Accidental Writer: A Memoir
know rules of grammar; became a writer
Had a vasectomy; became a dad
Liked cats; became a dog lover
like to call this a "no-holds-barred" memoir, but I must confess to
barring a few holds.
Still, in addition to how I accidently became a writer, dad and dog
though I don't know the rules of grammar
had a vasectomy in my twenties ... and grew up loving cats), The
sex, violence (if
a kid getting kicked in the nuts is violent
enough for you) and,
unfortunately, Multiple Sclerosis. Plus you can read about several of
the spectrums on which at different places we all find ourselves.
Written by successful freelance writer, author, and writing instructor Paul Lima, The Accidental
Writer is in
large part a memoir, with a whole lot of autobiography tossed in. It
is, in short, a fun romp through a relatively dull life.
But why tell you about it when I can let the introduction
to the book speak for
I have been one of Canada's most successful freelance writers and one
of the country's most successful freelance trainers. Now before
freelance writers and trainers who have been more successful than I
have been say, "Hey, wait a minute. Not as successful as me!" please
reread my opening line. I said "one of Canada's most," not "the most."
In other words, I've done okay.
started out as a full-time copywriter way back when, became a freelance
journalist and then a six-figure freelance corporate writer and author
of over a dozen books on
business writing, promotional writing, online writing and the business
of freelance writing. When I added training (business writing,
promotional writing, online writing and media interview preparation) to
the list of services that I offered, my income soared to even greater
why am I using past tense here? As of this writing, I am 64 years
old. I have multiple sclerosis (MS), and it's fair to say that I am
more retired than not retired, although I teach online writing courses
for the University of Toronto and conduct the occasional writing
webinar. But for the most part, I am simply having fun writing this
memoir and researching and outlining a novel, Family Tree, one that I am not sure
I will ever write. Time will tell.
fact is, as well as I have done, I am an accidental writer. I am
also an accidental dad and an accidental dog lover. Stick with me,
because this book will explain it all. And it will take a few
digressions into other aspects of my history along the way.
people might call this book a memoir. Some might call it an
autobiography. There is a difference, or so I've been told by writers
who are more knowledgeable about such things. But just as there is a
difference, there is also a spectrum when it comes to writing like
this. The spectrum might have a strict definition of memoir at one end
and of autobiography at the other, but there is a heck of a lot of room
in between for writing that is a bit of both or somewhat more of one
and less of another.
kind of like the different spectrums in life -- gender roles, sexual
orientation, careers, mental health, health (such as my Multiple
Sclerosis) and other facets of who we are. I am, we all are, at various
places on different spectrums. For instance, I am heterosexual, but
there has been a bit of same sex experimentation in my life. In
addition, a whole lot of guys are much more macho than I am. In fact,
if you were to invoke stereotypes you might say that I have a strong
feminine side when it comes to gender roles. But I digress in an
autobiographical manner that has nothing to do with my becoming an
to be clear, I do feel this book belongs somewhere on that
spectrum, the literary one, not the gender or sexual orientation one.
It is a memoir about how I became a writer and trainer and dad and dog
lover. But it is also an autobiography, one that leaves out a heck of
lot of stuff about me. So this work fits somewhere on the spectrum.
before we get on with the book, here is a bit about memory, which is an
important component of this book. Memory does not work like a DVD
waiting to be played. It is not stored like a video file waiting to be
downloaded or streamed. Memories are formed in networks across the
brain and every time they are recalled they can be altered. (At least
that is what I've read about memory.) I know people whose memories are
much more vivid than mine are and I know people who are much more
emphatic about what they remember. For instance, many people know
exactly where they were when they heard that president John Fitzgerald
Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated. I haven't got a clue where I was. But a
friend of mine remembers, and I am in his memory. So we were at the
same place at the same time. He says we were walking home from public
school when several boys walking down the street stopped us and told us
was November 22, 1963. I was nine years old, about to turn ten in four
days, and in grade four. I was not in a great mood because an aunt was
getting married on November 26, my birthday. That meant I would not be
having a birthday party because I would be at her reception. So I
remember being peeved that there would be no birthday party for me; I
do not recall hearing that JFK had been assassinated. Priorities.
the other hand, I remember where I was when I heard the news in the
early 1980s that a passenger jet had been shot down. I was working as a
copywriter for Radio Shack, the company that is now known as The
Source. I remember feeling depressed about the loss of life. Who would
kill all those innocent people and why? However, I don't remember how I
heard this news, what country the downed plane belonged too (although
South Korea comes to mind) or what country shot it down (I have a
nagging feeling that it was Russia, but I could be wrong).
why remember some things and not others? Why have holes of various
sizes in some of the things that I remember? For instance, I remember
where I was on 9/11 and how I heard the news that planes had crashed
into the World Trade Center in New York. I also remember who I
immediately told about it. Perhaps it has to do with age and with what
else is going on in life at a particular time, as much it does with the
event itself. As in I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday,
but if a major political figure or famous person had died yesterday, I
suspect I'd remember that.
that in mind, many of the memories in this book are suspect. In some
ways, this book feels like a work of fiction; I feel like I'm making up
characters and events. But I can assure you that this book is
non-fiction. I am not lying, at least not deliberately. This book is
me, as best as I can remember myself, becoming a writer … a dad
... a dog lover. All accidentally.
UK: TBA pnd
Amazon.com: Kindle $US
Amazon.ca: Kindle $Cnd
UK: Kindle TBA
Kobo.com: ePub $Cnd
Lulu.com: PDF $US
All prices subject to change.
should be available Summer 2019.
be notified of book availability, send an email
with the subject line "Accidental email." You
will receive no other email. Promise.
1 / Introduction
2 / The Boring Boy
3 / Give a Shout
4 / Beyond Sucking Buttons
5 / Egg Heads of 404
6 / Me, An Editor?
7 / Idiot Things I Have Done
8 / Candy Store Man
9 / Apple Does Not Fall Far From Tree
10 / Apple, Part Two
11 / Boredom
12 / My Year Off
13 / How I Became A Paid Writer
14 / Becoming A Freelance Writer
15 / Accidental Trainer
16 / Accidental Dad
17 / Accidental Dog Lover
18 / MS and Me
19 / What I Miss Most
20 / Epilogue