creative writing

The Beauty of a Changing Perspective

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Got this great close-up of a Common Aerial Yellowjacket Wasp yesterday

Today’s poem:

Garden Crescent

 

Each day of my youth on those crisp cold winter nights

I could see each star, all the stars afforded the place

Where I grew up; a gift of living in the north

 

While walking home from the store; finished with

My noisy spaceship fantasies imaginings banged out

On computers encased in wooden boxes to which

 

I would feed quarters.  There was the big dipper

I was blind to Mars and Venus, Jupiter; even my own

Sign; not the dawning of Aquarius but Saggitarius

 

The big dipper was the only constellation I knew

I almost saw it as one thing, not stars as far from each

Other as they were from me.

 

Often on those days the dancing sheets of light

Would come to amaze amuse astound

It was only one block home but in a young boy’s mind

 

It was a billion light years travel time

And everything seemed so real, so much more alive

In the insignificance of my own existence

 

Stars by the millions light travelling over eons and decades

Some gone before I was even born so I could

Catch their light at the precise moment it reached Earth

 

I wonder then as I wonder now

How so many celestial bodies could exist

Just far enough away to barely see them

 

And not see them in the day

Night was my time then as it is now

This poem my guide into darkness

 

 

Leif Gregersen

May 10, 2016

 

Hello and good morning to all those who like to follow this blog.  I had the most amazing experience today.  I went to teach my Monday creative writing class, and I felt an incredible connection to the adults with mental health issues I was working with at the mental health club where the class takes place.  There was one young man who is brilliant in many ways and always participates in exercises.  He also has a great reading voice.  The sad part is that he lives with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and it has been a huge barrier to living for him.  He told me that he wished the class would go on permanently every Monday not end in a few weeks.  There is a woman in the class who is a bit shy though very mature who didn’t think she could ever write anything worthwhile and in the first class I taught we had a mini poetry competition, and her poetry won.  She has been coming ever since and today brought three pages of beautiful rhyming poems to show me.  The class went incredibly well; I felt like I was really in command of the subject and that we were doing something that benefitted all of us.  It made me want to call my sister who has a Master’s in Education and teaches in Toronto and attempt to describe to her how great teaching makes me feel, but I think she understands.

Things seem to be happening so fast lately.  In just a few more weeks I will be on a plane to London, England.  Next week I will be working on the setup of an outdoor Beyonce concert to pay for my trip and then there is something that I am stressing over a bit, I am going to head to a Junior High School and lead a poetry workshop.  I think I have prepared enough to handle the event, but still I feel a bit nervous.  I have been doing so many public talks and teaching jobs that it really shouldn’t be a problem, I think I will even have fun with it.  I am conscious though of the possibility that I am taking on too much at once.  It really is getting hard to sleep.  Today I got my bus pass and London map in the mail.  At 11:30 pm I got out of bed just to google the Hostel I will be staying in to see if they have lockers.  I think though, that all I really have to do is act like Santa Claus for anything that stresses me like classes or trips or anything.  Make a list, and check it twice.  Then do something I learned from the wealthy people in my hometown.  If there is any kind of a problem, just make sure and throw money at it and make damn sure you have enough.

Aside from all that, I did do something that I think was really helpful.  I needed to get a few things, and I have been thinking a lot about how ripped off people are when they live in inner city areas and need to buy their things at private drug stores, cash their cheques at rip-off finance outfits, and buy their food at convenience stores.  It can be really expensive to be poor in this world.  So I elected to hop on the bus which I knew would take an hour to get to the discount stores and just brought a book.  It was one I bought some time ago that I had put down but not because I didn’t enjoy it.  It is a book about Buddhism called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” and it was such a nice feeling to get away from all distractions and just sit on the bus, the blocks rolling past as I enjoyed looking at my own thoughts and actions from a different perspective.  Reading really is such an amazing, healing process.  Writing isn’t far behind.

LG

 

The Birds Are Returning and There Is a Song In My Heart

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                      This Beautiful Little Flier Came To Help Me Enjoy My Breakfast This Morning

please scroll past today’s poems (Haiku) to see today’s blog

 

Spring Haiku

By: Leif Gregersen

 

Brilliant fields of green

Summer trips to mountain peaks

Finally it is Spring

 

Time to love and smile

Linger in the park a while

All too short a time

 

Cycle all day long

Stop to contemplate a pond

Beauty like nowhere

 

My heart sings at night

Seeing the Northern Lights

Sky carry me home

 

Little bits of words

Gentle longing to be heard

Mourn the loves we lost

  

One thing understood

This land is perfect and good

Love those who share it

Today’s Blog Post:

Hello to all my loyal followers.  It has been a fair time since I have posted anything.  I haven’t felt much in the mood for writing poetry, I have been very busy.  At the moment I am settling into a new job as the Editor of two magazines that deal with mental illness, called SZ and Anchor.  The job itself isn’t too difficult, but I have been pushing myself to learn all I can about mental health issues doing research online, taking a course that my new employer has put together about recovering from an illness.  Here and there I have also been doing some presentations for the Schizophrenia Society.  Just the other day I had to go give a talk to about 40 police recruits and it was actually a wonderful experience.

I can’t say enough about all the things that have been happening and how great they are.  I have always wanted to travel to the Maritimes, which is the East Coast of Canada, and my boss has made a commitment to send me to a conference in Halifax, all expenses paid.  I am also going to be travelling to Toronto in the summer for two weeks and it looks like it will be an exciting year.  Whenever I travel, I am reminded of my trip to Hawaii.  I stayed in a traveller’s Hostel then, but it was a fairly nice one.  They had air conditioning, cooking facilities and they were very close to Waikiki Beach.  There was no feeling in the world like not being able to sleep and having the option to go take a dip in the ocean to clear my head and tire myself out a bit.  Toronto and Halifax will be different, but likely no less exciting.

One thing I was concerned about was the stress involved with my work and such things as a short story manuscript I have submitted in hopes of getting it published.  The amazing thing is that not only do I have a great boss who suffers from a mental illness as well, but I really like doing what I do (being an editor).  It isn’t a massive salary, but it will suffice for my needs and there is a chance that I can get some other work giving presentations and holding poetry or creative writing workshops to supplement my income.  All I can say about this is to repeat what I am learning in the course my new boss has laid out, called “The Bright Future Program” by Bill MacPhee, is that you have to be persistent, you have to find something you love, you have to work towards getting opportunities and be able to ask people for help, you need a good work ethic and there is almost no end to what you can accomplish, whether you have an addiction or mental health issue or you are just not satisfied with your life.

Well, I will leave off there.  There may be some of you out there who want more information about this program, and some who either suffer from a mental health issue or have a family member who does, I would encourage you to write to me.  There is a good chance I will have a place in one of our magazines to tell your story, we do pay contributors, and I am always willing to help people with mental health issues in any way I can.  Email me at viking3082000@yahoo.com and stay happy, stay healthy!

Leif Gregersen

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