The music world lost an incredible talent yesterday. John Mann, from the band Spirit of the West, died at the age of 57. My life has many memories related to this band. The Winnipeg Folk Festival, where I was first introduced to them, rubber boots, mud and all, remains engraved into my soul. Friends and future relationships were forged with a soundtrack that continues to play. Each song, like a private video, reminds me of times past that forever will not be able to erase.
I am grateful that I was able to see them at their final concert at the Commodore in Vancouver with the person that I loved. Unknown to me at the time, this would be one of my last good memories.
Spirit of the West represents a wonderful part of my life and at the same time brings me sadness because by no one's fault but my own, I threw what I had away, the ashes of an previous existence taken by the winds to be forever scattered.
Thank you, John, for your talent. You will be fondly remembered.
When I was growing up, my father would read or make up science fiction stories when I went to bed. As I got older, I began to read short story anthologies and novels from some of the pioneers of science fiction writing. I was filled with wonder at the fantastic visions of the future. Just like a child’s imagination is unfettered by boundaries, these writers were able to make the unknown their own.
I grew with the writers, following the up and comers with their new approaches, styles, and understandings. More discoveries made for more scientifically accurate writing, and gave the next generation of authors the opportunity to stretch the boundaries of belief even farther. The advances in science however, revealed the folly in some of the earlier ideas that were put forward, making some of the stories that I was so fond of just a little more absurd. While the new technical knowledge gave credibility and possibility to the stories, I missed the early days when any idea was considered fair game.
I decided to write a series of short stories in the style of the early years of science fiction, where scientific knowledge wasn’t king and imagination drove the author to create something that a young boy could read and dream about travelling to the stars and having fantastical adventures, while falling asleep to the voice of his father…
Book release is getting closer. With a lot of back and forth with my design team, I think that what I initially envisioned is what I am going to get. There were a few things that they were able to suggest to me that in the end made sense and somethings I did stand my ground (alignment, Table of Contents).
I think the hardest part was the editing. I elected to do the editing myself; in hindsight I would pay for the next time. It is so easy to overlook errors in something that you have written, since when you read it, you read what you think you wrote, not what is actually on the page, unless you read really, really, really carefully. One trick that I discovered was the “read aloud” function in Word. I caught my remaining errors this way by hearing the poems. I didn’t have many errors. Most were just due to spell check correcting incorrectly.
So, as long as everything is right in this round of revisions, everything is good to go. It’s pretty exciting. When I have a copy in my hands, that’s when it will feel real. Would I like to make a living with my writing? Of course, but I’m not spending any royalty checks anytime soon…
When I first began to write a blog, I wasn’t sure about how often I should. I thought once a week was about the right amount of time. Looking at my last post, which was several weeks ago, I now know that I am not going to hold myself to any time frame.
So, why write here at all? The same reason that I decided to publish my poems- so that others can enjoy reading them. I’ve read a few blogs here and there and a unifying feature is that you need to be passionate about doing it. I like writing. It does come in fits and starts, and most of my writing has occurred during the crappy times in my life. But a lot of it has also been a growing process, and it have enabled me to come to terms with how my life is now.
I try to tweet once a week though. I like short little bites that force you to be concise and not ramble. I hope you have been reading them.
‘till next time,
I do a lot of my writing while I'm running or biking. I rarely listen to music and I'm usually alone, so my mind is free to explore. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom many miles in the making.
"I do my best writing when I am running or hurting. Often, that is the same time…"
I don’t have a big ego. That’s probably why I didn’t pursue performing (that and my lack of perfectionism-see last post). All my writing, songs, poems, musical compositions, and sketches, I did for myself as a way to understand my feelings, problems, and where I stand in the world. But the more that I reflected on the things I created, the more I realized that maybe I have something here. Something that can help others the way that it has helped me.
Case in point: The Things You Do
When writing this I began to think, “This needs to be shared. It does no good sitting in the corner of my mind.” Probably one of the first times that I thought that others should hear something that I wrote. Is it a good song? I think the message is a common one, but it is a message that can’t be presented enough. The tune is kinda catchy as well (says the guy with no ego...)
So along with recording a few of my songs, I decided to self publish a book of my poems. I hope that people will enjoy reading them and benefit as much as I did by writing them.
Or, at the very least, be entertained.
Who said that? I'm sure someone somewhere did, so credit where credit is due I suppose, but it is very true. I'm not a perfectionist. When I practice guitar, I'm never perfect. I've tried but I find that it just makes things frustrating and not very fun at all. It's stressful too. That's not very enjoyable.
My recordings are rough, they have mistakes, and they're real. I can't (or don't want) to spend hours trying to get every note perfect, that's not me. My writing isn't the best that it can be but it's me.
That is what matters. I'm not perfect, you're not perfect - no matter what your parents have told you. But that's life, life is imperfection. Except for that one sunset, that one rainbow, that one moment when you stop and take in the world, and even then there is something that could be better. That's what to strive for.
I started my writing journey a while ago. It started with a guitar in my hands and no words in my head. The music spoke to the mood and emotions that I was feeling. I performed a few times but the fear of forgetting and making mistakes pretty much debilitated my chance of following that career. So, I wrote, and wrote, and played for myself.