July 28 . Issue #157

In this month’s journal are books I am reading, events I will be attending, an update on my new book, and more…

1. What I just read and consider the best book I’ve read this year. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John IrvingThis is a book I should have read a long time ago. But then again, maybe there’s a reason for everything.

If I had read this earlier, maybe I would have been so discouraged from writing I would not have written anything. Do you get that? Something is so good that you think, what’s the point? Perhaps I’ve always had that. I once saw and met the great jazz drummer Lenny White. I confessed to him that when I heard him play, I quit drumming; what’s the point? I figured l would never be that good.

He said, “Man, oh wow. Well, after tonight, hopefully, you start playing again.”

So, yes, I did start playing again. Lenny’s playing was inspirational and motivated me to just play.

A Prayer for Owen Meany is a story of depth, outlandishness, doubt, prayer, hope, and faith.

The first chapter tells you the complete story, yet you are compelled to read on to get to the bottom of this outstanding story. The characters are a varied cast of lovable and not-so-lovable individuals.

In the end, you understand everything and all the pieces come together. You know the why, what, when, and where of it all. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and my first thought. My, to be able to write like that.

Well, who knows? There is time. In the meantime, thank goodness for such a blessed writer.

2. I managed to write about my experience at the Toronto Jazz Festival. I also put together two interviews with some extremely talented artists. Mary Ancheta and Malika Tirolien. They are both keyboard players leading their own bands and individuals producing outstanding performances.

Make sure you check my alter ego’s writing. Paul J.Youngman, at That Canadian Magazine and Latin Jazz.Net.

3. To bring in July, I attended a Canada Day celebration at Downsview Park. It was great fun. Some fine music, jazz, was performed.

A quartet of unknowns to me but some great young, talented musicians.

The outing was put on hold when a lightning storm rolled in. I rolled out as I thought there was no point in getting wet. A fireworks display had been planned, but I am not a big fan of fireworks. Perhaps the powers that be will switch to a light show in the near future—less chance of starting a fire and lacking in explosions that send animals into a panic.

Interestingly enough, I met a writer there who was not published. But an extremely interesting gentleman who I had the pleasure of talking with. I told him to send me what he had written, a sample; I’d be happy to read it and offer any help I could.

4. I am getting prepared to do some teaching. Exciting! My 1st event is August 2nd, as per the featured photo. Wednesday afternoon at East Gwillimbury Public Library. My kindle your creative powers workshop.

I will read some of my favorite stories, including Scratchy the Squirrel: A Time for Friends, a chapter from the new book Dojo in the Woods, and a Japanese Fairy tale, The Samurai and the Dragon King.

Then we will discuss the ingredients that make for a good story. Seven ingredients and they are all found in these stories. We will start to write our own story. It’s going to be great fun.

5. My next teaching engagement is at Naka Ima Karate in Toronto. An adult class or at least a class of spirited karateka. I’ll be filling in for the head instructor, Tim sensei, who will be on vacation for a couple of weeks.

A couple of Saturdays in August, the 5th and the 12th, and one shared class on August 10th with a former South African who was fortunate to train with Stan Schmit sensei, the father of African karate.

My next big event is on Sunday, August 20th, my return to The New Earth Village Love Festival and Artisan Market. That is up north near Loretto, Ont. Details can be found here at the link above. I’m hoping to have my new book Dojo in the Woods, available for purchase.

Come out say hello, check out my books, and I will introduce you to the characters.

Another event I am excited about is the Creemore Festival of the Arts, September 30th and October 1st. I’ve been accepted as one of the vendors. I think it’s mostly due to my illustrator, the wonderful Joshua Miller. His awesome artistic skill with my book’s illustrations.

Thank you for reading, and if you know someone who would like to read my journal, please share it with others. All of my books are now available at your favorite bookstores; support local bookstores with your online purchases.

Make sure you get out and about and enjoy the beautiful days. Visit an artisan market, a farmers market, or a book festival. If you’re looking for a great early reader chapter book, get my book Scratchy the Squirrel: A Time for Friends. My picture books are perfect for the younger ones: Samba in Switzerland, Samba on a Snowy Day, or  Samba in Brazil.



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