SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

For those new to my blog I am finishing up on my experience of my hospital stay. I had knee replacement surgery on November 30th and saw my experience as one would view a play.

Please check out my previous post here in case you need some additional info. For the rest of you…..on with the show.

 

Act Four

The two assistance were funny as they wheeled me down the long hallway. I’m pretty sure I laughed as they made light conversation. Afterwards I wondered if they were joking at all.

Did I mention the drug cocktail I was on?

They over shot the exit and quickly backed up. One teased the other for her mishap. It was the second time that morning, she exclaimed. The other replied with a giggle.

I entered a room full of overhead lights, people organizing instruments and lots of scrubs and masks.

Eyes only, I thought.

The gurney evened with a table for one. Clearly I was dining alone. The two assistance smiled as I tried to move myself over. Forgetting for a moment that my legs had taken a vacation I leaned back in a failed position.

The two assistance steadied to my left as two new acquaintances appeared on my right. On a count of three, somebody yelled as they counted up to the magic number and moved me over. 

I immediately asked why it was always three. If I were number four I’d feel forgotten and sad. My remark was met with a giggle.

 

We Meet Again

Dr. Schabel immediately appeared. She joked we had to stop meeting like this as she was fitted with gloves and a mask. A curious instrument was fitted over her head. I noticed a round object sized for her eyes only as it dangled just above her forehead.

I was tempted to make light of the situation but noticed she was in deep thought. Best to leave the driver alone, I figured, when traveling a dangerous road.

I suddenly realized my leg being held in the air. More lines were being draw as my leg was slowly becoming the center of attention.

The anesthesiologist appeared just above my head and said hello. I figured now was the perfect time to joke about my leg. Sadly he was the only one who laughed, but at least I had an audience.

 

Music and Tools

I was positive I heard soft music being played but then again my mind may have been playing tricks. But if it was being played the sound was soothing to the ears.

The anesthesiologist explained I would be out but not completely under. I found his words confusing but I made a promise they would make sense later on.

A blue sheet was placed in front of my eyes, inches above my chest. The curtain was drawn. Lights, camera, action!

I heard voices, tools and music. For a moment I was trapped in a dream unable to run. The dream crashed and the voices grew. I was positive I heard hammering and the sound of a saw.

On a side note: The following day Dr. Shabel told me she couldn’t believe I was still awake. Neither could the anesthesiologist. My resistance to the drugs were a tad high.

 

The Anesthesiologist is a patient’s best friend

I had visions of being trapped in a workshop where I was the product being made. I drew my head back and found my old friend, Mister Anesthesiologist. Give me the good stuff, I said. Clearly nothing else works.

I watched him look straight ahead as though he were waiting for an answer. I soon heard a familiar voice in the distance – we have to stop meeting like this – In an instant the curtain closed and darkness followed.

 

The City, confusion and a final curtain call

I was awakened by the sound of my name. Confused, I discovered I was in a strange place surrounded by other patients. The Portland skyline lay to my left. A poor lady across curled in a fetal position while a man a few feet away promised the nurse he was about to get sick.

A lady to my right was delivered grape juice and Jell-O. Seeing how I was eyeing it so closely the nurse asked if I’d like the same.

Sometime during all of this my wife paid a visit and my appetite increased. Cheeseburger, Fries and a coke – Oh my!

After observing the other patients and their post-surgery misery I realized in that moment a spinal is the only way to go. The head is clear and the body isn’t sick.

It’s a win-win all around.

But I must admit a bit of guilt ran through my veins as I munched down the tasty burger while others around me wished for better days.

So here I am. My future full of physical therapy, aches and pains. My knee may never be perfect but who cares. Perfection is another word for over-rated.

I am happy it’s over but most of all I am happy to be back.    

 

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

Before I continue the final installment of Hospital Theater Corner I thought I’d take a little break and lighten the mood. I am still a tad bummed I was not able to supply to you with a batch of photos from my adventure.

I’m picturing my surgeon and her team clowning around with tools in their hands or the Needleman hitting his target.

 Sadly a moment lost.

So I came up with an idea. Since I tend to see the lighter side of life on Friday’s why not share a day in the life of yours truly. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for me after you see what I have to put up with on a daily basis.

Enjoy. 

 

This is my four year old cat, Flash. Somewhere along the way he has convinced himself and others that he is the center of the universe.

Bryan 8

 

This is my chair. The kids dragged it in from the kitchen to my desk. I have no idea how old it is and I doubt it is the center of the universe. I use it to ice down my knee while working or watching TV. It also has a cool red thingy that’s really comfy on the foot.

Bryan 9

 

This is Flash exercising his center of the universe attitude by stealing my chair. Yes, he’s an ass.

Bryan 6

 

This is me wishing for simpler times.

Bryan 5

 

This is my leg and Flash attempting to co-exist. Wish me luck.

Bryan 7

 

You may feel sorry for me now. If any of you want Flash I have box to shove him in. Please PM your address.

 

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Good to be back

May I open by saying it is good to be back. It was a much needed two weeks rest. In that time the mind and the knee have slowly recovered.

Especially the mind.

First of all before I get started I want to apologize for my lack of pictures. I had big plans and a thousand pictures to choose from but hospital rules held rank thus ending some great photo ops.

 

The world is my theater

Looking back I viewed my operation in a way one would view a play. There was the first act involving the planning stages. The second act centering around the pre-op and finally the third and fourth act where all the goodies occurred.

I touched briefly on the first two acts of this rousing play in my previous posts so today, without further ado, I present to you act three.

On the morning of the surgery I wanted to observe as much as possible. I knew the drugs would eventually take over placing myself in a lovely dream known as La-La-Land. Until that time I watched and listened as much as I could.

The big plus in having an operation is that you are the center of attention. The protagonist is me and with the help of a few side characters I am the spotlight of a one act play.

Thankfully the ending did not end in tragedy.

 

Covering up and Smiley faces

I was forced to wear the ridiculous hospital attire where one spends most of their time trying to cover up than they do wearing it. With my IV hooked up and my wife told to say goodbye I knew it was curtain time.

Within minutes my surgeon, Dr. Schabel, and her team appeared. Three men followed in a perfect line and listened as she calmly smiled and said her hellos.

I watched as she looked me in the eye and asked how I was. Satisfied with my answer she proceeded to the business at hand by exposing my knee to the three men and giving instructions.

Her team leaned in. Not a word spoken. They listened to her orders and drew a purple mark on my knee.

I was able to get a smile out of them when I requested a smiley face. Sadly no smiley face was drawn.

Dr. Schabel patted me on the hand and promised to see me in an hour. The moment her and her team left a young man came in and wheeled me away.

 

Last walk with an old friend

Going to the bathroom is a big deal when one is headed for surgery. At least it was in my case. As I exited the bathroom, doing my best not to trip over my IV tubes, I came up with a brilliant idea.

I requested a final walk on my old knee. A last lap with an old friend, I explained, who has seen it all. Laughing and admitting he had never heard of such a thing he allowed me a final walk down a long hallway.

 

Long Needles and High Fives

I entered a busy room full of people, bright lights and machines. I sat on a gurney where I was immediately acquainted with the head nurse. His role was clearly identified. He was there to answer and inform. He was also there to calm nerves if needed.

I smiled and called him by his first name. My goal was to present to him a low maintenance patient. In a matter of minutes we both began to relax.

I found myself relaxing more than normal. He admitted shortly after that I was given a drug cocktail. It was a nice feeling but not overwhelming. I was still able to think and observe.

My leg was exposed and a long needle was inserted into my thigh. A TV screen nearby allowed the needle man and his two assistance a chance to observe the journey.

I was asked if I wanted to lie down but I said no. I was winning the battle of the drug cocktail and besides, this was the best TV action I had seen in months.

Soon I was joining in with the needle man’s assistance. Once I understood his target I was yelling like the rest – “Left! Right! No, your other right!”

With his target reached I joined in with high fives. I wasn’t sure exactly why I had a long needle in my leg but I was happy in his successful effort.

 

The End of Act Three

Within minutes the team brought over a device that resembled a head rest. With my legs hanging over the gurney and my body leaning forward it was time to administer the spinal.

I was warned there would be a sharp pain in the center of my back. I was also warned it may not work. Some people have bodies that make the procedure impossible.

My body was not the case.

Within minutes, maybe seconds, my legs began to feel heavy. My feet stopped moving and my toes were no longer mine.

A feeling of claustrophobic followed. My name was constantly being called and somehow, without my knowledge, my legs were placed in a lying position.

With their job complete and act three a success the members of the team wished me well. Within minutes two assistance wheeled me down another long hall where the fourth and final act awaited.   

Friday Guest Post

I want to thank the people who took the time to guest post on my blog. These past two weeks my mind has not been in a writing mode. With the help of K.M. Allan, J.A. Sullivan, Paul and Susan, you’ve kept this little blog of mine going.

I cannot thank you enough.

On a personal note I am now off Oxycodone and because of that my writer’s mind has returned. Life will return to normal next week as I return to my blog and my second novel.

Get ready for some really cool hospital stories.

Until then I would like to introduce a favorite person of mine who will be sharing her thoughts on my Friday’s post.

I remember the day I met Susan. I was reading a post from a blog that I follow. I remember commenting on the topic and decided to see what others had to say.

It was a popular blog with lots of comments but when I came to Susan’s I stopped.

Her words drew me in. There was something in the richness of her voice that filled me with a need to hear more.

When I visited her blog I found myself surrounded by her poetry and her stories that allowed me to see and feel her adventures.

Her words had wings and in no time I watched as they hovered above playing their games of hop scotch and hide n seek.

In no time a friendship followed. Her inspiration and advice took away the fear of my upcoming operation.  It was an easy decision to ask if she would like to guest host but I must admit I worried she would pass.

Let’s just say it was a happy day when she accepted.

Please visit her blog and see for yourself the magic she creates. She will soon become one of your favorites just like she is mine.

Susan, take it away:

 

The Heaviness in my Eyes

“We are called to be here for each other, it’s that simple and that complicated”

‘James Diaz, Editors Comments from Anti Heroin Chic December 2018.

When Bryan asked me to be a guest on his blog, I was excited, honored and a bit nervous, and then I read the above quote from James Diaz, and the nerves dissolved.  I instantly thought of Bryan and how generous he has been with me and with so many others.  I thought about what a huge compliment it is that he asked me to be a guest in his blogging home, and the nervous feelings were overtaken by feelings of gratitude.  James is right.  We are called to be here for each other, and it is my honor to be here for Bryan while he is becoming better acquainted with his new knee.

Now, what to write about? Do I write about writing?  Poetry? Blindness? Do I wing it and do the stream of consciousness thing, like I often do on my own blog?  Maybe a mixture of flavors is best?  I think I will just see what happens and hopefully I won’t disappoint my host or his readers.   

I write a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness, so titled because I have a disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa – I know, it’s a mouthful.  Basically, it means that I am going blind from the outside in, or more technically, I have about 15 to 20 degrees of peripheral vision, whereas a normally sighted person has 100 to 120 degrees.  I don’t want to give a lesson in RP, but thought I should provide some background.  There will most likely be a bit of blindness in this post.

I have been feeling the heaviness in my fingers so keenly. I can’t get my mind focused and finding the words seems a constant struggle. My thoughts drift to what I can’t do; I feel resentful of everything that makes me different and the burden of a disease that makes simple things so much harder.  I lack confidence in my ability to make sense of the words, to create something with them that doesn’t feel stale or insipid.  These are the fates, I suppose, of every writer.  As to the fates of blind people, I can only speak for myself.

Sometimes, when I feel myself slipping away from my writing, when my mind feels blank, I realize that that heaviness I think is in my fingers, is really in my eyes, and the empty page is the product of a defense mechanism in my mind.  Seems like a bit of a tangled web, but it all leads back to my personal belief that the feeling of struggling to find the words is not writers block, but perhaps a lack of readiness to write about a particular topic or face something you would rather leave in the darkness (no pun intended) for just a while longer.

Admittedly, I write a lot about blindness, but it doesn’t come easy.  Although it is a sort of constant companion, it is full of ghosts that I can’t deal with all at once. My particular disease puts me in a space that is in between sight and blindness, so it makes it easier to deny when my mind just isn’t in the mood to accept reality.  But then something creeps up and pulls my feet out from under me (often literally) and I am confronted with the shapes and contours of my blindness.  And my eyes put the weight into my fingers, making them heavy, keeping the words at a safe distance, until I am ready to fully open my eyes again, to truly look at what it is I can’t see.

RP is a confusing affliction.  I am blind, but I can see.  The world is washed away by nightfall, but the sun can also blind me, painfully, in an instant.  If I go out during the day without a big hat and sunglasses, I can’t see anything and the sun exposure can render my eyes aching and useless for days.  It is light sensitivity to the extreme.  Seems simple, put on a hat and sunglasses when you go outside; that part is simple, but what makes me resentful is that my disease takes away my options.

I was walking my dogs the other day, suited up with a large brimmed black hat and oversized dark tortoise shell sunglasses, and ran into a friend.  She came bounding up the street with her lovely golden retriever, taking in the sunshine, no hat, no sunglasses, no barrier to the world.  She looked so happy, comfortable and confident.  I knew she had woken up, gotten her dog ready and walked out of the house into the sunlight, without a single thought but enjoying the morning.  We walked around the block with them, and as they flowed and I stumbled, it hit me that I had been stuck in this loop of resentment about not having the same choices as other people, and it had been keeping me from focusing on my writing.

It seems ridiculous.  What’s the big deal about having to wear a hat and sunglasses?  The wearing of them isn’t a big deal, it’s the have to part that deflates me, the fact that I can’t just leave the house without a thought but enjoying the sunshine. But, the good thing, is that when I finally allow myself to see the loop and find my way out of it, I almost always start writing again.

I think the loop can be anything.  We all have them.  We all have things that we aren’t ready to face or to write about, but that isn’t writers block, it is simply being human.  As writers, we face ghosts in ways I think others don’t.  I think it makes us brave and strong.  And, I think that when we get stuck in the loops and need to step away from the words for a bit, that’s ok.  No one can look into the faces of their ghosts all of the time.

Susan

 

Wednesday Guest Post

Not too long ago I mentioned that Canada reminds me of that really cool cousin that you seek out whenever a family get together comes into play. Paul reminds me of that cool cousin and since he’s from Canada I can see now how it all makes perfect sense.

Paul is an observer. It is a rare talent that only a tiny handful can achieve. George Carlin was an observer and so is Jerry Seinfeld. Paul is in that mix where he is able to look beneath the surface of life and see the world in a special and honest way.

I’d like to take this moment to thank my good friend for being my host today. He is one cool dude.

Take it away, Paul.

 

“Please Like My Words”

Before I get started, I should mention that Bryan promised me I would become, “Rock star famous” as a result of this guest post. Personally, I’ll settle for, “Local celebrity, who people have never heard of, nor seen”. That way, I can still eat at the local buffets, without having to accommodate a long line of fans who want selfies.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the matter.

Upon being subpoenaed to procure this guest post, I immediately tried to think of something really good to write about. I wanted to make Bryan proud and justify his selection. Also, I wanted to impress his readers.

This is like meeting the in-laws; you have to make a good impression. You bring flowers, you bring a smile, you bring cupcakes – or you avoid food altogether, so someone doesn’t ask if it’s vegan and you have to say, “No”.

That was how I approached this. I am going into potentially hostile territory – will they like what I have to say?

And it’s not that I crave approval from strangers on the internet, it’s that I don’t want to be the guy who is flown in for a guest post and the readers are left to wonder, “What was so special about that guy?”

So with that weighing on my conscience, I tried to come up with the best idea imaginable.

And…nothing.

I was idealess. I was a sleigh without reindeer.

There was one night when I was having trouble sleeping. I looked at the clock radio next to me and starting thinking about how amazing radios are, yet they receive no appreciation.

I probably spent half an hour thinking about how cool it is that we can press a button and have someone’s voice talk at us. We can make them louder, we can make them quieter, or we can make them go away.

That had me thinking about all the objects that are around us every day and how none of them get the admiration they deserve.

They’re all taken for granted.

Want food heated up quickly? Sure, no problem. Just put it in that rectangular box, set a time, and open the door when it beeps.

Do you know how insane that sounds? But we’re used to it. It’s no longer something at which to marvel.

This post was going to be about me going down the rabbit hole of household items and giving them 15 more seconds of fame, but I quickly realized that if I were to follow through with that idea, I’d be forcing it.

I live by one writing rule: If I have to force it, I’m not ready to write about it.

I will not sit here in front of this laptop and put words on the screen, if I have to pause and think about what I want to say. That’s too difficult.

I’ve made it 500 words into this post and none of these words were rehearsed. That’s how I know I’m doing okay.

Now, let’s bring it back to that idea that never was. From there, I decided to do a post about writing styles and how we each develop our own.

It would be a really cool post, where I subtly force my writing style on you, while talking about it. It would be very “meta” and blow your socks off, surely.

But just like the first idea, I determined I was forcing this one, as well.

Back to the drawing board! Except, I’m not good at art, so I sought another outlet.

I asked my friend for help and he asked me if I had any topics lingering in my drafts. Of course I do! I have 43 drafts sitting there, wondering where I went and if I still love them.

A draft is where blog ideas go to die. I wasn’t going to dig one up for this momentous occasion. That would be like doing a presentation at school in your pajamas.

Most of my drafts are just a few words – ideas that I jotted down, hoping they’d one day bloom into magnificent flowers to bring the in-laws (all of you). None of them did.

My new idea was that I was going to go through my drafts and share with you some of the things I wrote down. Since I don’t always title my posts before writing, a lot of my drafts are labelled, “(no title)”. Real helpful.

Here are a couple of the tidbits I would’ve shared from my deserted drafts.

  1. “Michael Myers walks around looking like a plumber that got electrocuted.”

That’s it! That’s all I wrote. I had just been to see the Halloween movie and thought I had come up with something clever. I did write a post about Halloween, but can’t remember if I used this line.

 

  1. “How do we go from GI Joe the hero, to a bunch of regular Joes on IG?”

I’ve been trying to use that in a poem (Yes, I also write poetry. I’m an all-you-can read blogger.) since August 2017. Now that this line has seen the light of day, I’m not sure I can re-use it.

 

So, that was my big idea, but then I realized I was making dinner with food that had been thrown out. I couldn’t possibly feed that to Bryan, or his readers.

I will not be the romaine lettuce of bloggers.

A couple of hours ago, I realized I had approached this all wrong.

I didn’t need a great idea, I just needed to be myself. That’s one of the main lessons I’ve learned from blogging – it’s so much easier to be yourself, rather than the person you think the readers want.

With that, I sat down and wrote this – a guest post about the ideas that weren’t good enough to write about, with injections of my style and personality throughout the whole thing.

This has been an amalgamation of everything I said it wouldn’t be, carefully sown together since the opening paragraph, while still maintaining a sense of, “What’s the main topic here?”

And it’s a post exactly like this one that will make me a local celebrity, who people have never heard of, nor seen.

Mission accomplished.

Thank you, Bryan, for this life-changing opportunity! Dinner is on you!

That’s my time. You’ve been a great audience!

 

Paul

The Captain’s Speech

Friday Guest Post

My good friend J.A. Sullivan is my guest host today. I’m always curious what she has to say and when she accepted my invitation it made my day.

I was part of her beta reading team a few months back and I must say, she caught me off guard.

J.A. Sullivan’s style of writing convinces you all is well. The setting is safe, the comfort is real and her characters remind you of happy memories. There were times when I swore her characters were in the same room with me.

Sometimes I still do.

But as you settle in to this wonderful slice of paradise a tiny chill hits the air. As you search for a jacket you realize it is not a chill that is curling your toes but something dark, forgotten and haunting.

I do not scare too often but I did when I read her work. Yes, she’s that good.

My dear readers, may I introduce you to a talented writer and one of my good friends, J.A. Sullivan.  

 

Facing my biggest fear – meeting writers, in person!

By J.A. Sullivan

I think I’m like a lot of writers. Fearless when it comes to telling stories, where my characters can do and say what I would never dream of doing. But when it comes to real life, I feel more like a timid woodland creature, ready to bolt at the slightest noise or sudden movement. Yes, an introvert through and through. Perhaps you can relate?

Jennifer 1

Most writers I’ve talked to feel this way, and they can think of nothing scarier than meeting with other people in person. However, let me tell you about a time when I faced this fear head-on and it ended up being one of the best decisions I could have made for my writing.

Back in the summer of 2011, I signed up for a short story workshop at my local library. It was the first time I’d ever shared my work with anyone outside of close friends and family – I was terrified! For years I’d been reading everything I could get my hands on about the craft of writing, had submitted a few short stories (without success), and had even written a few non-fiction articles for real estate newsletters on exciting topics like selecting the perfect paint colour (hey, at least that was a paid gig).

But this was different. It wasn’t a quick rejection note, or a request to rewrite “Picking the Right flooring” so it sounded sexier. This was me sending in two short stories to a group of strangers and then sitting in the same room as my creations were picked apart. On top of that, I’d never critiqued anyone else’s writing before either. How was I supposed to start? What if I really didn’t like their work? Maybe it’d be better to back out of the workshop before I frenzied myself into a full-blown panic?

Instead, I took a deep breath, sent in my stories and went to the first session feeling on the brink of passing out or throwing up. Thankfully, I managed to stay upright and kept the contents of my stomach.

After a few days, I started to notice something. Almost everyone in the room seemed as petrified as I was! We were all wishing we could hide under a rock when it was our turn to give notes to someone else and even more so when our own stories were being discussed. It was like finding my own secret tribe.

When the workshop was nearly over, I realized this feedback was crucial for me to improve my writing, and I started wondering how I could keep this critiquing thing going. I asked a few people if they’d be interested in starting a little writers’ group. Most said yes at the time, but only one person really seemed to mean it – Barb. She was one of those people you happen to come across now and then that you immediately click with. So, after our class had ended, we started meeting on a monthly basis to share our work and give feedback to each other.

We seemed like an unlikely couple. I write mostly horror; Barb writes contemporary fiction and middle grade stories (and she will be the first to admit she does not like violence, gore, or anything horror). But somehow it worked. She found space in my stories where I could develop characters further, and I found areas where she could increase the dramatic tension. We didn’t have a lot of common ground when it came to our reading, movie or musical tastes, but we realized that good writing needs the same elements regardless of genre, so we had lots to discuss.

At the end of 2011, we heard that the same teacher (Larry Brown) from our summer workshop was putting on another workshop in January of 2012. We both signed up, eager to learn more from Larry, and hoping that maybe we could pick up a few more people for our tiny writers’ group.

Again, as the day of our first class approached, I was feeling tense and queasy. What if the summer group was a fluke? What if the other writers didn’t feel like a deer in the headlights when sharing their work? What if the tribe I’d found was all in my mind?

Jennifer 2

But I had Barb there, and I knew the teacher from before, so I tried to settle myself down. And you know what? The class was terrific! Most of the other writers were first timers to critiquing and just as nervous as I was.

When the class was wrapping up, Barb and I asked around to see if anyone else would like to join our group. A few people were excited, and started meeting with us for a while, but then they all faded away – except for one elderly gentleman. Ron was in his early eighties, had only been writing for a short while, but he didn’t seem to be intimidated by anything. He was eager to learn and since 2012 he has never missed a meeting!

Then there were three.

Shortly afterwards, something I hadn’t expected happened. Larry, the teacher of the classes, reached out and asked to join. He had wanted to stay out of the group for a while, so that when he did join, we would see him as a peer instead of a teacher. And it worked out perfectly.

Now we’re almost seven years in and still going strong. I still write mostly horror, although I switch it up now and then, so my group doesn’t get too disturbed. Barb started writing memoires recently, and it’s been wonderful seeing the world through her pre-teen eyes. Ron (who just turned 88!) writes creative non-fiction about his experiences growing up in rural Ontario, reminiscing about war-time efforts as a child and all the firsts of his life, like the first telephone he had at home. Larry writes contemporary literary fiction, with a wicked sense of humour, which has been published in several magazines across the globe. We’re an unlikely bunch, but I think that’s why it works so well.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been finding other writers to critique with on-line (like the very awesome Bryan Fagan). It’s a fantastic way to learn different ways of telling stories and has helped improved my skills. But, there’s nothing like meeting in person.

If you’re a new writer, finding on-line people to share your work is a great start. Learn how to take criticism, learn how to dish it out in the most honest (but least devastating) way. It will help you grow as a writer. But, when you’re ready, I highly recommend finding local writers to meet with.

Discussions about writing with live people is the next level. For example, when my group meets, we usually each take turns giving our feedback, but hearing someone else’s thoughts can trigger something you hadn’t noticed. That’s when the conversations get deeper and the critique information the writer receives is at its strongest. When you critique on-line, you usually see each comment in isolation and, unless you share the comments with other people, you can only weigh it against your own judgement. In a live discussion, you have the advantage of other people weighing in on the comments as well, and more people to help find a solution in the moment.

These three people have helped strengthen my writing more than they will ever know. It’s scary to put yourself out there, but facing the fear is worth the reward.

Jennifer 3

If anyone has any reflections, questions or suggestions about finding or starting local writers’ groups, feel free to leave a comment below.

Thanks for inviting me to guest post, Bryan! If you didn’t live on the other side of North America, we’d gladly have you in our strange little pack!

About the author: J.A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, Ontario (Canada). She likes discussing books, movies, and everything to do with writing. If you’re interested, she’d love to connect with you on the following social media sites:

WordPress: https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20319805-j-a-sullivan

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ScaryJASullivan

Instagram: www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScaryJASullivan/