public speaking

Every Day in Every Way Things Get a Little Better

Hello, Dear Readers!  Please see below for today’s poem and below that for today’s blog.  I wanted to share with you an effort I am making to help support myself as a creative person without having to work my normally extremely difficult and dangerous job.  I have started a Patreon page where people can make pledges to support me and in return, I will send them poetry, printed and frameable photos, signed short story manuscripts at regular intervals and even set up group discussions with me either by phone, google hangouts or email to talk about anything you wish, be it writing or otherwise related.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY PATREON PAGE

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This is a bit of a rough picture I took of something known as a “blood moon” I tried getting better shots, but I was chased off by some security guards from where I had set up and had to take this photo through a fence.  It was kin of cool to see the red moon which was much larger earlier that evening.

Today’s Poem:

The First Green of Summer

 

 

The sun shines above grass grows underneath us

Share with me another great victory

This is the time to be happy

Winter is gone and we’re free

 

Lush green trees and lovely white flowers

The geese and the convertible cars

The sun is hot and beating down on my shoulders

And at night I can lay I cool grass and stare at the stars

 

Come and meet me leave your sweater or jacket

Don’t forget your camera and something to drink

Winter skiing was a spectacular experience

And so was playing shinny for hours at the rink

 

But we must change and grow with the seasons

It’s toasty hot and there is so much to do

Come on out and meet me we don’t need any reasons

To enjoy each moment of this season all the way through

 

Each day grows a little bit longer

Each night it is harder to sleep

I lay awake for long hours with no covers

But stil a joy fills my heart so perfect and deep

 

Forty-four years may have taken a few things from me

But this glorious sunshine has given all of it back

It’s good to be this old because of the freedom

And the fact that there is nothing I lack

 

Walk through forested trails or ride your bike by the river

The sun and the sky is a glorious gift

Or lay back in the grass with a novel

Just let the weather give your heart a lift

 

And yes now we should embrace all our loved ones

And honor those no longer with us

Make your plans to take trips and find new fun

Planning good times in summer is so much less fuss

 

Remember we all have just a short time

To love those who are close by our side

Letting summer pass by seems like it’s a crime

Let go of all of your anger and pride

 

Join with me hand in hand in the sunlight

And know that both of our futures are bright

 

Leif Gregersen

     Well Dear Readers, a lot has been happening.  I recently booked a trip to Lonon, England and I am looking forward to it immensely.  I’m actually having a pretty hard time getting to sleep thinking about my little adventure and some other ones I’m going to take this year.  In August I have booked a trip to Toronto were I will stay at my sister’s house and due to a scheduling problem she is actually going to be here in Edmonton while I am there at her house.

The cool things that have been happening lately are that I went to my home town library on Monday and gave a talk for an hour and a half.  I think that was the most time I had spent in front of an audience without a break.  I read from my books, told my own story and read a couple of short stories that I feel were of a fairly high quality.  The main point of going though was to help educate people about mental illness, though it didn’t hurt to get my name known among more people as far as writing goes.  I had hoped to sell some books, but made no sales.  The good thing though was that the library gave me a $100 honorarium which was nice.  I think I am really starting to make an impact on things.  It seems wherever I go people tell me they saw me in the newspaper or on TV or had seen me speak somewhere.  I had been advised before to try and get emails from as many of my customers as I could so I could keep in touch with them but I have some problems with adminstrative things.  What I am learning is that there is money out there to be a writer, to give workshops and talks, but you really have to get good at it.  I am doing a lot of things like giving talks for the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta and teaching a creative writing class and I think it is really helping my confidence.  I still get worried now and then that someone will come and get in my face about things I did far in the past or even that I will bump into someone from a horribly failed relationship and not know what to say.  So far things have been going really good though.

Well, that is just about all I have on my mind.  I was surprised to learn that my posts are reaching a lot of people.  As always, I would love to get feedback on some of the things people might want to see on this blog, issues I can address, questions you may have.  Feel free to contact me at viking3082000@yahoo.com if this sounds like you.  Take care my good readers, and stay mentally and physically healthy, you deserve it!

Leif Gregersen

 

Raw and Uncensored Manic Depressive Digressions

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                         This was actually a really small spider that I captured from very close up

Today’s Poem:

Disguise

 

Angel blond hair

Deep blue eyes

 

Lost and lonely

A wall between us

 

I wanted

I wanted to love you

 

Wall between us

Pain on one side

 

Look in these eyes

Yes mine

 

You will see pain

If you can look past the disguise

 

God in heaven

I am lonely

 

This is how I ask

You to reach out to me

 

This is how I tell the world

I’m the one truly hurting

 

I keep silent and show only

Only rage only silence

 

But I have to lie

Not just to you; to everyone

 

I have to keep up the pain

It feeds me

 

The pain; the disguise

I’m just a hollow shell inside

 

 

Leif Gregersen, April 30/2016

 

Good day to one and all.  I had a pretty cool Friday, I met with my mentor and good friend Richard Van Camp, who I met a few years back at the U of A when I approached him to help me with a Novel I was writing.  I have known Richard for some time and I still have yet to put out a full-length novel.  I have written a number of books and done a lot of articles but no blockbuster.  I think I have it in me, I just need to get a few life details in order.  Maybe I should set that as my goal for 2016, to write a complete adult novel.  There are so many different topics one could cover when it comes to novels, though.  When I was a teen I loved spy thrillers, historical thrillers, and military thrillers.  Now that I am grown more I don’t see those types of works as anything I can either have an authoritative voice in writing or really enjoy doing.  It is kind of a joke among my family members and I that from a young age I wanted to do some impossible act and get a million or more dollars so I could sit cozy and live off the interest of my windfall.  But here I am 44 and I haven’t made my first million yet.  I can honestly say, though, living with a mental illness has put a lot of roadblocks in my way.  One of the problems is that I don’t deal with stress in the same way that most people do.  In fact, I think the longest I have held a full-time job in my life has been about three weeks.  It is a scary statistic though I have had part-time jobs that lasted for years, I was with the IATSE union for 7 years, but there is something about me that just wants to shut down and go back to living with nothing rather than continue on in a job I don’t like.  I really liked the most recent job I had, which was being editor of two online magazines, but at the moment, it is hard to say if there is a future in it.

On the lighter side, I am going to be going to my hometown library in two days to give a presentation about mental health and have a chance to sell some books.  I think that one of the bigger opportunities I have at the moment is to continue further up the scale with public speaking.  I have even sent a resume to a public speaker’s agent company.

I really want to talk a bit about mental health at least a little today.  One of the things I have been having problems with is time and sleeping.  I seem to have hard-wired my brain to only be able to enjoy myself when I am working or studying if you can count reading books related to my own writing as studying when they are fiction stories.  There really seems to be nothing that I love more than reading, the heavier the better.  When I was first discharged from the hospital fifteen years ago, I had the time and ability to read just about every work that Steinbeck had written and it was a wonderful experience.  Lately, I have been interested in the short stories of Alice Munro.  I feel I am learning a lot and really enjoying myself by taking time to delve deep into these “not real but realistic” stories.  My mom, who also suffered from a mental illness, used to go to bed a couple of hours before my dad and in that time she would read and write in her journal.  I often wonder why she never tried to be a writer herself, she was extremely intelligent.  She once told me that there is no greater pleasure in this world than losing yourself in a book, in reading the really great works of literature.  To me, reading has been the education I was never able to pursue.

I have memories though of times when I was younger and living alone when I would spend days at a time not leaving my apartment at all, just reading on and on into the night and through the day.  It feels good, but I don’t see how it can be a mentally healthy exercise.  I think I have gotten past that now especially since I write my stories, have people read them, read them to people on the phone, participate in story slams, and doing all that.  I am a bit worried though that I could lapse back into isolating myself as I am going to be graduating from the group home I now live into my own apartment.  It is going to feel odd at first, I have been living here now for 15 years not counting a stint at my own place.  My main concern is bed bugs, then the next concern is that the place might at times be like a zoo because there are a lot of people there who are on the fringes.  Well, dear readers, that is about all I can manage for today.  If you like today’s poem or blog, please let me know.  As always, my email is viking3082000@yahoo.com   All the best!

Leif Gregersen

A Little About My Homes Near and Far

DSCF5022                      This is what we call ‘big sky country’, not far from my Edmonton home

Good morning to all.  I didn’t want to really put up a blog entry today, I am in between two fairly difficult shifts at work and was hoping to get some sleep.  At the moment, I am also trying to get rid of a cold and losing my voice.  Last night I had to work loading trucks for the Edmonton Opera for a Valentine’s Gala they put on.  It was kind of neat to see all the people downtown dressed up either in tuxedos or military dress uniforms.  Reminds me of all the neat things I used to do growing up, especially when I was in Air Cadets and it came time to have a formal dinner.

Funny how much of my life seems to make me think about Air Cadets.  It was only 3 years literally 30 years ago but what an impact!  In a few days I am going to go before a crowd of nursing students at a local University and tell them about my own lived experiences with psychosis.  I learned the skills I need to do those sort of things in Cadets as well.  It was a Thursday night when I was 14 and in grade nine at the junior high school across the street from my house.  I was attending cadets that night while I was a patient in the General Hospital Psychiatric Ward in Edmonton and I hadn’t been to school in a couple of weeks, I had mostly spent my time avoiding any activity and reading a book I bought off the TV about the war in the Desert in WWII.  This was when I was taking my toastmaster’s course and it was my turn to speak.  I got up and was incredibly nervous.  No surprise really, I had so little contact with any friends or people my age in the days preceding, I had literally forgotten how to be comfortable in front of people.  I gave a talk about my collection of military uniforms and was so nervous I blushed crimson and couldn’t look anyone in the eye.  It was funny because as I went further into the course, I ended up doing really well and learned many skills, but that night I was a wreck.  Later I heard a friend telling another friend about how stupid I looked and it really made me feel awful.

I have been thinking about that night because I have been sick for over a week and have stayed home taking cold and flu pills and sleeping all day.  This morning I had a meeting about an event some friends and I are setting up for The Edmonton Poetry Festival and I kept tripping on my tongue.  I hope I get back into my groove by the 23rd when it comes time for my talk.

Aside from that, the nervousness and declining social skills I have experienced, things seem to be going pretty well.  I have gotten negative news from a few sources about my writing, but I have also gotten some positive.  I don’t know if any readers of this blog have read my first novel, “Green Mountain Road” but I ran into a friend at work who bought a copy of me and the other day he said I am a really good writer.  This surprised me because I sent it off to be reviewed and the guy who reviewed at it tore it to pieces, he really didn’t like it, but my friend (Myron, a very interesting and well read dude) said I just have to not listen to that kind of thing.  Good advice, but it seems that there is a thing about being mentally ill that makes things people tell you cut deep, or even perhaps just seem to be absolute, totally the truth.  I had an experience in the University Hospital psychiatric ward quite a number of years ago where a lady kept saying things like, “I am going to go to sleep.” and then put up her finger to emphasize her point, “I haven’t slept in six months!” She said.  It was weird how things would hit close to home.

Well, I don’t want to plug my own writing too much, but it would sure be great if I could get some sales going online.  I have put so much into trying all different kinds of marketing for my books and what I have been finding is that advertising doesn’t seem to pay off for books.  If I were selling houses that each cost $350,000.00 it would be great to advertise, I could spend $500 on a campaign that got just one sale because the value of one sale was so high.  But a while back I spent $500 on a blog tour that literally didn’t get me one single sale, not even in ebooks.  If I had gotten ten it would have still been a disaster.  It is frustrating because I love writing so much, it gives me such a good feeling.  Each day I look forward to sitting down and writing this blog and it is a great feeling when I look at my stats page and see that my site got 15 views today and so on.  My latest attempt at fame is to get a distributor, I am going to be working with a company called Red Tuque Books and I am sincerely hoping it helps me go somewhere with my self-published books, though I don’t even know if they will accept my work.

I am really curious how well my book, “Through The Withering Storm” would do with nation wide distribution because it seems to have done really well in all my books signings and even on amazon.com it has gotten about ten independent reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.  I think I must have sold close to 300 copies of the book (though likely a number of those were giveaways and promotional copies).  One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is that I can take that book, as I have just tonight, and start reading it from any point and actually enjoy my own writing.  I guess that means I can’t be all that bad a writer.  But, with that, seeing as it is nearly 5:00 am and I have to be at work in 5 hours, I think I will leave off there.  As always, emails and comments are greatly appreciated.  Passing around the site address and all that would also be great as I plan to start doing some giveaways of my books soon when I can get more people involved in this blog.  All the best Dear readers, stay real!  viking3082000@yahoo.com

DSCF1386                  World famous Waikiki Beach, the place I call home when I can afford to 🙂