Turn the Page - Chapter Eight

“There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes its meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.” - Piper Payne

This is the EIGHTH chapter in the "Turn the Page" series, where I keep an online diary of my daily activities, thoughts, and notable events. When I started writing this journal, it was intended as an easy way for my family and loved ones, to keep track of what was happening in my life. I now have friends from all over the planet who enjoy reading my journey; from homelessness, to life in the big city! The story started in early Spring, is a testament to good friends, and lost love.

The journey doesn't end, rather, it's merely begun! If you haven't taken the time to read the earlier chapters, I suggest you do. Things make much more sense, when you start at the beginning.


Chapter One: May 4th - May 14th
Chapter Two: May 15th - June 30th
Chapter Three: July 1st - July 27th
Chapter Four: July 29th - August 31st
Chapter Five: September 1st - September 22nd
Chapter Six: September 24th - October 17th
Chapter Seven: October 18th - November 23rd

 I've come full circle. I'm right back where this all started. This isn't a bad thing, by any means. It means a finality to a few old goals, and recognition of where I need to be. Not London persay, but in a place of potential, with good friends. Who knows where the road may yet take me, but I am not encumbered by any means; not anymore.

I'm reminded of a quote by Shannon Alder, that states, "There are no coincidences in life. That person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices". As long as I keep learning from my mistakes, then things will be just fine. Everything happens for a reason they say, and while we cannot understand why, there is still a reason. For me that means, to heal, grow, adapt, love, flourish; not necessarily in that order.

Still, the future for me is a blank canvass. If you would have asked me a month ago what my goals were, the answer would have been radically different than it is today. This is growth. It's OK to admit that I'm not sure where I'm heading right now. I know where I'm going to be, but the middle parts of the story are missing. I'm working on a screen play at the moment, and I'm sure it will take up much of my time. In the meanwhile, I wait to see if there is any work for actors, although, I'm told it can take quite a long time. That's ok, I'll wait.

November 24th
Four days ago, we had almost 30 CM of snow! This morning, we have none! The kidlets and I built a snow fort, and it's completely gone!

So, as you probably know, my life is now rife with possibilities. I'm still looking for a place of my own, preferably with a roommate, in Toronto, but for now I'm going to stay in London. I'm also back on the dating scene. At this point in time, anything can happen.

Most likely, my days will be spent writing. I've got a really great idea for a Canadian screenplay, and have been researching what it takes to get it published. It's my biggest project to date, but things are coming together rather nicely. I have a rowing machine now. I plan to make good use of that puppy, and tone my body.

But, enough about what my short term plans are. The only thing I'm really concerned about today, is if I was cooking supper tonight? I think it's "Sloppy Joe's"......

November 25th
I realize there isn't much to report. I contemplated putting off starting another chapter, as it seems like this is a slow period in my life. Then I realized, there is lots happening, it's just not all glitz and glamour. Time to find somewhere to live.

November 26th
My status on Facebook this morning  reads, "I am a single man who is seeking a single woman in her thirties to late-forties. I'm sure there are many wonderful ladies that fall within that category, but I'm looking for someone special; someone unique. There has to be attraction, but I'm looking for intelligence too. Someone with goals, and dreams.
Not too much to hope for, is it? A chance to develop a friendship, that possibly leads to a serious relationship. Sure, I'd like to fall in love someday. Real love, not the kind people have come to accept in our modern era; which is why I say, the woman I'm looking for must be different, because she has to believe in "magic", like soul-mates, and romance.
I want to find someone who enjoys random acts of kindness, like little love letters left to find, or a random text message just to say "hi". A woman that is comfortable with herself, that knows what she likes, and isn't afraid to talk about it. Someone smart, a bit sassy, and likes to playfully tease me; play-fights are fun too, because that usually turns into more than just a wrestling match. A lady that knows how to debate, as there's nothing I love more than someone who can prove me wrong. A woman who is confident, and finds herself attractive. Someone with morals, and values.
I'm looking for an equal, not just a partner. My idea of an intimate relationship, is one of shared values. I'm a free spirited philosopher, moved by the arts or even just a moment in time. I would hope that my equal, be fiercely passionate, eccentric, and kindhearted, just like me.
I like to socially drink; I love red wine and tequila. I can kick your ass at shooting pool, but will probably let you win a couple times. I like to hold open doors, and love to cuddle. I'm athletic, tattooed with earrings, and 420 friendly, but I look really good in a suit and tie. My kids are older now, and I don't plan on having any more; the good news? I'm kid-friendly. My eyes are green, but can change colour depending on my mood. I think outside the box, and usually see things that others cannot. I clean better than most women, know my way around the kitchen, and it has been said, that I do some of my best work in the dark.
I just moved to Southern Ontario. I've been picked up by a Toronto talent agency, and I'm an author currently working on a Canadian screenplay. I've spent the summer visiting different places to live in Southern Ontario, but so far, haven't put any roots down.
Think you're the one? You might be; please send me a recent photograph, attached to an email with a bit of substance. One last thing, the woman I'm looking for might hesitate a bit, but I know she'll eventually message me. Shy is cute at first, but I'm looking for dominant-submissive, just like me."

I wrote that last night, and posted it online in a couple places. You can imagine my dismay this morning when I realized my family happily jumped on the lynch wagon and were bashing me! My family, has once again taken up the position of negativity, with quips like, "What happened to Brandis?", and "That's not how the people in the Rainy River district remember you".  It's important to realize the ones doing this are blood relatives, and once again displaying their disdain and shallow negativity. Of course, that's not how SOME people remember me; the ones who still cling to the rumours and speculation, will obviously see me in a different light. The fact that my own family is still repeating lies, is sickening! You would think that they would be my strongest supporters, but that ship sailed decades ago. Now my own family joyfully faults any attempt by me trying to get ahead in life. I just have to remind myself, that these kind of people and the way horrific way they conduct themselves, are the very reason I ended up alienated in the first place. Their fickleness is one of the main reasons I had a problem with my marriage, and child custody. It's thoroughly disgusting to see the way my own family degrades me, and undermines my chances to push forward past the lies, rumours, and defamation. If my own family honestly gave two shits about me, they wouldn't post such speculative condescension. They would already know if they cared. They wouldn't post it on social media. If they really cared, they would phone / text / message me. But they don't care, and the fact remains, they purposely went out of their way to post a snide, hurtful remark.

The good news? I've already received an answer to my ad. Now what? This is another case of "I didn't think it would work". Guess I'll have to write a reply, and go from there. I have to admit, starting over is scary.

November 27th
I go back and reread some of the things I write, and I question myself. Naturally, I'm my biggest critic, but it's more than that; the wisdom of putting my actual daily thoughts online for others to read, could potentially harm me in some way. I've thought about going back and deleting parts of my journal, or even rewriting things entirely, but I discard such thinking, as it would compromise the integrity of my work. How I felt a few months ago, should be able to contrast against how I feel today. The reader needs to see that. So I've put aside my personal misgivings, and I've left everything just as I wrote it.

I'm quite enjoying my new rowing machine. I've heard the average workout, is twenty minutes a day, but I'll pop on a movie or something, and spend a few hours feeling the burn. Sometimes the pain feels good, and it pushes me further. It's a chance to sit and think, reflecting on my current situation, as well as, a good workout for my body. I'm so happy we found such a great deal! ($25)

My screenplay is really turning out nicely. I'm excited to see the characters rounding out. The two romance plots, are an interesting contrast between the horror, and science fiction. It's an ambitious piece of work. I hope it sees publication, as it would be  waste for something of this calibre to remain undeveloped. Who knows what the future will bring.

I'm thinking of writing an article about how I feel regarding Christmas, and may put off the screen play for a day. I'm thinking it may be a good way to bring some healing for myself, and insight into the way I remember Christmas, and the way I see it today. I should get going, lots to do.

November 29th
I finished that piece about Christmas. It turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. While it may sound somewhat critical of others, it mainly focuses on my own experience and personal observation; the holiday has lost it's meaning for most people living in North America. "The Christmas lights are on, but no one's home". Cleverly titled, "The Ghost of Christmas Past", it explains how families enact traditions without realizing why.

Yesterday was Black Friday. What a disgusting occurrence! It sickens me how capitalism allows such exploitation of people! If a busy highway was built beside a park, the city would erect a fence to prevent children from running onto the road and getting hurt or killed. Not after the fact, but before someone is hit by a car. In this same manner, the government should make such shameful materialistic occurrences illegal! The corporations that allow or encourage this, should be dragged before a Supreme Court, and explain why they knowingly put people's lives in danger. Like a serpent swallowing its own tail, the government allows these corporations to do this, because of the money the politicians get from the corporations. Just more proof that the government really doesn't care about the citizens, and is only interested in their own pocket book.

Anyway, I had to buy myself a new keyboard, having worn out the other one. Did you know they don't sell wired keyboards anymore? I looked. Everything is wireless now! My new keyboard claims to be able to work from 10 meters away, which essentially means, I can type at a distance where I can't actually see what I'm writing. Ever neat! The cost factor is what really sold me; for $23 I got a wireless keyboard and mouse that run on the same nano USB port, which means I just freed up one of my USB ports, and I'm not tripping on cords. Woot!! :)


So.....I've had a few replies to my ad. Once again, this is a case of me being shocked; "I didn't think it would actually work" kinda thing. I've sent a couple emails back and forth, but this is a matter of "what now"? I guess I'll have to pick one or two, and actually go on a date.

I'm not writing today. Figure I'll take a break and go uptown to see the Christmas lights in Victoria Park; something like 70,000 lights. It's such a big deal every year, that the "lighting" actually gets televised; we watched the event last night on TV. It's pretty cool! Anyway, talk soon.

November 30th
Ugh! I slept like shit last night. More dreams portraying the stupidity that is my ex. Each dream is the same; I'm trying hard to make things work, and she just quits.

For example, a killer storm is bearing down on the planet. Cities are being destroyed by the seething mass of wind, and people in the path of the storm are dropping like flies. The town is evacuated, with people fleeing to whatever part of the planet they feel is the safest. The only ones left are a tiny handful of people. I fight hard to get us a privately chartered plane, and the pilot agrees to take my family. As the storm bears down on the airport, I search frantically for her, only to receive a phone call; she went home with the kids to go get their "stuffies". In tears we close the door and take to the skies, as I scream in pain, knowing my family is now dead.

Another example from last night's overactive imagination, is a dream where I'm accosted by vampires. Somehow, I manage to convince them to not kill me, but rather, turn me into a vampire as well. The dream was incredible; details I've never witnessed, like being able to see people's souls, and a non-traditional method of vampiric transformation. Anyway, I head home before sun up, and I'm greeted by my ex. She's mad at me for being late, and then, when she finds out I'm now a vampire, fights with me about it. Eventually she chooses to become a vampire too, then blames me, years later for "not giving her a choice". After a hundred years, she gets bored, and just simply leaves.

What is my brain telling me? That regardless of the scenario, or situation, there wouldn't simply be a chance for a decent relationship? Is it just her? Is it me? I'm exhausted from fighting to try and sleep , and overwhelmed from the imagery I see each time I close my eyes. Because, if it's not her, its about someone else, and each dream is the same; somehow, someway, things take a turn for the worst.

I need sleep. Without dreaming.

December 1st
I deleted my online ad. Fairly sure I'm not ready to actually start dating. I'm going to concentrate on getting my life on track first. More dreams again last night; it never seems to end.

Speaking of dreams, I've come to the realization that no one dreams like I do. I talk to others about some of the stuff I dream about, and they just stare at me, like "Wow".

I've started writing about my vampire dream. I'm going to change a few details to make a decent story out of it, but I'm writing in first person perspective again. Not an easy style to write, that's for sure; lots of "I"s and such, which comes across as vain. There's a reason I'm writing it this way, however, and in the end it will make sense.

I have a doctor appointment tomorrow. Which means a bus ride into Toronto, and a 12 hour round trip. If you're wondering why my doctor is in Toronto, it's pretty simple; 1) It was the closest one I could find that was accepting new patients, and 2) I had planned on living in Toronto at the time I signed up. It doesn't hurt that the intestinal specialist is half a block away from the office, either.

Well, lots to do. Talk soon.
 
December 2nd
The ancient dragon wheeled lazily in the sky. The thump from the massive wings sounded like the bellows-cramp of a mighty dwarven forge. The screams of the villagers rang out in terror. Flaming arrows lit the night sky as the armored soldiers fought bravely against the hellspawn from the shadows. They fought and died, in vain. Intense fires burned all over the small human city, and the cries of the dying, and the wails of the wounded cast a ghostly spell, rising from the crumbling stone walls, and flame-engulfed wooden houses.

I stood in the middle of a cobble-stone street, my billowing cloak flapping in the smoke. I was tired; my strength gone from casting some of the more powerful spells from my repertoire. Nothing seemed to phase this magical creature; the scales were imbedded with gems and gold from years of slumbering on a mountainous pile of treasure, the old dragon's weight pressing them into his scaly hide. Now they acted a shield for the beast, reflecting some of my most powerful magic.

The town was nearly destroyed. The dragon had come out of nowhere seemingly, and attacked just at sundown. No one was prepared for the brutal assault; most died where they stood. The city guards were putting up a decent defense, but what can you do against a fire-breathing, spell-casting, mythical creature? They too died as the flames devoured them, leaving only a small pile of ash where a man once stood. Dragon fire; it can burn flesh, wood, and even stone. There are few things on Earth that can provide a defense against the breath weapon of a mature dragon, and this dragon was old; he had hatched when the world was young, and each passing year only made him stronger, smarter, and much more deadly.

I had to somehow get the dragon away from the city. Too many lives had been lost already! I was nearly out of spell components, and most of my magic didn't even work against this foe. Thinking quickly, I cast a shield over myself, and rose up into the night sky. From my vantage point, flying high over the smouldering remains of a once proud farming community, I could see the devastation; there wouldn't even be a point of rebuilding after tonight.

“Come on you bastard”, I screamed at the mighty beast. It answered, a roar that thundered through my chest. The taloned wings creaked as the dragon bore down me with surprising speed. I loosed a lightning bolt, but it bounced off the scales of the armoured creature like waves hitting a boulder. I screamed a battle cry, “I'm going to kill you!!”, and threw a huge fireball in the winged terror's path, as I dove to the side, narrowly avoiding the outstretched claws.

An angelic voice from the Heavens rang out, “Hey! Zzorhn. It's time to wake up”.

I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts as the dragon screamed by me at break neck speed. It roared, and unleashed a wall of flame at me. The hungry inferno slammed into the invisible shield around me, but I was protected. The instant blast of heat, however, made me break out in a sweat. “Concentrate”, I growled at myself, as the dragon wheeled in the sky to come around for another pass.

“Zzorhn! You have your doctor appointment this afternoon. Wake up”, the voice from the Heavens rang.

Groggily I sat up in bed. The sun hadn't risen yet, yet Diane stood at the side of my bed, and was shaking me awake. “It's just after six”, she explained, “Your bus leaves at 8:30. I thought you might like to take your time getting ready”.

"Ugh!" You could almost hear the gears grinding while I shook my head, still waiting for the dragon to throw another wall of fire at me. Even sitting up on my bed, I could still hear the screams, and the thunder of the leathery wings of the beast.

"I need coffee".

8:35 am
So, here I am. Sitting on a bus, heading to Toronto for a doctor appointment. 

Good morning Tuesday! I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and my journey to Toronto and back to London is uneventful. I'm planning on spending the time writing and reflecting on things, but I do have to admit I feel much better today than I have all weekend! I had the opportunity to speak to a friend yesterday, and it provided me with spiritual healing. I know she's going to read this, so I'd like to take the time to say thank you; it was good to talk to you. Little things that can make a big difference to me, and I know things will get easier as time goes along.

Diane's doing apartment hunting for me today. I hope she finds something decent. I'm planning on making a move that allows me to set down some actual roots, and really get on with the rest of my life. I'm also considering getting a talent agent in London. My contract with Max is an open one, and I'm allowed other representation, and besides the fact that I would have the opportunity to diversify myself as I spoke of a few months ago, it would allow me to work in the city I'm choosing to live in. It might also give me an opportunity to double my chances of pushing forward with my career as an actor and author.

Well, I should go for now. I plan on working more on my vampire short story. It's turning out really good! Talk soon.

3:10 pm
Well, my appointment went decent. I'm being referred to an intestinal specialist, as well as a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. Hopefully we get this fixed!

I'm sitting at Finch subway station. I piled on the TTC, and sat down, but to my surprise the doors didn't close. Five minutes later, an announcement comes over the intercom "There has been a fire reported between the Lawrence station, and Eglinton. We are expecting a delay as emergency fire crews have been dispatched". UGH!!! I'm going to miss my bus!!

I've never saw this many people on a subway before! It's packed!! People are shoulder to shoulder, as we wait for the subway to start moving again. I've offered my seat up to at three people, but no one seems to care. Actually, no one wants to meet my gaze, as we all play the game of avoiding glances. I'm not very good at this game, because I simply smile when someone catches my eye.

4:40 pm
 So, I missed my bus to London. The subway finally got moving again, and I ran to the Greyhound station, JUST as my bus was pulling away!!  Nooooooooo!!!!

I phoned home to Diane and Greg; "What do I do?" Once again, I have to thank these two wonderful friends for everything they have ever done for me!! Your patience, and guidance has been a life-send! I told them on the phone, "I'm in the ticket line now. I'll phone you back if there is any problems". Turns out, the guy behind the counter was pretty sympathetic; I simply got my bus ticket transferred to the 6:30 bus leaving for London. BIG thank you to the stranger behind the counter that helped me through this near disaster! One more fast phone call to the Lawrence family to explain my delay, and I took a seat in the terminal.

So, now I'm sitting at the bus station on Bay street. I finally found an outlet to plug in my computer and charge my phone. More waiting. Today has been nothing BUT waiting; sit on a bus, run to the next stop, wait for the doctor, rush to the subway, only to wait more. Still, it affords me the opportunity for a little people watching.....

........People. People, people, and more people! Everyone is in a hurry, and those simply waiting looked bored as they stare at their cell phones; playing a game, texting, or reading. I'm typing, no big surprise there. To be honest, I'm actually enjoying myself, and the time is flying along pretty decently as I sit and watch the various characters run back and forth in the bus station.

It makes me smile to see people dragging everything they own. Weighed down, tripping over their belongings, they remind me of when I've done that. (Many times this summer actually) It's a frustrating feeling; your arms ready to drop off as you stumble through a crowded city, hoping you don't forget "something". They have the same look I did, with a mask of fierce determination plastered on their face, as they push, pull, and drag their own weight in luggage toward their final destination.

Some guy is having a complete meltdown. Not sure what it's about, but hes digging through everything; his pockets, luggage, and carry on. Cursing under his breath, he is obviously upset about something he can't find. I feel sorry for him, but say nothing as I press myself further into my seat. Eventually he gets up, repacks everything, and walks away never to be seen again. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

5:45 pm
I got the munchies, and headed outside to the little convenience store two doors down. As I walked out of the door, a panhandler opened the door for me. He was carrying a large sign that read, "Helpful homeless man. Please donate". I'm broke! I mumble a thank you as he offers to hold the door for me, and I feel a bit embarrassed that I don't have any change in my pockets; the TTC requires exact change, and I exhausted my supply of coins. I walked into the store, and figured I'd settle for a bag of chips. Not sure why, but I told the clerk, "I'll take two". I walked back to the terminal, and when the man smiled and jumped to open the door again, I gave him a bag of potato chips. I wish it could have been more! I wonder what his life story is that found him opening doors for strangers, hoping for a few dollars donation. Makes you think doesn't it? His face split into a wide smile, and he thanked me at least three times. It was just a bag of chips, for pity sakes! I felt good to help, but it also makes me a little sad, that someone can get that excited over a few chips. I'll pray for him.

Oh, wow! Some woman is angrily talking on her phone in the terminal! I can't see her, or follow what she's trying to say, but she's upset about something. So loud! So frustrated! As I watch the crowd, I can see the flow of people has shifted; they are avoiding the stairwell she's on, and are walking all the way around the building to get to the basement of the Greyhound station just because of this one woman. I don't really blame them, but I'm curious and need to use the bathroom. I'm going to go see what's going on.

7 pm
FINALLY on the bus. Turns out, the woman who was distraught on the telephone is now sitting beside me, heading to London. I now know why she was upset, as she's spilling her life story out for the entire bus to hear, much to most people's chagrin. She's been told to "shut up" a couple times by weary travelers that just want to relax as the bus speeds into the night. She's watching me type, so I better go. I told her it was just for "a paper I'm working on".

9:30 pm
I'm finally home. Diane picked me up fro the bus station in London, and I'm going over my notes and unpacking a few things. This has been a really long day, and I'm glad it's over. What an expensive trip to the Doctor!! We picked this family practitioner on the premise I would be moving to Toronto, but I'm not living there yet. Oh well, they are very friendly, and seem good at what they do; genuine care, unlike the experiences I've had back in Fort Frances with Doctors.

Time for bed. Good night world.

December 3rd
Happy Hump Day! No fancy introduction today, just a warm wish to all my friends, family and fans, for a wonderful day!

So, what I thought was going to merely be a small story about my vampire dream, is once again morphing into something larger. It will still qualify as a short story, but again, I'm writing another one that I'll be uploading to Amazon for purchase. Oops! It's just so hard to try and fit everything into a couple of pages, when there is so much rich detail! I'm loving the characters, and the storyline. Still frustrated by my choice to write it in the first-person perspective, but that's the way it happened in my dream. Rather than make up another character, I'm going with myself, and my personality, because, let's face it, I know I'd make a really good bad guy........

December 4th
Dear Santa;
I have been really good this year. How are you and the wife? I'm not sure if you pay attention to the news, but British Columbia isn't the only place where you need to watch what cookies you eat this year. How are the reindeer doing? I heard someone shot Olive during the fall hunting season; that's OK, because he was mean. I've moved this year, so I thought it was a good idea to let you know. Last year you didn't being me anything, and I'm not sure if that's because I was moving lots, or if I somehow found my way on the naughty list. 
For Christmas this year, I would like at least one of my dreams to come true; a pet dragon, a magic wand, or a girlfriend; but it can't just be any girl! I'd like a sweet but sexy, loyal-as-nails, woman that doesn't like drama, and isn't jealous. 
Have a Merry Christmas, and best wishes to you and your family at the North Pole for a Happy New Year.
Sincerely, Zzorhn
________________________

Dear Zzorhn. What size of dragon you want?

Love Santa
-------------

Well................. this is just a quick check in. I think we've narrowed my apartment hunting down, so the ball might start rolling on that. I published the first part of my newest work, "ONCE BITTEN". Check it out, but be warned; there is graphic content. See my usual disclaimer regarding content I write.

More to write, things to see, and people to do.....We'll talk soon.

December 6th
I awoke to another vivid dream about my ex....... It was a large gathering to celebrate my newest literary work published to film, after the primary showing at the Toronto Film Festival. I was rubbing elbows with my new friends, and sipping champagne. Suddenly I look across the room, and SHE'S standing there; gorgeous dress, hair done up right, and a shy, nervous smile on her face. I didn't know what to do, and looked around for some distraction. Meanwhile, she slides up to me, "Oh, my God!! I can't believe you did it!!" She gives me a hug, but it feels strained and awkward. I pull away. "What's wrong?", she asks, with a hint of fear in her voice.

"I can't believe you're here!", I finally manage to mutter.

She squeals in excitement, and I can see her eyes flash in pleasure. She purrs, "I had to come! When I heard the good news, I realized where my place was! I had to come see you!"

"I'm sorry", I gasp, shaking me head, and pulling away.

Her eyes cloud up in confusion. "What's wrong?", she whispers.

I look straight at this woman I've wanted for over a decade. A single tear slides down my cheek, as I softly say, "I wasn't good enough for you only a short while ago, and now I am?" I point at the door and add, "I'm done getting my heart broken by you. You need to leave".

She doesn't say a word, as she walks tight-lipped from the party.

The producer comes up to me, puts his arm around my shoulder, and asks, "You OK? What was that about?"

I smile sadly, and explain, "Something I should have done a long time ago......."

December 7th
What a gorgeous Sunday morning!! The sun is shining, and the grass is green; yes, you read that right...green. I had a wonderful night babysitting the kidlets, while Diane and Greg went to a Christmas party. They looked really nice all dressed up like that! (I think it's the first time I saw Greg in a suit!) We made homemade pizza, danced to music, played pillow fight, and blanket monster, and then watched the first period of Toronto vs Vancouver; the kids are Leaf fans. After a quick hug and a tuck into bed, they were out.

I'm not kidding! It's always that way with children for me; I get down on my hands and knees and play, sometimes even rough and tumble games, but they always know that when I'm serious, I don't like to repeat myself. I have to thank my mentor in life for that; Fritz Bujold. I was predominately raised by my maternal grandparents, and that's where I learned my parenting skills. My stubborn nature comes from my mom, no doubt there, but she was always good at raising her 6 kids, and the neighbour's children as well! I had good role models!

I've started painting again. Diane and I went to the hardware store and purchased some canvass, and then she unloaded all her old paint on me! Like, wow! I should be set for a bit here, and the focus being on trying to find yet another way to supplement my income. For starters, however, I'm painting two pieces for the kidlets for Christmas. It's looking pretty decent already. Can't wait to see their faces!

Well, I should go. I keep forgetting to check my gmail account, so I have that to do. Write, paint, and possibly a sword lesson for the kidlets this afternoon. Who knows? Talk soon.

December 9th
Hello world! It's been a busy couple of days. Not much to really report except for writing, painting, and working out a bit.

December 10th
I happened to check my website counter this morning. I was shocked to see that almost 200 people decided to stop and check out my work yesterday. Intrigued, I wanted to see where the traffic was coming from........ Turns out, FRANCE! At 165 page-views this week alone, the country of France has dominated over Canada in visits to my website. It feels really good to see such high numbers, but it strikes me odd, that Canada isn't number one.

I can feel the winds of change. Heading into a new chapter in my life, I'm hesitant, and excited; I'll have my own place come January. It's been a long time since I had a place to call home, and in a few weeks, it will be a reality. I keep hearing this nagging little voice in my head telling me, "This isn't how it was supposed to be". To which I sigh heavily, and remind that little voice that it wasn't my fault, and then to shut up. Truth is, it wasn't supposed to be like this; a month ago, the plan was to wait for my ex, and find a home together. Now I'm doing it by myself.

I don't understand it. Nothing changed in that month for me. I held steadfast to my goals and dreams, and then suddenly I wasn't good enough, or something. It pains me to say I honestly don't know what actually happened. It's not like some problem cropped up, or some mysterious unsolvable tangent suddenly entered the equation; we both knew everything about each other going into the situation. So, what changed?

No one is perfect. Love is about two imperfect people working together to make things work. It doesn't get any simpler than that. What I find in most relationships, however, is one person holding on, and the other looking for the door. For what? To find something "better"? This is an aspect of our society we've learned to adapt to every aspect of our lives; throw it away, and find something new. As we push forward in this fail ideology, we soon find out, that the grass is only greener if you jump the fence due to the high levels of manure on the other side. We abandon our dreams and goals, only to end up feeling empty, and hallow. Years later, when you look back on the things that seemed so important, you come to the raw realization that it wasn't worth it to throw away those dreams; usually by then, it's too late. The bridges have burned down, and the divide is too great to mend the pain.

If you can't find it within your heart to be there for someone in moments of need, you don't deserve them in good times. If you can suddenly stop loving someone, you never really did love them.....

December 11th
Yesterday, I was wrong! I made the comment, "The bridges have burned down, and the divide is too great to mend...." Here I've been saying all along that there is nothing beyond our grasp if we want it, and I still believe that; otherwise, what the hell am I doing chasing dreams, right?!?! If you read back to some of the stuff I've written, it points to one simple fact; you can have anything you want, if you work hard enough, and never give up.

I got my first audition! The phone call came in last night, but on Friday, I will be heading to Toronto to go and try out for a part. It's against my contract to say what, but if I get it, I'll be on my way! Regardless of IF I get the part, I am already doing what I said I was going to do; push hard to become a known Canadian actor. The audition is just proof that what I've been doing all summer is indeed real, and even if I don't get the part, this is my first real audition in Hollywood North!! I'll be taking what I learned from the experience, and build on it. I'm nervous and excited!!

So much to do, I barely had time to write a journal entry today. Shoes to shine, clothes to iron, and I have to get my monologue prepared. I should go through my portfolio and make sure it's ready to go as well. Gotta run....

December 12th
Well, this is what it's been all about; for months I've been doing photo shoots, attending drama class, and traveling back and forth to Toronto. I'm aboard a Greyhound bus on my way to Hollywood North, to attend my first audition!!

The bus is packed this morning. Friday morning, and they had to start up a second bus to get all the London passengers to the big T.O.

My schedule today, is a bus ride to Bay street, hop on the TTC and head to Downsview station, board the connecting bus to York University, and find my way to the “Center for Theater and Film”. The time frame is pretty relaxed, as far as I know, so there should be no rushing. After my audition, it's basically a return to trip to London. I have maps printed showing my route, and with a little luck I'll find my way to the stage easily.

I have my “working man monologue” memorized, just in case I need to perform a rehearsed script, but so far there is no sides or dress code. So semi-formal it is, and I'm preparing myself for a dry-read if necessary.

My stomach is turning flip-flops, but it's not nerves; I ran out of meds yesterday! I just hope that I can fight past the sensations and pain long enough to impress the casting director. There's no room for error.

I have to remember, that I could nail this audition, and still not get a call-back; who knows what they're looking for, but I'm hoping it's a bald guy. Either way, it really doesn't matter; I'm doing what I set out to do. I can take any lessons from today, and continue to apply them to any future auditions. This is my chance to get noticed! You can be certain I'm going to give it my all.

Not sure why, but it always seems there is someone on the bus that needs to talk loudly. I so want to turn and explain to them, “You are the ONLY one on the bus talking. Must you do it so loudly?” The guy next to me has his headphones on, and is trying to sleep. I'd try, but I'm too excited for that, although I slept like crap again last night Once again, it's a case of images haunting me from my past; I'm not sure what the dreams meant, but I know I'm tired and just need a good night's rest one of these days!

Well, time for a little writing and some people watching. I love the diversity I see all around me; culture, languages, clothing, and racial differences. It's really neat to see so many different people living together in peace and harmony. It certainly makes me proud to be a Canadian when I see how such different cultures can exist in one place at the same time. Talk soon.

3:30 pm
I'm at the Toronto Greyhound station. THE AUDITION WENT WELL!! I'm so glad I asked for the 1 pm time slot, because it allowed me a chance to talk to the producer and casting director for a few minutes since I was so early. A bit of a dry read, and I had to sing; turns out I wasn't given the material needed for the part like I was supposed to, but that in itself might have actually helped me; I was forced to act on the spot, and that seemed to impress the casting director. I chose a Moxy Fruvus song, “The Gulf War Song” for an a cappella solo, which turned out well and showcased my vocal range. I feel like I nailed the role, but who knows, right? Not sure if they are looking for an ugly bald guy, but if they are, I should fit the bill. The odd part? I wasn't nervous a bit once I got to the audition. Turns out, any nervous apprehension was only making my scheduled buses.

I NEED to be in Toronto!! I know I'm looking at places in London, but if I do get any acting jobs, I'll really need to be living in Hollywood North because travel back and forth is going to kill my bank account! I love London for many reasons; not only the layout of the skating trails, but the fact that my best friend Diane lives there! If I were to start getting reoccurring roles, however, I would need to find somewhere to stay from day to day in Toronto.


IF ANYONE knows of someone looking for a roommate in Toronto, PLEASE let me know!!

So here I sit, people watching. Men and women of all cultures walking by; everyone is different. Most are just focused on their destination, and try hard to avoid catching someone's gaze, while others like me are friendly and talkative. Some are carrying more than they weigh, and some are simply carrying a phone. Pretty darn sure I saw a couple of future Mrs. Carlsons today. Just wish they would stop and say hi.

Being able to walk around underground from block to block, jump on a subway, and board the bus is awesome!! Kudos to the people that plan Toronto mass transit!

I'm about to run out of batteries on my laptop. Better shut down until I find an outlet. Cya in a bit.

5:40 pm
I'm on the bus heading home. As I leave Toronto, I can see the high rise buildings with their lights twinkling in the night sky. (yes, it's dark at 5 pm) I have something new to add to my bucket-list; going up in some of those tall buildings and staring across the city. I have to admit, I really like the town! Lots of energy, and you can go from the bus station to the subway without going outside. While there is some waiting, mass transit is the way to go.

I'm at the back of the bus, as usual, and I'm seated next to a French woman with a head scarf. Truth is, no one wants to sit next to me. Not sure why......

....anyway, I should try and get some work done, now that I have an outlet. (Yes, they have power outlets AND Internet on greyhound buses now) I can plug in, and surf the net while I travel. How awesome is that?

9:30 pm
I'm tired. Time to wind down, and see if I can get some sleep. Talk soon.

December 13th
 Good morning. Another night of restless sleep, and vivid dreams. Perhaps I just need to find a lady friend with benefits and get rid of some of this "evil". Any takers? 

I reflect back on my day in Toronto, and I can honestly say I made one mistake; not having a leather bound portfolio to hold my professional pictures I carry with me to auditions. I'm not too worried about it though, as The casting director simply did a quick look through, and seemed more interested in describing the role I was trying out for. Let's hope it didn't hurt my chances at getting the role!

Lots to do today; I have to go look at another apartment in London, and with some serious painting to finish, and writing to work on, I have little time for fun. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

December 16th
It's been a couple days since I've penned an entry in my journal. Not much to really report; I finished three paintings, checked out a couple of apartments for myself, and did a little writing. My dreams are still vivid reminders of my selfless-giving attitude, and how people keep abusing that trust; what can I say? Story of my life......

December 19th
Happy Birthday, to me!

 I'd take a bow, but the theater of my life isn't over. To be honest, I really don't feel my chronological age, at least not in spirit. I remember when I thought people "my age" were "really old"; it seems like only yesterday.

Today is going to be awesome! It's been forever since I actually spent my birthday somewhere it actually mattered. (I've pretty much been couch surfing for the last two years) In my past, a few friends might stop in, but there really wasn't much in the way of activities, except drinking. (I just realized this also means those were the last birthdays I'll spend with many of the people from back in Fort) ANYWAY, I was awoke this morning to a fresh cup of coffee, some very excited kids, singing birthday cards, and a brand new shirt!! And that's not all......

......I'm get to see The Hobbit "The five armies" in 3D!!!! Later tonight, Diane and I are going to the movies! The tickets are in my hand!  I'm so excited! This is turning out to be the best birthday yet!!

Yadda, yaddaa, Paint, Write, yadda..... You know, keeping busy. The vampire story is coming along, but the alien screenplay is on hold for a bit. Can only do one thing at a time, right?........Talk soon.

December 21st
The Hobbit was amazing! Still doesn't explain the great eye part though; you know, Sauron? I was hoping it might have, being as that it eluded to HIM being still around, aka the necromancer. Anyway, great show, and the visual effects blew me away.

I have the house to myself today. Greg and Diane took the kids to Toronto to see the parents. I'm trying a new project involving video while I have some peace and quiet. If anything, the split-screen attempt is a learning experience. We'll see what happens.

Everyone is gearing up for the final push toward the commercial holiday known as Christmas. I can't wait until it's over......

December 22nd
"You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout 'cause I'm telling you why........

.........because young child, Krampus is coming to town. He drags away the bad little boys and girls to eat, or enslave in the underworld. So above all, children be good".

Maybe that's why we put out cookies and milk, is to stave off the monster's hunger. Makes sense, I mean the fact is quite a bit about the whole Christmas season simply seems to be a patchwork conglomerate of rituals, and traditions all lumped into one. Winter solstice? Check. Fairy tale guy in red / monster? Check. Gift giving in offset of at least three different cultures, PLUS the concept of religious purposes EI: God's gift to the world, Gifts of the Magi, etc....?! CHECK. Check that one BIG time, because the commercialization of Christmas is simply staggering to my mind!!

It's like no one really knows what Christmas is.

If you haven't taken the time to read my "Ghost of Christmas Past", I would encourage you to do so. It explains some of my thoughts behind my rational, where I claim that Christmas has lost its focus, and any shattered remnants that do exists, are being ripped apart by political correctness. I've talked about this topic many times, because it is the single most destructive force known to any nation; the destruction of many countries in history, AND some in the very near future, will NOT come from bomb or bullet, but from political correctness run amok! Christmas is under attack, make no mistake......

....but enough doom and gloom. It IS, however, that time of the year where people suffer hardship and loss; the aching pain of a lost relative, or simply not being able to share your holiday (however you celebrate it) with those you love. For many, many people, it's a time of heartache, and depression.

I would like to thank my mom for helping lift my spirits; the money you wired me will most certainly be used to get new jeans, and possibly a computer desk. Thank you so much! I love and miss you so much!

I should go now. Lots to do, and less time to do it in......

December 25th
Merry Christmas!! :)

I wish the world has a safe and happy holiday! It really doesn't matter what you call it, or what you believe in, I just hope it's a good one. I don't care if you celebrate Hanukkah, partake in Krampus festivals, worship  the Christ child, dance at the North Pole with a bunch of elves, or await the coming of Cthulhu; My wish is that it finds you in good spirits and surrounded by those you love.

I got a Christmas card from my mom! Guess I'm going shopping! Thank you mom!! :) The plan is a desk and a chair for my new place. I'm going to check out the Boxing day sales, and see what I can find.

A big thank you to Greg and Diane!! You have really made this year special for me. I am blessed to have such people like you in my life, that opened your door and hearts in the many little things you do. You have made today very special! Thanks for everything!

I AM having a good day. Yes, it's my first Christmas away from home......

.....but it's my first Christmas in my new home. It's been a very special day thus far, and one I won't forget.

December 27th
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. Yesterday was nice; big breakfast of bacon, sausage, toast, eggs, and pancakes for the whole family. Then I went and used the money my mom had sent me to buy a new chair and desk to work at. Today is much quieter, as the children of the house settle into a routine. Everyone is doing their own thing today, which is nice too.

I haven't owned a new computer desk since 2003. Lately I've been forced to work at unergonomic desks, or tables. I'm really looking forward to setting up the work space, and concentrating on a few stories - Most importantly finishing three of the pieces I've been working on; Once Bitten, The Answer, and Into the Darkness. Once I do get my own place, there won't be much anything else BUT writing, so we'll see how much I get done.

December 29th
I've been writing this journal since May 4th. If you go back and reread the start of most chapters, it states,  "Originally meant to only be a short letter home to my family and friends, so that my mom and those I care about could see that I was still alive and safe, has now become so much more!"......

........Turns out, MY MOM DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS WRITING THIS!!!!!

Last night on the phone, my mom explained how she didn't realize I had a website. She went on to further explain that she hasn't read any of the journal entries I've made; this makes absolute sense now! - I couldn't understand why she wasn't aware of things I was writing about. She giggled about the fact that one of my young nieces recently showed her how to find the pictures on Facebook..... I didn't realize how non-technical my mom is. o.O Anyway, I'm glad she finally found my site.....She's only got about ten months of reading to catch up on.......

December 31st
The arrow embedded itself in the wooden old fence post with a thud.

Two figures squinted in the winter sun at the long shot. "Good job", chuckled a freckle-headed youth. He patted his younger sister on the shoulder. "Father will be proud".

The young woman beamed and queried, "You think so? I so wanted to join you and father on the hunt this year, Jack". She pouted, her lower lip stuck out like a beacon as she sniffed, "I really don't like being left behind just because I'm a girl".

Jack knelt in front of his blonde sister with a supportive smile, "That's not why you had to stay home Anna", he explained, as he gave her a warm hug, "Father didn't think you were old enough to go hunting, is all".

"But! I'm almost thirteen", she complained, her face buried in her older brother's chest, "It's not fair!" Tears welled up in her bright blue eyes and a single, giant, salty,  tear slid unchecked down her cheek.

Jack pulled his head back, and wiped his little sister's cheek. "I know!", he nodded giving her a pat on the back, and sat back on his heels. He took the bow from Anna and chimed, "My turn". Standing, he picked an arrow from the old leather quiver, and notched the bow. Carefully he pulled the string taut and sighted down the arrow. The soft swish of the arrow streaking from the bow was echoed by the twang of the string. THUD! The arrow hit the fencepost hard.

"I was closer!", squealed Anna in delight. She started to do a little victory dance, "Oh, yea! MmmHmmm!" Her hips gyrated as she fist-pumped in joy.

Jack chuckled at the antics of Anna. "I've always said you were a good shot", he admitted tussling her long blonde hair.

"Better than you?"

Jack shook his head with a big smile. "Maybe", he teased. He handed the bow to his sister.

"Watch this one", she stated as she aimed and fired a second arrow; it was even closer than the first. "Yea!", she cheered.

Jack whistled, "Wow! Father BETTER take you this year", he muttered in amazement.

"I've been practicing", Anna happily chirped. She handed the bow back to her older brother. She crossed her arms and frowned as she asked, "So, are you going out tonight?"

"Why?"

Anna shook her head in annoyance, "Because it's New Year's Eve". She crossed her arms in frustration. "Father says I'm not allowed to go out and celebrate. I don't see what the big deal is anyway".

Jack squinted and concentrated as he loosed another arrow at the fence post. The loud THWAK rang across the snow. "Hmm", he grunted as he looked at the shot; Anna had beat him again. "Honestly? I wasn't really planning on doing anything", he admitted.

"Why not? It's New Year's Eve", explained his younger sister. She took the bow from Jack and notched another arrow, took a deep breath and fired. The arrow sailed well over the post. "Damn!", she muttered.

"It happens", her brother reminded. He took the bow back and plucked the last arrow from the quiver. "You better make sure to retrieve that arrow, or father will be furious", he reminded. Jack pulled the string back, and fired. The shot was still lower on the post than his little sisters, but it was close.

"Nice shot, Jack!", Anna nodded with pride. She pursed her lips, and sighed, "I'll make sure to get the arrow". The two siblings started to walk toward the fence post to retrieve their arrows. The brilliant white snow crunched under their feet as they walked. Anna slipped her tiny hand into her brother's much-larger, calloused hand. He looked down at Anna and smiled. She happily stomped through the snow covered field. "You know", she bubbled, "I can't wait to go out for New Years, but I probably need to get much older for that".

Jack glanced down at Anna. "Why's that?", he muttered, shaking his head at his little sister's exuberance. "It's just another day".

Jack!", scolded Anna, "It is NOT JUST another day!" She stopped, crossed her arms, and wrinkled her nose, "It's the end of one year, and the start of another. When I get bigger I'll be celebrating".

Jack sighed, and stopped. He turned to look at his little sister, and shrugged, "I really don't get it Anna. It IS just another day. We go to sleep tonight, and wake up tomorrow, and nothings changed".

"But, it HAS!", squealed the blonde teenager. Her hands flipped as she talked, "Today is the last day of the year. Tomorrow is another year".

He chuckled, "It's really not that big of a deal, Anna."

"But it IS!"

Jack sighed. He knew that there was no use trying to convince his little sister of anything, but he asked anyway, "Why is it a big deal Anna?"

"Because!!"

Jack chuckled and shook his head, "Because isn't an answer Anna. Why do you think it's a big deal?", he asked.

Anna sighed with exasperation. Her brother could be so boring sometimes, and didn't seem to understand certain things. "It's a celebration of new beginnings", she explained. She shrugged and asked, "Do you remember that bad fire we had in the Spring? Do you remember how we lost most of our stuff?"

Jack didn't have to remember, it was constantly on his mind. "Of course I remember". The fire had claimed the life of the family cat. Father had rebuilt, of course; with the help of the neighbours and all their friends, the family soon had a new home. Clothes had been replaced, as well as the household items, but the disappearance of the old cat had taken a small toll on the bubbly young man. He tried to smile encouragingly, but his face flooded with tears, forcing him to look away.

"It's OK, Jack", cooed Anna as she reached up and turned his head, gently wiping the cold, stinging tears from his cheeks. "I didn't mean to make you cry". She hiccuped, as a half-giggle, half-sob erupted from her throat. "We got a new house, remember?"

"Yea".

"Well, today is special", she repeated, "It's a celebration. We leave behind the past, and look forward to the future".

"It's still just another day", huffed Jack. Sometimes his sister seemed a little too preoccupied with parties and having fun.

"Look", directed Anna with a scowl, "Every day is a reason to celebrate. But some days are more special than others, like Birthdays, and such"

Jack rolled his eyes, "Birthdays are different...", he started to say.

Anna interrupted him, "How are they different?", she queried cocking her eyebrow in defiance. Her hands were on her hips, and she squared herself against her brother's stoical view of the world.

Jack sighed, "I dunno. They just are".

"See?" Anna squealed in excitement, pointing her finger at her brother, "They're not different! A birthday is a celebration of one year older, just like New Years. It's a big deal!"

Jack knew he wasn't going to win, at least not with Anna. He shrugged, "Look. I'm not going out tonight to celebrate", he explained, "I'm going to go to bed early, and wake up just like I do everyday".

Anna wrinkled her nose at her brother's defiance and blurted, "Aren't your friends going out tonight?"

"Yea. So?"

Anna puffed, "You should go with them".

"No", snapped Jack. He sighed, and his shoulders slumped. He knew there was no use arguing with her, so he asked softly, "Why are you so excited about New Year's Eve?"

"Oh!", chirped his sister, "It's a NEW YEAR! All the bad stuff that happened last year is OFFICIALLY over. All the good stuff coming this year, is still waiting!" She took a deep breath and continued, " The fire, losing Fluffy, and all my toys is over. THIS YEAR I'm going hunting with you and father".

"I guess", admitted Jack. He cleared his throat and swallowed hard, forcing the painful lump in the back of his throat to go away. "I never really thought of it that way", he sniffed. He turned and started walking toward the post.

Anna came running after Jack, "So?", she pressed, "Are you still not going?"

Jack took Anna's small hand, and continued to walk across the snow. "Nope", he declared with a big smile.

"WHY NOT?!" Anna was practically beside herself. "If I could go have fun and celebrate the new year, I would", she explained haughtily.

Jack winked at Anna, "It's simple", he declared, "I'm going to celebrate my New Year with the people
 I care about the most". He stopped and gave his little sister a hug.

"Who's that?", her little voice called out, muffled by the bulky jacket her brother was wearing as he pressed her face hard into his chest, giving her another big hug.

Jack pulled his head back and looked at Anna. "You", he stated simply with a big smile.

"Oh, Jack", squealed Anna as she gave her brother another hug. "That's great! We'll sing songs, and make hats, and noisemakers, and build a big fire in the fireplace, and make hot chocolate, and stay up late...."

Jack didn't say anything and just listened to his little sister prattle on and on about what the two of them were going to do to celebrate the New Year. He still didn't know why it was so special, but he understood it was special to her. They stopped in front of the old fence, and Jack started to pull the practice arrows from the wooden post.

"This is going to be fun!", purred Anna happily. "I'm so excited to celebrate with you when you could be out with your friends, Jack. Next year is going to be better, you just see!" She sniffed, and wiped her nose with the back of her hand. Her eyes flashed mischievously, and she asked, "There's one thing I don't understand though......"

Jack grunted, as he pulled hard on the embedded arrow. It gave way quickly and he nearly fell over. "What's that?", he mumbled.

"Why am I such a better shot than you?"

______________________________________

Zzorhn here. I would like to take the time to personally thank each and everyone for all the wonderful help this year. This was a rough time for me, and I know there are better times ahead. I personally wish each of you a safe, and very Happy New Year's Eve celebration, regardless of how you want to spend it. May the new year, 2015 be a blessed one, filled with love, and happiness.

God Bless.

This is the final entry of the  
"Turn the Page"series. 
Thank you all for the input, the encouragement, and the love. I could not have achieved so many things, if not for the great support from my fans, family and friends! 
I wouldn't be where I am without you!! <3 br="">
http://zzorhn.blogspot.ca/2015/01/obscure-arcanum-chapter-one.html







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