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"Write To The Point"
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Mystical Knight of Light A collection of poems by T.M. Kolt
When Christopher first announced Breaking Rules was looking for guest bloggers, I thought what a great way to promote my brother’s book of poems. I was excited to share his words and thoughts and of course, his first published book, then reality quickly set in. What would I say? I didn’t write the poems. I have no idea what he was thinking or what gave him inspiration to write. How would I explain who Tony was without sounding biased or judgy? Am I really the right person to share his story? Afterall, Tony and I had very different writing styles. My writing is educational in nature and comes from research and compiling facts for articles about animals and nature, boring I know. His writing, be it his poems, philosophical works or his past lives stories were fueled by his emotions, his curiosity, and his desire to learn and to teach others.
I decided to do what he would, write from my heart, tell you a little bit of his story and share who I knew him to be and what I learned about him through this experience of compiling his poems and working with Breaking Rules.
So where do I start, how about from the end? Tony left this earthly realm on December 23, 2018. It was a shock, but it shouldn't have been. He became ill in late 2014. After being misdiagnosed by one doctor and the local emergency room and suffering for several months, he sought another opinion. He received a phone call from his new doctor In July of 2015 informing him that he had colorectal cancer and a tumor that would need to be removed. Yes, he was given this news over the phone while at work. He would later write that was the day his world changed. He said, "there was a peaceful calm that this was my fate, but also the tears of a child not wanting it to be his destiny!"
To be honest his troubles started years earlier. In 2010, while living in Kansas he was falsely accused of a crime that he did not commit. He sat in jail for two years awaiting a speedy trial before he was exonerated and found innocent. He lost everything except the clothes he had on. All of this led to a ton of stress that very well could have caused his illness. Fast forward a few years with a failed surgery, (the tumor was inoperable) a full round of chemo, a full round of radiation and a second attempt at chemo when he decided to stop all treatment. He was determined to heal his body or evolve.
Why share this with you? Because it was during these times that he wrote the most. While in jail he wrote for countless hours on yellow legal tablets. He wrote about how it felt to be there where he didn't belong, about how desperate he was to get on with his life and on some days, how he thought the truth would never be told and it was his fate to never be free again. He wrote about religion and philosophy. Tony had a passion for learning, reading everything on the subject that he could get his hands on. He studied meditation and started writing about his past life experiences and started to think of his time as a sabbatical. Every week he would send packets of his writing to myself and our mother. It wasn't until he was back home in Florida and diagnosed with the C word that he started writing his poetry.
He had an unusual method of saving his poems by sending them to himself in email. When he wanted to add or change something there would be a new email. Not only his poems but he also wrote of his feelings and frustrations and letters to others but never sent. You can only imagine what it was like for my sister, our cousin and myself combing through hundreds of emails to find the poems that were included in his book. During this time of dealing with side effects of the “poison” cure, when he had so much time on his hands, he took his handwritten pages and typed them out on word documents. To make matters worse, our mother was also battling her own fight with the same cancer. He told me once that he felt he got sick so he could help guide her through her struggles and hopefully make it easier for her. Unfortunately, she lost her battle only a couple months before Tony did. I like to think she was waiting for him on the other side.
My brother was never what you would call mainstream. He would describe himself as the lone wolf type and he seemed to enjoy that lifestyle. Besides learning and teaching, living a life full of adventure was important to him. It started when he left home at 17 to join a traveling carnival and continued through most of his life. This lifestyle though can be lonely when you leave family and friends behind. Sadly, we didn’t realize how alone he truly felt until reading through his writings.
When he finally decided enough was enough, no more treatments, he put his faith in his mind’s ability to help him heal along with natural homeopathic methods. He had us convinced he could do it. For a time, he did well but eventually his body started to betray him. At that time, he came to stay at our farm sanctuary. He had a natural connection to the animals and the outdoors. It was nice that he had that short time here with them.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for his body to break down further from the affects of the radiation treatments. A trip to the hospital resulted in him being told he had three days at most to live and was sent to a hospice house. Three weeks into his hospice stay they decided he was not going to die and would need daily care. Even though he had hospice care while on the farm they couldn’t come every day, he was unable to stand on his own and needed daily wound care. At 51 years old he would spend the last four months of his life living in a nursing home. Again, he had us convinced he wasn’t done yet. He worked daily with a therapist and was able to not only stand but to walk. He would push his wheelchair up and down the halls.
His determination was never more evident, he would heal or evolve to his next life. The time at the nursing home became a time for him to connect with family and the healing would be of old wounds not body. It was also a place where his loneliness and depression would evolve into forgiveness and being thankful. His poems too reflect these changes. His last writing a week before he passed talked of seeing himself standing beneath a tree, peaceful and healthy.
As a final gift to the animals or “puppies” as he called them, he donated his works to our sanctuary. Getting his poems into print not only would fulfill a dream for him, and keep the promise I made, it would also give people insight as to what he was feeling during his journey.
To purchase Mystical Knight Of Light please use the link below.
Turning the Page on Dyslexia by Jack Lench
I look back on my formative school years with unease and sadness.
I hated English lessons at school. The English teacher didn't like me either. He said that I never checked my work for spelling and grammar mistakes so he called me 'lazy' and a 'dullard' (Suffolk for 'dim-witted'). Strangely, whenever I reviewed my essays, I couldn't spot any errors. The spelling looked fine to my eyes. I was none of the things he called me and was, in fact dyslexic. I wanted to be the same as the other kids in my class but I wasn't. I could not recognise the right spelling of words and was classified as being an ‘underachiever’ at English.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty in reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words.
It is 130 years since the term ‘dyslexia’ was coined by Rudolf Berlin, a German ophthalmologist and professor in Stuttgart. Berlin observed the difficulties faced by some of his adult patients in reading the printed word. He couldn't find any problem with their vision so he speculated that their difficulties must be caused by some physical change in the brain. In the UK, British specialists were working on this issue and for the first time, broadened their accounts of the condition to include children.
P Morgan, (GP) wrote case notes for every child brought to him and the prognosis was always the same
A boy, aged 10 years, was brought to me by his father on Jan. 8th, 1900, to see the reason of his great difficulty in learning to read. The boy had been at school for three years and had got on well with every subject except reading. He was apparently a bright and in every respect an intelligent boy… It was soon evident, however, on careful examination that the difficulty in learning to read was due to a deficiency of his visual memory for words.
Between the wars, research on dyslexia drifted in the UK. From the 1950’s, there was a struggle to get recognition for sufferers because middle-class parents used the label of dyslexia to explain their children’s poor performance in reading.
I didn't dislike all subjects at school. I loved history and was really good at maths but the education system left me ill-equipped for any career where qualifications mattered. As a teenager, I read avidly and was inspired by classics like Moby Dick, The Old Man and the Sea and Dombey & Son. After a brief stint as a pizza chef followed by sprout picking on a farm, I headed off with a bunch of mates to Germany where we got jobs as labourers on a building site.
My skills as an engineer were later recognised and I had the opportunity to travel around the world. Not surprisingly, by the time I came back to the UK, in my 30’s, I had money on my hip and set up a business, selling expensive and quality Persian rugs at antique fairs up and down the country. I settled down to family life but alas, it was not meant to be. An acrimonious divorce left me dissatisfied with life and devoid of purpose. Then something wonderful happened! I met my soul mate and life was good again. Wendy and I ran away together to Italy to renovate an old farmhouse but got caught up in one of the worst earthquakes, Italy has ever experienced. Hundreds of people lost their lives and many from our beloved village, Bisenti. The house we had just literally purchased suffered severe earthquake damage and we had no funds to restore it. We counted ourselves just lucky to be alive. For the next few years, we lived in a caravan on site, in our olive grove, loving every minute of our Italian adventure. I wanted Wendy, the wordsmith, a teacher of English, to write about our adventures, for posterity. A story for the grandchildren but she never seemed to have the time. One night, I decided to write the story myself. It didn’t really matter about the spelling or the grammar! When Wendy read it, she was blown away with my descriptions about Italian life, my narrative and account of the earthquake. She was the one who encouraged me to continue one. That was my first book – ‘Olives and Earthquakes.’
Can someone with dyslexia really be a writer?
Yes! Surprisingly, there are at least 25 famous authors with learning difficulties.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) had dyslexia. He was kicked out of school at the age of 12 for not focusing or finishing his work and he had a very hard time spelling.
Agatha Christie, the best-selling author of all time, had a learning disability, believed to be dysgraphia. She could not spell or remember numbers, but her learning disability did not hold her back.
The idea for my first book of fiction, ‘Illicit Deception’ has been inside my head for over thirty years, so long now that I don't even remember where the idea came from. For the last ten years, I have worked for myself as a van driver, crossing Europe between Italy and the UK. I spend much time alone, so I guess that's where I ponder over ideas, story lines and plots. I am proud to have self-published my first novel and show that, with imagination, anyone can do it.
It is so important to encourage writers of any age, whatever their challenges. Parents should read to children to inspire them to become interested in stories, while teachers should encourage children to believe in their imagination.
There are so many resources now available to support people with learning difficulties. Social media has proved invaluable for promoting the resources and events available while spreading the word that there is help out there for empowering people to reach their full potential. If something has affected your confidence to write, don’t let it stop you. Your imagination is your gift!
Millions of people love stories, thousands long to write them but probably never will. They may have the writing skills but not the imagination. For me, it is the reverse. My English teacher took away my confidence, the belief in myself to ever put pen to paper but he never took away my imagination.
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do!”
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a writer?
Or ever fancied seeing your name printed in golden letters on the cover of a bestselling book?
Well, if you just screamed a roaring ‘hell yes' at the top of your lungs, chances are you're meant to be a writer. You are meant to help change the world and inspire people’s lives through the power of your words.
“But how do I begin? I have no ideas.”
“I have ideas but I don't know how to put them on paper.”
Worry not, I have a plan for you.
Writing Tips for Beginners and Get Better at Writing
1. Read like a maniac
As a writer, words are your fuel; and what better way to master words than reading itself. If you want to write, you need to read — and read, and read, and read! Read everything you can get your hands on. Classic literature. Fiction. Non-Fiction. EBooks. Magazines. Even that trashy, old novella with giggling girls on the cover.
Examine writing style with a critical eye and observe how authors convey their thoughts and emotions. Every book has a lesson for you if you're willing to pay attention. Don't limit your reading to a particular genre. Read different books to gain fresh perspective. And remember that you cannot even dare to call yourself a writer unless you fall in love with the idea of reading.
2. Write catchy titles
This is one of the most important writing tips for beginners. It is often said (and truly said) that people immediately stop reading your content if you don't hook them right from the beginning.
No matter have excellent your content is, it won't matter unless you match it with a catchy title. A bold headline can be the very difference between a quality piece of writing, or a dud. Start with a bang! Embellish your writing with words that immediately grab reader's attention and tempt them to read on. That's the key to creating compelling art.
3. Write for yourself
Forget the fact that you're writing for an audience. First and foremost of all, write for yourself. Just direct your focus solely on your feelings, ideas and opinions and how to put them on paper. It fires your passion and creativity. It allows you to ink your inner thoughts lucidly on paper as you learn to write right from your heart. And above all, people seem to like it.
4. Understand your audience
‘Write for yourself; rewrite for others'…this is one of the greatest writing tips for beginners anyone could give you. Know your audience better than they know themselves. Act as if you are speaking to one person and write accordingly to create an emotional tie with your readers. One great way to do that is to connect with your readers to learn their perspective, their side of story.
5. Learn to become a great storyteller
Everyone loves a good, old tale. A craft as old as man himself, storytelling is a great way to woo and charm and audience. That’s because the need for stories is rooted deeply inside our brains. Try to blend in an engaging story in your writing. Good stories are easy to understand and the simplicity of language also aid readers in remembering them. It does not matter what genre you write in, everything can be turned into a story – if you tell it the right way.
6. Make your readers feel something
If you've made your readers feel something (and as long as it's not irritation or monotony), you as a writer have done your job. Readers can fear and feel motivated and be excited and feel grief. They can smile and sob, shiver and rage. All from reading your content. Just make your readers feel something. Humans crave drama – so feed it to them like chocolate.
7. Explore the Internet
The all-encompassing world of internet is chock full of guides, how-to's and writing tips for beginners. Not all of them are really useful, but there's still plenty of quality material out there that is definitely worth your time. Take an online writing course or join a writing forum to perk up your writing prowess. Connect with fellow writers and get an insight to how they get their work done. Think of internet as a massive goldmine ready to be exploited.
8. Be consistent
Writing consistently is one of the worst struggles writers face in their daily lives. Even the most skilled writers find it arduous to stay consistent and keep the words flowing regularly on paper. Notch up a few hundred words every day to keep your writing skills sharp. Like any other skill, your writing prowess slowly rusts if not put to practice consistently.
9. Believe in yourself
No list of writing tips for beginners can be complete without this point. Writing is a daunting process. There are many ups and downs. Every day is a new challenge. There are times when you find yourself judging your writing and questioning your abilities. There's nothing wrong with doubting yourself. You are human, therefore you doubt. The problem really arises when doubt overwhelms you and starts holding you back.
That's where self-belief comes into play. If you are going to go through, you have to trust your gut and keep believing in yourself. You have to plant this motto in the deepest chamber of your mind: I will never quit!
10. Enjoy writing
Writing is magic, quite literally. You create something out of nothing. Something you write today can be found and read in a thousand years and it can still be related to readers. This is magic. The best way to do justice to writing is to love it. Once you start enjoying the process of writing, words will come naturally to you and you'll look forward to writing every day.
Have fun! Happy Writing!