The power to create a world, solely from the words written by your own mind, is a gift that should never be hidden.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Saddest sight in the world...

Ok, why? you might ask... WELL today we went for a short walk, it was clear out and a very hot -1 outside, so we decided to take advantage of the situation and make the best of it. Our plan was to come back and rake up our neighbours leaves. She has a very large maple tree and the leaves had covered her yard, as well as a good portion of our own. It would have been a glorious thing for our children of 4 and 5 to jump into. The leaves were dry, clean and pretty much the best you can ask for. We grabbed our rakes out of the shed and the children ran out ahead of us to get the party started...

My daughter yelled out..."WE CAN'T!" and when my wife and I turned the corner this is what we saw.


In the short time we were gone someone had raked up all the leaves and already disposed of them. Even the ones in our yard. Of course many of you are thinking wow that is sooo nice of them, my nieghbours wouldn't do that. Well, yes, it is nice, but we don't mind the leaves. We were looking forward to this as a part of our day.
Sadest sight in the world...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Say "Hello" to my little friends...

Yes, I have some new friends in my life. I will now tell you all about them in no particular order.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Mastering Essential English Skills (many authors)
The Writer's Workshop by John F. Parker
A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams
A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins
The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin
A Grammar Book for You and I (oops, me) by C.Edward Good
The Chicago Manual of Style <-- heavy book
Descriptionary Third Edition

These are the books that I am now working my way through. Yes, there are still more coming in the mail. Do I think I can really learn all that these things have to offer me? No, lets be honest, even the best of the best in any field have to pull out their smart phone now and again to "brush up" on something they can't remember 100%.
Do I think I have a chance of learning some of what these books have to offer? Yes...
The question you have to ask yourself, or myself, or some self, is...Can I learn enough? The more people I talk to the more I find that this seems to be a problem special to me alone. No, I understand that not everyone out there knows the finer points of grammar, or can define all 24 tenses (yes, that number is in question in some circles but really does it matter after the first 8?)
I have spent some time analyzing my own thought process to try and figure out why it is I have such a problem with certain area's of writing. It all comes down to a couple things that I hope I can learn.

Then and Than... I KNOW how to use these, yet when I look at them they don't make sense. There is a block that I can't explain. For the most part, I don't even use them at all anymore. Unless I have to, than, I stare at my cheat guide until I am sure I have the right one. Usually I don't.
My wife has wondered if this is a side effect from my Multiple Sclerosis, or the fact that I suffer from mild dyslexia. Either could be the case. It doesn't matter though, I have to figure out a way to fix these problems no matter what the method. The reason for this obsession now?

I have no desire to write.

It is gone, once I learned I was not writing to my full potential, that my stories were not the best they could be. The desire to create or even finish the works I have started vanished like so much smoke. I have been passing the time I usually spend writing, by reading about punctuation, or editing my prior works for the practice. I have created nothing new.

I tried to explain it to my wife last night with only little success. The desire to tell my stories is still there, but I know they aren't right, that pisses me off...royally.
My main work, my book, the finished one that I have only let select people read, I have been editing it with some of my new found knowledge. It is taking a very long time to plod through. I am less than half way through on the form edit alone. That is, removing all my "hard enters" that I didn't even know were a problem until an editor cussed me out about them and how wrong they were. Removing all my extra spaces. Seems I have a love with the space bar I wasn't aware of, and forming my paragraphs correctly with my conversational bits.
Basically I have hours, and hours of work ahead of me. Once that is done, I start all over again and re-read the entire thing trying to remove all the tell tale errors of a newbie writer.
It would have been better to do this all correct the first time.
With that little thought in mind I am going to show you an excerpt from the latest correspondence with a VP of MAE. It rolls through my thoughts often and helps me remember I can get through this.

"You have a gift of creating stories in your mind. And that is exactly what it is...a gift. No one can teach that. You were born with that gift, and it is that gift that sets storytellers apart from the rest of us. It is something that is precious and priceless."

This is from someone I respect in the field of creating stories. They say many other things in the email and I am not sure how many I can disclose without permission. Regardless, as far as they are concerned I have a future as an author...but, why do I feel like such a hack?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Old enough to know better, young enough to keep trying.

So I was more than a little torn about what to post on my blog this week. I was trapped between another boring post about what I am doing, or not doing, with my writing. It was dull, depressing and frankly I didn't even want to write it. So I am not.
I am going to tell you all what happened to me this past Thursday instead.
My wife and I decided to take the kids to the water slides. It is only a mere 2.5 hour drive away so this is a pretty special treat for us all.
A little background information for those of you who don't know me that well. I am 6f tall, and roughly 230lbs. I also worked as a lifeguard for over 8 years. All this boils down to, I should know better. When I stopped lifeguarding, I was the third highest trained person in BC. There is a height restriction on the water slides but there isn't a weight one. Now don't jump ahead on me people. I DIDN'T break the water slides.
Everything was going well. My kids are old enough to go down by themselves, and we would all race to the bottom. Gravity being my friend I would always win of course. They are tiny little things and don't really know how to get the most speed out of the slides.
I do.
Cross your legs, arch your back, and ride on one heel and your shoulder blades. You get minimum resistance and maximum speed. I learned this trick a long time ago, still works even though I have more in the belly area. Well after a few runs under my belt something went terribly wrong. I don't know if the water level dropped in the run I was on, from me or someone else. (My wife told me later I was splashing quite a bit of water out when I went down.) Needless to say when I hit the bottom going faster than the speed of light. (Yes it is possible now so :P )  There wasn't enough water at the bottom to slow me down properly, and I hit the drain full speed, toes first. Some of them slid through the holes I am sure.
When the pain hit me, I wasn't sure how I was going to get out of that water. Lucky for me there was a chair very close by, and I managed to sit down in it. I waved my wife and kids to keep going. "I just needed a minute." I said. Then the blood started to drop down.
A very friendly lifeguard stepped over to ask if I was OK. After a second glance at my foot I knew I wasn't going to be able to "just ignore" this one and would have to suck it up and let the young lady do her job.
I did my best to make it easy for her at least, and I threw in more then enough jokes to keep her laughing with me instead of at me. In the end she dubbed me with the title of "The Band aid King" and released me back into the wild.
Here is what the worst foot looks like after 3 days. Most of the damage is between the toes where you can't see it. Cept for that big toe, lost a bit there...


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Past, Present, and Future!

When I created this web page my wife gave me heck for putting up the title,
"Who knew one could butcher the English language so bad" it turns out that I was correct even before I knew I was correct...
My last post spoke of my workings with MAE and my hopes for my future. I didn't get accepted (for now) but the door has not been closed. That is a very, very important thing to remember. I have been told that when (not if, there is no if) I can get the editing side down on my work to a much more manageable level I am welcome to reapply.
To keep the descriptive parts of the my latest email from MAE short, for those who just come here for a joke or two, or got lost when they were searching for something from India. (Hi to all my visitors from there. Still seeing I am VERY popular in your part of the world.) MAE wants to sign me. They like (love?) my creative abilities. There is one glaring problem though. My abilities in grammar and punctuation are tipping the scales to poor side of the seesaw. I am being kind to myself. I need help and lots of it. My friends and followers pretty much already knew that . Up until now I basically ignored that fault as it wasn't as important to me as it should have been.
That...was a VERY bad idea on my part. I am now 38 years old and going back to school kids. I have already visited our tiny little college to sign up for a grammar basics course as well as ordering a grade 12 English and grammar book of amazon. *used for only 15 bucks!* Not to mention I am finding any, and all, free classes I can via the Internet. I need... let me stress this... I NEED to figure out how to make my writing better and quickly.

I am Charlie. I am at the gates of the Chocolate factory, and I have my golden ticket. All I need do now is push open the door and step through.