Stewart Blogs - #1

Writing is the easy part for me, compared to reading my work in public. I have long had a fear of public speaking. When I was a private investigator, I often had to testify in court. I would be a nervous wreck for weeks before, even though I knew that 99% of the time it was settled out of court and I would not have to testify.

I joined Toastmasters a few months ago to get help with this and it has really made a difference. I still get nervous, but it is getting better. Having to give a speech in front of the people in Toastmasters gave me confidence. A speech is even more difficult than reading from a book. So I am happy that the readings in Montreal and Toronto went so well for me.

Not that writing is easy. I used to write when I was on surveillance. I had hours of time alone and loved it. I would listen to the radio or write. Of course if you are going through something difficult in your life being alone all the time isn’t good because you end up just making yourself crazy. I didn’t like it as much when I left the road and went into management. I wasn’t used to spending 8 hours with people and no time to write during the day. I like people, I’m social, but I have always needed lots of alone time, even as a child. I grew up in an apartment. We had three bedrooms and I can’t believe how selfish I was, but I demanded that my younger two sisters and brother share a room, while I had my own bedroom. And I can’t believe my parents gave in to me. Maybe because no one wanted to share a room with me. I always wanted pets but we weren’t allowed to have a cat or dog in the building so I had hamsters or mice and they would run on their wheel at night. I also decorated my room in a manner that would deter others from wanting to share, for instance I had doll heads hanging from the ceiling and many stuffed animals which I would line up around the edges of the bed at night so that the thing under the bed couldn’t reach me. I still don’t feel comfortable with my legs or arms hanging over the bed even though I know that there could not be anything under there, for one thing, I use that space for storage so there is no way anyone or anything could fit.

I’ve always lived in my head, daydreaming, and at night I have many dreams and nightmares. Writing is good for me in that way: to connect with others and to get outside myself.

People are always saying to me that I should write about my life and all the things that have happened to me, but maybe I just don’t want to yet, I don’t know. I was always a private person, although that is changing now.

For instance, when Kulsum introduced me at the Toronto reading she mentioned something I had written about how you have to have a sense of humour to be a Private Investigator with IBS. For years I was embarrassed about having irritable bowel syndrome and didn’t want anyone to know, but obviously I had to let the people at work know I had it.

Imodium is my drug of choice, what can I say, it was the only way to get through the day stuck in a car on surveillance. Clients don’t want to hear that you lost the subject of the investigation because you had to leave to go to the washroom.

People at work would often make jokes about it but since I can be very self deprecating they thought it was okay and I realized that talking about it is better than the stress of hiding it because stress just makes it worse.

I have written about it, one of the stories in my book is about a woman with diarrhea. I don’t remember saying that thing in my bio about being a literary proctologist. That sounds so strange, maybe I did, I don’t know, I have a bad memory.

At the Toronto reading, Claudia Dey, who is incredibly sweet, when I told her how nervous I was giving readings said that she gets nervous, but we are all human. And all humans have to go to the bathroom, so why not write about it.

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