Poetics on the Bus

The morning air is cold – almost freezing – against my face. I can feel my beard crystallize with every breath. It’s dark out, I can see the first rays of sunshine start to peek over the downtown landscape.

I stomp my feet to stay warm and shove my hands in my pockets. It takes a while, but the bus comes. Finally. It’s late, like always.

I unzip my coat and step on, shuffle to the back. As we get closer to downtown the bus fills up. First, it’s standing room only but as the big concrete buildings of downtown get closer, personal space becomes nothing more than a fond dream.

Then the smell hits me. It’s foul, acrid and lingering. I look around. Other faces are either twisted in disgust, like mine, or indifferent.

One stands out from the rest. The feigned indifference stands out like a pimple on prom night.


What did you eat? Rotten cheese and nutter butters? Spoiled meat? A breakfast burrito? Dear god people! Doesn’t he know that farting on a bus is like farting in an elevator?

I wish I could say that it was the first time, but a bus is a smelly place to be. It’s usually better in the wintertime, since everyone is wearing an extra 10 lbs of clothing which helps to *ahem* keep everything in. Most of the time.

In the summertime you can open a window, I guess. That’s not an option when it’s -30 out. It may have been no more than 10 minutes, but it felt much longer.


What did we learn this week?

  1. Don’t be that guy
  2. DON’T be that guy
  3. Look, I get it, we’re all human, we all do it. But DON’T BE THAT GUY

Image result for don't do it gif"

In Other News

This week I carved out the time to review a bunch of links that my friend Carl had sent to me. The subject sets the tone for the email: Visit these links and do it but don’t read this till you can actually allocate time to actually visit the links!

That was verbatim, by the way. I laughed when I read it because that’s just so me. I love soaking up information, but I don’t always have the discipline to stay on the same subject for long enough to be effective.

I mean, when I was in school I would go to Wikipedia to research something and I’d end up going down a rabbit hole. Like, how do you go from researching The Enlightenment to reading about Pterodactyls and how they wouldn’t be able to fly today because the air isn’t as oxygen-rich as it was a few million years ago.

Carl knew that if he didn’t call me out on it I would open it, make a mental note to go back to it when I found a spare moment, and never go back. Not because I don’t see the value in going to the links, but because that’s how my scatterbrain works.

So it took some time, but I got back to it. And what I found were some valuable local resources that could help me on my journey to bestselling novel fame. And most of the resources could be used at no cost to me.

So that’s got me to thinking: why don’t I take advantage of this kind of stuff more often? Nothing was stopping me from going and researching all of that stuff myself. But I didn’t. Didn’t even occur to me. I remember eight or so years ago when I first started working on Fade to Black, the novel which I brought to NYC to sell.

I thought it was SO good back then. Now, looking back, I couldn’t believe how juvenile my writing seemed back then. Writing isn’t something that you just have, after all. It’s a talent, and like every talent, you need to refine it with practice and coaching and criticism and experience.

My biggest takeaway is that I need to realize that I’m not good enough, not yet. I need to reach out to people who are more seasoned in the craft than me and be deliberate about it.

What’s stopping me from applying for Manitoba writer’s awards? Or from sending my manuscript to the writer in residence for the Winnipeg Public Library? I think the biggest question I have for myself is:

Do I want this, or not?


What else did we learn this week?

4. Winnipeg is cold. The air hurts my face. Why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face?

5. If I needed more incentive to apply (I don’t), the winners of some of these book awards get a couple grand in cash. Cashish. Cold hard currency. I would like that, too.

Later days,


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