Not too long ago, I was listening to an interesting report on the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and the types of jobs that could be replaced by robots. Of course, the occasionally insecure writer in me wondered, could robots replace writers and screw up my retirement plan?
While I am certainly not an expert in the field, nor should this blog post be interpreted as an expert opinion, the Pollyanna in me says if it could happen, we are probably some time away from that.
To me, a good story really boils down to three things: the reader, the writer and the story itself.
For a story to be successful, it needs to engage the reader and resonate on a human level. It needs to connect with readers on an intellectual and on an emotional level. The story needs to stir up feelings in the reader to keep them coming back for more.
To achieve that, the writer needs to tap into their imagination, their emotions, their experience, or all three. Plus, with each writer’s unique point of view in the way that they craft a story, additional layers of interest are created and the writer’s sense of style is stamped on the story, much like a fingerprint.
A good story could be a testimonial of human experience that discusses the strong emotions felt along the way such as the struggle, the pain and the joy. A good story can take us to a world we could only imagine. Good stories can also scare the crap out of us, play with our minds, or inspire us.
To do all of the above requires heart and passion. Continue reading
The freezing rain of a few days prior had turned the entire city into skating rink. Old Man Winter must have been really proud with himself as no outdoor surface was immune.
As the city began to thaw out from the storm, my normally calm drive home was punctuated by a moment of terror, as a sheet of ice had dislodged from the roof of an SUV speeding along at 80 kilometres per hour and flew straight up into the air like a pancake being masterfully flipped by its chef.
But what goes up must come down, as the wind carried the SUV roof shaped sheet of ice a little to the north and above my lane of traffic. Gravity then started taking over.
“Oh crap… the sheet of ice is headed this way,” I thought to myself.
I am always impressed by how television and movies are able to depict those moments in life when time stands still and things suddenly go in slow motion. This was one of those moments. As I could see the sheet of ice headed for me and my windshield, so many thoughts flew through my head at lightning speed:
“Oh crap, what do I do now?”
“Crap… this isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“No wonder I’m not a fan of winter.”
“This isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“I’ve still got a million stories to write. This would be tragic.” Continue reading
It’s November and we all know what that means… I’m cold! And if history repeats itself, that also means I will stay that way until mid-March.
I sometimes think it is Mother Nature’s way of telling me that it goes against nature to be out and about over these frosty months. But then reality kicks in, along with the realization that I still need to work for a living, which then sends me outside, grudgingly braving another winter.
Over the years, friends and family members who may have had an accidental run-in with my permafrost hands or glacial feet suggested that I bring the condition to the attention of a doctor, before they contact a mortician to confirm that I am in fact alive.
I have to agree though. My hands can get so cold sometimes, even the cat won’t play with me.
To the disbelief of my inner circle, the medical community has concluded that everything is actually normal with me.
With that verdict in, I have had to adjust and to find ways to get warm and to stay warm, even if it means a commitment to a life of layered looks and thermal wear, outdoors and indoors.
Here they are, the top 10 remedies for when “I’m cold” Continue reading
I think we can all agree that getting good value for money is something to which the majority of shoppers aspire. We all work so hard for our money (while our purchasing power seems to be dropping like a bag of wet cement), why wouldn’t we try to make our dollars go farther whether by waiting for sales, using coupons, hunting for deals or repairing goods to extend their life span.
I was reminded of the latter recently, in trying to breathe new life into an old flashlight. The flashlight and I have been through a lot together. It has always been there for me, dependable and reliable, having seen me through power failures, tripped breakers and burned light bulbs. It has also been my guiding light, helping me search for lost items in deep, dark, scary household crevices. Even though it stopped working, I was certain it still had a lot of life left in it.
The first order of business was to try replacing the massive 6 volt lantern battery. Easy enough, but even after stretches and warm-up exercises in preparation for hauling the beast of a battery home, unfortunately, the flashlight still didn’t work. The next step was to try to replace the teeny tiny little light bulb. What an ordeal!
Maybe it is because so many newer flashlights use LEDs as their light source, but this little light bulb of mine seems to be getting hard to find. After about 5 stores, I finally found some, so I bought enough to keep old faithful alive for another couple of decades.
But during my scavenger hunt, the prospect of having to throw out a perfectly good flashlight because of one broken part was heartbreaking, not to mention, illogical to me. Continue reading
10 – Things entitled “easy instructions”, “so simple even a child can do it” or “5 simple steps”, rarely are.
9 – The days I am running late for work are the days the cat will plop down in front of the door or the staircase as if to say “You’re not going anywhere, Mister”.
8 – The days I have an eye appointment and will receive the pupil dilating drops, it is guaranteed that it will be a bright sunny day and never a single cloud in the sky.
7 – No matter how much advance research I make before a major purchase, people will only share their worst horror stories about a product AFTER I’ve made the purchase.
6 – The less time I have for something, the longer it will take. Continue reading
Everyone seems to have a little issue that comes back to haunt every now and then. They are those ridiculous little conditions that hit us at the least opportune moments, that don’t necessarily prevent us from going about our days, but they certainly make them more uncomfortable and more challenging.
They are the issues that sometimes turn our duffle bags or purses into mini-pharmacies with a collection of every product on the market to take the edge off.
I am amazed that over 173 blog posts I have not mentioned a single word about one the biggest irritants for me… cankers. I will admit, it might not make the most compelling of blog topics but I have to appreciate the humour it can bring, as well as the gratitude when that little sucker finally heals.
For me, cankers are nothing new. I have had them on and off, as long as I can remember. I recall being 4 years old, crying my eyes out at the dinner table, because of a spaghetti dinner that was too painful to eat, because of the tomato sauce’s burning sensation on my canker.
I can’t remember if it was my Mom or Dad who first said “Put salt on it”, but when I did and it started to sizzle, I screamed and wondered what I did wrong to earn such a cruel punishment.
I was ready to pack my teddy bear and run away as my thanks for that wonderful parenting advice.
But I survived. And so ensued Continue reading