Paul Lima
Non-fiction Author. Novelist.
Video Blogger. MS & NDPH* Warrior.

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The Accidental Writer: A Memoir
Didn't know rules of grammar; became a writer
Had a vasectomy; became a dad
Liked cats; became a dog lover

I'd 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 lover (even though I don't know the rules of grammar ... had a vasectomy in my twenties ... and grew up loving cats)The Accidental Writer  has 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 itself.

Introduction to The Accidental Writer

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 well for myself.

I 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 heights.
But 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 my next book, The Atheist Chronicles.

The 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 more than a few digressions into other aspects of my life.

Some 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 the ends for writing that is a bit of both or somewhat more of one and less of the other.

It's kind of like the different spectrums in life -- gender, sexual orientation, careers, mental health, physical 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 male and heterosexual, but there has been a tiny bit of same sex experimentation in my life and there is a whole lot of stereotypical male stuff that I avoid and am not good at doing. In fact, if you were to invoke stereotypes you might say that I have a strong feminine side when it comes to gender. I am definitely male, but gender is complex. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, gender identity is "a person's internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female." In fact, Facebook provides more than 50 options beyond "male" and "female" for users to describe their gender identity, from "gender questioning" and "neither" to "androgynous."

That's quite the spectrum, just one of a myriad of spectrums that make up our lives. However, I digress in a manner that has nothing to do with my becoming an accidental anything. 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 dad and dog lover. But it is also an autobiography, one that leaves out a heck of lot of autobiographical stuff about me. So this work fits somewhere on one of the many literary spectrums that are out there.

But before we get on with my memoir, 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 that 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. They 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 the news.

It 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.

On 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).

So 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. So perhaps what we remember 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. Unless lunch was particularly scrumptious.

With 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.
Paperback*$CND 10.55$US 7.95
Amazon UK: 6.25 pnd

* All prices subject to change. 
eBook* Kindle $US 2.99 Kindle $Cnd 4.00
Amazon UK: Kindle 2.35 pnd ePub $Cnd 2.99 PDF $2.99US

The Accidental Writer


1 / Introduction
2 / Boring Boy
3 / Give a Shout
4 / Beyond Button Sucking
5 / Egg Heads of 404
6 / Me, An Editor?
7 / Idiot Things I Have Done
8 / Candy Store Man
9 / Games Daddy Played
10 / Dust Bunnies
11 / Amusing Myself
12 / My Year Off
13 / Accidental 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
About the Author

Paperback*$CND 10.55$US 7.95
Amazon UK: 6.25 pnd

eBook* Kindle $US 2.99 Kindle $Cnd 4.00
Amazon UK: Kindle 2.35 pnd ePub $Cnd 2.99 PDF $2.99US

* All prices subject to change.

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