks all greasy and full of fat

 

I live in such a time that I shouldn’t have to beg you

My muse, my inspiration, for rhyming lines that are new

Once there was a time I could write on for hours

But trite teenager comic books seem to have sapped all my powers

 

It was a nice thing going out to a reading or two

But in the end they reminded me I’ve boiled a poor stew

I need to flambé up some words that will tickle and inspire

My need for these things is growing so dire

 

I can taste on my tongue the vestiges of well thought out lines

This aabb scheme crap I am putting out is somewhat less than divine

I want to train my little brain to speak more iambically

I want to loosen my belt and let my constrained breath of words free

 

It’s for you my dear reader, or listener perhaps

That I need to somehow create something more than this crap

Because in the end I live for that applause

At the end of my poem when I know I have stated well my bold cause

 

All I think I must do is sum up in these short bursts of words

The plight of the lonely, the angry, disturbed

Because in the end who among us has all they want

Why my good muse do you tickle, tease and taunt?

 

Leif Gregersen

December 3, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com

 

 

 

 

A Little About My Favourite Place to Spend a Tuesday

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Not too long ago, actually right around a year back, a good friend, who happens to be the niece of my best friend, suggested that I check out an open stage poetry night at a local lounge.  The place is an icon in Edmonton, it is a pizza place (Rosebowl Pizza) that serves excellent pizza among other things, and they have events like this quite often.  When I got there, I was astounded by the talent I encountered and soon tried to become involved in the poetry scene in Edmonton.  Even though I had published two poetry books, I had never publicly performed a reading and this was really what I needed to take my love of poems that stretches back to the second grade when I wrote the Father’s Day poem below:

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

Cofffee is Strong

And so are you

(scroll down to read today’s poem, called “Rouge”)

I added a drawing of my Dad along with it, actually, when I was a kid I did a lot of drawing, and liked the idea of one day being a writer of other things, but I digress.  I was pretty nervous the first time I got up, but it felt so good to express myself and to speak in public that I went back time and time again until I was pretty much a regular.  I can’t even tell you what happened, but I think they broke for Summer and I stopped going.  It was a shame, but finally last night I decided I wanted to get active in my poetry again and went to another group, usually populated by older poets called “The Stroll of Poets” and it felt really good, I didn’t even have to get over my nervousness all over.  Going to Rouge Poetry also led me to apply to have my own radio show on Campus radio and I had such a wonderful time.  This too ended, but not before I interviewed Ahmed Knowmadic, one of Edmonton, and even Canada’s top poets, Alice Major, who put out an incredible book about poetry called “Intersecting Sets”, one of Edmonton’s Poet Laureates, and a few others.  I love to read, but I often need a motivator, and having my own show really motivated me to do my research, which I greatly enjoyed.  I experienced all kinds of new things.  Anyhow, the point of all this is that I decided that tonight I would go back to the Rouge Lounge where hopefully my old friend Ahmed will be reading and hosting and read a few poems.  I wrote a poem about the lounge below, which I hope you all enjoy!

The Edmonton City Hall, right in the centre of the Arts District

The Edmonton City Hall, right in the centre of the Arts District

Rouge

 

 

 

Each night that I go into that lighted glow

I feel my self worth and confidence grow

I stand up and soon I know

That I have become the show

 

 

I often meet young beautiful girls

With bright eyes and sexy curls

And for that moment when I stand in the light

My heart glows and my soul is pure delight

 

 

Some of the poets rap their rhymes

All of them devote their precious time

To entertain all who attend

And I try to pretend at the end

I don’t have a wish to live always like this

 

 

The burgers there are juicy rare

The spices tickle one’s tongue

Just as you think you can eat no more

Your neighbor’s communal pizza comes

 

I drink it all in and somehow begin

To feel so much younger than when I came

The poems are pure delight and such a sight

On the stage as the young people play their poet’s game

 

 

Oh, there is a waitress there

With red-brown silky hair

Who really seems to care

I wait to see her each time

It is not my crime

It’s those sexy things she wears

 

 

We are this happy group that gathers in a band

To show off their linguistic command

And perhaps an audience of a hundred

But we all would get up and recite our verse

If not a person ever attended

 

 

It is such a thing

To hear one’s own poem ring

Through a microphone to a crowded room

In a way we sing when we do our thing

It makes you feel like you’re on the moon

 

 

I often fill my stomach up with that tasty pop

That keeps coming all night long

I also savor each bite of French fry delight

Though I know it’s not wise to eat this way

It’s just that I crave these things all week until Tuesday

 

 

The sights and sounds of this poetry loving lounge

From the people to the decorations

Cause me each day to think and scrounge

For new poetic celebrations

 

 

The room is filled with lovely people

Spiced with laughs and shouts

It makes me believe one day my voice will be known

Despite my nagging doubts

 

 

The artists there all seem to share

Care and love more than anywhere

And on this cold night in my city home

I’m going to head to where I never feel alone

 

 

Leif Gregersen

November 18, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com

New Blog Format and Today’s Poem

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Well, after discussing the matter with my editor and friend Paula (who set up this site for me), apparently it turns out I have been making a mess of this website.  From now on, my blogs will be found here, in the News section rather than being the landing page.  All that aside though, things are going fairly well.  I am feeling in a bit of a slump after have all these adventures going to Hawaii and up to Hazleton, BC so I thought I would cheer myself up by buying a new camera.  I am pretty excited about it, it is being shipped to me and comes with a long-range telescopic lens that I am hoping will aid me in taking wildlife photos.  It may be some time before I get any more use out of my waterproof camera, but there is a chance I will take another tropical vacation in the new year.  Sometimes I want to travel to more ‘artsy’ places like New York or London and experience things like live theatre or the rich culture of their art galleries and museums.  I actually did go to a couple of museums in Hawaii and I loved it.  Anyone interested in seeing the pictures can find a lot of them at my Facebook page under my name.  Feel free to friend request me as well if you like my writing, it is always nice to have more followers, and Facebook will keep you updated about my books and poems as well as this site.  If you scroll down below, you will be able to read today’s poem.

 

How Could I Have Said That?

 

 

 

How can I have really forgotten

All that I thought I had learned?

How can it have faded away how I felt

Each time I loved another and was spurned?

 

I once swore I never would do that

Rejection is just simply too cruel

But as I get older and close off from love

I act like an angry old fool

 

I treat those who show that they care

As though they were gum on my shoe

It seems that just loving my family

Seems to be all I can manage to do

 

Once long ago when I was much younger

And friends were few and were far in between

I held up this one woman in my thoughts

As though I were a slave and she were my Queen

 

And it hurt me so terribly much

When she cut me right out of her life

Sometimes I think it may have hurt less

If I had cut my wrists open with a sharp knife

 

But that is never the answer

Suicide only hurts those that care

I just never stopped thinking of her brown eyes

Never stopped thinking of her beautiful hair

 

I knew this young woman from her girlhood

And when I got older I told her of my dreams

But so much was wrong in my life then

I might as well have been talking in screams

 

Maybe recently the loss of my sweet mom

Helped to make me end up so cold

Though the real truth is that it scares me

That I keep getting more lonely and old

 

I suppose there will be more chances

To not be so selfish a jerk

And hopefully in future romances

I can let go of my ego and make them work

 

Many years ago a smart dude once told me

That no matter how much things may seem bad

There still is another soul out there

Every bit as lonely and sad

 

I wish that I could somehow find her

And show her these hard won lines of verse

Tell her I will make her feel wanted

Because I have the same loneliness curse

 

So to the heart that beats out there somewhere

To the very same rhythm as mine

If I haven’t already hurt you too much

Think of me and the days when love will shine

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Leif Gregersen

November 15, 2014

 

http://www.edmontonwriter.com