Calm East Word Slinger


I used to write a lot.

I wasn’t very good by any means. I mostly wrote what you could loosely consider poetry. It started when my high school friend Tim and I decided to start a band. The way I figured it, I had to write 100 songs before I even picked up an instrument. Cover band wasn’t an option; we were going for broke from day one. It’s funny looking back on it, I wish I still had those old notebooks to be able to have a good laugh.

One classic I can only remember by title, was “One-Legged Camel”. After our band dreams were crushed, it was a natural transition into calling my writing “poetry” instead of “songs”. I was particularly fond of acrostics at the time, so the transition was pretty natural (yes, the “Camel” song was an acrostic). I guess I always liked following what I thought was bizarre structure. I fell in love with Bukowski as I started to find authors who’s styles spoke to me. I couldn’t write enough. I always had a notebook handy. At the bus stop, in class, at home, visiting extended family; I never let pen and paper stray too far. It was a pretty good outlet for teen angst.

In Grade 12, I took a creative writing class. This really let my pen do some serious scribbling. Now, what I had been spending all my free time doing, could be applied to classwork. I also had an amazing teacher (and enormous crush) Ms. Riddell. I started the class a few weeks late for reasons I can’t remember. I might be over-sentimentalising here, but I felt like she took me under her wing. She would have me stay after class and go over things I was writing apart from school. She pushed me to challenge my thought and creative process. She loaned me books and CDs and shared a lot of her creative influences. I became her peer helper for Grade 11 remedial English, and she even eventually wrote me a letter of recommendation for UVic’s prestigious Creative Writing program.

Then the well dried up, and I let her down.

I stopped writing regularly for a good year. There were bits and pieces that I would conjure up randomly, but for the most part, it all escaped me. I would have a small period of rejuvenation after moving to Edmonton, but that was quick to vanish. I would go approximately another 8 years without any kind of creative writing.

Cue Xmas 2013. k and I had barely started seeing each other, but I still wanted to make an effort for Xmas. I got her and her sissy each a blank card from Betty and Dupree; they do lovely stationary. The second I saw these two cards an idea struck me. They were fairly simple; blank on the inside with an illustration of a person on the front. They were a bit quirky (k’s and j’s) and suited my dislike for anything overly Xmas themed. For each card, I made up a story for the character on the front. Alliteration (which makes my motor purr) was unapologetically rampant in both. Suddenly, the writing bug had bit me again.

A few weeks ago, k asked for a bedtime story. While I’m usually pretty quick on my toes for a story, I felt immediate mental block. The Virgo in me makes me a perfectionist at heart, so even if the story was lame and predictable, I still had to have a framework established before I could start. She gave me a prompt, and immediately I knew it would take more than a few sentences to tell this story.

So I’m writing again.

I actually took a small break from what is quickly turning into a novella, to blog. I’ve been a bit neglectful of this. We’ll see how it turns out in the long run, but it’s nice to have the inspiration back for the time being. It even spawned a playlist over on decibelsinthebelfry (Yup shamelessly plugging the other blog!). Before I even had anything written down, I wanted to get a bit of a mood set for what I was about to create.

So here’s to a lady that has helped me regain my love for a long lost passion…

Seamus and Selkie




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