Being Truthful to the Characters

I finally got through a major hurdle. I mean, I think it was a major hurdle. I had been working on the same chapter for three days. I couldn’t get it to sound exactly the way I wanted. I’m not actually sure that it is the way I wanted. But it was enough to feel comfortable sending it off to my friend to edit. Continue reading

Behind the Pizza Pizza

When I was in grade 10, I got into a serious fight with a classmate. It was the first fight I had had. And it didn’t last any more than around fifteen seconds.

It started because his girlfriend liked me. At least, I think that was the reason. She would talk with me all of the time, flirt with me, and I don’t think he liked it. Why he didn’t talk to her about it instead of wanting to fight me, I don’t know. I suppose that there’s not a lot of logic going around amongst fifteen year olds (I’m including myself in that, by the way). Continue reading

My First Day of Teaching

I had no idea what I was doing on my first day of teaching classes in Korea. I was given nothing more than a book of illustrations that told the story of Little Red Riding Hood. There was a total of ten lines of English in it. And simple lines at that. I was expected to use if for the week. I hadn’t been given any training either, aside from the brief introduction I was given to the students the day before. I was completely clueless as to how to begin. Continue reading

Out the Back of the Car

The very best physics lesson I had was given to me by my father when I was ten years old. It was a lesson he had no idea he was teaching.

We were camping in Algonquin Park. We weren’t at our usual family campsite at Pog Lake. Instead, we were at a different site that I can’t remember the name of. I can’t remember who was with us, either. All I know is that my father and I were there. And his car.

It was an old, blue station wagon. A Malibu Classic. No air conditioning. Windows that needed to be rolled down by hand. There was a radio, but it didn’t work.

We were on our way back from picking up wood for the fire. We had to buy it instead of cutting down our own tree.

As we pulled into our campground, I had an idea. I had spent most of the morning climbing up and sliding down a massive hundred-foot rock face. I had had to dodge trees on the descent. I had had to cover my face so branches wouldn’t poke out my eyes. I had ripped my pants. And I was ready to take my adventure to the next level. Continue reading

On a Jet Plane

I moved to Korea in 2003. I was living in Toronto and had just finished writing a book about travelling around Europe after university. I had a beautiful apartment on the top floor of an old house near High Park. And I had a girlfriend (or somewhat of a girlfriend – she had moved up north to go to college and we knew that things between us weren’t permanent).

I was working at my old high school friend’s restaurant on King Street (right downtown). I served soul food while listening to Funk and R&B bands play live. It was fun.

But, one afternoon, while out on the patio, my old high school friend’s friend came to visit. I had met him before, so I fell into easy conversation with him. He had told me that he had just come back from Korea. He had been teaching there. I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t know that such a thing as teaching abroad was even possible.

He assured me it was. That he had been teaching English at a school for a year. That they had flown him there and back and had given him a place to stay, on top of a pretty good monthly salary.

I asked him how he found the job. He gave me a website. Three weeks later, I was in Korea. Continue reading

Lunch with Dana

When I was in grade three, I fell in love. It wasn’t the type of love that made me evaluate my life or conjure up dreams of a future. I’m not even certain I looked much past the next week. But I did know that I felt something strong for her. I may have even wanted to kiss her. Continue reading

Stephen King to the Rescue!

img_2858In honour of Stephen King’s birthday, I sat down to read my favourite book of his, The Stand. I didn’t get very far into it before I changed my mind and switched to his book On Writing. I struggled with my writing (or editing) today and thought that this might be a good way to snap me out of it (drawing and a walk didn’t help – refer to my previous post for that to make any sense).

It did. Or somewhat did. Continue reading