When asked if he was a genius, John Lennon straightforwardly said, “If there is such a thing as a genius, I am one, and if there isn’t I don’t care.” I can’t begin to make any such claim. Yet here I am, like so many writers, still putting in the time and effort. Why?
It can’t be for the money… 20% of all writers make 80% of the dough. For the love of it?… It tends to be a lonely profession. My particular choice of writing is the short story… short essay really. Maybe even the short musical essay, but that might be splitting hairs or something.
Actually, just now a song sung by Canadian folk singer, Valdy, is coming to mind. “When it comes to matters of the heart, I’d rather be lucky than smart.”
That’s how I feel about writing. And my lucky streak started the day a cute little girl with big green eyes caught my attention at high school. So eager was I to impress – when she asked for help with her essay assignment, I volunteered to write it – despite it being due the next morning. I was inspired! She got an A+ even after signing her name on the front of my clearly different handwritten submission. Was it sheer cheek; or was her Literary teacher a true romantic? Was it that obvious we were in love?
My hope is that whatever nuggets of literary gold remain after panning for a lifetime, genetics might also play a factor. Growing up, I remember my paternal grandfather receiving an ‘Award of Merit’ from LIFE magazine. My father also wrote copious amounts of poetry all his life.
Over the years, it puzzled me – despite having a positive online and print presence – I’d never won any awards or writing contests. Then I met a very successful Canadian writer. She was the Writer-in-Residence one year at the University of Western Ontario and said she’d never received any writing awards. Plus, Dianna Gabaldon, writer of the Outlander series of novels, graciously replied to my email saying all you can do is write with honesty and with as much skill that you have… remembering that each time you do it the better you get. I’ll always be grateful to these ladies for encouraging me to keep writing. It’s not about me.
So, would I have changed anything? Not a chance!
That young blond for whom I ghostwrote so long ago? We’re married, still in love… with lighter hair! As a friend once noted, he’d always felt that we were destined for each other. If I had changed even one decision we might never have met.
If I can still help her get some A+’s in life – offsetting the disappointments – I’d be content with that. What can I say? I’m a lucky guy! That’s the way I figure it. – FP
“Sail on silver girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way … see how they shine”
~ Bridge Over Trouble Water by Simon & Garfunkel
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Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His raison d’etre? “I’m one of those people who believe that if my work serves the common good, it will last; if not, it will die with me. As a freelancer – including ten years as a Torstar columnist – I still believe that’s true.” His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is also available via Indigo / Chapters.
Blog / Website: www.fredparry.ca