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!
Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and is not interested in their surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a bore had been used in the sense of “to be tiresome or dull” since 1768. The French term for boredom, ennui, is sometimes used in English as well. (Wikipedia 1).
To be bored; what a tiresome awful way to feel. But of course, the problem is that everyone at some time or another has been bored.
For me boredom became a way of life about 3 years ago when I became sick. Suddenly, I had all this time that I had not had before. Before I was sick, I worked, hung out with my friends all night, worked out, and spent my remaining time hanging with my family and reading – there was simply not enough time in the day to do everything I wanted! But once I became sick, I could painfully feel each minute ticking by and there was never enough things that I could do to fill my time. Part of my feeling this way was dealing with a depressive episode that I had just had; I became a great deal more impatient and did not have the energy to do anything for very long. I was also irritable and sleepy. Not to mention I had 8.5 hours a day which I had worked that I now had to fill with different activities – and nobody was home to do most of these activities with me.
The first thing my mom told me to do when I told her about how long and boring my days felt was to develop a routein. She told me to make a list of the things I wanted to do and whatever I could accomplish on this list, that I would do. If I did not have the energy or motivation to do all of that list than those items I could not do were carried over to the next day. At first this was very hard to do, I was not use to watching much TV so I did not watch it much at first and I managed to break my day into 1 hour or so blocks of time that I spent doing different activities: I woke up at 9 am and got ready until 11 am (because yes even blow drying your hair and putting on makeup was hard at first). Then I read for an hour until lunch at 12pm. From 12:30 to to 2 pm I would paint or scrapbook, do something easy like that and then nap from 2 to 4 pm. At 4 pm I got up to watch What Not To Wear and by five everybody else was home from work and I spent the night making dinner, talking with my family, and watching television. Some afternoons I would go to the gym instead of scrapbooking etc. and some evenings I would spend a few hours with a friend or two having coffee or eating supper. I was pretty sick and this was all I could manage. Nevertheless, having a routein really helped me get through the day, made each day worth getting through, and gave me something to look forward to.
Now over the past couple years, my health has improved and I have become better able to manage a normal routein. I fill my time going to class, working on projects for school, going to various social gatherings, shopping, doing yoga, walking my dog, along with many of the other activities I did when I first became sick. Eventually, I hope to add some other activities to my routein such as being able to go out past 10:00 pm again and stay awake, going to they gym 2 or 3 times a week, and of course working full or part time. But these things will come in time. The important thing is that I maintain a routein and that is how I get through my day, what keeps me from becoming bored. Having a routein does not mean that I cannot change it up – some days I excercise different ways – do pilates, go on the elliptical, rollerblade, walk a different route. Some days I just spend having fun with a friend, somedays I just have to spend doing school work, and somedays I go somewhere I like to go like a different mall, any kind of coffee shop, book shop, a different gym, or any type of unique shop or business. Somedays I am so fatigued and just have to rest. When you are sick for a long time you have to find lots of different ways and places and people to talk to, you have to make an effort not be bored. Having a routein helps this, but so does keeping it interesting. Whatever, you can do thats what you do, all on the road back to better health.
Moreover, if you are just someone with a lot of time on your hands a routein can work too. You can routeinly take different classes, join different clubs, volunteer at places such as The Rock in Edmonton, AB (serving breakfast to the homeless in the inner city). You can also spend time with all those people you’ve been meaning to see, but just have not gotten around to seeing – like your grandma. As much as I hate to say it, there is definatly something good about just staying home one or two days and catching up on the newest episodes of shows you have missed on TV, online or Ondemand; or downloading or renting movies off of Itunes, Ondemand, or Netflix. There is so much going on, too much going on to be bored. No matter how sick you are, or how bored you think you are, just get out there and try anything.
In conclusion, by having a routein and keeping your routein interesting I believe anyone can avoid, Charles Dicken’s dreaded boredom from Bleak House, maybe not all the time, but atleast most of the time.