HI!!! I know, it's been awhile, but I swear it was September just yesterday. Time flies when you have your head buried in books, writing 2000+ words university level papers, or, in my case, trying to wrap your head around Nietzsche. Either way, it's nice to get some blogging done. University essay writing is starting to feel stifling, and since I'm facing my last year in school, my brain is screaming to write something else besides literary analysis. I am glad that I am not looking for a future in academia or literary criticism, because at times it feels like, as some wise and dear to me once put it, "Like looking for greater meaning in a door knob!"

But that is why I have this blog, to exercise the writing part of my brain that allows free writing. That is, in my mind, writing at it's finest...free flowing, unedited thought.

I've also been looking to the future a lot lately, and am getting excited to start writing and earning a living. It'll be hard, there are many lessons to be learned, but hopefully I got all of the really hard lessons out of the way when I was doing freelance work before university.

I am also looking forward to changing the title of my blog. I didn't forget...I promised myself that when I had finished university I would no longer be a noob. In some respects I'm not, and yet in many I am. My brain does feel full of the knowledge and wisdom of those that came before me, but I must remember that learning is not the same as knowing. So with that, I may be tired of writing school essays, but what I learned from writing them has allowed me to know my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. And I would like to think that I've come a long way.

My next immediate hurdle to overcome will be applying for the first of my creative writing courses next year, and receiving the professor's permission to register. I'd like to think that I have it in the bag, but alas my confidence in my writing waivers, like I'm sure all artists feel when they are faced with a type of judgement of their work. But I am up to the challenge and plan to write my request over the next couple of weeks. I was overjoyed when I read that one of the marks of readiness to take the course was the practice of other creative arts and activities. I like think that I am the epitome of a jack-of-all-trades person.

Anyways, it is late and tomorrow's work will be that much easier with a good night's sleep. So goodnight, world!
On Sunday a very dear friend of mine parted from this world. She was a grumpy and temperamental soul with the occasional sweet side that few ever saw. She could be a little demanding and stubborn at times, but she was always there when you needed comfort. She rarely listened to anyone, and could be bought with the tiniest morsel of food, but she was a devoted guardian, protector, and companion to those she deemed as her family. She was a 60+ pound black lab mutt, and after over a decade of having her in our lives, her departure has left a hole in our household.

It has been a hard week to get any writing or work done. It took me hours to write my music review article on monday, a task that usually only takes an hour or two at most. But as the week has gone on, the days have been getting easier. I have been thinking over the full and wonderful life that my old dog lived, and how when it was her time to go she went happily and with a goofy grin on her face. I took comfort in thought that she would finally be free from her physical pain.

Another comforting thought was how her life inspired a character for my book, and how she will live on in that character. It may seem funny that a dog inspired a character, but someday when the story is finished and ready to be read you will understand. In fact, having her as the inspiration for a very important secondary character has given me a great deal of comfort in her passing and has spurred me on to continue working hard on my studies, no matter how much my heart hurts.

I just wanted to write this today because I finally feel ready to get back into the swing of things, bury my head in the books and work like mad.


Have you ever questioned your goals? I mean like really stepped back and examined your goals closely enough that you can say that without a doubt the path you are on is where you are meant to be?

This past weekend a simple honest question made me take a step back and ask myself that last question. I was having dinner with an acquaintance that I hadn't seen for almost a decade. When I explained to her that as I finish my degree I will be working towards my professional certificate so that I can confidently inform employers that I can write copy, proposals, grants, technical manuals, and science papers. She asked me, "You actually want to do that?" which I interpreted as what I had just described to her sounded awfully boring. That may not have been her intention, but it was such an honest question about my goals that I had been asked since I started my journey as a writer that it made me think about it for the next few days. Obviously my automatic response was "Yes I do!" but afterwards I began seriously thinking about it.

After some intense thought I realized that without realizing it, by following the path that I am, I am fulfilling the promise that I made to myself when I began my journey as a writer. When I realized a few years ago that I had a talent that was being squandered and suppressed I had two choices: continue to ignore it and spend a lifetime snuffing out any creative impulse I may have, or acknowledge it and allow it to take me down a rushing current of creative inspiration. Obviously I chose the latter. However, I couldn't just write for myself, so I decided to use my talent to help others. I decided that with my skill I can give a voice to those that may not be able to put their thoughts into words, I can spread news about amazing new artists and musicians who find themselves buried under an avalanche of competition and red tape, and I can share in the developments and discoveries of others and help them bring their findings to the world. These may sound like lofty goals, but in reality these are the things that I can achieve with the qualifications that I am working on.

However, as good as my intentions may be, understand that I still intend to use my skills to earn a living. But whenever I can spare the time and resources, I will be more than happy to work for free on noble causes and endeavours.

Perhaps the only time I intend to use my writing for myself will be when I finally get around to writing my book, which is still in the very early planning stages. One day!!!

Well, dear readers, as I sit in my office this morning, sipping my coffee and watching the newly risen sun pierce its rays through the trees, I feel reinvigorated and am prepared to tackle my schooling for the day.
I am glad to finally have a moment to update my blog today.  I know it has been sometime, but I am hoping to work blogging back into my schedule.  University keeps me as busy as ever, as I am in the second half of my third year, and next year I will working on my final year which comprises of applying most of what I learnt over the past few years.  In addition to my school work I am also writing articles for my school's magazine, trying to get back into shape and eat healthy, and I am looking at starting a professional writer's certificate program soon.  Unfortunately, as a perfectionist I felt like I was going no where and that I had so much to do, and what I was doing was never enough.  I was left feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, and as though feelings grew so did my fear of failure.  But yesterday I was finally able to get everything into perspective.

I ran a 5km colour run yesterday morning, and admittedly I was worried about whether or not I could complete it.  I hadn't really ran in awhile and I was terrified that I would end up having to walk most of it.  Thankfully the whole purpose of the run is to have fun, and at each kilometre mark I was greeted with coloured powder that left me covered in multiple colours by the end of the run.  I realized that as I approached the second colour station that my fear of failure was gone.  The distances were passing by without me noticing, and what kept me going was wanting to reach the next colour station as quick as possible just to see the next cloud of colour hanging over the crowd of runners.

This desire, feeling of accomplishment and eagerly wanting to reach the next marker, is still with me today.  Not only was I able to run 5km with little difficultly, but I accomplished something that until yesterday felt impossible.  Looking back at the past 3 years, I have accomplished a lot, and much like the meters between each colour station, I have sped through each school semester because I was so excited to reach the milestone of another semester gone.  I learned yesterday that not only am I in better physical shape than I thought, but I have been overwhelmed and stressed out for no reason.  I haven't done everything perfectly, but there is nothing wrong with that.  At times I have taken on too much, and then stressed myself out when I wasn't able to accomplish it all.  I wasn't able to relax completely and I found myself worrying about what I could be doing instead or what I had to do the next day.  But now I understand that all of this negativity gets me no where.  I need to revel in the feelings of joy at each stage, and when I feel like there is too much to do, remember the excitement that I felt as I worked towards a stage.

Now that I am facing the busiest year of university plus taking additional courses to get a professional certification I must remember this desire more than ever.  Writing is what I do and a scholar is who I am.  My imagined time restraints and perfectionist inclinations do little to aid either.  And at the end of the day all I have to remember is that when something seems impossible and is stressing me out, all I have to do is keeping moving forward, remember how far I've come, and revel in the happiness when I reach a goal.  And if all else fails, all I have to do is look at my medal from the run, admire the multitudes of colour, and feel inspired.
Good morning, dear readers.  I realize that it has been a long time since I have written anything.  Now that I am moving into writing the final papers for all of my courses, I find that I need that bit of writing time first thing in the morning to get my head going...like warming up a muscle.

In truth, I am feeling inspired to write lately.  But, as a writer, especially with my blog and music review articles, I never really gave much thought about how I would feel when people began to read my stuff.  I always hoped to attract readers, but I always felt somewhat anonymous, something a shy person like me relishes.  But then I realized that many people that I knew read my blog and the feelings I experienced shocked me.  I felt a mixture of excitement and embarrassment whenever someone would say that they read or have read my blog.  "What a funny way to feel," I would think to myself, so I had to examine why.

Obviously, I was excited that people were taking time out of their days to read something that I had written and posted on the internet.  I was also excited because as my skills grow I hope to continue to write engaging material.  However, the embarrassed feeling surprised me.  First off, I really prefer not being the centre of attention, and a compliment only draws attention to me, but that wasn't why I felt embarrassed in this case.  Writing, like all other art forms, is like taking a part of yourself and putting it on display for the whole world to see.  When someone tells me that they read my blog or articles then that person is privy to a glimpse into my mind and soul, a side that I can only express through my art.  So as touched and happy as I am that someone, especially someone that I know personally, reads what I write, I am always surprised at the vulnerability that I feel.

That leads me to thinking about writing books.  I could only imagine that if one day I publish one of my stories how it will feel.  The excitement of being published and the agony of being open to scrutiny.

Yet, despite these fears I will never stop writing, because it is not something that I just do, writing is something that I have to do.

So with that in mind, I am off to work on my term papers and strive on writing the best possible material I can, not because of the marks, but because this is what I do, so why not do it well.

Well it's snowing, cold and I am sitting bundled up inside working on some art projects today. That brought me to writing my day 2 challenge. I was eager to write this one when I first read it, and I hope you'll enjoy what I came up with:

Shit!!! It finally happened! The zombie invasion has begun! I’m trapped in my home office and no where near the bug out bag I had prepared. 
Think, think, I say out loud. My dogs who are growling at the door quickly look at me with concern and fear in their eyes. I hadn’t planned on taking them with me, but I guess nothing goes according to plan. Luckily I have extra leashes and collars in here. Those will come in handy, and I even grab one of the toys saved for outside play. Never know when a rock hard kong attached to a rope will come in handy.
Looking around I notice that I have three bags in the closet. One is a backpack, one is a messenger bag that can be slung across the shoulder, and the other is a small hand held bag.
While I’m in the closet I may as well start tossing as many clothes on as I can. Luckily I have a variety of scarves that I can easily wrap around me. It’s mid-winter outside and I am not dressed to be outside. Pajamas are hardly warm, but thankfully my slippers have a hard sole. They are better than bare feet.
I notice at the bottom of the closet some herbs that I had dried and had intended to use when I was interested in Herbal medicine. Some of these will definitely come in handy. What do I grab next?
I fling open the doors to the cupboard. The large curved blade that I used to cut fresh cooking herbs is in there, that will definitely come in handy. I open the large trunk and grab the quilt in there. I will definitely need that, and it can be rolled up small.
Moving to the book shelves I notice my twin throwing knives on top. I grab those and I spot the cheap sugar candy that I had bought for the box and decide that those may save my life at some point. I grab my small plant reference books, local hiking guide complete with maps, and my favourite novel The Jungle Books. Everything else is useless now.
On my desk is a small notebook, pencils, and my smartphone. Those are definitely coming. Phone may be useless, but I would hate to never have music again. I start to divide everything between the bags, and I spot my snowshoes. I know where I am headed and I may need those.
I grab my small guitar amp and smash it through the ground floor window. The dogs leap out onto the street, and just as I am about to jump through the window I notice my St. Christopher pendant hanging off the shelf by the window. I slip it on and leap out the window.

Hope you enjoyed this one. I really liked it because it forced me to see what was around me in a different light. I mean really if something like this happened and you had only a few minutes to decide and pick what was on hand, that would be tough. Now onto prompt 3!!!


I finally got to it. My day one response to the writing challenge is complete. I had to do it today. I spent the morning trying to write academic papers only to find that I was thinking creatively, not academically. Atleast now I should be more prepared to delve into academic writing tomorrow.

For those of you who don't know, I expressed my interest in doing a 100 Day Writing Challenge in a previous entry. I realize that I may not be able to do one a day, and it may take me longer that 100 days, but I plan to work through them all. Next year in university I begin my creative writing portion of my studies, so I hope that this will help me clear the academic created cobwebs, as it were, and begin to think creatively more often.

The prompts for day one focus on describing the current location that you find yourself in, and here is what I came up with. Enjoy!

        I currently find myself in my home office, which the previous owners had used as a bedroom. The penciled lines marking a growth chart on the moulding around the closet door is a dead give away that a child once used this room, and I can see why. The walls are a bright blue that remind me of the bluest sky only seen on those really crisp winter days and you can see the blue between the clouds, the sky on a day like today.
I glance at the sky through the three massive windows that dominate the outside wall of the room. Through them I can see the park that occupies a city block across the street from the house, where it appears like the locals are never content to stay inside. They are either engrossed in an intense hockey game at the local outdoor rink, or they are enjoying the snow covered hills, walkways, and playground equipment that are dotted amongst the trees. The cold of the outside is obvious with every breath that the skaters blow out, as even from here I can still see the soft clouds of frozen breath as the skaters glide effortlessly across the rink. And although I am toasty warm in my room, with my feet delicately resting on the baseboard heater, the cold still finds its way into my finger joints requiring me to stop often and flex out their stiffness.
Yet, however warm I find myself it pales in comparison to the slumbering old dog behind me who is snoring away, either oblivious to the loud music radiating from my small desktop speakers or so used to the noise that she finds it oddly comforting. The distinct smell of the room is the result of her twenty three hour a day nap, leaving the room smelling roughly like a fully inhabited barn, a smell that I am thankfully used to and unable to smell any longer.
The other dog occasionally visits me in my home office, nudging my leg with the side of his face, routinely checking the view through the windows, and pads off silently with a dog toy that he retrieves from the milk crate in the closet behind me.
The closet is more of a re-appropriated space containing half started art projects, odds and ends, dwindling office supplies all sprawled out on wire shelves. Looming over the mess are my favourite clothes hung in an equally messy way. In fact, every aspect of the room is in a state of perpetual disarray.
From the boxes of books cleverly covered with a black blanket, to the rarely played instruments resting patiently in the corner, to the book shelves crammed with various books on equally various and obscure topics standing sentry on either side of the vast windows. 
The brown pressboard book shelves are the centre of creative and intellectual activity in the room, books ranging from mythology to psychology, cooking to poetry, and there are even books that have yet to be read because they are in Chinese and Russian. Atop the bookshelves rest various figurines and momentous used as references to create settings, characters, and monsters.
And here I sit at my desk, between the sentries with buckling frames desperately clinging to their innards, facing the world outside the windows. The desk is contrastingly perfectly organized and functional, like it is the black sheep of the furniture in the home office. Everything in its place, everything readily available, and everything purposeful…everything except the solar powered plastic plant that begins to wiggle up and down at the first sign of the sun creeping over of the houses that inhabit the world outside of the ever present windows.

I have to say that this was difficult and fun. The constraining 500 words was a challenge because I have a tendency to go overboard when writing descriptions. Even with restraint I still went over the word limit :). Can you tell that descriptive writing is one of my favourite things to do? I know one thing that I have to work on is word conservation, that is saying a lot with as little words as possible. That is probably the most important thing that I remember from The Element of Style, and book that I highly recommend every writer to have in their arsenal of reference books. It is relatively cheap, and although many people say that the book is outdated, I have yet to find anything that compares.

Well time to wrap it up for today. My noggin feels happily restored and I can feel the creative tendencies blissfully content for now, allowing the academic side to flex and power up for a day of essays and quizzes.

And be sure to stay tuned for Day 2 of the Writing Challenge.

Cheers!

Hello, dear readers.  I spent a good deal of time Friday morning reworking my blog in an attempt to make it look more streamlined and user-friendly.  I still have a few bugs to work out, but what do you think?  Any suggestions?

I had every intention of one day changing the title, but now I don't think I will.  Perhaps the title is a touch immature, but for those of you that know me maybe you can attest to how fitting the title is.  I may know more than I knew yesterday, and tomorrow I will know more than I did today, but I'll never stop learning and I will never stop being a noob.  I think that the day that I declare that I am no longer a noob to writing is the day that I stop learning anything, and no good can come from that.  That would be the day that I will have doomed myself, for to live well we must continue to learn new things everyday because that is how we grow.  Maybe I'm channelling Socrates and his views about wisdom and education, but that is what I firmly believe.  Therefore, I declare that I will never change the name of my blog, as I will never stop learning and being a noob.

So that is my challenge for you, dear readers.  Learn something new everyday.  It doesn't have to be anything major.  Learn about a new musician or artist, learn a new skill, learn sometime new about the town you live in...anything!!  I am still amazed at how good it feels to learn about something new.  Learning changes how you see the world around you, and how you interact with your world.  That may sound funny, but I just moved to a place where I don't speak the language and while I work on learning the language, I am using what I know about body language and social cues to interact with people.  As I learn to speak the language, the world around me begins to expand as I am more able to participate in it.

Although, as I have learned, don't overdo it.  I have reached my saturation point may times, and once I get to that point any additional information that I try to cram into my head just gets lost along the way.

It's funny...I didn't intend to go off on a rant about learning today, but as I contemplated about the title of my blog the words just flowed.  I am currently reading The Last Unicorn and I love the magician Schmendrick.  He states on a couple of occasions that he is just a conduit for the magic, and that he doesn't control it and the magic does as it wills.  I think it is very much the same for writing and other forms of art.  Many times if I sit back passively and don't attempt to control the words, they just come pouring out.  I had hoped to write my piece for the first prompt in the writing challenge, but we will see how tomorrow goes.

I am now off to work on a painting that I had an idea for late one night.  If I like how it turns out maybe I'll put a picture of it on here.  Until next time feel free to check out my latest article: Eddie Cohn.  I love a couple of the songs on Eddie's latest album.

Cheers!!
Hi everyone.  I hope that you have all been well.  I have been busy with so much transition in my life over the last six months.  Unfortunately my blog fell by the wayside as much of my focus was devoted to school work, article writing, and settling into my new house.  In addition to all of that I had appointments daily while I made the transition from my previous career into this one.  But I am now happy to say that I can fully give all of my attention to my writing and schoolwork.  However, it turned out that fate decided to throw me one last curve ball before I thrust my entire being into my new role as a writer.

Last night I went to bed excited to get back on track with school and even decided to start a 100 day writing challenge.  I spent yesterday updating my resume and organizing my portfolio, excited to start my Thursday.  As I drifted off to sleep I thought about how I was going to wake up early and work out, complete my writing challenge for the day, and spend the day immersed in academic bliss.  Those thoughts gave me a very restful sleep.

But when I woke with a headache that can only be described as apocalyptic, sinuses so stuffy that I swear tiny gnomes built a dam inside my head, a fever that makes the heat on the Sinai pale in comparison, and a sensitivity to light that would rival a vampire's I realized that I had finally succumbed to the dreaded seasonal flu.  Needless to say all of my grand plans for the day fluttered away in the snow-populated wind that is currently ripping around my house, howling with laughter as if it knew Fate's plans.

So, dear readers, I hope that tomorrow I will have something more substantial here, as I am hoping to share my challenges here daily.  In the meantime feel free to check out this weeks issue of The Voice Magazine and my article covering Yes Nice's latest single.

As well for those that might be interested in doing a 100 day writing challenge check it out here.

Cheers till tomorrow!!