Tag Archives: Personal Essay

What if I am not real?

bigstock-camera-in-tv-studio-63787357

My face was an inch from the wall and I was shouting my lines as fast and loud as seemed possible. “Faster,” came the command. “LOUDER!” I sent a hand down my red, television power tie, took a deep breath, and shot my lines as if I’d just landed on the French coast and either had to repel the Germans with my words or die on this horrible beach. I would have gladly had death.

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Uncle Al

Uncle Al

HE WAS, quite simply, one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.

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A Picture. A Thousand Words.

Fort_Erie_High_1933

OTTAWA, 1999: my partner’s uncle shows me the program of a reunion, several years earlier, of Fort Erie Secondary School. Leafing through, I see a photo of a rugby team, taken in the year 1932-1933—the fourth of the school’s operations. In the background, the familiar school building. I discover my grandfather, Alfred Spear, in the front row, second from the right.

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Of Domestic Science

apartment

YEARS AGO, there was a subject in my high school that was called Home Economics. There may still be such a beast out there, for all I know, but in any case it was a discipline mandated for the girls, so I never experienced it. In the field of domestic science, I’m entirely of the self-made category of man.

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Above All Else, Keep Failing

skateboard

WHEN I LOOK over my life, I see failures. You’ve heard the sayings: “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” (Winston Churchill), “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” (Thomas Edison), “we are all failures – at least the best of us are” (J.M. Barrie). The only alternative to failure is to not try, and once you’ve made that decision you’ve placed your chances of success in the realm of absolute certainty, at zero percent.

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If you were a store, what kind of a store would you be?

outback

WHAT’S TRENDY and current and cool? What’s everyone watching and doing and talking and thinking and listening to right now. Do you know, and do you care?

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Your Writing is Not Like a Barry Manilow Song

barry-manilow

AT DINNER, my good friend Adrian M. Kelly (author of Down Sterling Road, which can he purchased here. Only one copy left!) observed that it’s difficult to make a living from serious writing.

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