Random

Random Conversations: Our cab driver

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Me: Hi!

Driver: Hi! How are you tonight?

Me: Good, how are you?

Driver: I’m 1000% better than I was last night!

Me: Wow! Really? Why?

Driver: Well two weeks ago I went to bed…if you’re interested I’ll tell you my story…

Me: Of course!

Driver: Well two weeks ago I went to bed and I laid down on my left side, I started feeling all dizzy. On my right side no, but my left side so dizzy. I think it’s called vertigo…

Me: Wow, yikes!

Driver: So I ran to the pharmacist because I thought maybe I was having a heart attack…but no, my blood pressure was fine.


Me: Whew!

Driver: So I went to the doctor and he looked in my ear and I had an ear infection and ear wax! So he gave me some drops…

Me: That’s good! Ear infections are bad! I get wax buildup too, it’s bad.

Driver: So then I had this head pain…

Me: Oh no! Like a migraine?

Driver: No, like…I don’t know how to say it…like my head is empty…(laughs)

Me: (Laughs) Oh that’s not good!

Driver: No! So I went and had my ears…well they put a thing in and lit the end on fire…

Me: Candling?

Driver: Yeah candling! There was so much wax (holds up fingers to show how much wax). And my head feels better!

Me: Oh no, I think that’s not real. I think it’s a scam…you should have your doctor clear the wax out for you. They use this big metal syringe and fill it with water and shoot the water into your ear. It’s not very nice, but it works!

Driver: It’s a scam? No! I don’t think so! (Looks weirded out)

Me: Yeah I used to do it, but then I found out it was a scam!

Driver: No!

Me: Did you ask your doctor?

Driver: Yeah. And my naturopath.


Me: (Internal sigh) Oh, well I could be misinformed, I’ll ask my doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s not real.


Driver: (Shakes his head)

Silence.

Driver: Well I was on Facebook the other day and I saw something about India…you know they were going to hang a prisoner.

Me: What?!


Driver: Yeah he was a criminal, so he was going to hang…that’s what they do there.

Me: Yikes!

Driver: Yeah, so they asked if they could do an experiment and the government said yes, so they took him and said instead of hanging, they were going to kill him with a cobra. And they showed him a cobra. Then they blindfolded him, because that’s what they do when they hang you, and they took two needles…they wanted it to feel like a cobra bite and they ‘bit’ him. Then guess what? He died! And they found cobra poison in his blood!


Ben: (Quietly) Maybe he had a heart attack.

Me: (Louder) Maybe he had a heart attack!

Driver: No! But they found cobra poison in his blood!


Me: Well maybe he got bit by a snake earlier!

Driver: (Laughs)

Me: I don’t think people just randomly have snake venom in their blood without getting bitten.


Driver: Well the body had lots of things in it, so maybe…

Me: Probably not venom…we would be in trouble if we were just walking around with venom in our blood!

Driver: (Laughs) Yeah…

Me: I’m surprised the government let them do that experiment.

Driver: Oh you can do anything you want in India. The government doesn’t care, they just want to get rich and for their friends to get rich.


Me: That’s kind of scary.

Driver: Yeah.


Me: Is that where you’re from? India?


Driver: Yeah!

Me: Oh cool, how long have you been here.?

Driver: 25 years.

Me: Oh, a long time then! Do you like it better in India or here in Canada?

Driver: Oh here of course. It’s much better here.



Me: Do you ever visit India?



Driver: Oh yes I went last month. We visited my wife’s brother…

Me: Nice!

Driver: Yes.

Long silence, Ben and I talk amoungst ourselves.

Driver: (Eventually) You talk about scams, you can’t trust anybody you know…you know even Volkswagen scams people!

Me: I know, it’s very hard to trust people, you have to be so careful. Oh! It’s a right up here and just drop us on the corner! Thank you so much! Goodnight!

Driver: Goodnight!

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Writing is writing

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Things have been crazy because I just started school again and when I meet up with other writers they ask me if I’ve been writing lately.


And I say yes.

But I hesitate. Why do I hesitate? Because I’ve been writing loads, just not fiction. I’ve been blogging a lot about my experiences at school over at my Cosmorphosis blog and it’s been extremely rewarding and fascinating, but there’s some tiny part of me that believes writing = writing fiction.


This is clearly a flawed thought and I have no idea where it comes from. Non-fiction is obviously a valid and important form of writing, from news to memoirs, sharing stories of the real world and our own lives is extremely valuable.

But it’s not fiction.

I think the moment I really committed to writing fiction was the same moment I officially committed to being a writer. Even though I had been writing non-fiction and travel memoirs for years, for some reason I only decided to take the moniker of writer when fiction was my focus.

It’s not a good, healthy thought. Writing is writing and all of it is great.

Whether it’s tweeting, blogging, writing a book, a poem, a single line or even a lab report (which I did for the first time ever this week), writing is important and meaningful because it’s all just various forms of expression. I can find the joy in any one of those forms, as evidenced by the fact that I loved writing the lab report.



I don’t want to limit myself to the form of fiction for my expression and I don’t think anyone should. As a writer, a creator of art, my focus will change throughout my life and as someone who considers herself open-minded and well suited for change I want to embrace that and proudly proclaim my love of self expression, no matter what form it comes in.

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Stop doing what you think you’re supposed to!

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I’ve written two novels and a novella so far and I am currently working on editing a fourth book.  This new book (What it means to be a man) is a little unusual though because it’s a blend of non-fiction essay style Q&A intertwined with a fictional story.  The idea came to me because I wanted to write the fictional story but I found that it mirrored my real life (specifically my marriage) so I wanted to stir some real life juice from my relationship into the mix.  I’m really excited about it because I love both the real life parts and the fictional parts, but I’m also a little nervous about it because it’s a departure from the norm.

When it comes to publishing there seems to be this idea of writing in your genre, sticking to a single style and building an audience that way, but to tell the truth every time I think about doing that it gives me an existential crisis.  Who am I (style wise)?  What kind of writer do I want to be?  What if an audience would be unwilling to follow me on my journey though the different landscapes of what I want to try?

I started my fifth book (Nil) after I wrote my first draft of the one I’m currently editing (What it means to be a man) and I started out writing it in a pretty traditional way, I had an idea for a fictional story and I wrote it the way I had written the first two books.  But halfway through I started to lose steam and then the whole thing started to depress the crap out of me because I hated its guts.  So after flailing uselessly and trying to restructure it and being seriously depressed over the whole damn thing I eventually gave myself permission to walk away and a weight lifted.

I went back and focused on What it means to be a man and writing a few short stories and started thinking about diving into my travel memoirs from ten years ago to see if that is something worth pursuing (I even struggled through Eat, Pray, Love to try and see what a popular travel memoir looks like).  But then, today, as I was writing some of the non-fiction for What it means to be a man I had a brainstorm.  I found a way to fix the dreaded Nil.  It will require a lot of research and some serious exploration of the concepts of the book, but it could be really cool.  It could be really cool, but what it wouldn’t be is a traditional novel.

Cue the worry about building an audience and marketing etc…

So I bounce into the land of concern over doing the expected and then I think: stop being fettered by what you’re supposed to do!  My biggest passion in stories is the intersection of the fantastic into everyday life.  And what is more of an intersection then merging non-fiction with fiction?  I love the idea of exploring story concepts in real life so why shouldn’t I think that other people might love it too?  I love exploring new and unusual formats, styles and genres, so why shouldn’t I?  I’m not saying I’m doing something completely crazy or totally unique here, but it’s just that it doesn’t follow the format of a traditional novel (of which I have already written two).

But I don’t want to be tied down to traditional concepts of novels just because I think I’m supposed to.  There are plenty of people who have successful careers writing whatever moves them, so why should I be any different?  I find the idea of being tied to one format of book very limiting and on the flip side I am intensely excited to think of all the ways I could branch out and approach a story differently!

So if you are ever stuck on a story, or stuck in a rut, why not consider ways you could alter the style, genre or narrative of the story to embrace your passions and find a new direction?  Because finding your own way of writing and trying new things is so important and you shouldn’t be limited to what you think you’re supposed to do!