July 31st, 2015… A life Well Lived … Love is the Answer

bookA new Website for Writers is coming: Write Hear

Fellow Celebrants today: My friends son, Noah (15), Harry Potter (32), J.K. Rowling (50),
Myself (48).

Today was my birthday. And Like a Good Alcoholic I sent two Guerrilla texts that were ignored. I half thought that I might get a response, that was not the best way to start my day.

As I was sitting here at my computer, I got a call from our Member of Parliament, who represents our riding in Ottawa. He called to wish me Happy Birthday, on behalf of Justin Trudeau. I thought that was very kind of him to do that, seeing there are millions of people on his list, that he took time out of his morning to call me specifically.

I got my restart.

Later in the afternoon, I had lunch with a long time friend for many years. We don’t often see each other, because he travels for work and school. So time together is always well spent, read: time well spent, eating together.

The most important place to meet and be present is around a dinner table.

We walked home together and I did some sundry shopping for things we needed for the house.

The evening was still up in the air, but by five o’clock, we had a plan. My friend Rafa was on his way back from St. Anne’s while he made his transit home, I was making my transit to his house.

It has been steamy and hot the past few days, we did not linger long, but set out immediately for more food. We hit a Venezuelan diner and had dinner together. Then we walked up to the meeting. Everything in Montreal is within walking distance. Every neighborhood has its eateries and restos, and places to gather. Rafa lives on the Plateau which is central to everything up there. We spend a good amount of time walking to and from meetings, instead of taking the bus.
Tomorrow we are meeting to go over my outline, which I added a few items to when I got home after the discussion we had at the meeting earlier.

Once again, We talked about God.

It seems that God, as I have said before, is a topic that Bill W, never tires of, because he writes about it often. Every time he mentions the word, it is couched within literature, or a Grapevine letter, or his personal reflections. And every time the word God comes up in any reading, our folks grind their teeth and roll their eyes, and say …

“Oh, God, not this again, can we please move on?”

We listened to everyone speak, and then we talked on the walk home. Since God is a theme I am writing about in my book, I spent the hour reflecting on my outline stories and a little more clarity and understanding comes. I had my first chapter, but I was unsure of how to end it, tonight, I got the much needed insight I needed for coherent thought and process.

We walked through the park on the way home and the moon was bright and dazzling.

I spent the day with all those people who matter to me, and bring me joy and love.

Birthdays aren’t about getting things, but about sharing meals and friendship.

A good day was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … On a Monday Morning Early

tumblr_ndwhz7VmHB1qzx74yo1_1280It overnight, Sunday into Monday morning. I wasn’t going to post, but thought otherwise.

It was a beautiful Sunday, they are telling us that this week, will be more of the same. We will see the warmest temps yet this summer, this week.

Thank God for Air Conditioning.

I spent some time reviewing my outline and did some additions, and thought about the writing process and how it was going to go. I guess I won’t figure that out, until I actually sit down and start writing.

I spoke to my writing coach this evening on the way home, and I told him that I had finished the theme section and my graph was complete. And he suggested I start writing. I would rather sit on my outline for a few days to think about it and let thoughts foment and let things fall where they may. And on Saturday, we can do another read through, to see what comes out of our discussion of the new material. He agreed with me.

I find it better to have two minds on the process because he is well versed in literature and language and he sees things that I don’t. I tell him stories about the stories and I get his feedback and also his vision as he sees the project roll out.

I need to talk to my aunt to get some info from her about the opening chapter. I know what that chapter is, but I need to fill in some detail that I don’t yet have, and she might be able to fill in some of my blanks so that I can explain locations and setting a bit better, than just writing,

“it started here and we were in this building, so forth and so on.”

That is just too general of a description.

We sat a full house at the meeting, and we read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Tradition Seven. Every group should be self supporting declining outside contributions.

Several topics came up in discussion.

  • Financial Freedom
  • Emotional Freedom
  • Putting something in the basket, because we are accountable and want to fell part of
  • Meetings don’t run themselves, someone has to do the shopping and pay the rent
  • With no supplies, we could not feed and coffee the crowds that come

I think about ALL the money I spent on alcohol in 34 years of drinking. A mid size fortune, to be honest. I could probably have fed a third world country with it.

Now I toss a loonie or a toonie in the basket, across my meetings, because I can, and because what I get back in grace and love, pales in comparison to what I give on a nightly basis.

I also set up, make coffee and buy supplies for several meetings across town.

Everybody is well tonight.

One of our women could really use your prayers. She is in hospital and the light at the end of the tunnel is too far away to see, and she needs all the love and support we can throw at her.

Monday starts another busy week. But I would not have it any other way. I have time to spend with others, and I do that. And I better make the best of my time, because you know, we aren’t getting any younger.

T – Minus 5 days … Friday is my birthday, 48 years, another year closer to fifty.

That book needs to be written soon. I promised hubby retirement money for the bank.

And that exactly what I am going to do.

Goodnight from Montreal

Saturday – The Writing Process – Round 2

joy2AThis evening I met with my writing coach and I brought with me my first draft outline. Over the evening we talked through my points, and we built a larger frame to work with. In discussion, he came up with six themes that he became aware of.

The Themes are:

  • God
  • Canada
  • Family
  • Alcohol
  • AIDS
  • Homosexuality

We decided on the first chapter and the last chapter. I know what those two chapters are going to look like and what will go into them. I took copious notes on the draft and brought it home. From my notes, I composed a new outline, incorporating the new points and stories that were fleshed out. Running on the themes that arose, the story is much more complete.

The Outline went from two pages to a total of five pages.

I typed out each story point down the page, completing all the pages, I drew a graph table on the far margin with six columns. One for each theme on each page. Then drew horizontal lines between each story point. Then for each story point, I ticked the box that was theme appropriate for that section.

The story as a whole is my story. But through discussion my coach determined that I also had a Canadian story, which turns the book into a wider audience. God begins the book and ends the book, as one of the main themes that runs throughout the entire story.

Canada begins the book and also ends the book as well. My originally being an American child with Canadian and Italian family. I am introduced to Canada through family, I am raised in the states, but eventually find my way here to Montreal, because of my maternal family.

I have to find my way into assimilation and into Canadian Society, during the run ups to war, seeing the world from above the Northern Border, and how everyday Canadians react to world events, was a shocking show. I am told to sew Canadian flags on my back pack, and my academic adviser begins to orient me towards choosing who I will align myself with.

That process took more than two years to navigate. There was no going back for me, only forwards motion. I came to Canada to become a Canadian citizen which took place in February of 2003. So this is definitely a Canadian Story.

Family, Alcohol, AIDS and Homosexuality are parts of the story and they have a certain beginning and play their part in the fuller story.

I have added some major people to the story, at the points where they impact the timeline as it happened. I can now tie the entire story together and see a fuller picture.

Inside the story are integral paranormal additions. Over my lifetime, family members who have died, at some point, return to me one way or another, those would be my Grammy, Grampy, Memere, my mother’s mother and finally Sister Georgette. Their appearances play a part in the story telling, and take place at certain points in the story.

Now I have a complete road map of what I am going to write and how that is going to flesh out.

I have the stories in chronological order with their themes.

I need to work out how to weave the stories together, within the themes provided, and write a cohesive story, start to finish.

I have completed the table for my next session next Saturday.

There is yet to be a title, but I am told, that will come eventually.

He spoke about Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, and how I did not need a chapter on “the whiteness of the whale.” And he also mentioned Earnest Hemingway and how grand a writer he was, which then I said, I don’t know if I have those kinds of voices to write with, because I am literate up to a certain level. I don’t use lofty words that are beyond my comprehension, just to get an idea across. But I do have a voice.

I find, usually in my Pastoral Ministry work, that if I need to write someone or talk about a certain topic in that field, I can sit down and think about what I need to say, and I find that words come to me on specific occasions based on specific needs. The words are there, I just may not have them but on a need to have basis.

My coach likes my voice and my story telling ability.

He is sure there is a hit on the way for you all to look forward to.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … Offensive People

tumblr_msohxxcSvW1qkwkmpo1_500 minhos21Courtesy: Minhos21 – Because sometimes you need a happy dog photograph

It is late, as this entry is being written. Another successful week in the books.

I am always amazed at just how things turn out when I just go with it.

I sorted out my outline yesterday, and restructured my program a bit. Speaking to my writing coach this evening on the way to the meeting, I explained what I had done, in anticipation of our discussion over that outline tomorrow.

We talked about Change tonight, and as that was the topic of last night’s post, I need not go over those thoughts again.

The only thing we have to change in sobriety is everything.

The sooner one lets go and lets God, the easier it gets.

Funny, how folks desire to hang on to old ideas and old perceptions of themselves, deciding that if they let go and really allowed themselves to “change” they would not know who they would become, and that’s kinda the whole mystery of sobriety.

You never know what you are going to get on the other side.

I had breakfast with my sponsor this morning and I finally completed my Step 6.

After more than a year working on it.

Some people in the rooms have no class or tact whatsoever. A woman (read: militant, shaved her head, lesbian)  made comments to me in passing at the meeting that really rubbed me the wrong way. Some people don’t understand the power of the written word or what some words mean, when strung together in a certain order.

I can speak perfect CUNT too …

If you are going to comment on something I wrote, at least have read the piece correctly and understand what was written instead of giving me your judgment of the most important story in my life that I have to tell. Some people have no fucking class.

You might have more time than I do, but you sure aren’t sober.

Tomorrow is another day. We will have Portuguese pastry and coffee.

Oh and I got a copy of

Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho

With English subtitles.

Finally we get to watch it from beginning to end,and actually understand the whole story.

More to come, stay tuned …

Is there “Joy” in Your Life ?

joy2AIn sobriety, it has been said, that we are some sick people, who need to get well. However, not many choose this path, because it is not the easier softer way. Honesty is something, that it has also been said, is lacking in our community.

I sat and listened to one of my long time friends speak tonight, and she reminded me, (read:us) about a few things.

One, that when shit happens, we can’t run. Two, that usually before we go to God with it, we try everything else, and we visit, one, or two villages along the way, when all we really need to do is to go to the source And that source is God. We might stop at the village but we don’t necessarily have to take anything with us when we leave.

I heard my friend speak to truth. And I heard her say, “I want to speak truth” and she did.

At some point in sobriety, we hit a place that things change, shit happens, and if we are wise, we step up our game, and we evolve. Sobriety is about moving forwards, not backwards. But there are times, when we slip back, but the idea is to see the slip coming, and be able to stop ourselves before the backslide. if just a little bit.

She mentioned the word: JOY …

Again, at some point in the journey, we find Joy. Or at least see it for what it is.

Is there joy, Is it present in your life, and if it is, do you use joy?

And that made me think a little bit about this next phase in my life. There is plenty of joy in my life, I just haven’t attributed it to joy, but it is there.

On the way home, I spoke to my writing coach about the evening. And I realized that writing a book is not about me, even though the story is mine. And the direction I began in days ago, is not the direction I want to go in. I want to tell the truth but not give negativism a spotlight.

I can choose what kind of story I want to write. My coach tells me that I have a message, and finding the right direction to speak that message is a good point. People don’t want to read war stories or an indictment. This is not the time to point fingers or blame anyone. This is also not the time to seek vengeance or mete out retribution.

So that changes the game plan. That changes everything. I remember joy and If I want to share joy, I need to write from a joyful place and not a resentful place. This project is a story of conquering adversities and becoming more than I thought I’d be.

We, in the rooms, don’t know how lucky we are to have the people who are in our lives. If our friends are wise, they will speak truth, even if that’s not what we want. Usually, though, it is exactly what we need to hear.

God, in his infinite wisdom, is in control, we are not in control. God just seems to have a funny sense of humor in the choices He makes in message carriers. You never know where the message is going to come from, or from whom.

We just need to do the next right thing, and show up. Which turns to STAY.

If you don’t STAY long enough, you might miss the joy coming at you.

I want to tell a joyful story, and that is what I am going to do. Even if the truth involves telling the truth one way or another. What happened happened. It is the way I deliver that truth that matters.

Everybody is alright tonight. God is doing for them, what they could not do for themselves.

Joy Resize

You Were A Mistake … Notes and Explanations

The post below is the first post that went up, with my daily writing exercise that begins the process of writing towards my outline which I will list below. I began with writing about childhood and family and posted that exercise earlier tonight.

After talking it through with a friend, I realized that I had left out portions of the story which should be added. I will be editing that first post later this evening.

The title of the book came almost too easily. I had thought of another working title, but after a thought about it, “You Were a Mistake” was just perfect. It will be the story that explains where that phrase came from, who said it, and to whom it was meant. That is the first episode that comes on the first page of the book. That thread extends for thirty years into my life, when I finally excised it from my life, in the first of two Self Preservation Decisions I made as an adult man.

I would appreciate feedback as I upload these exercises. You might see things that I don’t as I write these entries. So please, leave a comment or two or three.

You Were a Mistake …

Dedication

Prologue – Introduction

  1. Seasons – Family, Friends, School, Travels, Naked and Sacred
  2. The Elementary Years
  3. The Junior High Years
  4. The High School Years
  5. Seminary
  6. Managing a Travel Agency in my twenties
  7. Travels as a young person and as a drunk
  8. Jobs, getting them, loosing them, geographics all over Florida
  9. Coming Out – The Parliament House Stories
  10. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made … getting tossed onto the street
  11. The next move
  12. Gloria, and the spinning tornado story
  13. Another Move
  14. James
  15. Meeting Todd at the Stud – Love at first Tap
  16. Building the Stud
  17. The death of James … We had just opened the new Stud it as a few days into opening when I got the call that would begin to change my life
  18. Suicide
  19. The diagnosis of AIDS …
  • Crazy SOTB,
  • One night in Heaven,
  • The story teller,
  • Marie Wansiki, Health Link,
  • What we did to survive,
  • death across the land
  • Patti Labelle and Dennis
  • Getting sober the first time
  1. Larry and Kevin – the two greatest friends I ever had
  2. The greatest Goodbye I ever had to say
  3. Relocation,
  • sobriety, Go somewhere else, third tradition Broken
  • The First Self Preservation decision
  • geographic
  • the loss of sobriety – drug addiction
  1. The great return – survival after trauma
  2. Harry Potter Therapy
  3. Getting sober again –
  • The Second Self Preservation Decision
  • The last geographic

Meeting my husband – the angel story

  1. University
  2. The great gay wedding
  3. Life after university
  4. The story so far

So this is the working outline point by point as it covers a great deal of territory. I have a mentor who is walking me through the writing process and we meet again on Saturday.