Christmas

Mental Health and Addiction Issues the Homeless Face Daily

The streets of Edmonton, where I live can be cold and unfriendly. Many people fall into a trap of  being struck down by mental or physical illness, then addictions and eventually homelessness. You see it a lot where I live, makeshift tents with a shopping cart full of garbage nearby. Long line-ups at the soup kitchens and shelters. When oil was at a peak, people came from all over wanting to take part in the prosperity, the huge amounts of money to be made in the oilfields and in Edmonton in some of the numerous supporting industries from plastics to catering. It is almost sickening to think of what all the fossil fuels are doing to our once pristine and beautiful country, yet fracking and pipelines continue. When I was in eleventh grade, a friend was trying to encourage me to get a job in the oilfields. My ambition then was to be a lawyer, I found his idea almost laughable now, especially since he went on to become an alcoholic working under the table so he didn’t have to pay child support. When you take a long look at all the big money jobs in the oilfields, it just doesn’t seem worth the real price in loss of quality of life and many other factors. I know of so many dreamers who became homeless, addicted, mentally ill. A lot of organizations have tried to fill in the gaps left when people have nowhere else to go. From New Year’s Eve 2001 to the present, I have been living in supportive housing and despite the books I’ve written, the work I’ve done, the money I’ve made, I really don’t think I could have done any of it without living in places that supported me through my difficulties with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder.

When I last got out of the hospital, my life was destroyed. I had lost control of any finances, I was heavily medicated, and virtually unemployable. A long-term group home was found for me and I was able to recover almost completely. I still have troubles with sleep and stress, I still have times when I question my own existence or allow myself to get angry over things I can’t control. But none of those things can destroy me anymore, I have been allowed to grow new skin over my wounds.

Living in a group home had a number of advantages for me. I lived in a house with three other people, and though there were arguments and fights, and even people who did horrible and disgusting things, the needed stability was there. One time I was in a house with a barely functioning, overbearing bully who kept trying to order me around and pick a fight with me. I had to deal with him by calling the police one night and when I talked to them I didn’t have a chance to mention that he is in the habit of picking fights, losing them badly and then going to an organization called ‘victim’s services’ where he is given money in exchange for proof of his injuries. Another roommate in the same house once called the police and confronted me because I had woken up late for work and took two slices of a cold pizza he had left out in the kitchen because he had put it in the oven and was so drunk he forgot about it.

The thing though, was that when you live with others who suffer from a mental illness, the stigma and guilt are greatly reduced, and provided you are on the medication you need, it is so much easier to function, so much easier to heal. In the group home I lived in for 15 years, medication was given out each day. Adherence to all appointments was necessary. I had the benefit of having my dad come and take me for a walk in the park also which was extremely healing. There were a lot of difficult times with people who lived in the group home. There was one guy who believed that he could legally play his music as loud as he wanted as long as he turned it down a little after 11:00pm. I dealt with it by simply going to the basement and shutting off the breaker for his room, leaving him in silence and darkness. Then the management passed a rule that we weren’t allowed to touch the breakers. Soon, my roommate was playing his music again and I shut him down once more from the breaker switches and then plead my case to a higher authority. The same guy had a habit of coming home from work and turning up the heat as far as it would go, then taking off his shirt in the living room and laying down to watch TV. That was around the time I took up the habit of hiding the remote. Then, when he found it, I would insist he give it back to me as it was legally mine, then when I got it back I would turn the TV off. I had to find ways to amuse myself somehow.

It was an eye-opening experience to live there. For perhaps the first time in my life I could simply exist. I didn’t need to be some wealthy young entrepreneur, I didn’t need to be an A+ honour student on his way to Oxford, I just had to exist, take my medication, and hopefully not kill any roommates. I found out that housing like this, which is in extreme demand these days, costs about 1/4 of what a hospital bed costs the health care system. I have also heard information about how homeless people, job or not, cost society a great deal as well. I can see why because, to use one example, a shelter needs a lot of resources. They need food, staff, a constant inflow of donations of money, clothing, heat, security. I worked at a drop-in centre that didn’t even have any beds for homeless people and it seemed they had nine paid staff or volunteers supporting, educating, counselling, and even motivating the many people who relied on them. I guess I just wanted to say that in many places in North America, cold weather, extreme in some places is coming fast. Consider gathering up unneeded items, especially things like hoodies, toques, gloves, scarves, and finding a charity that would be extremely grateful to be able to distribute them for you. Something I have seen happen a lot is that people will put warm clothing items onto a tree or fence with a note saying that anyone who needs to warm up can take the item. Excess household items like books and furniture are needed at many thrift shops that support worthwhile charities. Consider also volunteering your time (if a place exists near you) with a schizophrenia society office, or finding ways to help integrate disadvantaged people into the greater community. This time of year is ideal for looking for ways to give back as many students get a Christmas break, and most charities need volunteers at Christmas, which they recruit in October and November.

Sadly though, all of these great ideas doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people, whether they read this blog or not, suffer themselves from a mental illness and don’t have the housing or the support or even the medical attention they need, and many of them are all alone in this world. I can’t imagine what things may have been like if I didn’t have my dad and my sister to advocate for me last time I was ill. To people in this situation, I just pray that they can plant a seed of hope deep inside of their minds. Just enough so that they can get to a clinic and find a way to get the assistance of a psychiatrist, find a way to get their medications. I know that in the US it is much harder to get by as a poor person, but I have also noticed from my own experience that once people see you are trying to take responsibility for yourself, trying to improve your own life so you can perhaps one day help others, they are more than willing to support you in your efforts to recover. One thing I would say is that there are opportunities to dig yourself out. There are things like newspapers that homeless people sell by donation, and if these don’t exist, approach your library and get them to help you put together a booklet of writing about people who are struggling in so many ways. Charge a buck or two and use the money for the essential things the group needs.

I wish I could keep writing. I also wish I had all the answers. But the sad fact is, each person who is ill, each person who is addicted or homeless, needs to find their own way. I found mine with the help of people who cared and loved me back to sanity. I wish this for all of you.

Jerks and Other Types of Assholes

DSC_0112       This is a picture of the Alberta Legislature grounds and building on December 25th

 

Well, I thought I would change things up just a little bit.  I want to start with the poem for today, so here goes, I will follow with some commentary in case anyone is interested.

 

Dear Friend

 

Fight the years that try and break you down

Show no fear even when death is all around

Life can be a journey through many years

And as you grow older your perception clears

 

No one knows what waits for us on our final day

But there is no chance of changing it anyway

Love and laugh and do all that you can

Face life and death with courage, faith and a plan

 

Fight the lies the assholes use to keep you down

Don’t let them make you face your loved ones with a frown

Stand tall if you can and never stop working hard

Fight for the ones you love, don’t retreat a single yard

 

Rewards await for those who truly dare

If you never try no one will ever care

The strength you need is right inside of you

You must be strong and tall and true

 

Don’t let love pass you by as I have done

You can’t spend your whole life with just anyone

The one you love must learn just how you feel

If you ever want to have a love that’s real

 

What is deep in your soul can one day come true

But there is no one who will hand your dreams to you

You have to battle pain and hate and time

But it’s not so bad, your soul ages like wine

 

Your life’s work can last mankind a thousand years

If you work hard enough and overcome your fears

Work and fight until your final breath escapes your chest

Never forget to receive a life on this earth is to be truly blessed

 

I can’t tell you where you will go on that final day

But my dear friend I can definitely say

When you finally stop breathing and slip away

I will not forget to bow my head for you and pray

 

Leif Gregersen

December 26, 2015

     Good day and a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone who follows my blog.  I don’t really know where to start today, but I guess I should begin with how I am doing.  Last night I was feeling a little out of sorts, it likely had mostly to do with all the unhealthy food I have been eating.  I don’t know how many people who read this blog are interested in my talking about mental health, but I want to talk a bit about it here and now.  It can be a hard thing to have an illness at this time of year, especially in the climate I live in.  Edmonton, though perhaps not as bad as further north areas, has very little sunlight which contributes to depression.  Not only that, the holiday season can be a difficult time.  I am still very clearly reminded of my first Christmas as an adult at the age of 18 and living at home with my parents was very unsteady.  I was deeply in love at that time with a young woman I sat next to in school and I didn’t want to give up on the hope of her becoming my girlfriend, even though I had never had a girlfriend in my life before that.  Not long before, I also experienced a loss of a severe nature, a good friend had killed himself (Rest in peace Brad Latta).  So, all of these things, disappointment with the holiday, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy added to my predisposition for a mental illness and life became very difficult.  It was a short time later that I ended up in a mental hospital and literally lost everything.  I don’t know what one person can do, other than to try and make people aware of how delicate the mental health of a lot of people can be at this time of year.  I am having no problems this particular year, aside from being a bit bored and wanting more to do.  I don’t know why, but I don’t seem to be able to write any short stories lately.  Still, the holidays have been great this year.  I spent time with my dad and brother, I went to see the new Star Wars film and I spent a fair bit of time also with friends.  One of my main problems though is that I find it hard to keep focus on anything.  Whatever I seem to do, except maybe writing, and my mind wanders.  Often it wanders to a perceived slight that may or may not have occurred.  The other day I went into a convenience store and briefly talked to the clerk and wished him a Merry Christmas and some guy standing behind me yelled out, “F*%^&ing Fag!” quite loudly.  I didn’t know if he was saying this to me, but it left me pretty upset.  I seem to run into situations like this a lot.  There was another time, not too long ago when I was going to the till at a grocery store and a young man ran and stood in front of me and literally let three of his friends go ahead of me while blocking my cart and then disappeared.  I got extremely upset and decided to keep slamming my cart into the guy who was in front of me and pushed him too far to use the till when he got there.  He swore at me and asked me to move and I said, “Sure, as long as you say please.” and he called me a Fag.  I have played this over and over in my head and I keep wishing I had slammed the cart into him as hard as I could, but all I in fact did was loudly comment on a piece of jewelry he was wearing.  He smiled and said “Maybe we should take this outside.” quietly to himself and when I got outside no one was there.  I just wish I had a thicker skin, but all in all I think it comes down to just maintaining my daily mental health.  One of the most important things I know works is if I meditate.  A half hour, or even less of sitting and just focusing on my breath and trying to keep my mind clear helps me to control recurring thoughts of these perceived slights.   Then of course I also need to keep in touch with the outside world and watch my moods.  If I talk to a few friends and get out and do a few things, including a workout routine, I know for a fact I will be much more able to deal with topics that I am normally very sensitive about.  Of course where this happens the most is work, but, God willing, I am nearing the point where I will no longer have to work my labor job or at the very least be able to work just a few days a month.

Anyhow, that was a long paragraph.  I hope some of you got something out of it, as always I would love to hear feedback.  viking3082000@yahoo.com

Take care!

Happy 2015 To All My Readers!

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Well, an entire year lay ahead of us and there are so many new chances and new ways to renew and enrich our lives.  Today’s poem focuses on love and renewing, which I think kind of go hand in hand.  My main plan for 2015 is to lose 20 pounds.  My Doctor said I should lose 60 but I have been trying to lose for some time and I only go up or down a couple of pounds.  I figure 20 is a much more realistic goal.  In high school I was 145 and incredibly fit, I ran for miles every day and played all kinds of sports, worked out and had a physically intensive job.  Now I still work out, but I seem to be locked into a weight of 250 pounds and it feels awful to a person who once was attractive and slim.  When I was younger, I was in a circle of friends that smoked and drank and didn’t play sports.  Some of my friends were nerdy and some even hated jocks, and for a while I felt the same way.  I was a bit of a peacenik for a while and I had the mistaken assumption that people only worked out and played sports to do violence to each other.  I learned many more reasons later, the two that especially stood out for me were the healthy feeling a person gets from pushing themselves to their limits, and the second was simply that I realized that athletic people have better sex, which was a major incentive to a teenager.  I never did have sex until I was nearly 21, and I was so glad I waited until I met someone I truly cared about, but ever since I was 17 I have wanted to keep myself fit physically and mentally.  I learned some interesting information about meditation, that it actually not only helps a person’s focus, but it also actually helps your brain regenerate old cells.  I am not 100% up to speed on the topic, but I want to research this more and I will write more about it then.

A couple of really great things have happened recently, one being that my niece came to Edmonton with my sister, another was that I had a message sent to me from a young woman I used to care very much about that she is alive and doing well.  Christmas was amazing this year, I got some incredibly thoughtful gifts and had a chance to give to some people in my family things they seemed to appreciate.

As you may know from the website name, I am and Edmonton writer from Alberta, Canada and we have had a terrible tragedy happen.  A case of domestic violence in the extreme has lead to the biggest mass murder in Edmonton’s history, 9 people dead, two of them children.  I feel a bit in shock that this happened, it wasn’t even in an economically depressed part of town like the one I live in where there is a high crime rate, it happened in some of our nicest suburbs.  It kind of makes me think back to when I grew up and the cliques that I heard of, young people who sold cocaine and did a lot of break and enter crimes.  I don’t know personally how I ever stayed out of jail myself.  As some may have read in my book, “Through The Withering Storm” (look up the link on my ‘books’ page) when I was younger I committed an assault in school and was arrested and assaulted the police officers that arrested me, but because of my mental illness I was never charged.  The closest I got to being in serious trouble was one time when I was 18 my Dad had me arrested for trespassing and I was taken to the RCMP detachment in St.Albert.  The only way I avoided being charged was by telling the policeman that if my Dad wanted to lay charges on me I would pursue charges of assault and child abuse and more on him and I was told quickly that I was free to go.  It was a really bad experience, I had to go and stay in a shelter and then a welfare hotel and soon after I ended up hitch-hiking to the West Coast.  I don’t have many regrets though, but I have a feeling that if I had ever been sent to jail I would have a lot of them.  Anyhow, as the day and time suggests, this is a much better time to be thankful for the new chances and opportunities the year 2015 has for us than to worry about things in the past no one can control.  Happy New Year everyone!  Please feel free to post feedback on anything you find here.  As usual, my poem for the day is below the following photo.  The first person who can message me at viking3082000@yahoo.com as to where “Maggie” is from wins a free poetry book which I will sign and mail right to your door.  Contest closes in one week.

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Maggie

 

Janine when I first looked at you

I thought perhaps it wasn’t true

 

No one could be so radiant and beautiful

You in your flying jacket, all leather and wool

 

Your soft, white skin and raven black hair

Made me stop and gawk and stare

 

At first I thought you and I would never meet

But somehow you were so lovely kind and sweet

 

You took a chance and walked up to where I sat

And I wanted to pounce on you like a feral cat

 

That first time we met and talked far into the night

I went home electrified with pure delight

 

I got your number, held it close to my heart

All life before was gone, you were my fresh start

 

 

Later something stole the love we had

Left me lonely, warped and sad

 

Inspiration hid from me then for quite a time

After I learned you were no longer mine

 

In two rhyming lines I now call to you

It’s not too late to start anew

 

I swear one day these words will pay the bills

And that in time there will again be thrills

 

Forty-three life’s not over yet

We were a perfect matching set

 

You with your little plane and me with my pen

Janine I need you back again

 

Kiss me deeply now as the midnight bell rings

Imagine all the joy the New Year will bring

 

This new dawn will bring love and hope

I need your love to survive, to cope

 

My darling please let me dedicate to you

The 15th millennium year by all that’s good and true

 

Come home with me now and never leave

Grant this two time loser one last reprieve

 

 

Leif Gregersen

January 1, 2015

A Poem About Family and the New Year Plus Blog

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Gekko From The Big Island of Hawaii

Good day dear readers!  Much to talk about, much to say.  I have been doing a fair bit of work lately, I have been looking into the field of comic and graphic novel publishing and I am thinking I would like to publish a comic from a script I wrote about mental illness to help educate the teens and young students I will be meeting when I start my new job as a public speaker for the Schizophrenia Society.  It is all really exciting, I have also gotten an offer to set up a writing workshop or two that will actually pay.  I don’t know what concept most of my readers have of writing, but it is a very rare occasion that you make money on anything.  There are postings for people as writers in residence and other things, but I lack the education for such a posting.  I do make a small amount of money on book sales, but when you figure in time and effort and publishing and shipping costs plus all the copies I end up giving out for free, I would be very surprised if I end up breaking even, which really isn’t that bad to be honest.  I love to write, and I love it when others read what I write and give me favourable feedback.  I don’t even mind when people give me negative feedback.  A person the other day wrote to me on this blog about how my belief in God was like believing in Santa Claus and I actually greatly welcomed his comment because it is allowing me to open a dialogue about the whole theology question, which I not only have a lot of experience studying, but a lot of experience arguing about.

It has also been a pretty great week partially because people have been so kind and generous with me in regards to presents, but I am even happier because my sister and my niece are here and I love them both very dearly.  My niece is a joy to be around, I am so amazed at how smart she is.  It is weird that this little girl who I once held in my arms and fed a bottle to can say things like, “Hey dude-watch out!” and all kinds of gems like that.  It really does fill my heart with joy just watching her play.  I think one of the most amazing things about kids is that they really do love people unconditionally.  Nothing can make them stop loving you, except possibly puberty.  It reminds me a lot of when I was a kid and I had this Uncle in Drumheller who was an amazing guy.  I loved him so much, he was a hero to me, he worked as a heavy duty mechanic and heavy equipment operator and he was John freeking Wayne to me.  He was such a dear man and did things like one time my brother and I found a baseball glove, bat and mitt and we were going to share them and my Uncle took my brother’s share of them away from him and gave them to me.  I kept the bat for a very long time and I fear sometimes that my brother still resents that incident.  It did make me feel special though, something that didn’t happen a lot being the youngest although I suppose we all got our measure of love from family, just in different ingredients and measurements.  Anyhow, this is all getting a bit drippy.  I wanted to write a bit about the New Year before I leave you for today’s poem.  It is interesting that the symbol of New Year’s is a new baby who replaces and old man.  It is a metaphor, a symbol of new life, like my niece who is the subject of today’s poem.  I look at her and think of new hope for our family, the idea that we will have this wonderful little human being to represent us after we are gone.  Anyhow dear readers, please give me as much feedback as you can, I hope you enjoy today’s poem which will be below the below photo.  Cheers!!

 

 

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Edmonton Art Gallery

Children

 

As mankind approaches a brand new year

And we consider all of our hopes and fears

I think most of those that I hold dear

Some things in my mind become so clear

 

Close friends I lost that once meant so much

Lost lovers who I will never once more touch

Memories and mementos and such and such

Make me wonder if my past is just a crutch

 

My sister tries to come here in this season

I’m glad she comes for a special reason

My dear wonderful niece whose looks are pleasing

Comes along for happy hugs and teasing

 

My sister’s child who I love so dear

The only person for whom I can still shed a tear

Brings me new hope as innocent as a newborn deer

And reminds me that my goal is clear

 

It is a simple goal, I will tell it to you

To be a hero, always be good and true

It’s not fantastic, not anything new

It’s just what I always wished that I could do

 

My brother Kris was that person for me

My hero, my champion who worked to be

A person I could look up to and see

What it meant to be brave, strong and free

 

I suppose soon now that my niece is ten

I will have to look back on these days and remember when

I called her up every now and then

And she inspired me to pick up my pen

 

I want to paint in words her innocent smile

Her happy spirit, pluck and guile

Keep that in my head for a long long while

Pack the words away in a special file

 

She’s growing up so fast, it seems just days ago

Her little mind was eager to soak up all it didn’t know

At ten she is beginning to lose that glow

But we still laugh sometimes and play in the snow

 

I think often it would have been so nice to have my own child

But being a dad seems to just not be my style

And so I will cherish what I have for a while

A sweet niece for whom I will always go the extra mile

 

I look at my little niece and think about how she is so sweet

And how her soft appealing looks can not be beat

She dances and sings and runs me off my feet

Before I say goodbye and into my own space retreat

 

The love for my flesh and blood is so real

I just wish I knew a little more about how it feels

To be the only little one around your family’s heels

And not have an adults more firm ideals

 

I love her so much it hurts to think of the coming day

When she will change and feel a different way

I wish I had the words to help her, to say

That this world is hers in which to laugh and play

 

But the sad thing that I must realize

If I can ever be thought of as wise

No matter how much a family member tries

Each one of us on Earth has a time to live and a time when he or she dies

 

My little one will have to learn through work and play

And not even listen to what her Uncle has to say

Because truly at the end of each new dawning day

We must own our own choices, own the path we take

 

Leif Gregersen

December 29, 2014

Jesus Poem and Blog About Christmas

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Well, here it is the 25th of December again.  For some time, this was a very bad time for me.  Many of the years on this day I was in a pretty black mood.  Part of it had to do with when I was 18.  I was a very rude and disagreeable youngster, and I had a lot of problems getting along with my Dad.  To back things up just a little bit, that previous summer, when I was 17, I had mostly finished high school and realized that I had spent 13 years in an education system that hadn’t taught me the slightest thing about what to do the first day I was faced with no school to go to.  It was good I suppose that I was working, but so many things didn’t seem to matter much anymore.  I had a fancy car, a 1978 Cobra, I had a little money rolling in and I also had a good chance of getting into University.  But the whole idea that there was this vast and unexplored world kind of scared me, I had no idea what to do or where to go.  So, when summer ended, I registered again at my old high school.  Over the course of the next few months, I had a very hard time living with my Dad and Christmas brought everything to a head.  My sister and brother and my sister’s boyfriend came over for Christmas dinner and my Mom had cooked all day.  Then about 2 minutes into our meal my Dad and I started going at it and he pulled the plug on the whole holiday.  No meal, no presents, no celebration.  Over.  Now.  I left, and ended up having to sell my car with the hopes of renting an apartment, but it all seemed impossible.  Rent, transportation, everything.  I really wanted to finish school, to go somewhere with my life but it was overwhelming to even think about trying.  So, I ended up going back home and literally begging my Dad to let me stay at home to finish high school.  He agreed, and things got even worse between us.   A few months later I had my first mental breakdown and ended up in the mental hospital.  Since then, Christmas kind of sucked, but as I have grown up it has actually gotten pretty wonderful.  I have a lot of great friends, I can make good money working concerts when I want, my medications do a great job of keeping me from either being depressed or manic, and it once again looks like my life is going somewhere.  And the great part is it only took 25 years!!  That sounds depressing, but it makes for a good story though.  Well, I think I will leave things off at that.  I would really like to hear feedback about my Christmas poem below the attached photo.  Merry Christmas, peace on Earth and good will to all mankind!!!

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Christmas, 2014

 

 

Right now it’s the 25th of December

And I’m weighing up this great year

So many things to be thankful for

And so many loved ones are near

 

Some years back in a place

I hope to not see again for all time

I spent six months locked up

I was not charged with a crime

 

I had an illness known as bipolar

Something wrong with my head

I was so sick and confused

So mixed up I wished I was dead

 

My dear Dad helped my return

To the world of the living

After all I put him through

He was still loving and forgiving

 

Each day we would walk in the park

A peaceful and soothing way

To clear up one’s thoughts

And get out all I wanted to say

 

Though I was angry

Though I was crazy, I was mad

He never held that illness against me

My dear loving Dad

 

I think that in heaven

Our father God will be like this

Despite that his son died on the cross for us

Betrayed by a Judas kiss

 

I hope all men and women

Can have Christmas in their heart

Be they Buddhist or Muslim

World wide love is a great start

 

As for me I won’t say sorry

I believe this day is the birth of Christ on Earth

Because in his short time with us humans

He sowed so many seeds of great worth

 

The bible tells me of his ministry

And how he is in our heart

I can tell you how real he is to me

And how his love will never depart

 

His words and his giving and healing

Showed so many a new way to love mankind

And the gifts of healing and love I have gotten

Are miracles just like when he was healing the blind

 

Jesus said what you do for the least of us,

You do for me

Try and give to those with nothing

You will be set free

 

 

Merry Christmas!!!!

 

Leif Gregersen

Blog and Soul Mate Poem

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I am hoping tomorrow will be a good day.  It has been kind of an incredible week, I met with my friend, mentor, editor and life coach Richard Van Camp and made a decision that I want to try and interview him for The National Post.  I spoke to the right editor and sent off a proposal, now I just have to wait and hope.  As some may know, soon I am going to start my new job going around to schools and other groups and talking about my experiences with mental illness, and so I put in an order for another printing of my books, “Inching Back to Sane” and “Through The Withering Storm” which is going to set me back close to $1,000.00.  I put the books on my Dad’s credit card and can’t believe he isn’t going to kill me.

Another big milestone has come my way, I have received copies of my third poetry book, “Stargazer: My Life In Constellations” which was a title Richard picked out for me.  I have even sold two copies already.  In January I want to synchronize a mention about my new book in the St.Albert Gazette with a book signing at Chapters book store in St.Albert.  It was such a cool experience last time I did it, meeting the parents of one of my brother’s first girlfriends and my elementary school enrichment teacher.  When I met with Richard yesterday at a diner we frequent (Route 99 on 87 avenue and 99 street, Edmonton) I was putting business cards into books and a waitress asked me what the books were for.  She seemed really surprised that I had written these and told me it is her life’s ambition to become a writer, she has even written a few unpublished books herself.  She bought two of my “Inching Back to Sane” books off me, one for herself, one for her mom, and I was really happy about it.  I always think it is a cool thing to help other writers in any way I can, so if anyone out there reads this and wants any writing advice, feel free to drop me an email at viking3082000@yahoo.com and I will be as helpful as possible.

Soon Christmas time will be here and on Boxing Day my sister and niece are coming.  It should be all kinds of fun, I have this feeling that one day my niece will become a writer.  She reads all kinds of books and last time she was here she wrote a short story and I know she has been writing poems.  It’s a lot of pressure to put on a 10 year-old so I’m going to wait until she gets a bit older and just give her gentle directions as to how awesome it can be to write.

Aside from all that, I am just happy to be alive.  I may be broke after this book order, but if I work hard I can sell a lot of those books and I will have that extra few bucks here and there.  Richard told me that he has spoken to a publisher who is looking at a young adult novel I wrote and though there is no solid news, the squishy news (that my manuscript is making the rounds with the editors) is good.  Other than that, I don’t have much more to say.  Scroll down past the below photo for today’s poem, and please feel free to email me or comment.

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Soul Mates

 

In the darkest times of my young life

I had wished for a lover, wished for a wife

 

But one can’t find a mate when they aren’t whole

And people can tell when you’re just half a soul

 

Are you worried that you are sad and hurt deep down?

Does it get worse when other people are around?

 

A lot of us have gone through all this

And made it past it all to our first love, first kiss

 

Love will find your lonely heart, don’t doubt one bit

Just remember: you can’t dance if you forever sit

 

I let so much time slip by when I was a kid

It makes me feel regret even now that I did

 

I had to choose between being loved or being tough

I was relieved to learn that love is enough

 

When two people who care truly unite

It means little that they part, less when they fight

 

All that matters is what is in your heart

Making the one you love your best friend is the perfect start

 

For some of us love has been around for quite a while

You will hear some of these folks joke around, laugh and smile

 

But the truth is a soul mate is one for life

If they care enough and can weather all the strife

 

 

Leif Gregersen

December 18, 2014