Ellie stared at her teddy bears. She collected them and these three were her favourite. She didn’t much play with them, but they had a place of pride on her daybed.
Truthfully, Ellie played with other stuffed animals, she didn’t care if she wrecked or ripped them a part. Sometimes she even gave a stuffed animal to her family’s dog dog Artic.
But Mom said she had too many teddy bears and because she didn’t play with these three teddy bears on her bed, she could only keep one of them.
“But I snuggle with them at night, they keep me safe from the monsters. Even a monster can’t defend himself against three bears, ” Ellie told her Mom who laughed and ran her fingers through Ellie’s curly brown hair.
Ellie stared at her three soft bears, unable to choose who would go.
Suddenly, the solution came upon her. If Ellie couldn’t have all three bears, the only solution was to get rid of her Mom. She really loved her Mom a whole bunch, but she thought if she sacrificed Mom to the monsters, she would both be able to keepall three teddy bears and the monsters would leave forever too.
It was a scary thing to give up her mother, but Ellie thought it was for the best.
Maryanne frequently found herself on the Greyhound bus travelling here, there, and everywhere. She didn’t understand what triggered the travelling gypsy in her, but she felt when she found what she was searching for, she would finally have a place of her own. She would find a decent job, have a car to drive, and most of all, have people to love in her life.
As if on que, a stray dog yipped and walked out of the alleyway nearby. While she waited an-hour-and-a-half for the bus to Raleigh, Maryanne decided the dog was indeed homeless and picked her up gently. She brought the startled mut on the bus pulling into the station and named her Betsy.
She was Maryanne’s first step towards finding a home.
Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer,Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dogRay. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’sfavorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).
1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?
My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).
I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.
The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.
2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?
I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.
I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.
“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell
3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?
I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.
Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray.He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.
Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well, I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.
” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.
Ray is also hugely inspiring.He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself.I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.
There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two active projects at the moment:
My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?All profits from this book go to theHumane Societywhom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it.Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.
My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina andOtherStories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.
I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.
“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell
You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?
I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.
If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexistin every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.
My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!
10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?
Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.
Book Writing– I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry.Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago.Who Said I was up forAdoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.
“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexist in everycountry. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.” – Colin Chappell
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?
I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need torelate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write… write… write.
Be honest to yourself.
Write… write… write.
Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.
Write… write… write.
If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.
Write… write… write.
If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!
“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?
I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.
I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations.Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.
14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?
I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking.Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!
15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:
Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.
If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!
“Trees are necessary for our very existence on this earth, they produce the air we breathe. We build houses with them and create many products that we use everyday with them. What personal role do trees have in your life? Do you have a favorite tree in your yard or one that you walk or drive by frequently? Free write for ten minutes exploring the world of trees.”
The park is peaceful silent, as mid-day sun strays,
Walking through foliage, even footsteps —
Can be heard, where branches carve a ceiling cave.
Though the sky is cheerful blue, branches yet,
Make the trails paved, a hollowed place away —
Screaming city lights, and loud conversation met,
With the quiet, the tranquil breath, gifted by trees,
No sadness here, a happy place held dear.
The drifting leaves, paying tole, to dancing wind,
Blowing the rebirth of trees and their seeds far.
Slow lazy walk, furry dog smelling scents, grins.
Curious thing, to see a dog smile, laughing bark.
Nature cradles us, magic trees rekindled.
Hidden we are in treasured lands, our star —
Bright light always near, to show us the path to roam.
Nature’s dreamy pause, returns with us to home.
——- ” A Ottava Rima is a poem written in 8-line octives. Each line is of a 10 or 11 syllable count in the following rhyme:
1. one octive poem. abababcc 2. two octive poem. abababcc, dededeff
3. three octive poem. abababcc, dededeff, ghghghii.”
The Poetry 101 prompt is a screen of any kind using enjambment. I’m also incorporating a word from The Daily Post, Darkness.
Behind the screen I keep myself veiled, a Japanese screen with paper too thin and I keep on wondering if he’ll look, wishing Luke wouldn’t because I know I’ll be doing the walk of shame back home. And I don’t know why but I’m so ashamed, the wine went to my head last night; I knew better. Luke was attractive, he was kind; for a moment I thought he cared more about me than a few statistics and few words; but this morning, Luke left his house empty but for his cleaning lady and cook who made me crepes and said, “You need to get ready to go home. Mr. Luke doesn’t like his lady friends to be at his home if he decides to drop by at lunch to take the dog out for a run especially.” I didn’t understand why Luke was screening me, why I awoke from euphoria to a cold empty bed; the hand stroking my cheek in the night wanted only one thing, and didn’t want it from me again though Luke and I had been friends before. There was no text message, no note, and I wondered if I would see Luke again. No doubt, he’d try to avoid my favourite hangouts from now on, he knew most of them. But I didn’t get why I felt so exposed that morning getting dressed. We’d been naked all night but when I woke up and Luke saw me; I felt judged. Judged by the bite marks, the bruising, my careful movements. Luke gazed at me grinning, when I hid behind that Japanese screen to dress after my shower. “It’s no use to hide behind the screen Katie. I can see right through it in the morning light. Come back to bed . . .” So back to Luke I went though sorely overused, and when I fell asleep he was gone and I was alone; Luke’s pillow was cold. I wish I’d screened him better, I wish it was him who was exposed and not me. He hides all his secrets in the dark, he thrives in its opaqueness. The darkness lets him treat women how he does, another notch in a metaphorical bedpost. Walking home, I felt empty, caught in Luke’s darkness, as if I had wasted so much time and conversation, in the end only to be screened, told I wasn’t right for the position.
The prompt for Writing 101 today is to write about an event that takes place in a single day. Also, I will be including The Daily Post word prompts Phase,Dream, and Grain. I’m trying something with poetry and I hope the result isn’t tedious.