I’ve been told on occasion that I’ve been blessed with different talents. As a young man, I sought out a career in dance, and to my surprise, for a while, actually achieved that goal.

When it became clear to me that it was not my calling, I later reverted to the art of music. In particular, singing, wherever they would welcome me. I was going great guns until one night, committed to a set of performances, I fell ill. I was too much of a pro to let that get in the way, but in the aftermath of that train wreck  I realized, sadly, that I didn’t love what I was doing enough to continue its pursuit.

Which led me to my current habit…writing.

This one came WAAAYYY out of left field.

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You see, as a kid, I had a great imagination. And, I was good at “storytelling”. Not in the Steven King “Stand By Me” tradition, but rather, through a constant barrage of “fables and fiction”, to anyone and everyone I interacted with. This was generally rewarded with my hind end being lifted sky-high with the aid of a rapidly applied swat to the arse.

It took YEARS to break that cycle of dishonesty. But, from all that, it also started to become very clear to me that I had developed the gift of description. With it, unbeknownst to me, I learned how to craft a great many tales.

When I was in Grade 4, I had a teacher, Mrs. Sokolowski. I shared that class with my step-sister, Sherry, as I had been held back a grade. She had once handed all of us a writing assignment. I remember that Sherry had written a wonderful story about a kid that developed powers of some sort, and that the teacher had singled her out for praise in one breath, while chastising everyone else for turning in such bad assignments. I never forgot how bad I felt, and from that point, I completely stopped even trying to write anything creatively from that moment forward.

Flash forward to my mid-thirties. I was working at Bell Canada on the phones, trying to resolve customer’s issues. At this point, my “creative” untruths became a very handy tool in my day-to-day work. As I would speak to customers about their issues, I found it worked very well if I could explore ways to have them “identify” with  me, and as a result, be more willing to work with me on exploring ways to resolve their difficulties.

One day, one of my co-workers came up to me, smiling, and told me that I needed to write. He then added that he really thought I had the makings of a great storyteller.

Anyone could have knocked me over with a mild wind after hearing that. So, I started to write. At first, my efforts were lame, and quite honestly, unworthy of anyone’s time. But as I continued, I started to realise that I was able to craft my words in much the same way a painter uses brush strokes.

At some point, I started a blog space. It was through this venue that I started to connect with other writers. One such writer is a gentleman by the name of Jeff. He was the first to truly urge me to pursue my style and form of writing. Over the years, I’ve come to truly appreciate anything and everything he chooses to share with me.  From the books he sends by mail for me to read, to the ribald and off-centre cartoons he clips and mails off, just because, he’s constantly been a great source of inspiration, and at times, strength.

Another highly cherished relationship I’m fortunate enough to enjoy is with my Wisconsin buddy, Claudene. For years now, she’s read pretty much everything I’ve put to pen, and has always been the first to de-construct where I’ve needed it, and  add a kind word or two where it’s deserved. She’s been my editor, my partner in crime, my source of anarchy, and one of my most cherished friends. Without her encouragement, I’d probably have packed it in ages ago.

The person I’ve come to respect from afar over the years is another blogger here on WordPress, Scoundrel. We’ve had an odd sort of mutual fan club happening for some years now. It’s not often these days to see him in print, but when he does get the gumption, its epic, and filled with quirky observations that truly stimulate the synapses. I’ve come to cherish this relationship, and am constantly in awe of his talent.

A newer colleague and friend that’s become a mainstay in my daily reading is my Canuck in Texas pal, Jessica. Another WordPress blogster, she’s surprisingly shown great interest in what I have to say, and more importantly, in how I say it. I don’t know if she realizes just how much I appreciate what’s she’s brought to the party, but with a little luck, she’ll read this, and pat herself on the back. Coolest chick ever!

Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to have another successful writer take interest in my work. I suppose it has a lot to do with my wonderful and excruciatingly handsome partner’s whispering into her ear that she’s decided to help “guide” me towards taking the next step…making a few bucks at doing what I love. Kerry has amazed me with her approach to encouraging me to write in a whole new way. From the daft to the truly political, she’s egging me on to write opinion pieces, and then taking the time to add in criticisms where needed, all to help me fine tune my abilities (or lack thereof.)

Another mention here in my love letter to my “contributors” has to go out to Wil. This man has patiently sat by while I’ve gone through my metamorphosis, still encouraging me to finish this book the two of us are working on. Because of his amazing talent with a sketch pad, you may well be hearing about a new kid’s book hitting the best seller’s list someday.

Wil...you do AMAZING work buddy! I can never ever thank you enough!

Wil…you do AMAZING work buddy! I can never ever thank you enough!

Stranger things have happened.

And to round off this listing, I could not forget probably the most dedicated reader of them all. Noah. From my early days on MySpace, to my current haven, you’ve been the most loyal, and often, the most brutally honest of my supporters. I’ve come to depend on you in the role as my literary “barometre”. You’ve kicked me in the arse when I got stuck, encouraged my words when they clicked, and more importantly, never lost sight of who we are as friends. You’re one in a million, and I cannot conceive my life today without you being a part of it.

But, in the grand scheme of things, I have one more thank you within me…to you, my readers. With every single kindness you’ve shown, from every “like” you’ve posted, you’ve encouraged me to grow and develop in ways I could never have conceived possible a decade ago. If it wasn’t for your interest in what I have to say, I’d honestly have given up and given in some time ago.

Everything you write me, I cherish. Never forget that.

I hope that in this New Year that we are approaching, I can continue to give you all my best, and better still, be worthy of your time, as you read the crazed nonsense that comes out of my twisted mind.

To everyone that lays eyes upon this, I wish you the very best holiday season on record. Eat too much, drink too much, and savour those precious moments that unexpectedly come your way when you least expect it.

Bless.

Da Taz!

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