Saturday, November 15, 2014

Giving Thanks - for the good people, good things and good events in our lives


Giving thanks = what's important.


The importance of the fourth-Thursday-in-November holiday is well known to a domestic American audience, but of course not so well known elsewhere. In Canada, the same Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated in early October, but otherwise the holiday is not recognized elsewhere in the world. There is no equivalent in Australia, or New Zealand, or the UK, or anywhere else. I’ve been fortunate to be part of large Thanksgiving gatherings in the US, and in Canada. I also had a singular chance to be part of a group of Americans and others celebrating on the other side of the world, and that was an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

In the US, Thanksgiving is most often known for gatherings of families, and the holiday creates the busiest travel days of the year. Of course, the holiday started a few centuries ago as a giving of thanks for a good harvest. What I most like today is a common practice where family members share what they are most thankful for. That includes all those present at the dinner table, from the youngest to oldest.

What to be thankful for?

I think the process of thinking what we are thankful for is important, and really, far too important to be left to only one day per year. Thinking about what we are grateful for should be practiced every day, and especially when we have a great experience. 

I have been fortunate, in recent years, to be something of a mentor to a younger family member, now a young teenager. When I’ve taken that person out to do fun or interesting things, they’ve remarked that they wish we could do it again, or more often. 

My response has been something like this. I agree, and this was really interesting (or a lot of fun).  And, I really enjoyed doing it with you. But the most important thing now is that we remember the moment. Remember how interesting it was (or how fun it was), and make that a highlight in your life that you want to remember. Think of this highlight, remember it, and give thanks for it. Make your life about remembering all of these good things, and be thankful.

The moments we give thanks for.

I often think about what I am thankful for, and try to appreciate those good or great moments in my life. Today, as I do many days, I give thanks for all of the good people, good things and good events in my life.

If you are able to sit at a table on Thursday, November 27th, and give thanks, good. If you don’t (or can't) celebrate the holiday, that’s okay, too. Simply take this moment, right now, to think about whatever good things you’ve had in your life, and be thankful.

Wil

Saturday, September 20, 2014

International Child Abduction: A child victim's story - another work in progress

The world is a difficult and scary place when children of a multi-national marriage are taken by one parent to a country where the other parent loses de facto custody, or loses the ability to visit the child, or cannot even enter the country or contact the child. If you think it's bad for the losing parent, think how bad it must be for the children.

My new work in progress, as yet unnamed, is based upon this subject. Although fiction, it is inspired by a true story and told from the child's point of view, it describes many years of separation between a father and child, where the child was removed from their home county with no warning.

Now, as strange as this may seem, there are many countries of the world where there is no legal recourse for the losing parent. None at all. (The non-blue countries, below.)

In some cases, the practices of the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction apply. And, even those countries, the return of an abducted child is not at all certain and can take countless years, often with child aging out (at age 16) of the provisions of the Hague Convention.

If I paint a dark picture, where many children never see the losing parent again, this is the reality. My work will try and humanize international child abduction, with a rarely viewed children's perception of this terrible kind of event.

In the meantime, I hope you keep reading my other books.

Wil

Monday, September 1, 2014

I wish I had... but didn't. So, the time to start is now.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now. (Chinese proverb)
I was looking at that Chinese proverb, and thinking about how it could apply to so much of our lives. It might be 20 days, or 20 years, but it's all lost time. For instance, one could say, “I wish I’d started publishing my novels 20 years ago, but I didn’t, so I’m going to start now.”
Think of all the other statements that could be said:
 -      - “I wish I’d started learning to swim, or golf, or learn Azeri, or learn Tae Kwon Do, or travel, or go to the library, or read more books 20 years ago, but I didn’t. So, I’m going to start now.”
-   “I wish I’d started to save and spend my money better 20 years ago, but I didn’t. So, I’m going to start now.”
-  “I should have started to tell my son how proud I've been of his accomplishments at school. But I haven’t, so I’m going to start now.”
-  “I should have attended more of my daughter’s ballet recitals when she first got started. But, I didn’t, so I’m going to start now.”
-  “I wish I’d said more times how much I love and appreciate my father or mother or brother or sister or grandparent, and I didn’t, so I’d better get started now.”

What you don’t want to say is:
-  “I wish I’d told my father or mother, or my grandpa or grandma, or my uncle or aunt, or my brother or my sister, or my son or my daughter, or husband or wife how much I love them, but now it’s too late.”

So, whether it's one year or 20 years, perhaps the message here is that we should not put off until tomorrow what we can or should do today. Because, just perhaps, tomorrow will be too late.

Wil

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Persevere and overcome with tenacity, courage and understanding


I sometimes feel the need to explain myself, a bit, as a writer.  As in, why do I write?  Or, where did the ideas for my stories come from? 

Not easy questions to answer, really.  I suppose it was, initially, because I heard of some event, or tragedy, and I wished it had turned out differently.  In my mind, I wanted to change the way it turned out.  In real life, that cannot be done, of course.  But, in fiction, all things are possible.  As Paul Theroux says, “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” In my writing, I can create anything I want, and give it a happy ending, and mostly I do that.  Along the way, there may be tragedy, or hurtful events, but I try to create success and triumph in the end.  Here are some things I would be happy to achieve:
  • If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. 
  • If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. 
  • If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. 
  • If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled.
I have found that I really enjoy writing.  When I write, I imagine that I’m in the scene, or watching the action, and I want to describe it as fully as I can.  What’s more, I can change the scene, or the dialogue, or the action, as much as I want.  Most importantly, I write for myself.  I write what I want to read.  I like Jesse Stuart's quote, “Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.”

If even one person (young or not-so-young) finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.

Thanks for reading,
Wil

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting it Right...almost always starts with Getting it Wrong


Getting is right almost always starts with getting it wrong.  Unless we put ourselves or someone else into danger, the only bad thing about making mistakes is failing to try again.  And again.  And again.  And as many times as it takes to get it right.

That process, of trying it over and over until it works, has been my mantra in life, and in writing.  How many times have we said, or heard, ‘we learn from our mistakes,’ or perhaps, if we’re lucky, ‘we learn from the mistakes of others.’ 

As a writer, I often read, to see what others are writing.  I read what is selling and I read what is getting good reviews.  I also read what is new, or does not have good reviews, or what might not be selling, yet.  I read what appeals to me.  This is how I learn from others’ mistakes, and successes.

As I writer, I look at my own work.  I put my work out there.  I see which of my books sell, and which of them earn good reviews.  This is how I learn from my own mistakes, and possibly, from my own successes.

Getting it right, as an author, can be a long process.  It almost certainly very unlikely that the first novel we write is going to be a great success.  Almost any author will tell you that they did a lot of writing before they ended up with a work that they were happy with, or that sold well, or that got good reviews.  But, the key is to keep trying.  That means to keep writing.

In my case, I write because I want to write. I write because I need to write. I write what I want to write.  I write for myself.  But; I share my writing in the hope that some will like it, and perhaps, the hope that I might somehow tell a story that will have an impact.  

But, most importantly, I realize that it’s okay to get it wrong, if I keep trying to get it right.

Wil

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those who answer the call of 'Dad'..... this is for you!


This video is a great addition to the 'Must Sees' and 'Must Reads' for Father's Day...

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Pictures of Lighthouses