Monday, 11 June 2012

New Domain

My new website:
I have moved to my own domain: or, if that doesn't work:  After this post, I will not be using this blog, so please click the link and go follow me on my new one.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Chapter 3: Progress Report and Excerpts

At long last, Chapter 3 is complete and I have fresh excerpts from it.  But, before I get to that, I need to make an announcement.  *Ahem*

I will be transitioning from the pen name CJ to my actual given name, Chad.  I have two reasons for doing this: a) There is already an accomplished author floating around out there, going by the name CJ Carver and, while a woman and writing in a different genre, I continue to have an aversion to conflict, particularly lawsuits.  And b) I just feel weird going by CJ.  It seemed like a good idea when I started this whole affair, but it has never "fit" quite right, since I've been called Chad my whole life.  And, since the story is supposed to be inherently personal, I feel a great deal more comfortable just writing it as myself; as Chad.

Okay, now that the whole name thing is out of the way, Chapter 3 details my elementary school experience, focusing on what it was like for me as a boy in school.  It was a tough chapter to write, and it took a lot out of me.  I was forced to go to some pretty dark places (not nearly as dark as it's going to get, but dark) and I had to face aspects of myself; my character that I might have otherwise left happily swept under the carpet, or, at the very least, glossed over.

Chapter 4 will discuss my extracurricular life, and will be considerably more upbeat, so please don't assume that the book is all doom and gloom.  I'm a funny dude, you'll find.  Just hang around long enough to have some laughs with me.

So, with no further crap from me (for now), excerpts from Chapter 3: Bullied at School:

Bullying was much more common in the 80s and was largely viewed as proper conditioning for a young man; not the life-altering, soul-shattering experience that it is recognized as today.  Unfortunately, it took a few high-profile suicides and murders among young people for society to see the flaw in our collective view of things.  Whatever the case may be today, when I was a kid, I was bullied - a lot….

Growing up in a blue collar family (Only two people in the whole family - both sides - have university degrees.) the standing order, as passed down through the generations, was tough love. This wasn’t, and isn’t, uncommon among blue-collar families, though.  It’s the old stiff-upper-lip, men don’t cry and women cry in private type of nonsense that has somehow become woven into the cultural fabric of those who sweat, slug, lug and trudge their way through life….

I stood back up, and walked straight toward him.  I didn’t swing, or even raise my arms, but walked right up to him, so that my eyes were at his nipples, and he shoved me again.  I rolled, the crowd laughed and jeered, and I simply repeated my patently insane manoeuvre.  As though contrived and rehearsed for the crowd‘s amusement, we repeated this routine several times, but I expected him to drill me at any given moment.  Something totally unexpected happened, however, which I now recognize as a turning point in that boy’s life.
I stood up for the 6th or 7th time and started my, by now comical, march toward him.  In his eyes, replacing the recently departed combination of derision and malice was a look of empathy.  I saw with unmistakable clarity that this kid was very sensitive, and this game wasn’t fun anymore….

And while the old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” was often quoted as I was growing up, I didn’t feel that way.  The names did hurt; they hurt like hell.

A black eye disappears over time, and the memory of the punch that caused it fades even more quickly.  Hateful, mean-spirited words, however, burned red hot for a very long time, as though I’d been branded, in my mind, heart, and soul.  Indeed, some of those words still linger….

On this particular day, I had worn, as I often did, the same clothes I had worn the previous day.  One of the girls took note, and made a comment, as they were wont to do.   Charlie turned around and gave her a dirty look and said, “Guys don’t worry about fashion and clothes.  That’s for girls.”  She shut up, and I smiled at the back of Charlie’s head with the admiration of a young boy for his big brother.  I tried to befriend him, but there was nothing for it.  The social hierarchy was set, and not even Charlie could manipulate this cosmically-set classification system….

Friday, 1 June 2012

I Won!

So, you all know that I've been following Kristen Lamb because I have been pestering you to do the same.  She really is quite brilliant.  Anyway, a few weeks ago, I won an opportunity to send her 5 pages of my project for the "unvarnished truth," as she is given to calling it, about my work.

I am working on choosing and preparing those pages, so wish me luck.  If you're interested, check out the post that I won the draw in.  In this post, she makes a very cogent argument for the power of "small" in the digital age.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Shit Happens...

So, I disappeared for a while, and I didn't do what I said I would, which was complete Chapters 3 and 4 and provide excerpts.  I'm like that sometimes, which is likely why I'm divorced;-)  Anyway, I'm back in the saddle, but no more promises.  I'm just bumbling along as best I can, and will have new material up as soon as it is ready. 

Thanks for the continued support, everyone.

p.s. If you want to check out a consistent and brilliant blogger, Kristen Lamb is my favorite.  She has a lot more important shit to say than I do, and she is better at it.  You can find her at the following link:


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Finally Moved

Hello, Everyone:

I have finally moved, and am working on settling into my temporary place with my Aunt and Uncle in Sarnia.  I will likely be here until the end of the summer.  As the Fall semester approaches, I will move into my own place, since I will have saved a little bit of money by then, and my income will increase as I am able to work more substitute-teaching days.

In any case, since I am finally moved, and mostly settled, I will begin working on my book in earnest, which, as you know, has been my plan from the outset.  I am really hoping to be quite deep into it by the end of the summer, so let's keep our fingers crossed.  (Actually, you better cross yours because I am going to need mine to type ;-). 

Best wishes to all,

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Comments, anyone?

First of all, thanks to everyone who has chosen to follow my blog, either as a member, or a casual follower.  Today, I shot past 200 page views, and it is all because of you!  I am flattered by the readership, of course, and I hope that you all continue to find the work that I post worth reading.  I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings, rants or any other expressions regarding my work.  So, please go ahead and comment. 

If nobody comments, I have no way of knowing for certain if people are following this blog because they find it to be an interesting and enjoyable read, or because they have a morbid fascination with its utter lack of literary merit;-)  All kidding aside, I really am missing out on the most valuable aspect of comments from readers, which is the suggestions you submit on how I might improve a given piece, or simply advice that you care to offer on writing, life as a writer, etc.

For those of you who wish to remain anonymous, you may do so.  I have set my comment settings to open to the public and to allow for anonymity.  If you're still uneasy about commenting in a public forum, but have something to say, please go ahead and e-mail me at


Moving tomorrow, May 6th.

Okay, so I was supposed to move yesterday, but my ex. threw a wrench in my plans at the last minute, (exes can be that way, I've found).  Anyway, I have re-planned it, and the move is happening tomorrow unless I'm incarcerated, hospitalized or dead.  So, sorry for not having the excerpts ready as promised.  I will post them and chapter 4 excerpts once I'm settled in my new place.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Big Six Publishing is Dead....

Click on the link below to read Kristen Lamb's insightful, and cogently-argued piece on the imminent demise of traditional publishing.  Also, you may link from there to find details on her book: We Are Not Alone.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Another Poem? Ridiculous.

Whoever read this before, and didn't bother to tell me that I mispelled ridiculous in the title, is a booger face. 

Okay, so I am still not a poet, and I haven't bothered to learn any more about writing poems than I knew when I wrote the first one, which was nothing.  Nevertheless, an old friend of mine, Heather, gushed about how much she loved "Questions," so I offered to write something just for her.  She liked the idea, and I asked that she supply the theme.  For reasons of her own, she chose for me to write about failed relationships and giving up on love (girls are like that sometimes).  I completed it a couple of hours ago, and she is quite pleased with it.  She has allowed me to post it here, and has assured me that it's equal to the challenge of public scrutiny.  So, let's get on with it:

Written for Heather Parsons.
“No brighter a light in the darkness of one’s own night can there be than She.”
~ CJ Carver

No Explanation Required

When will it end?
How will it end?
Is the end a beginning?
Is the end just…

I think, you’re thoughtless
I speak, you ignore.
I listen, you’re silent.
I feel, you’re numb.

You’re gone, again.
I’m lonely, again.
It hurts, again.
I’m lost, again.

I’m tired of this shit.

Does any man know?
No explanation required?
An unfair desire?…

Try again?
You’ve changed?

Fine, show me…
If I think?
If I speak?
If I listen?
If I feel?

And, so you show me…
When I think, you think only of you.
When I speak, you hear only you.
When I listen, you talk only to you.
When I feel, you feel only you.

Must know you, to love me?
Yes, but…
Know me too?
No, only you.
You’ve forgotten me.

You’re gone, again.
I’m lonely, again.
It hurts, again.
I’m lost, again.

I’m tired of this shit.

Does any man know?
No explanation required?
An unfair desire?…

One more time?
Dare I?
You won’t go?
I won’t be lonely, hurt, lost?

I must try, but…
Not with him.

He’ll go.
I’ll be lonely.
It’ll hurt.
I’ll be lost...


I’m tired of this shit, but…

He doesn’t know.
Explanation is required, so…
I won’t!

I will try anew…
A new place.
A new face.
A new try.

Fear descends upon me.
Clothed in unfamiliarity.
My Heart, mind and spirit tremble.
Doubt reigns supreme.

Does any man know?
No explanation required?
An unfair desire?
Too bad.

New Place…
Is this the place?
Does he know this place? 
He who knows?

New face…
Are these the faces?
Would I know his face?
His knowing face?

New Tries…
Try what, with who?
Will he try, with me?
He will know, and try.

Hope glints peripherally...

His steel figure moves.
My magnet eyes follow.
His gaze shines my way.
My eyes held hostage.

He strides confidently.
He looks intently.
He Speaks slowly.
He thinks quickly.

He knows
No explanation required.
No unfair desire.
For, so he speaks…

I am a man who knows.
I’ll explain…

I know me, to love you.
And I’ll know you, to love you.

When you think, I will think of you.
When you speak, I will hear you.
When you listen, I will speak to you.
When you feel, I will feel you.

I will not go.
You’ll not be lonely, again.
You’ll not hurt, again.
You’ll not be lost, again.

You’ll not tire of this shit.

Friday, 27 April 2012

1000 Followers... Why Not?

If you're reading this, you either have a mild interest in what I am up to, or I have shamelessly cajoled you until you popped over just to shut me up.  Either way, I would greatly appreciate it if you click on the "Join this site" button by scrolling down to the panel under my Facebook picture, on the right side of the main screen, where the people are listed who are already following.  Then, follow the prompts to register through an existing networking service that you use, such as GMail, Twitter, Yahoo, or whatever.  I have this ridiculous goal of attracting 1000 followers - yes, one thousand - by the time I complete my autobiography. 

Assuming that the book takes me 2 years to complete, I will need to gain an average of roughly 1.5 followers a day.  So, yeah, it's not likely to happen.  But I don't care, and am going to try anyway.  I mean, I abandoned the pursuit of a full-time teaching career to try and make it as a writer, so there isn't much point in aiming low.  Besides, the odds against attracting 1000 followers are no more daunting than those against getting published, and I'm obviously trying to do that.

So, if you're still reading, you might as well got ahead and "follow," this blog, post it on your Facebook wall, tell a friend, tweet it or whatever else might be of help in my attempt to gain maximum exposure and attract 1000 followers. (actually, we're down to 996 as of tonight.)

Thanks for all of your support,.

DG Gass' "Ghosts of Arlington"

I've mentioned DG's "Ghosts of Arlingtion" in a previous post, but felt compelled to create a stand-alone post to plug her book.  From what I've read, it's a pretty kick-ass yarn about a war veteran who commits suicide, and his wife's subsequent courage in dealing with tragic memories, fear, the paranormal and politics. 

Click on the link to DG's website below to read reviews, the first five chapters and purchase the book.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Les Edgerton on Writing Voice

Visit Kristen Lamb's blog, and read a fantastic sampling of Edgerton's book, "Finding Your Voice."  Just click on the link below.

If you love what you see, and you will, click the link below to view and purchase "Finding Your Voice" at

Excerpts from the Introduction and Chapters 1-2


"Fear of failure prevents many people from taking on a project, of course, but my greatest fear has always been venturing down this stark road alone, down lanes of memory replete with pain, regret, shame and so on. I still fear this, but I am at a point in my life where my pain exceeds my fear, and I now know that I must write this book if I am to have any relief; any freedom."

"While there was much drunken, drug-induced idiocy throughout my life, particularly during my years as an adult entertainer, I refuse to hide behind the facile excuse of temporary insanity brought on by intoxication ... I made a decision to live a morally questionable and risky life based on perceived rewards, and, far short of removing my sense of right and wrong, the drinking and drugging merely minimized my give-a-shit factor."

Chapter 1 - My Earliest Memories

"I seemed to make friends with the other children in my neighbourhood fairly easily and was, all-in-all, a pretty likable kid. I didn’t get into any major trouble, wasn’t a rebel of any note and hadn’t yet come to prefer my own company. I certainly hadn’t developed the deep sense of misanthropy that would later become the lens through which I chose to see the world."

Chapter 2 - Home Life as a Boy

"All of the houses in the picture were black and white except for one, which was fully coloured in. Our teacher asked us what we thought the coloured-in house represented ... “Home; it reminds me of home," someone said ... "There is an old saying:  'home is where the heart is,'" the teacher said ... I must have sank into my chair with just about the most contemptuous look a sixth grader can muster painted on my face.  By the age of 11, I was already proficient in the art of cynicism, and fluent in expletives.  Sorry, teach, home isn't where the fucking heart is in my world, I thought bitterly." 

"To this day, I remember the smell of my dad's clothes when he came home from work: the sharp scent of steel mingled with the oil, dirt and fumes that he waded through all day in the factory ... I thought my dad was the smartest, toughest and most understanding man on the planet. I wanted to be him, and I watched him carefully."

"My mother and father couldn’t be more different in character, personality and temperament. How they are still together, nearly 40 years later, and they’re both still alive, is a mystery to me. My best guess is that my dad has a rather traditional view of the institution of marriage, took his vows seriously, and only sees two viable options for terminating the marriage: his death or hers."

"I would be absolutely self sufficient, relying on no one but me. I would thus avoid disappointment and eliminate the possibility of developing and fostering the kind of resentments that seemed to cripple my mother. Obviously, my plan wasn’t as airtight as I had imagined, and it wasn’t long before I was just as socially isolated as she seemed to be."

Book Excerpts

After consulting with a respected friend and colleague,* I have decided that I am going to include some excerpts from each chapter of my autobiography as I go along.  Please keep in mind that everything is subject to change until the book is published. (should the God of Literature will such a thing).  So, whatever excerpts I post may or may not be included when the dust settles.  Nevertheless, I think it will be nice to provide a few small examples of what I'm up to, and perhaps even create and nurture a bit of a buzz among those who choose to follow this project. 

I will create a separate post for the excerpts from the Introduction and first two chapters to save those who have already read those posts the aggravation of revisiting them.  From now on, however, the excerpts will be included in their respective chapter's post.


* The friend who I am referring to is D.G. Gass, author of "Ghosts of Arlington."  Check out her book by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Poem?

A couple of things before you read this piece:  I am not a poet.  This looks like a poem, but I cannot say with authority that it is one because I did not study English, and I have no knowledge of the various forms of poetry, and their mechanics.  Also, I wrote this for my friend, Erin, for no other reason than that she was having one of "those" days/weeks (you know them).  As my gift to her, it is her "poem," and she has always been free to do whatever it is that she sees fit with it.  Much to my delight, she seems to genuinely like it, has it posted on her Facebook wall and has graciously allowed me to post it here.  I hope you enjoy it....


She stares into the mirror.
So many questions.
Who is real, who is fake?
Her reflection stares back blankly.
Something in her stirs uncomfortably.
She doesn’t know what else to do.

Frustrated, she speaks..
This cannot be it, she pleads in a whisper.
What are we here for, you and I?
Can I trust you with my secrets?
Her reflection merely mocks her.
Her desperate questions asked back simultaneously.
She will receive no answers.

Tears roll down her cheeks.
There is so little time to waste.
Loneliness envelopes her.
Even her reflection is a cold stranger today.

Will we ever have it again?
She continues her relentless interrogation.
Her reflection a mute conspirator in misery.
Equally relentless in offering no answers.
No comfort.

She turns her back on the mirror.
She ventures deep within herself.
It’s quiet, dark and painful, today.
She picks up the interrogation...

Am I to be alone; is that my fate?
She listens...
Anxious, sad and frustrated.
She listens...
A quiet, but firm answer.

Startled, she’s curious, suspicious.
I am not to be alone forever?
I won’t feel lost?
They won’t all hurt me?
The voice is loud, fierce.

Echoes of the railing trail off.
Timidly, she speaks...
I will be happy?
And how do you know?
Suspicion grows.
If I don’t, who does?

Who are you?
One who loves you.
Why do you speak harshly, then?
Because I love you.

Confusion dominates her..
I am you, and I love you.
An answer to her unspoken confusion.

Realization floods her being.
Rapidly, she fires off questions.
Can I really do this?
How will I/we do it?
Can I trust you?
Have faith.

She is incredulous.
Faith in what?
She smiles, understanding.

One last question tugs at her.
She isn’t sure she wants the answer.
She braces herself.

Where is God?
She waits….
She despairs.
The inner voice doesn’t know, she concludes.
She turns to the mirror.
Her reflection smiles back.
Right here.

~CJ Carver

Commenting and Following.

Hello, Everyone:

I am new to this whole blogging deal, so I am learning as I go.  Last night, as I was poking around, trying new things in here, I noticed that the "comment" feature was limited to "followers."  I changed it to "anyone" (or something similar), so that anyone who wishes to may comment.  In fact, you may post anonymously if you prefer.  I respect your right to privacy, and your right to tell me that you think I am a windbag without me hunting you down and blowing said wind at you. :-)  Also, if you intend to follow this blog, please click the "Follow" button on the main page (upper left, I believe).  This will help with my stats, exposure etc.

Thanks for all the support,

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Outline, Introduction and Chapters 1-2

I have completed about 2/3 of the comprehensive outline that I have been playing around with for the past few days.  I grew bored soon, however, and turned my attention to revising my the introduction, and first two chapters, to better reflect the new outline and its superior organisation. 

In my enthusiasm, I had initially rushed headlong into the memoir, sketching only a very loose outline and, not surprisingly, as I trudged along, I found that my hasty effort was inadequate.  This caused much anxiety, and I finally resigned myself to starting over.  I was stressed because I only had one copy of the first draft that I had turned out of the introduction and Chapter 1, and this last copy was in a file format that I could open, but not edit, which left me with no choice but to re-type it.

The truth is that I was fortunate to be able to retrieve that copy from my e-mail.  Over a two-week period, I broke my external HD, my jump drive died, and the computer that I am using needed to be re-formatted.  I suddenly had no data, no resumes, no work.  What I had done was gone.    Somehow, I managed to resurrect my thumb for just long enough to transfer my resumes, which I am particularly grateful for because I would not want to have to redo them. 

I used this opportunity to completely overhaul what I had written, and plot a clearer course.  I am happy that I did, and am now in a position to just follow the outline and tell my story.  I'm looking forward to this more than ever now.


Monday, 23 April 2012

The beginning.

So, I suppose this is the beginning of my writing journey.  I will be writing my autobiography over, well, I'm hoping, probably unrealistically, the next 18 - 24 months.  I've recently moved back to Canada from South Korea, where I was teaching English, and have been staying with my parents, in Chatham, ON., while wrapping up my divorce.

I will be moving to Sarnia, ON. on May 4th, where I will be residing with my aunt and uncle until the end of the summer.  Once I am settled in Sarnia, I will begin writing in earnest.  When school starts in the Fall, I will be substitute teaching for the Catholic School Board, which will, hopefully, allow me to afford my own apartment. 

I will endeavour to be consistent in posting updates about my progress through the book, but must admit that I have never been very good with these journal-type exercises.  It is my hope that, having gone public in the form of a blog, I will feel accountable to whoever decides to follow it.  Wish me luck!