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