Writing Like An Old Man Drives…

…Slow and sloppy. (Okay, so, I stole that line from George Carlin – although his version was far more colourful – but it fit the theme I was thinking about today, and I didn’t think he’d mind.)

As I was driving home from the gym today, in a bit of a foul mood – due in no part to the rank odour I had generated in the giant sauna I refer to as a gym – there was a very, very old man driving in front of me.

I was driving along in a relatively deep funk – referring to both my demeanor and my body odour – that I had been wallowing in for a couple of days. I had failed, somewhat miserably, in my bid to write 10,000 words in 10 days (getting about 7,000 words in my ten day period). I started off well, but the closer I got to my self-imposed deadline, the more I sat and stared at my computer screen trying to figure out why I couldn’t remember how to string a sentence together. I went from a commitment to write every day, to spending my writing time watching Youtube videos while I pounded my fists on my desk and yelled, “There has to be inspiration in here, somewhere!”

When I write, I allot certain times of the day, based upon my work schedule, and what my wife happens to be doing at the time, to writing. Last night I was supposed to write from 8pm to 9pm, and then meet my wife on the couch for some down time.

I managed to write a few sentences, then deleted them. I read back to what I had written in my last session, decided it sucked, and deleted most of that, too. I simply could not get any forward momentum. I couldn’t get a rhythm going and catch the flow of the story. After I stared at that cruelly blinking little bastard of a cursor for about thirty minutes, I gave up, stomped around the house for a while, and then went outside to glare at the plants in my back yard.

As I stood there, giving my wife’s tomato plants the stink-eye, she came outside to ask me how the writing went. “It didn’t,” I said. “I forgot how.”

One of the reasons I love my wife so much is that she is strong enough to kick my ass and keep me in line when I really get out of hand, and doesn’t pay much attention to my “poor me” bullshit.

“Ty,” she said, laying a tender hand on my arm. “You didn’t forget how to write. You’re just having a bad day.” Then she stood on her tip-toes to kiss my cheek. “Now quit whining and get back to work.” By all the gods, I love that woman.

I didn’t write that night, but I thought a lot about it. I read, and thought; petted the cats, and thought; watched part of “The Wrath of the Titans”, and thought. This morning when I got up, still deep in the grips of a horrid funk, I hadn’t come to any startling revelations about how I was going to write the Great Canadian Novel, or even how I was going to string a coherent sentence together.

It wasn’t until I decided to hurl verbal abuse at a very old man that I had an epiphany. (Settle down, I didn’t actually yell at the old man. I’m not a complete dick. I was in my truck with windows rolled up and the only witness to my ridiculousness was me).

The old guy was in front of me, driving an old Buick that was roughly as long as three city blocks, travelling at approximately the same speed as an ice-berg. The man was a rolling cliché, with a straw fedora, a set of puffy knuckles gripping a steering wheel that was well above his shoulder level, and a pine-tree air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror. He wanted to make a right hand turn on a green light, but stopped at the intersection and then jerked forward erratically, his brake lights flickering on and off.

“It’s okay, dude,” I said to myself. “You can go.”

He didn’t go, but I could see the peak of his fedora swiveling back and forth as his land-barge continued to inch into the intersection.

“Any particular shade of green?” I asked the windshield of my truck, as I glared up at the light that gave the old dude the right of way.

“It’s the pedal on the right,” I said, gritting my teeth as the old man continued to sit, his nose out in the empty intersection while I sat behind him, losing my mind.

As we waited, the light turned yellow and people behind me began to honk.

“For Christ’s sake, just go!” I said, yelling at my steering wheel.

Ultimately the light turned red and the old man tottered through the intersection, nearly running over a pedestrian and broad-siding a city works truck. I could only sit there, watching both the pedestrian and the city works guy shake their fists and yell at the old man who was blissfully oblivious to their criticism, and shake my head.

As I continued my drive, thinking about how silly the old man was, giving myself an internal lecture about how you had to be confident when you drive and go when it was your time to go, I had that epiphany I was hoping to get while glaring at the flora in my back yard.

My writing was much like the old man’s driving. I was unsure, hesitant, slightly oblivious and not at all confident.

Telling a story is kind of like driving a car (only without the risk of driving over people and getting sued). You have to know the rules, have some kind of awareness of where you’re going, and then you have to make the commitment and go. You cannot hesitate, like the old man at the intersection. At best, you’re going to get absolutely nowhere, and at worst you’ll lead yourself to complete disaster.

Today, with the old man in mind, I managed to sit down and get some work done. It wasn’t my best, and it wasn’t a lot, but it was good, and it was progress.

Sometimes, I found, you just have to find the accelerator and give it a push.

As always, thanks for reading.

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A Good Time to Keep My Mouth Shut

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective, lately, and how it relates to me, in both my personal and writing life. But over the past few days a few incidents have really highlighted the fact that there are times to relate your perspective, and times you should probably keep your mouth shut. 

It started off in the beginning of the week when my working life imploded in a serious of incidents of unprecedented ridiculousness and violence. Despite what I viewed as the extreme hardship of some of the files I attended with my team, we were highly successful, and in one of the events I was praised for my performance as a leader. That is all well and good, but what I did with that praise is not something that makes me particularly proud.

One of my junior members came to me to tell me a story about something he’d encountered during the shift – something he’d never seen before and forced him into a steep learning curve, but gave him valuable experience and a cool story to tell. He came into my office and laid the story on me, and instead of praising him like I should have, I pulled a, “Oh, yeah, well let me tell you about what I did.”

As I bulldozed over top of his experience with my story, I saw the enthusiastic smile slip from his face. By the time I was done the air was sucked out of him completely. It took a while for the defeated expression on his face to make it through to the interior of my empty head, but when I realized what I’d done I felt terrible and had to think really hard about how to never do that to anyone again.

Due to the difference in our rank and service, our perspectives were very, very different. Was my scene bigger than his? Well, yes it was. Was my scene more dangerous than his? Well, yes, but it’s my job to do that kind of thing. Did any of this make his task or experience less valid than mine? Fuck, no.

I felt bad about the way I’d treated that young constable for a couple days, and I was still thinking about it when and I was on my first day off and noticed several of the authors I follow on Twitter lamenting about their interaction with their fan-base, and how to deal with negative reviews. As I read their posts, about how they only had ten thousand twitter followers, or some one gave them a negative review, I wanted to reply to them and say, “At least someone bought your book, you whining shit!” Then, of course, common sense got a hold of me, (specifically the concept that no one was forcing me to follow anyone on Twitter, and if I was that grumpy I could go elsewhere – and the guy had so many followers he wouldn’t notice the departure of little old me) and I decided not to be the crazy person on the internet.

I thought, after I’d calmed down, about the difference in perspective for myself and the lamenting author. For him, writing is his livelihood and the issues he was discussing were vitally important to being able to feed himself and pay his electricity bill so he could power his lap top and keep writing. I, too, would like to one day make my living from my writing, but I am not going to starve if no one buys my book. His perspective was vastly different than mine, but was also extremely valid.

One of the most salient points I experienced this week came while I was perusing Facebook last night. A friend of mine (who shall go unnamed, because I think he’s done enough verbal fist-fighting over this already) posted an article by another writer. The article had to do with, what the author believed, was a major downfall in modern literature, and he was very focused on a certain group of people that he believed to be majorly responsible for that downfall.

I read the article and I’m still thinking about the content. There were points I agreed with, and points that I thought were a little off-side and had degenerated into nothing more than a rant. I didn’t say anything about the article, because this was one man’s perspective. The thing that bothered me was the string of hateful comments the article generated, many of them directed at the person who had shared it. Many of the comments, from my layman’s perspective, were attacking the article, and the person sharing it, because it went against their own perspective. It did not validate what the commenters believed to be their own monumental struggle, and because of this they felt it necessary to go on a vicious attack. I didn’t weigh in, because I didn’t want to be the crazy person shouting into the internet, but I thought a lot about the perspective of those comments and tried to understand the place they were coming from.

I don’t think I’m ever going to understand, but I know that I can peacefully allow people to have their perspective and not feel the need to correct them for it.

I believed that I actually learned a bit of a lesson today, and I was vaguely proud of myself. A friend started talking about their work place, and the internal politics that were ruining it. As soon as they started talking about work-place politics I looked around for an apple box to stand on, so I could launch into a diatribe about how it was so much worse at my work place; where my friend worked in a place with about twelve employees, I worked in an organization of over twenty thousand people where politics decides whether or not I get proper safety equipment and adequate resources to keep me alive at work and…blah, blah, blah…

Before I could open my mouth and make an ass of myself, my brain actually kicked in. My friend’s perspective, my brain told me, was valid, and important, and deserved my attention. The fact that it was very different than mine did not make it any less valuable. Now, I told myself, was a good time to keep my mouth shut and listen.

Perspectives are much like stories: they are all very different. And it is the difference, I think, that makes them all important. I am not going to like everyone’s perspective, just like I am not going to like everyone’s stories; I can’t stand “Twilight”, but it encouraged a large cross-section of youth to put down their cell phones and actually read a book, so maybe it isn’t as bad as I want it to be.

The thing that has become abundantly clear to me over the last few days, is that even though I don’t like something, or maybe don’t understand it, does not make it any less important. Barring anything that preaches violence against a given group (and there are lots of examples this), I think we need to give everyone enough space to have their own opinion, and tell their own story.

After all, nothing is more important than a story.

As always, thanks for reading.

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A Little Time, A Lot of Emotion

The last two weeks have been rough. Policing in the aftermath of the murders in Moncton has been challenging, but we’re keeping on as best we can. There has been an out-pouring of public support, which makes the burdens a little easier to bear, and I’ve found myself getting emotional at work. One comment, made by an elderly man who happened to be passing me on a rainy sidewalk while I was working on something, almost brought me to tears.

He asked me, “Well, Laddie, you got your head above water?”

I said, “Yes, sir, I’m trying.”

He touched me on the shoulder as he passed, just the lightest brush of his gnarled fingers. “Glad to hear it, son. You make me proud.”

I’m not entirely certain what he was referring to, but it didn’t matter.

I’ve always taken my work life seriously, but after Moncton I’m just a little more cautious than I was before. I am still courteous, and do my best to be patient, but I find myself giving people just a little less space, being a little more abrupt in my responses.

I had an incident at work this week, that saw a man try very enthusiastically to do harm to me and one of my constables. We came out on top, and the Mounties got their man, but if I’d been a little less quick, or a little less decisive, we would have probably gotten very seriously hurt, or worse. By the end of the incident I was badly out of breath and had a deep lactic burn in all of my major muscle groups, and I said to myself, as I say at the end of every confrontation that leaves me sucking wind, “I need to train harder.”

I very rarely miss a workout, but they are often approached with varying levels of enthusiasm, and I am not above taking the easy way out (“I don’t need to do squats today”, or “Wind-sprints are for crazy people”). So, I re-evaluated my training program and made a few fiery adjustments.

Yesterday, after hammering through a workout so hard I had serious difficulty lifting my arms, I was walking on the treadmill and browsing through Youtube, trying to find some new songs to add to my gym playlist. I came across a song by a band called Skillet, and you can listen to it here.

While listening to the band, I had a strange, powerful, visceral reaction. The song struck something in me, way down in the center of my chest, like a plucked guitar string. I don’t know if I was over-emotional because of the year I’ve had (the passing of my father, etc), the events of the past few weeks, or the idea that I could have been killed on the side of the road in Whalley at five o’clock in the morning, but I was a flooded with over-powering emotion.

The song made me think about a lot of things. It made me think about how much I miss my Dad. It made me think about my wife, and how she has stuck to me without wavering through the plethora of shit we’ve had thrown at us. It made me think about my friends and my coworkers (who are, in many cases, one and the same), and how we’ve banded together to face the storms that always keep swirling around us. As the song hammered through my earphones I didn’t know if I should shout, or cry, or maybe throw shit and yell at inanimate objects. My reaction to it was so strong that I had to sit on a mat in the corner of the gym and calm down for a little while.

As I sat, I felt like there was a story in the song and if I could lay my finger upon it, then perhaps I could get a hold of myself. I sat there for twenty minutes or so, pretending to stretch, and finally gave up and went home.

Later that afternoon, I pounced on my wife the moment she walked through the door and made her sit down and listen to the song that had so deeply affected me. She is used to me doing these kinds of things, and so sat patiently, and listened to it beginning to end. When it was over, and I was raving about how awesome it was, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “yeah, it’s okay.”

This, obviously, was not the reaction I had expected.

Whatever the story in the song was, it certainly was not speaking to my wife. As much as I wanted to point at her and say she was wrong, that would be a huge fallacy. She wasn’t wrong, she just didn’t hear what I did.

This got me thinking to how subjective stories in general are, whether it be a written work or the story in a song. I’ve had some fantastic reactions to my work from people who have read it, and others kinda shrug their shoulders and say “it could use some work.” My publisher thinks I rock (otherwise they’d not have printed my schlock), but I sent the same story to thirty other people, all of whom sent me form letters or cut/paste emails that contained different variations of, “Dear author, please piss off.”

Does a negative reaction to my story make someone wrong? My initial opinion, while I’m in the throes of self-pity at being rejected, is certainly to say they are, but the truth is that they just didn’t feel it the way I hoped they would.

Stories – songs, novels, poetry, spoken word – is all about emotion; you have to evoke emotion in your reader. Sometimes you’re going to pluck that right chord, like the band Skillet did when I listened to their song and wanted to cry, and sometimes you’re going to miss and get nothing but a bunch of noise.

If you can get your reader to experience a fraction of the emotion I did while listening to that song, then you will be doing very well, I think. But what’s more important, your reader will be doing well, too.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

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Loss, Anger and Moving Forward

This has been a week of loss, and every cop – really, every Canadian – across the planet has felt it. Three men, three Mounties, were murdered in Moncton, and two more injured, after a man ambushed them with a high-powered firearm.

This incident has left me angry and heart-broken. I am not so arrogant as to say that I feel this loss more keenly than someone else – because there are a lot of people who are hurting more than I am – but the men in Moncton were still members of my extended family, and their loss stings for us all.

Some of the things I am angry about are valid, and some really are not. My valid anger does not need to be discussed here, because it has all been said by people much smarter than me, but I think I need to air some of the more ridiculous things I am angry about.

On Wednesday night I was sitting on my couch, thinking about going to bed so I could get up and go to work for 0600 hours, when my wife looked up from her phone and said, “Three members were killed in Moncton”. I took to the internet and quickly found news of the shooting, all with sketchy details, but all confirming that three of my brethren were dead. I spent a mostly sleepless night looking for updates, wondering if the shooter had been caught, wondering about the condition of the survivors who had been taken to hospital, wishing the whole thing had never happened. I went to work the next morning, bleary eyed and distraught, still searching for updates.

It was about noon when I completely lost my shit and wanted to launch into a hysterical social media melt-down, and it really didn’t even have anything to do with the Moncton shooting. Several of my Facebook contacts, who initially shared the news of, and weighed in on the tragedy began posting things that were not concerned with Moncton: “I pressure washed my deck,” or “It’s time for drinks on the patio”, and “I painted my nails and they look FANTASTIC!”

I was enraged. Several Mounties had been killed in the line of duty, making the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the people they served, and someone actually had the audacity to carry on with their lives while I was still locked in a shocked state of mourning. The more social media updates I saw that were not concerned with Moncton, the angrier I got, to the point where I began writing a long rant on Facebook that would likely made me appear insane.

After I’d decided that being the crazy person on the internet was not going to serve the fallen, I tried to think rationally about why I was so mad.

The only conclusion I could come to was that I was not ready for the world to move on from the event. I was not prepared that someone could possibly care about anything else when something so obviously tragic had occurred. I did not think it right that people have lives outside of my grief.

As I sit here, thinking about this, I realize that I am wrong. It is not reasonable for the world to come to a screeching halt, and we will not honor the dead by doing so. I also have to force myself to remember that just because people have lives outside of this event does not mean they no longer care about it. It does not mean that they have forgotten.

The grieving process for Moncton – for any loss, really – is going to be slow, and it is going to hurt. But I – we – cannot shut down and call it quits. The cop in me still has to get out of bed, strap my gun-belt on, step out onto the street and face down the things that lurk in the dark. The storyteller in me still has to get out all the stories that live in my heart and the far recesses of my imagination and tell them the best way I can.

It is through our continued lives that we honor the dead. It is in our stories, our memories, our accounts of their heroism and the inspiration we draw from their lives that we keep them best. It is okay for me, for us all, to mourn, but it is also okay for us to live.

I didn’t personally know the men who died in Moncton, but I will remember them. I hope you will, too.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Small Talk Isn’t Small

I should probably know better, but I keep trying to do this stupid thing called “Human Interaction”. Ridiculous, I know. My most recent failed attempt happened in Costco today while my wife and I were braving the crowds of other weary shoppers who were trying to gather enough sustenance to quiet the squalling child strapped down in their carts.

I was pushing a buggy through an especially congested piece of real estate, trying to make my way towards the mangos, when a woman, who was face down in her smart phone, drove her cart into me. I turned to her, and smiled, doing my best to remember that I was not the only one in the store who was tired of crowds and wanted to go home.

“Sorry, my bad,” I said, even though it wasn’t.

She didn’t look up from her phone.

“I should have my head examined for coming in here on a long weekend.”

Her fingers rapidly tapped on the small screen held before her eyes, which did not so much as glance in my direction.

“I think you might be on fire.”

Not a word.

Apparently small talk is dead and I am an idiot for even having the vague notion that people should talk to each other.

I am actually beginning to find the lack of people willing to interact with their fellow humans disheartening. I cannot count how many times, during my work life, where I’ve gotten to the scene of some kind of tragedy and someone is lying on the ground, bleeding. Almost without fail I’ll look around and see a couple of dozen people, their phones held up before their faces so they can record the misery of the poor bastard who has been recently hit by a car/robbed/stabbed. None of them would think to help, or even use the phone in their hand to call 911, but they sure as hell won’t miss a single second of the guy screaming.

Is it just me, or do people suck?

I now find myself surprised, or perhaps delighted, when people take a couple of minutes to talk to me. I don’t mean “do you want fries with that” kind of conversation, but actual, full on communicating; the kind of interaction where you get a sense of the person you’re talking to, even if you’re only getting a look at a single facet of the complex individual standing opposite you. In the society we now live in, making small talk is no small thing.

This is one of the reasons I think stories are so important. Beyond the fact that reading a story is like having a very long conversation with the author, stories are all about conflict and interaction. Good stories are filled with dialogue, people communicating, characters learning about one another through speech and gestures. The reader is forced to focus on what the storyteller is trying to say in order to understand the story and get into the lives of the characters. For me, it is one of the most intimate and detailed forms of interaction.

And I don’t think there is enough of it to go around.

As I sit here writing this, I wonder about the woman that ran into me in Costco. I wonder when was the last time she had someone really listen to her. I wonder when was the last time she had a conversation she couldn’t tap out on the screen of her phone. I wonder about the last time someone told her a story.

I think it has been a little too long.

If today is a writing day for you, like it is for me, think about the people who have forgotten what it means to communicate, and really need that story you’re hammering away on. Perhaps it will one day appear on the phone screen of one of these kids and they’ll learn something that I-Phone can’t teach them. 

As always, thanks for reading.

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The Value of a Word

This week has really just been one of those weeks. There wasn’t anything particularly traumatic, but I’ve worked about sixty-five hours in the last 5 days and I’ve encountered all sorts of ridiculous people. From the group of hollering youth holding an oil pipeline protest in the food court of a mall, to the young men who feel the best use of time is to get drunk and drive their cars into stationary objects, everything has been draining and I am completely out of steam.

But I found it only took a handful of words to fuel me up again.

As storytellers we are constantly on the search for the right words. We look for that perfect combination of syllables to evoke a feeling in our reader, to lift them up and propel the in the direction we think they need to go. I, for one, cannot say that I am always successful.  

But a couple days ago a friend of mine found the right words. Then she sent them to me.

At the midpoint in my work week I was feeling like ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five pound bag. I’d had almost zero time for writing, given the pressures of my work life, and I’ve been plagued by the feeling that my current project is absolute shit and I’ll never write anything worth reading, ever.

When I was at my lowest point, both exhausted and disheartened, my friend Holli ( a fantastic writer in her own right, http://thekickboxingwriter.blogspot.ca/), who had graciously offered to read my schlock, sent me a small message that had a big effect.  

“Your story doesn’t suck. You can do this.”

To the casual eye, the affirmation that I don’t completely suck might not seem like such a big deal. But, at that particular moment, it was like standing in the eye of the shit-storm that had become my week. That small affirmation took root and started to bloom into an honest belief. Perhaps my story didn’t suck, after all. Maybe I really could do this. The more I thought about what she’d said, the more firmly I began to think she might be right.

That night, after I was done arguing with a young lady about whether or not it was appropriate for her to bang a snare drum while she screamed about the evils of oil pipelines at some poor dude who was just trying to eat a taco, I went home and I found some words. They weren’t many, but they were good, and by the time I was done I was walking around and telling myself, “You really can do this.”

Just as we don’t always know what reaction our stories will elicit, I’m not sure that Holli knew exactly what her message would do for me. But her words were significant, just as the words in a story you’re currently working cranking away at, under the horrid fear that they are complete dreck, might be significant for the person reading them.  

I know it’s asking a lot, but go ahead and write that story, and write it without fear, cause there is someone who is going to think it doesn’t suck. And if you read something that you think doesn’t suck, let the author know, cause it might be exactly what they need to hear at that moment.

As always, thanks for reading.

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One Voice Among Many

People are funny, and Police work, just like writing, is all about people.

One of my favourite past times, recently, has been to immortalize on Facebook some of the stranger (hilarious) conversations I have with the people I come in contact with during the course of my work day. And since Police work is all about people, I have a lot of conversations. For example:

Guy: “Why do I have to go to the hospital? “
Me: “Cause you took too much heroin, and you were dead when the medics saved you.”
Guy: “What do you mean ‘dead’?”
Me: “I mean ‘go towards the light, grandma is waiting for you’ kind of dead.”
Guy: “But I’m cold!”
Me: “Probably because you were dead.”

And:

Me: “So, what are you doing here?”
Woman: “Collecting the scrap metal.”
Me: “Do you have permission to collect the metal?”
Woman: “Well, I talked to Tim, who knows Steve, who lived here a year ago, and knows the guy that might move in, and he said it was cool.”
Me: “So, what you’re saying is you don’t have permission.”
Woman: “Yeah, I got nothing.”

And one of my particular favourites:

Me: “So, what are you doing?”
Drunk guy: “I don’t need the police.”
Me: “Uh, since you’re standing in traffic without any pants on, I think you do.”

While I was chronicling one of these little interactions last night, I got to thinking about the nature and the meaning of the conversations I have with people.

When I talk to someone during the course of my shift, it is usually because I have to deal with a problem; either a problem that person is experiencing, or a problem they created for someone else. Often, these problems are ridiculous (hilarious), and I am able to chuckle about it afterwards and share it with people on the internet. Other times the problems are tragic and completely beyond my ability to solve, and the best I can do is try and control it so no one ends up dead…or no one else ends up dead. 

Almost invariably, that person I’m speaking to is going to be one of a dozen or more calls for service I’ll attend with the guys that work with/for me. I will deal with them and their problem, help them out as best I can, then move on to the next person with a problem. That person will be largely forgotten, just one voice among many that I’m going to hear that day.

The thing that I sometimes forget, is that while that person is just a blip on my workday radar, I may be the only policeman they will ever speak to directly for their entire lives, and I often wonder what they think of the experience afterwards.

Will they remember me fondly? Will I be the cop that picked them up when they’d fallen down, protected them when they were scared, maybe even saved their lives? Or will they hate me? A villain forever cemented in their memory because I showed up with a ministry worker and took their kids away, or hauled them off to jail after fighting with them over something they felt justified in doing?

I very often wonder if I’ve made any kind of impact in the life of the person I’ve finished speaking to. And if I did, was it a positive one?

This thought also crosses my mind when I sit down to write a story, as I think it does every other storyteller.

For a writer, a story is an epic endeavor; something you spent countless hours sweating over until you’d crafted what you view as a masterpiece from nothing but ether and imagination. It is a thing that you can’t stop thinking about and will never forget, because you poured your entire being into it while wading through the fires of its creation. When you finally type ‘the end’ and send that piece of yourself out into the world, you worry over how it will be received and how the world is going to treat it, because you had something to say and you really want someone to hear it. You want to have an impact on peoples lives, and for you that story is your voice.

For a reader, that story might be nothing more than a time killer on a plane ride or something to read while they’re taking a dump.

I am no different than any reader. Some stories really stick with me. For whatever reason – the entertainment of it, the way it makes me think, the way it changes me – there are books I cannot put down and will remember forever. Others, I quit thinking about by the time I close the back cover, and can’t remember the lead characters name a week after I’ve finished it. I don’t really know what the author was trying to tell me cause I didn’t care about the book enough, and I didn’t want to read anything else and ask any more questions.

Now, as I ask myself more often what people think of their policing experience after I get in my big white car and drive away, I’ve begun wondering if anyone cares about my stories, and if they’re hearing what I’m trying to say.

As storytellers our main goal is to get through to our reader. Whether the goal is to make them laugh, cry, fall in love, rally behind our hero or shit their pants and hide under their beds, we need them to hear us. We need to make an impact in their lives so they remember our names…or at least the names of our character. I think we all need to wonder, when we put our words down, whether the reader is really hearing us, or if we’re just another babbling voice among so many others.

Cause the world is filled with a lot of babble…and people walking through traffic without any pants.

As always, thanks for reading.

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