Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Bad Times Bible Blog: Blown Away and Grateful...

The Bad Times Bible Blog: Blown Away and Grateful...: I first want to start by saying that I'm sorry it has taken so long to write this thank you. I am sure you are all quite sick of this whole ...

Blown Away and Grateful...

I first want to start by saying that I'm sorry it has taken so long to write this thank you. I am sure you are all quite sick of this whole thing but I have to do this one last post about this madness so please bear with me...

I have started quite a few times and have found myself feeling very unhappy with what I have written. I wanted to put everyone's name in this post who has helped, donated, called, and made me feel like the luckiest person in the world. I realize that might make some people uncomfortable and that it would be a huge post. The list is long folks and it is overwhelming...

Some of you on that list are people that have been in my life for a long time, others are people who have only been in my life for a short while. Some of you are strangers who have reached out to me because you are friends with someone I know and some of you are people I have never met but hope to. You all have one thing in common and that is that you are amazing human beings...

The fundraiser was a blur to me.

Everyone knows I had a little too much to drink as my hangover post would confirm on Saturday. Or was it Sunday?... Regardless,  I am sure I embarrassed myself more than a few times that night as I talked to person after person, hugging friends, strangers and anyone I could. I drank to mask the feelings of embarrasment I was having. (and to numb the old body) Even though I have been performing music for a long time I really don't like this kind of attention. I love to be the guy who can help people out, get your asses moving on the dance floor and to be of service when the need presents itself. I don't like being the one in need of help. I don't think anyone does.

 That night was a testament to the choices I have made in my life regarding the people I have decided to call my friends. I have made many, many bad decisions in my life but the one thing I know for sure is that I have the most amazing friends in the world. I know how to pick 'em. For this I am grateful. I am also grateful to the incredible staff of the Legion who volunteered their space and staff to make the night the success it was. I am grateful to the bands who showed up and killed it all night long. Some of you are people I have shared the stage with and some of you showed up to help me out, out of the kindness of your hearts. I know it sucks to play for free unless it is for a cause, and I am blown away by how many of you stepped up to do so. I am grateful and blown away by the people who donated prizes for the night. It was crazy to hear my sister telling me everyday about the latest prize that had been offered. It all happened so fast!    

Speaking of gratitude, when I got hurt I was grateful that I wasn't killed or hurt beyond repair. As I have written before I only agreed to the fundraiser to help me get my book out, a project I have devoted many hours of my life to. I knew I would be okay one way or the other because even though I have fallen on my face a few times before I have always found a way through. Alot of that has to do with my family and friends and this time was no different.

My sister Tori is one of my personal heros.

She is constantly going out of her way to make so many people's lives better, often at her own expense. She takes on people's stress and problems and tries to make everything better for pretty much anyone she can. It is how we were raised and she is better at it than me. She KILLED herself to make this happen and I am a lucky man to have this amazing person in my life, let alone be able to call her my sister. I guess it makes all those times she kicked the shit outta me when we were kids worth it, but I will NEVER forgive her for kicking me in the balls and then sitting on me and holding my arms over my head... That was, and is, just wrong. :)

In all seriousness, my sister is a superhero and if you don't know her, you should get to know her. She is a blessing in the flesh. That sounded wrong and creepy, but you get it...

My brother in law Mick set the donation site up. He made sure that it ran smoothly and that my sister kept her shit together through this whole affair. He handled all things computer and he made sure I knew what was happening at all times. He did an amazing job and I am lucky to have that giant with a heart to match in my life too.

An unexpected gift that night was seeing my parents reacting to the love shown to me.

I have not been the easiest son to have as I have put my folks through quite a bit in my life. (just wait till my book comes poor mother..) But let me tell you that seeing my parents smiling, laughing and tearing up over the love and support for me was pretty amazing. That was a gift you all gave to my folks and it was freaking awesome. They are two of the most loving, incredible people on earth and they are the best thing that has ever happened to me. (without them, I wouldn't be here!) They were so overwhelmed by my friends and by all that was going on. Pat and Trudy were blown away and it was awesome and powerful to see. I thank you guys for giving my folks that gift. They won't ever forget it.

I also want to thank my girl Terri publicly for being a rock and an amazing partner. From the moment she got to the hospital she made me feel like I didn't need to worry, the situation was handled. She also gave me a sponge bath so I didn't have to lie in my own filth. If your partner is a blue collar worker, you know how gnarly THAT can be. She made me comfortable at home and took care of myself and all the animals too. She made sure I got to my appointments and did what I was supposed to. She wouldn't let me do anything but heal. Terri will be embarrassed by this, but well, too friggin bad! I love ya mama!

More people who will be embarrassed to be in this post are my buddies that took care of me the day of the accident. Ernie, Jean and James took action from the moment that limb smashed me and handled the situation like the professionals that they are. Jean called often and texted everyday making me laugh and making sure all was well in my world. James came by the farm alot, making sure that chores were done and that we were ok. He also kicked my ass at crazy eights... bastard! They are both fine men and I am lucky to call them friends.

 I have known Ernie since I was in diapers and he is my man wife. I said it! We are closer than white on rice. This whole thing was terribly hard on him from start to finish. He first thought I was dead and felt responsible, then he had to deal with the whole WSIB affair AND still get up everyday to go do the dangerous work that he does. That wasn't easy on him or his family and I am sorry that they had to go through this. But they were always there, every day, calling, coming by and making sure I was okay. If you ever need tree work done, call Ernie, (Trees Company) he is the man. But if you need a man wife, you are shit outta luck. He is mine.

The cards, the letters, the food, the donations.... My God...

I have read and re read these gifts of love many times. To those of you who reached out, thank you. It means alot to me to realize that I am surrounded by so many people who care, who made efforts to see me get back on my feet. It was an incredible thing to go through that made the broken bones an afterthought in my mind. Shit, even if I die tomorrow, I'll know I was loved by more than just my cats,  and THAT is a priceless gift people.

 So how do you properly thank people who have truly given you a massive opportunity?

  Well, the best I can come up with is to move forward with love and gratitude in my heart and live a life that is worthy of the love and support I have been shown. In short, I don't want to let you guys down, I want to put my book out and many more. I want to continue to help others as much as I can and to make a difference in the world. I know it sounds cheesy but that is what motivates me. The fact of the matter is, you guys have shown me that love is still the most powerful force on earth and the only thing worth having or giving away. I could go on and on about so many people who have made this a positive experience for me, but I fear you all may stone me to death.

In closing, I want to say that this experience has been nothing but positive. Even though I am still recovering, because of you all, I have healed faster than I thought I would, was more preoccupied with thoughts of gratitude towards an amazing group of people that make up the cast of my life. I am a lucky, grateful man with love in my heart for you all, and I look forward to doing the incredible things that your gifts have allowed me to do. The words on this page are plenty, but they still aren't enough. If you ever need me, call me. I look forward to somehow giving back to all of you, what you have given to me.

Thank you all. I am humbled by what you have done for me. I love every last one of you and I won't let you down. You have put me back on my feet and have lit a fire in my heart. Your love has hit me harder than any tree ever could... Thank you...

With all my love and gratitude,

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Bad Times Bible Blog: One Month Down! Almost....

The Bad Times Bible Blog: One Month Down! Almost....: Hello friends, you all look so good today! So this past week has been pretty amazing... Never mind the ridiculous support I have been shown...

One Month Down! Almost....

Hello friends, you all look so good today!
So this past week has been pretty amazing... Never mind the ridiculous support I have been shown that has left me feeling almost confused in its massiveness. 11 thousand dollars? Is this really happening?

The pain in my body tells me "Yes dipshit, this is happening. People love and support you even though you are too dumb to get out of the way of a large piece of wood." I get that, but I am still freaked out by it all. Freaked out and grateful.

 I can't wait to see everyone at the show next Friday! My sister Tori and her husband Mick have been working like maniacs to make this upcoming event a success and I am super pumped to get to it!
It is going to be part high school reunion, part "Welcome to your life" and an amazing celebration of life to say the least. I can't wait to be able to actually hug people (gently) and thank people in person. I can't wait.

So medical update. I saw the plastic surgeon for the second time in two weeks. He gave me the all clear and said that I wouldn't need surgery on my orbital bone. Yay!  THAT was great news. I also saw the orthopedic doctor and he went over my many x rays and ordered new ones. After reviewing them he told me to keep the neck brace on for another 2 weeks and that we would revisit the spinal stuff later. What I thought was a cracked heel was actually plantar facsitis (or something that sounds like that, I'm too lazy to look up the proper spelling lol) All my bones seem to be healing well but my collarbone is a mess. They aren't going to do any surgery on it, it will heal on its own. Just a little crooked is all!

Speaking of the collarbone I am still working on the range of motion (for my arm) and have a ways to go yet. I know it will be only a month on the 11th (Remembrance Day no less...) since I got hurt but I am trying hard to get back to where I was. These things take time and I know that, but I still like to push it a bit. The busted ribs are getting better but they still kept me from going to the Wreck MMA event last night.

My friend (and one of my teachers at OAMA) Nick Castiglia, who is also the president of Wreck, graciously offered me tickets to the event but I had to decline. The last thing I need is to get bumped or jostled and make this worse. (I'm gonna be real careful on friday!!!)I wish I could have been there to support the team but they did just fine by the sounds of it! Still, it was really nice of Nick to offer them up to me.

I have a couple more doctors to see but so far things are going really well. I have to say the only reason why I have been able to heal so quickly is because people have stepped up to make it easy. My boss and lifelong buddy Big Ern has been battling WSIB over paperwork regarding my case and it kills me that he is burdened with this crap. He has been amazing and has made sure I have what I need in every way. I wish I could help him more with this frustrating crap but he has it in check. I love that dude. My girlfriend Terri has been a rockstar around the farm and around me. I watched her working today, moving round bales and working on stuff in the barn and was frustrated I couldn't help. (although it was cool to see her manhandle those round bales!) I hate not being able to use my body the way I am used to, but I am grateful I will be able to once again.

Some aren't so lucky.

My mother told me of another mother she met in the civic hospital last week who's 18 year old son was also injured in an accident involving tree work. He got hurt around the same time as me but wasn't as lucky as I was. This young man is paralyzed from the waist down and has had 11 surgeries already to deal with multiple injuries. I don't know what happened exactly, but it was obviously very bad. My mom met this young guy and started talking to him about me and next thing you know, numbers are exchanged and we are going to connect. Apparently he and his girlfriend got excited about coming to chill (when he can of course) at the farm. I look forward to talking to this tough little bastard and spending some time with him. He will no doubt inspire me and I hope to ease his burden in any way I can. That's my mom, helping constantly. I am lucky to have a mom like that.

My friend Dan (drummer in Loudlove) has been over to fix my screen door blown off by the storm, move furniture and he even put out the garbage unannounced one day! He is a rockstar x2 now!... His dad even helped one day too! Another good friend Matt came over and schooled me in how to feed my body the right way to maximize healing and we had a great visit. So cool!

So many good friends have come over to hang out and it has been awesome to see people. Its weird to be homebound but thank god I have the internet! I have received care packages, food, phone calls and emails from so many people that I would want to punch me if I was reading this. You can too if you want to, but give me a month or so alright? lol. But seriously, a month okay??

I even managed to get my busted ass to a job interview for a sales position at a cemetery. I looked like an idiot with my neck brace and my old man walk, but I am glad I made it out. (thanks for the ride mom and dad) It is 11 minutes from where I live so I went for it knowing I wouldn't be far, or out all day. It was something I applied for two days before my accident and they called a few days ago! I was trying to find something for when I got laid off this winter that didn't involve labour (not knowing I was going to get and it looks like I might have a shot at the position. I have a second interview monday and although I am far from 100% I am hoping I can at least get the job and start to learn the position before I am good to go. They know I am hurt and I hope that dragging myself out there gets me some points! We shall see.... I'm not going to stress about it. You people have taken care of that. I just want to kiss you all.. damn!

My book is being edited as you read this and is almost ready to go. My buddy Scott has the artwork ready to go and I love it! My awesome cousin Chris is getting the web stuff going and this thing is getting close to being launched. It is exciting, scary, surreal and incredible. My mentor John C. Parkin released his latest book this month and I have been following his success with it. It is so amazing to have that guy in my corner. I got an email from him that he is writing the foreword to my book this weekend. I am a lucky man.

So thats what has been going on. I remain flabbergasted by the support and grateful to the core and beyond. I know it gets tiring to read me go on and on about being grateful but its my blog and I'll write what I want! I AM GRATEFUL!

So I have a favour/demand to ask that everyone who has donated money, time or helped me in any way please send me your info to I have a little surprise for you so please don't be shy. I BEG you to send me your info. PLEASE!!!! Just send it!!!

So thats it for now. I know it was a lot but I wanted to let you all know I am doing well. (In a really long winded way of course..) THAT is because of all of you who have stepped up and helped me in many ways. You are all sneaky, amazing, beautiful people... Thank you!

But don't let it go to your heads... lol

Have a great Remembrance day. I know that beyond giving thanks to those who have stepped up for all of us in many conflicts past and present, I will be giving thanks and remembering what you all have done for me. Believe that.

See you on Friday!
Big love,


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Crushed by Kindness...

I know I was supposed to post something Saturday but I have been getting many visits from friends and family. It has been busy around here! 

Without sounding repetitive and turning into the sappy douche bag that I would want to backhand if I was reading about this from the outside, I need to thank everyone who has been a part of this experience. It has been crazy and amazing. I am not just talking about the fundraising effort that has allowed me to stay calm and heal up. I am talking about having the opportunity to see how people feel about you. 

The emails and posts that have been coming in make this situation so much easier to deal with. I have had nothing but love from my friends and family and I truly believe all the good vibes, prayers, and words of encouragement are a huge part of the reason my body is healing so quickly. That being said, here's an update on the old body...

I am starting to get the feeling back in the left side of my face and in my teeth and gums. The cuts on my face are gone and so is all the swelling. My clavicle is coming along and the fractured ribs remain the biggest source of pain. Sneezing sucks but this situation has forced me out of my pepper sniffing habit. So thats good. I have no pain in my neck or spine and the neck brace is still my nemesis. In all seriousness, I am grateful to be able to wipe my own arse and get dressed by myself. Last night I was able to use my left arm to wash under my right armpit and was super pumped about it. I am walking around no problem and the range of motion in my left arm is nearly perfect. Raising it above my head remains a challenge but it is getting better. I have gotten off the painkillers and am using tylenol and advil when it hurts like crazy. I need to feel where I am at in order to set the proper limits. Can't do that all stoned outta my mind...

 My girlfriend Terri has been a rock and has made this a great experience so far by laughing at me and with me. Just the way I like it. She has been keeping the house together and all the animals are well taken care of. She is a beast. A beautiful beast!

I have had so many offers to help around here and so many people who have come by to help with chores and with whatever needs doing. People have dropped off food and have let me know that they are there to help.  The whole thing has been nothing but positive. Positive and inspiring.

You see, this experience is making me realize how fortunate I am. I went to the cancer clinic on Friday for my check up with my oncologist. I hate going to the clinic for many reasons, but this time I was particularly antsy because for one, I had to let Terri drive me there and I always do that stuff alone. I hate to stress people out or burden them with my troubles but in this case, I couldn't drive and had to let Terri take me. I was grateful (to say the least) to get the all clear from my doctor and was excited to get out of there. I realized that it is really important to know when to say yes to help and that when people want to help you, you should probably let them.

The past few days have been embarrassing, shocking and incredibly touching for me. The fact that so many have reached out in so many ways makes me feel like I have been doing the right thing with my life and that I have made a difference in people's lives. That helps me sleep at night. Stop making me cry you bastards...

 I am excited to heal up and take all that love, support and energy you have given me and use it to keep pushing forward, doing the things I do. Besides the book, I have other projects that are going to surface this year. This is shaping up to be one of the most important years of my life and I am proud that so many people are going to be part of it. Words only go so far, and I look forward to showing you what I am talking about. So thank you to all of those who have helped me with this situation. You will never know what this has meant to me. (unless I get a chance to bear hug you... THEN you'll know!) 

 In closing I want to say that if you need to spend some quiet time somewhere, or need a place to re charge, contact me and I'll let you know how to get to the farm. This place is magical and is to be shared. I also love visitors! I hope you all have a great week and once again, I kiss your faces. The people in my life make it worth living and for that I am grateful. I am one lucky bastard and I know it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Bad Times Bible Blog: Smashing Revelations.

The Bad Times Bible Blog: Smashing Revelations.: A funny thing happened at work last Thursday... Let the swelling begin! Well, not so much funny as kinda shitty and very scary, but f...

Smashing Revelations.

A funny thing happened at work last Thursday...
Let the swelling begin!
Well, not so much funny as kinda shitty and very scary, but funny in the sense that I think the Universe is trying to tell me something... Again... While doing a removal of a big Maple tree (I had to go back to tree work for the summer, more on that later) I got smashed by a huge limb. The above picture is what my face looked like after eating a few hundred pounds of wood. Here is another angle...

I won't get into the details of what happened because I don't remember. The rest of the guys said the accident happened so fast that they aren't sure what happened. All I know is when I was lowering the limb, something went sideways and I ended up taking a 12 foot heavy ass limb full tilt to the left side of my body. My hardhat  (see below) 

and amazing, fat man, cat like reflexes allowed me to minimize the damage by turning away at least enough to not take the impact head on.  I still got my ass kicked though.

I have done hundreds of tree removals.
I have lowered hundreds of limbs, branches, tops of trees etc...
Myself and the crew know what we are doing.
Sometimes things go sideways and sometimes you get smashed.

The point of this post is not to whine about the accident. What I want to talk about is the weird and wonderful way this world works for me sometimes. You see, I am in the home stretch of having my first book released upon the world. If ever there was a time to  be on my game, to be sharp as hell and ready to work really hard at promoting and marketing my project, this is it. So what happens when I need to be my best? What happens when I need to be the most amazing version of myself EVER?

Thats right. I get smashed by a tree at work.  

So there I was, lying in the trauma unit feeling very, very grateful to be alive. I sustained three fractures to my face, a broken left collarbone, fractures on my c7 and t 2 thru 6 vertebrae, 4 fractured ribs and a messed up, swollen left foot. I did not however crap my pants upon impact and for that I am proud and grateful. The irony is not lost on me that I am about to release a book called THE BAD TIMES BIBLE. Because this situation my friends could most certainly be described or defined as a BAD TIME. The irony is, my little smash up is turning out to be a very good time.
Now before you ask me if I have lost my mind let me explain. (yes, I did sustain a head injury but my cheese has not fully slipped off the cracker)

You see, before this accident happened I was contemplating what I had to sell to pay for the publication of my book. I was looking at my guitars and wondering what medical experiments I could volunteer for to pay for this endeavour. I was also worried about making the time to really focus on this first big push to get the word out about the book. I had alot on my mind and no time to really devote to it. I am not a wealthy man in the monetary sense and am like many people behind the financial eight ball. So work, work, work is the order of the day.

So the universe comes up with the perfect solution. 

The Universe or my higher self or something because I certainly didn't willingly volunteer for this.

I get smashed by a tree.

Why is this the perfect solution? Let me tell you.

Soon after the dust settled my sister, realizing the situation I am now in, decides to put a fundraiser together to help me in my time of need. She comes into the hospital and asks me if I would be okay with this idea. I tell her I am embarrassed and not sure it is a good idea at all. My sister then proceeds to tell me that it is my turn to accept help. That I have always given my time and talents (I play music with my band Loudlove. Check out to raise money for a multitude of causes. I tell her I have to think about it. I feel that she already has the wheels in motion. She is very sneaky. She is also amazing. 

Remember that I am high on painkillers and pretty smashed up so my thinking is a little off. As I lie there in bed that night I am thinking to myself that this is actually perfect. I am going to be off for 6 weeks minimum healing from my injuries, so there is the time I needed to really send my book off right. I still have my right arm to type with, and my left will be coming along shortly, so that is also a bonus. If I go ahead with the fundraiser I will have help with the book costs.

It is starting to make sense.

I decide that the only way I will go ahead with this fundraiser is if people know the money is going towards putting my book out. A book which is written for young men going through the cancer experience and for the people who love them. People in crisis. The money raised is going to support a book which I truly believe is going to help many people deal with the crazy shit that is happening to them. This whole thing is about paying it forward. It makes sense. I feel at peace. A smile creeps across my fat, swollen face as I realize I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

As soon as I make that decision I feel every cell in my body smile.

I know it seems crazy, but to me it is perfect. It has been a week and I am getting on my feet and starting to get organized for the big push. Today, sitting on the front porch at the farm where my lady and I live, I smiled...   

I smiled because my family and friends are stepping up for me.

I smiled because I was going to be able to put my book into motion without selling my guitars or my organs.

I smiled because I was resting my body which has been pushed hard for a long time.

I smiled because even in my smashed up state, my shitty financial situation and in my discomfort, 

I was happy.

Deep down inside I know that this is all for the good, and not just for myself.
That thought moved me to tears, and I was grateful to have had it.

WEll, thats where I'm at. Its late and I have to sleep. I have work to do.

Nighty night my friends.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Been a While..

So it has been a while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy working and looking at farms with my lady. The preparations for the book have been going well. I have worked out some pretty good ideas for marketing videos and am excited to get them made. It is becoming very real now and I am getting excited. Yes, excited and not fearful. It is all starting to come together. Right now it is 40 degrees in my writing nook and I am sitting in my underwear writing this. So enjoy that image....
That is all for now. Time to get some water!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Bad Times Bible Blog: There is No Straight Line to Success.

The Bad Times Bible Blog: There is No Straight Line to Success.: I used to co own a tree service. It was called Trees Company. Clever I know. My partner in the business was (and is now) one of my best frie...

There is No Straight Line to Success.

I used to co own a tree service. It was called Trees Company. Clever I know. My partner in the business was (and is now) one of my best friends whom I've known since I was 2 years old. He is an arborist and a damn good one. (See pic to the right.) He is also one of the hardest working people I have ever met. We were a great combo. I'm 6'3 and he is somewhere around 5 feet tall. (I can hear him yelling I'm 5'2!!!! in my head)
The classic big man, little man combo. We started the business with a pickup truck, a 6 inch chipper, and some gear. We did everything in the beginning. Landscaping, stone work, snow removal. We didn't turn down work and we worked hard.Very hard.

The thing is, even when you are pulling down brutal, 16 hour days of back breaking labour, it can be fun. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you have a common goal, loads of coffee and great people around you to do it. I think that is why this writing thing is tough to do sometimes. It is just you and the computer and maybe the cat. There is no camaraderie, no bullshitting with friends and co workers and certainly no reward in terms of feeling like you did a good days work. Don't get me wrong, finishing anything when it comes to writing is a victory in my experience, but it doesn't feel the same as finishing a tree job. They are two different worlds and I don't miss the pain, lack of sleep and the stress of watching your closest friend 60 feet in the air (or more) taking down an old dead tree. Its just that when you finish a tree job, clean up, load the trucks and leave a happy customer behind as you drive away with a cheque there is a very distinct feeling of accomplishment. For one, the body loves to work. It doesn't like to work beat up and hurt, but it does like to work. Its nice to feel that buzz in your bones after a hard days work. It feels good to do dangerous work and pull off the job and go home safe. Writing is more long term when it comes to the reward factor. Personally, if I finish or get through something when I am writing, I consider it a victory.

With writing there is no straight line to success. Thats the frustrating part. You can put your head down and work at writing, but you can't approach it like you can a physical job. In the hardhat work boot world you can put your head down and work hard. You can push through fatigue and pain and all that physical stuff. You train your mind and body to deal with it. With writing its ALL in your head and your body just sits there. I found that really challenging. The mind suddenly becomes harder to deal with. You can try to push through but it just isn't the same.

  When we started the business I knew it would succeed. I knew we had the basic components for success. We had the knowledge and skills we needed to do the work. We had a work ethic and a will to push hard. Ernie had a reputation of being a skilled arborist. I knew how to talk to people and didn't mind handling the phone calls and I knew how to work hard. I knew that once we put ourselves out there we would do well based on all these components. With writing it is so much more daunting. It is a solo activity and whats worse you are up in your head all the time. You are constantly thinking about so many things and I found it really hard to just bull my way through my writing sessions. The best advice I ever got was just write, just keep going, don't even correct spelling mistakes. Just let it go. When I was writing the BTB I found that I had to set the alarm for 5am, get up, turn on the computer boil water make tea and just go for it. I would read what I wrote last time while the water was boiling and then write until 7 or 8am. Then it was off to work where I would think about what I had written and where I wanted to go with the writing the next morning. Sometimes I would write at night too, but mostly I was too burnt out.

Writing develops a different kind of mental strength. It shows you who you are in a different way. Writing is just one part of the equation too. You need to learn the business side of writing and the marketing side of things. You need to think about branding and how you want to present yourself to the world. It is a lot of work and not the kind you can just physically grind through. I find it to be a lot harder. When you are finished the first draft you have to start going through it all over again. Over and over until it feels tight and right. Like preparing a fighter for his fight, you keep working at it, sculpting it and breaking it down. I love it and I hate it.

There is no straight line in writing but there is a path. I keep setting goals that I can reach and I keep building on those small victories. My first goal was to get up at 5am and write. I found it hard to write for 30 minutes when I started but in the end I was blowing through the writing sessions and regretting I had to stop to go to work. Its like Jiu jitsu. Randori was tough as hell at first, I would need a break between rounds for the first while. Then you get a bit better and you learn efficiency of movement and how to breathe and stay calm and you begin to get tougher and smarter. You begin to last longer and it starts to be fun. Writing is the same.

Time is the best teacher if you are committed to learning anything. You just have to keep at it, be humble but hungry and keep pushing. Small victories baby. Small victories!    


Thursday, 1 March 2012

A few thoughts on Positivity.

Last night after Jiu Jitsu I came home and remembered that Terri and I had to take our (4) cats to the vet for their yearly check up. Yes we have 4 and they are spec CAT ular.

That was horrible I know.

So Terri's mom came to pick us up in her van as she was bringing her two cats and her dog to the vet as well.
I felt like a Bering Sea crab fisherman stacking pots as we loaded the cat crates into the van. We drove to the vet and I have to say the little furry bastards were quite well behaved.

Our youngest cat is named Seamus. He is the orange one in the middle (with Mac and Logan) in the picture above. Seamus is a cat that is pure love and terror. He loves to shower, yes shower with Terri whenever he can. He is absolutely unapologetic in his unrelenting quest for food. He eats his food locked in the bathroom because he will wolf his down and then attempt to eat the others food. He also will stare into your eyes with pure love in them, for minutes at a time. He is a great, great cat. (When he isn't getting into absolutely everything or terrorizing the others with his constant need to roughhouse. )

What does this have to do with positivity? Be patient...

So we let Seamus out at the vet and he explored the room and made himself quite comfortable. He charmed the pants of the vet and didn't even notice the needles he was getting. I watched Seamus as he took it all in. He had that happy face on and he was all over the place, exploring and being a nosy bastard. I realized that this cat has no fear. He just takes it all in as it comes and looks happy doing it. He loves everyone and enjoys his simple little life to the absolute max. I found myself wanting to be more like that little furball. He is just in the moment and going for it all the time. I realized as he was nose to nose with the dog, he was totally unafraid, just curious and wanting to take it all in. He looked happy and calm. I was jealous.

Like many people I went to bed thinking about how things were going in my life. I realized that I felt deep down inside that things were shifting for the better. I had a great day. I shot a video with my buddy Ben at the Healing centre I am going to be doing energy work out of. It went really well and I was excited to see the final product. I saw another friends yoga space in the same complex and it was beautiful. I met with a couple to talk about their upcoming wedding and the meeting went well. (I have been a wedding officiant for 10 years) After that I had an awesome randori class and rolled for 45 minutes with some really great guys at the academy. I then got home and we went to the vet where Seamus showed me the way. I also really enjoyed watching the vet work with all those animals. She was  AMAZING. The best I have ever seen. It made me smile to see my lady working alongside the vet helping her and being so gentle and loving with the kitties. I felt grateful to have her by my side, a steady, loving force that puts up with my insanity.

So lying in bed I thought about why I felt so good. I have reasons to be stressed like everyone else. I came to the conclusion that I had spent the day with (and observing) passionate, positive people. I had worked on my goals, trying to get the life I really want going. I had help from people that believed in me. I was around people who loved what they were doing. What a difference that makes. This was when I started thinking about positivity.

Positivity isn't just having a good attitude. I believe it has everything to do with accepting things as they are but having the courage and commitment to change them to be the way you want them to be. It doesn't mean it is going to be easy or painless. In my experience it is nerve wracking and scary. Being positive is hearing the voices of doubt in your head and still pushing forward towards your dreams. Being positive is not shrinking under the influence of the negative attitudes of people around you, but realizing you no longer need them around at all. Being positive means making tough decisions about your life and sticking to your guns even when you don't trust or believe in yourself.

I thought about everything I am working on. My book, my music, the HeartQuarters clothing and the energy work practice I am setting up. I used to think I had to do it all alone but I am now seeing that the times I am most successful is when others are there with me helping me, pushing me and lending a hand in making my dreams come true. My dreams and goals all revolve around moving forward, being positive, having courage and living life from your heart. Everything I do is to help others and that makes me feel really good. Not because I am trying to be a "nice" person or to make others think I am a nice person. It makes me feel good because I know I am doing the work of my heart, from my heart and that it is going to succeed and help a shitload of people along the way. This makes me feel grateful.

So there are a few thoughts about positivity from your old buddy here... If you want to be a partner in my success, I would love to be a partner in yours.

I pulled a card at my friend Anne's yoga space today and it said to do one thing today to change the course of your life for the good forever. I realized the day I had and smiled as it dawned on me that I had done just that.

Have a great day you furry little bastards!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fear and the future...

I was thinking about what I am attempting to do with my life this morning. Put a book out into the world about my experiences with cancer and depression, write music, do energy work, all forward moving pursuits right?

So why all the fear? Why all the worry?

Well, on one hand, it is very nerve wracking to put yourself out into the world in any capacity, but it really amplifies when you are basically carving your heart out and handing it to the world on a platter. My girlfriend is a saint. She tolerates my rants about my insecurities and fears regarding my creative endeavours. She knows how much I have invested in what I do and how much it means to me that it is received well. The thing is, you just gotta let all that go and move forward. I mean, whats worse, never trying to go for it and being that bitter person who is jealous of the success of others, or going for it and dealing with whatever negative shit that may come flying at me.

This all started because I received a negative comment from someone who attended a recent show my band put on. They felt it necessary to post on our FB page that they were turned off by my onstage banter. You see, I am known to push the envelope a bit on stage when it comes to how I relate to the audience. I am a passionate performer and I love to make people laugh and feel good. Sometimes I get a bit crazy and sometimes I say things that some people take the wrong way.  For instance, if I want more people to dance and let go at one of our shows, I won't just say,

"Come on folks, come dance!"

No, I'll say,

"Alright you motherfuckers! One day we are all going to be lying in our death beds thinking about this moment! Are you going to be happy that you chose to be afraid and not dance and let go? Or are you going to say fuck it and have a good time tonight!!!!"

You see how that might offend some people.

The point is, sometimes you need to shake someone and make them think. Not everyone is going to understand that I come from a place where I felt my existence threatened at a very young age. I understand how precious life is and I wish everyone felt the way I do. But that isn't the case. So instead, I say shit like I wrote above.

I have also asked people if they were going to worry about whether or not their bodies were decaying properly while they were in their graves... (In reference to wondering if they would look silly dancing) and to stop worrying and just come let go with us. Music for me is a catharsis. One of my friends said it best the other day when he told me when he watches the band it is as much like watching an exorcism as it is a release. I told him that is exactly what it is for me.  

The people who know me and my band know that I come from a place of intensity and heart and I am passionate about bringing positivity to the world through music, art and the written word. I am someone who has been in very bad, very dark places in my life and I fucking hated it. I swore if I got better and didn't blow my brains out or get consumed by cancer I would do my best to bring light and levity to the world. I bring it in a different way. Life is visceral and personal, it is a beautiful grind and sometimes it is messy and ugly. I love it. I have learned through alot of hard work that it really is ALL good. I have also learned that I sometimes hide behind my crassness because I am a deeply sensitive person. But my sensitivity also allows me to be a powerful performer and to connect with people on a deep level.

I have decided that from this point forward, I am going to accept that not everyone is going to get what I do or like what I do. What burns me is that people are so quick to judge. They don't look any further than their noses or try to really dig in and figure out what is really going on. My instinct is to tell them to fuck off and want to smash them, but that isn't good enough. that isn't positive. I look forward to whatever comes when my book comes out and I look forward to the interesting "discussions" that are no doubt going to take place when it does. The truth is, I love life and want to empower people with the fruit of my experiences. There will be those that get it and those who will never get it and who will want to tell me i'm wrong. All I am asking is to really take a look and a listen to what is going on before you chime in with a quick opinion.

I will always be brutally honest and not hold back because when I am in my grave I will be worn out and I will have said and done what I wanted to say and do.

 Life, is simply too short to worry about this shit.

Ahhhh... I feel better now. Have a great day you beautiful motherfuckers!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

In case the Agent of my Dreams Stumbles upon this blog..

In case a bored, internet surfing literary agent stumbles on this blog thinking it was religious porn, I have left a sample query letter for my book THE BAD TIMES BIBLE. Enjoy. Oh, and don't feel weird about the porn thing. No one will ever know.

Dear Future Agent,

I’m seeking representation for THE BAD TIMES BIBLE, a 77,000- word book
written for, but not limited to, the young adult male audience. I see from
your website that you represent books in both the narrative non fiction, humour and memoir genres.  I see that you represent (author x y z) and feel my book is similar to their work but with more intense language and subject matter. That being said, I wonder if my book would be a good fit for your list.

What’s worse than being 21 and having to attend a day program on a mental
ward because you lost your shit at work? Finding out that you are not just
crazy, but you also have cancer.

In a world where bookstores are filled with sugary self help books that
lack the balls to say how it really is when cancer and mental illness
start kicking your ass, THE BAD TIMES BIBLE smashes down the doors of
political correctness to claim the title of… the ultimate field guide for
the young angry man in crisis.,

Filled with hard fought wisdom and delivered in a take no prisoners, make
no apologies tone, THE BAD TIMES BIBLE will comfort, inspire, shock and
amuse the reader with hilarious and horrifying insights into the world of
cancer and mental illness from a veteran who has lived to tell the tale…
and brought back a map.

This is the manual you want in your hands if you or someone you love hears
those eleven terrible words,

“I am sorry you are nuts, but you have cancer too...”

From dealing with your friends and family, to tales of awkward sex and bar
fights during treatment, THE BAD TIMES BIBLE is a brutally honest, raw and
funny look at how one young man searched his heart for answers to some of
life’s big questions while dealing with not one, but two of life’s
scariest situations, having cancer and mental illness… at the same time.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I would love the opportunity to send you some chapters.


Peter MacKenzie Hammond

P.S. When I was a kid, the agent of my dreams was Jaclyn Smith from the tv show Charlie's Angels. I loved her with all my heart. A secret agent yes, but an agent non the less...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Anxiety and the hell of writing Query letters...

I hate it.
I hate writing these query letters. It feels like the first time I ever asked a girl out. I look at examples online and I try and figure out what to say and how to say it just right. I keep thinking about that prospective agent and what they want.
Goddamn it all to hell and back in a dirty monkey's ass crack.
I am also intimidated by the fact that so many writers blog so much. "Build an online community and the agents will come looking for you."
Um, I understand that but I wrote a book for people to read and then they can come to the website/blog and we can start having some fun no?  I am a boots on the ground kind of person. Touring in my band showed me that you get real fans when they figure out who you are, look you in the eye, shake your hand, experience you as a REAL LIFE ENTITY!!!!
I don't know how many times I heard, "Wow! I loved your record but the live show blew my fucking tits off!" (from a dude btw) I love being out there meeting people and looking them in the eye. Thats why I want to build something like this
And get it fully wrapped with killer graphics promoting the Bad times Bible. Drive that bastard all over north america. Talk to people, have onboard cameras that feed back into a laptop that goes live to the website. AND BLOG ABOUT IT!! Promote discussion, gather intel,  get enough info for my second book AND have enough video content to do a dvd about the whole experience. A&E will be begging me to do a
And speaking of shows.. I promote the book with the songs and stories nights where it is part book reading, discussing, book tour type shit and part stand up/ rock show. Wherever I go I invite a local band, comedian, sword swallower to close the show. Basically get people together, tell stories, hear thier stories, have some laughs, have some moments, film everything, upload it all and next thing you know the Bad times Bible website is a vault of super cool shit..

But before all that can happen, I have to make someone believe in me.
Just one person who will call me on this and say,
"Alright asshole, lets see what you can do!"
Then I go show them what I can do.
But that won't happen till those damn query letters are written.
I just gotta think about that first date ever when I was a wee little bastard. I bought her a 45 of Simple Mind's "Don't forget about me" and held her hand in the mall. It was nice.

Gotta go write. I love you all.