Monday, May 25, 2009

First post on my brand-spanking-new blog

This is me. Ben. Nice to meet you. 

A little background for those who don't know me, or who thought they did but don't. Surprise. 

I am a frog jockey. 

Well, I was, it's been a long time. I'm trying to write a novel about it. Cue worried parents, "Ben you shouldn't divulge that, someone might swipe your idea."

Right, well I'll divulge even more, it's about a boy and his manipulative best friend. Now I've done it. Waiting for the phone to ring... "Yeah hi, I know, It's all right Ma I know what I'm doing." 

This is my sweet wife Amy. She'll probably try to replace this picture. I don't get it, she always thinks she looks horrible in pictures just when I think she looks pretty. 

I, on the other hand, am not photogenic like her. At all. My friend Ryan had a face he called his Ben-say-cheese face. Pretty accurate, not so flattering. I think I used to be photogenic but got pudgy. Maybe there's other fatties out there who take great pictures and will share their secret with me. I have a suspicion it's the tan, or in my case lack of it. But I'm a hermit and like to write in the dark and I live in Victoria, BC, not LA.

Anyways, I think my wife is the most beautiful woman in the entire world. Now it's on the internet, so official right? Isn't everything on tv and the internet true? Well this is. 

That's our son next to her, or the closest thing to one we have. He is certainly spoiled and a big suck. Yes he slept in bed with us until just recently. He's grown so big he decided he couldn't stretch out enough and that we made him too warm. No, it wasn't us that kicked him out. Who do you think is in charge?

And yes, Linus does have a blankie. Thanks to his Grandma Sharon. It's actually a doggie quilt. Sharon's an amazing quilter and if you look carefully enough at our pictures you'll see her artwork in the background. 

Here's her blog:
My real reason for doing this blog, apart from the excuse to post millions of pictures of our doggie, is to document my attempt to write a novel come hell or high water. As you can tell in the blog title, I am not one of those writers who find writing incredibly easy and joyful all the time. On the contrary. 

Just a few days ago, we had some plumbing issues. I have no idea what happens to water or anything else once it circles down the drain, toilet, or tub, so we called for help from a large plumber. After I hopped around in the background asking if everything is ok a hundred times, offering coffee, juice or milk (It's a Watson Jewish mother thing) even Saltines to grunts of no thanks, I tried to be helpful by wringing my hands. I will report that said plumber did not have the prototypical Plumber's Crack, which was slightly disappointing after all the buildup. Plus he was wearing sweats, don't know if that affects it but will get to the bottom of it (doh, sorry). Finally after a good hour or more of fighting the hidden sewer monster, our plumbing hero emerged leaking sweat from every pore, grimy, and red faced. Yeah, I thought, that's just how I feel trying to write. 

I won't mention that he used our good cereal bowl and other cherished items for "catching drips" without asking or that I spent the rest of the day and night cleaning up after him. Ok, I guess I did just mention it, but he's still our hero for beating back the very dirty sewer pipe monster. 

Who ever thought that writing, like everything else, takes tons of hard work and discipline? Unlike in movies where they show a writer sit down at a typewriter, take a deep breath, an introspective glance, then start clacking away with sexy confidence and ruffled hair. There's always a cigarette smoldering on an empty teacup plate nearby. 

I am looking around and don't see a cigarette smoldering anywhere. Maybe that's what I need to improve my writing. And I drink coffee, not tea, and lots of it. I do not have a typewriter either. Just a typewriter font. 

I do use my IMac with the Scrivener writing program every day. After researching writing programs I actually bought a Mac just so I could use Scrivener. Best fortune I ever spent. Here's their link: check it out if you are a writer and want to make yourself buy a new Mac computer soon. 

Look, the truth is I haven't painted the whole picture here on purpose. It's called the set up. Yes, writing can be incredibly difficult, and sometimes when I've been writing all day I do feel like I've just battled ten sewer pipe monsters. BUT...

BUT. I love it. Just like marriage or raising a puppy or anything that matters to us. Love is not easy, it takes a lot of work. The more I work at it, the better I get. And the better I get, well, the closer I come to creating something original. Something that even I can be proud of. And I am my hardest critique so that's saying something.  

My whole life I tried to figure out where I fit, what I was put on this earth to do. I never gave any real thought to my closet reading addiction. Turns out, all those stories I read my whole life, spoke to my heart and changed me.

"Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  
I am haunted by waters."

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean 

I am haunted as well. By the words of those writers that I pored over, whose stories I adored. I've probably idolized these writers, but I am learning that they are not so different as me or you, if you write. They had to face the same blank page. They also had to silence their inner critics and write that shitty first draft. They had to be disciplined and put their Butt In Chair as Jane Yolen and others have said. They too had to tell the truth. Be disciplined, even get on a writing schedule.

Writing is a noble endeavor. I am grateful for all the writers who enriched my life, who inspired me.  

I finally realized one evening that I was put on this world to write stories. So here I am. 

My name's Ben. Nice to meet you. I love writing stories. This blog will be the place where I write all about it. 


  1. Relax, you're only speaking to the entire planet. Congrats on your blog. Move over Cervantes. Take a hike, Tolstoy. Watch and learn, J.K.R..

  2. I enjoyed your first post Benjamin. Especially the part where you talked about how beautiful your wife is. ;-) And that dog, Linus, he's the cutest!
    My only quam with the blog: make sure you spend more time writing than you do writing about writing!
    much love,
    Amy Watson

  3. Thanks Amy, my only "quam" with you is that your inner dictionary doesn't work at almost 4 in the am. Not like you have anything more important on your mind like saving lives or anything.

  4. Ben-jammin' so glad i found you here! welcome to the blogosphere! from one of your biggest fans, :DL

  5. Thanks Donna Lyn, just getting my toes wet right now. Haven't gotten to that WOAH that's really cold stage yet. I'm using your blog as inspiration and to see how a real pro does it. You are a really talented writer Donna.

  6. Nice to meet you, oh dear son-in-law of mine!! That wife of yours sure is beautiful.... and the dog, he's kinda cute too!! You can be my new blogspot friend. Don't tell the wife. We don't want to get in trouble.

  7. It'll be our secret Sharon.