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The Accidental Writer: A Memoir

The Accidental Writer: A Memoir

Автором Paul Lima

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The Accidental Writer: A Memoir

Автором Paul Lima

Длина:
123 pages
2 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 27, 2020
ISBN:
9781927710371
Формат:
Книге

Описание

The Accidental Writer: A Memoir
Didn't know rules of grammar; became a writer. Had a vasectomy; became a dad. Liked cats; became a dog lover

I'd like to call this a "no-holds-barred" memoir, but I must confess to barring a few holds. Still, in addition to how I accidently became a writer, dad and dog lover (even though I don't know the rules of grammar ... had a vasectomy in my twenties ... and grew up loving cats), The Accidental Writer  has sex, violence (if a kid getting kicked in the nuts is violent enough for you) and, unfortunately, Multiple Sclerosis. Plus you can read about several of the spectrums on which at different places we all find ourselves.

Written by successful freelance writer, author, and writing instructor Paul Lima, The Accidental Writer is in large part a memoir, with a whole lot of autobiography tossed in. It is, in short, a fun romp through a relatively dull life. But why tell you about it when I can let the introduction to the book speak for itself.
 

Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 27, 2020
ISBN:
9781927710371
Формат:
Книге

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The Accidental Writer - Paul Lima

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1 / Introduction

I have been one of Canada's most successful freelance writers and one of the country's most successful freelance trainers. Now before freelance writers and trainers who have been more successful than I have been say, Hey, wait a minute. Not as successful as me! please reread my opening line. I said one of Canada's most, not the most. In other words, I've done well for myself.

I started out as a full-time copywriter way back when, became a freelance journalist and then a six-figure freelance corporate writer and author of over a dozen books on business writing, promotional writing, online writing and the business of freelance writing. When I added training (business writing, promotional writing, online writing and media interview preparation) to the list of services that I offered, my income soared to even greater heights.

But why am I using past tense here? As of this writing, I am 64 years old. I have multiple sclerosis (MS), and it's fair to say that I am more retired than not retired, although I teach online writing courses for the University of Toronto and conduct the occasional writing webinar. But for the most part, I am simply having fun writing this memoir and researching my next book, The Atheist Chronicles.

The fact is, as well as I have done, I am an accidental writer. I am also an accidental dad and an accidental dog lover. Stick with me, because this book will explain it all. And it will take more than a few digressions into other aspects of my life.

Some people might call this book a memoir; some might call it an autobiography. There is a difference, or so I've been told by writers who are more knowledgeable about such things. But just as there is a difference, there is also a spectrum when it comes to writing like this. The spectrum might have a strict definition of memoir at one end and of autobiography at the other, but there is a heck of a lot of room in between the ends for writing that is a bit of both or somewhat more of one and less of the other.

It's kind of like the different spectrums in life—gender, sexual orientation, careers, mental health, physical health (such as my Multiple Sclerosis) and other facets of who we are. I am, we all are, at various places on different spectrums. For instance, I am male and heterosexual, but there has been a tiny bit of same sex experimentation in my life and there is a whole lot of stereotypical male stuff that I avoid and am not good at doing. In fact, if you were to invoke stereotypes you might say that I have a strong feminine side when it comes to gender. I am definitely male, but gender is complex. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, gender identity is a person's internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female. In fact, Facebook provides more than 50 options beyond male and female for users to describe their gender identity, from gender questioning and neither to androgynous.

That's quite the spectrum, just one of a myriad of spectrums that make up our lives. However, I digress in a manner that has nothing to do with my becoming an accidental anything. To be clear, I do feel this book belongs somewhere on that spectrum, the literary one, not the gender or sexual orientation one. It is a memoir about how I became a writer and dad and dog lover. But it is also an autobiography, one that leaves out a heck of lot of autobiographical stuff about me. So this work fits somewhere on one of the many literary spectrums that are out there.

But before we get on with my memoir, here is a bit about memory, which is an important component of this book. Memory does not work like a DVD waiting to be played. It is not stored like a video file waiting to be downloaded or streamed. Memories are formed in networks across the brain and every time that they are recalled they can be altered. (At least that is what I've read about memory.) I know people whose memories are much more vivid than mine are. They are much more emphatic about what they remember. For instance, many people know exactly where they were when they heard that president John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated. I haven't got a clue where I was. But a friend of mine remembers, and I am in his memory. So we were at the same place at the same time. He says we were walking home from public school when several boys walking down the street stopped us and told us the news.

It was November 22, 1963. I was nine years old, about to turn ten in four days, and in grade four. I was not in a great mood because an aunt was getting married on November 26, my birthday. That meant I would not be having a birthday party because I would be at her reception. So I remember being peeved that there would be no birthday party for me; I do not recall hearing that JFK had been assassinated. Priorities.

On the other hand, I remember where I was when I heard the news in the early 1980s that a passenger jet had been shot down. I was working as a copywriter for Radio Shack, the company that is now known as The Source. I remember feeling depressed about the loss of life. Who would kill all those innocent people and why? However, I don't remember how I heard this news, what country the downed plane belonged too (although South Korea comes to mind) or what country shot it down (I have a nagging feeling that it was Russia, but I could be wrong).

So why remember some things and not others? Why have holes of various sizes in some of the things that I remember? For instance, I remember where I was on 9/11 and how I heard the news that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I also remember who I immediately told about it. So perhaps what we remember has to do with age and with what else is going on in life at a particular time, as much it does with the event itself. As in I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but if a major political figure or famous person had died yesterday, I suspect I'd remember that. Unless lunch was particularly scrumptious.

With that in mind, many of the memories in this book are suspect. In some ways, this book feels like a work of fiction; I feel like I'm making up characters and events. But I can assure you that this book is non-fiction. I am not lying, at least not deliberately. This book is me, as best as I can remember myself, becoming a writer... a dad... a dog lover. All accidentally.

Note: The names of many people in this book have been changed to protect their innocence, at least in relation to me. If they wish to acknowledge knowing me, should they ever write their memoirs, I have no problem with that. I have not changed the names of my wife, daughter, dogs, members of my family, my childhood friends (the Sotnicks) or my good friends Gabriele and Pete. Nor have I changed the names of people who I have not met or who I knew only briefly and who most likely don't remember me. I don't remember the names of some of the people that I write about and say so rather than making up names, because memory gaps are one of the themes of this book.

Since I don't expect to sell many copies of this book, there was no budget for proofreading. If you spot a typo, or want to comment on anything in the book, email paullima.com@gmail.com.

––––––––

2 / Boring Boy

I am a boring boy. Or I should say that I was a boring boy. I became a boring teenager, then a boring young man, then a boring middle-aged man. Then a sick and boring older man. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't even been born yet. That's where this memoir should begin: at the beginning.

I was born on November 26, 1954. Not sure what time. Can't ask my mom or dad as they are both deceased. Nothing tragic. They both died of old age. My older sister, Jeannette, and older brother, Patrick, don't know what time I was born. They were too young to pay attention to my birth. And my younger sister, Ruth, or Ruthie as she was called for the longest time, doesn't know what time I was born as she wasn't around then.

Ah, the things we'd like to know when it's too late to find out.

So there I am, born November 26, 1954 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. As if I have to write Canada. Like anybody outside of Canada is going to read this. As if anybody anywhere is going to read it! I don't remember anything about Hamilton because my family moved to Toronto when I was two, too young to have formed any memories. At least I was too young to form memories; I'm always impressed by people who remember stuff from when they were that young.

I had an uncle, Benny, and his second wife, Irene, who lived in Hamilton. I also had an aunt, Mary, her husband, Jimmy, and their three kids, Gary (who is a year older than I am), Sharon (a couple of years younger) and Judy (younger still), who lived in Hamilton. My family would drive to Hamilton every now and then to visit with our relatives, so I remember a little, very little, about Hamilton. But none of it because I was born there.

I remember my Uncle Benny was a wrestler—the fake wrestling kind of wrestler. He had a wrestling ring in his garage where he trained other fake wrestlers. He trained Dewy Robertson, who was a fake wrestling good guy. He trained other wrestlers, but I don't remember any other names.

My uncle used to wrestle on Saturday mornings on the wrestling show on the Hamilton television station, CHCH or Chanel 11. He was a hometown favourite, paid to lose so he could help advance the careers

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