Wednesday, March 02, 2005

101 Things About Me

This list is a work in progress . . .

1. I banged out my first novel on an Underwood Typewriter when I was fourteen. (I actually started it when I was thirteen, that spring, but finished it by the end of the summer)

2. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling.

3. Halloween is my favourite holiday/celebration.

4. In Grade 8 I wanted to be Class President. I didn't get it.

5. In high school, I was President of the Student Council. I didn’t want to be.

6. I wanted to be editor of the school paper in high school. At the first meeting of the newspaper club, someone else was nominated editor. So I started my own newspaper and became editor of that. (Could this have been a really early sign that I would be an early adopter of self-publishing?)

7. My wife fell in love with me when I had an outrageously silly looking mullet. She wants me to grow it back. If I did, based on the receding hairline, it'd be more of a skullet

8. I came close to being crushed to death once because of a decision that Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip made.

9. Although I write violent and twisted stories, I’m actually squeamish and not comfortable with violence.

10. My buddy Steve and I once had a beer in a pub with Robert Plant and not once did either of us turn to him and start to sing “You need coolin, baby I’m not foolin’”

11. I grew up an only child, but have seven siblings.

12. Once while preparing to have work on a “small cavity” performed, I decided to forgo the shot of Novocaine.

13. One night, instead of going to the emergency room to get stitches in my hand, I duck taped a thick wad of gaze over the wound and then duck-taped my hand to the wall above my head to reduce the bleeding while I slept.

14. Although I’m 6’ 3” I don’t consider myself as tall until I bump my head on something that most other people walk under easily.

15. I have a book problem. I can’t stop buying them. I can’t stop reading them. I can’t stop loving them.

16. Between 1999 and 2006 I spent between 2 and 3 hours a day on a commuter train.

17. I completed the draft of a novel mostly during the time I spent commuting for a period of about 12 months in 1999 and 2000.

18. I am terrified of bugs.

19. Despite being terrified of bugs, I am a huge huge fan of Spider-Man.

20. When I was a young teenager, I wanted to grow up to be a stunt man like the character Lee Majors played in the television show “The Fall Guy.”

21. When I was about to go through the sacrament of confirmation, I originally planned on using the name “Colt” as my confirmation name (from the character Lee Majors played on the television show “The Fall Guy”). The priest talked me out of it, saying that while it seemed like a good idea, I might regret that decision when I was older. He was a wise man.

22. My decision to write under the name Mark Leslie was partially inspired by the fact that Piers Anthony’s full name was Piers Anthony Jacob Dillingham.

23. Even though I’ve always liked science fiction, fantasy and horrific tales, I avoided reading any Stephen King books until after I saw the movie “Stand by Me” -- when I found out it had been based on a novella by King in the book “Different Seasons” I bought the book and read that novella, then all the others in it. And became a huge Stephen King fan.

24. Wil Wheaton who played the main character in “Stand By Me” has a blog. I’ve read it once, at least a year ago, and have always wanted to read more of it. I’m considering linking to it and reading it regularly. [EDIT: I now regularly read it and listen to his great podcast]

25. I had always been a bit of a loner and comfortable with spending endless hours of time alone -- until recently. Now, however, when Francine or Alexander aren’t around, it’s just not any fun.

26. I've never eaten Sushi before and have no great desire to try it. [EDIT: Okay, I've tried Sushi and fail to see why people go so nuts for it. Beer, on the other hand, I really understand why people can be so obsessed with it]

27. It's really often just about the beer with me.

28. One of my favourite quotes is from Hugh Prather in his book Notes To Myself: "If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire is not to write."

29. When I was sixteen, I popped two tires off their rims and ended up putting the car in a ditch while doing “fishtails” on a gravel road.

30. The very first story I sold and had published, a young adult humour story called “The Progressive Sidetrack” was inspired by my own experience as President of the Student Council

31. I still have a huge pile of the comic strips that I created when I was really young..

32. When I was a kid, I loved climbing up to the very top of lower thin trees and “riding” them down to the ground.

33. When I was young, I started a group called “The Three Investigators” inspired completely by the “Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigators” mystery books for young readers. We even had our own business cards printed up.

34. Some of the scenes and most of the heartbreak that Peter O’Mallick writes about in my online serial thriller “I, Death” were inspired by the first girl who completed owned my heart through most of high school.

35. I’ve never been much of a ladies man. But there were times in my life when I was actually seeing two or three different girls at the same time, a different date every night. These times, of course, barely made up for the years of “dry spell” times.

36. I like to talk tough and act like a grouchy old man, but I’m really a big softy.

37. Even though I love talking about myself endlessly, I never realized how hard it would be to come up with what I felt might be an interested list of 101 things about me. I’m only at 37 and already feel like I’ve gone on too long.

38. I do most of my blogging while sitting on a commuter train on my way in to work.

39. I ended up writing a sequel novel to the one I’d mentioned in point 1. It was called “The Search for Aaron Boc”

40. As I’m typing this up, I wonder how many readers of this list scrolled up to the aforementioned point 1. when reading point 39. For those readers who didn’t, I wonder if they’ve done it just now. And for those readers completely skimming and who didn’t actually read 39, I wonder if this has caused them to go back and read that.

41. All that I’m trying to illustrate in point 40. is the complex and sometimes bizarre way that my mind works, and how I can sometimes think that I’m being funny when I’m just being obtuse.

42. Whenever I get stuck doing things like, oh, let’s say, trying to come up with 101 Things About Me, I often turn to humour and find that that helps get me through.

43. I've always found the "Teddy Bear Picnic" song a little creepy.

44. I entered this line shortly after Velma, in the comments below, mentioned the list ended at 43. And now I'm about to enter another 10 or so items. I believe in pacing myself.

45. Sometimes I wish that life could be like a musical. That’s why, in the middle of a conversation, to properly explain myself, I'm tempted to break into song and dance.

46. I tend to be brand loyal to the point of annoyance. Like when I used to sing the “Ex Says It All” song from the Molson Export commercials whenever hanging around with my good friends.

47. I really like beer. Have I mentioned that already on this list?

48. As I type this, I’m considering scrolling back up and seeing if I I’ve already stated that I like beer. I’m pretty sure that I have, but I still haven’t bothered to check back.

49. Now as I type this I wonder how many people reading this list have scrolled back up to check (because once the thought came to them they had to double check) -- things like that make me giggle.

50. Three of the very first “records” that I owned were the LP’s Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”, Kiss “Destroyer” and the single “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John.

51. Now that I think of it, I must have owned the soundtrack to Grease before buying that Olivia Newton John single. I owned it in both LP and 8-Track format.

52. As I type this I’m thinking it would be cool to go out and buy the soundtrack to Grease on CD. Or maybe even download it off iTunes.

53. Back to my record collection (which I still own), before even Grease, I think I had several different of those K-Tel special albums like Dumb Ditties and Looney Tunes -- the ones with songs like “Please Mr. Custer”, “Transfusion”, “The Streak”, “Shaving Cream”, “You Can’t Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd” and “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight.”

54. I like silly songs. Elton John thinks that sad songs say so much, but I think that silly songs say even more.

55. When I was a kid, I was a really picky eater.

56. I'm not so much of a picky eater any more. You have to do some pretty gross stuff to the food before I'll turn my nose up at it.

57. I grew up in a town with less than 2000 people in it.

58. There were merely two dozen people in my graduating class of 1988 (we were the last Grade 13's)

59. There were more people in my first year University classes than there were in my entire high school.

60. When I was really young I used to think that the SuperStack in Sudbury was actually a cloud maker.

61. I love broccoli.

62. I also love asparagus.

63. I'm not sure if I properly spelled asparagus.

64. While attending Carleton University I started working there in the Theatre Operations department and kept that job on a part-time basis for about 6 years.

65. When I was 37 I returned to work at a University. This time McMaster University in Hamilton.

66. I've gotta have my sauce.

67. I've always loved digging snow tunnels and building snow forts.

68. A new friend, Monica, suggested I get back to this incomplete list. It has been years since I added anything to my "101 Things About Me" post on this blog. Her kick in the pants was just the thing I needed to get back at it. Thanks, Monica.

69. 69 was the year I was born. 1969, that is. There that was an easy one to add. Now on to 70.

70. 70 was the year I turned one. 1970, that is. Sorry, couldn't resist stretching the joke out.

71. I was really tempted to stretch the joke further, since apparently humour does work nicely in threes. But I supposed wasting another line typing this is doing basically that right?

72. I wonder if I'm the only one who might have found the previous three items funny.

73. I like drawing things out (like this list, which is kind of fun to do) Some have speculated that the reason I leave projects hanging is I DON'T want to complete them because they're fun. It's entirely possible.

74. Speaking of drawing things out, I've been working on a novel called A CANADIAN WEREWOLF IN NEW YORK in an "exposed" fashion via The Writing Show podcast. It started in 2006 - we just recorded Episode 11 (so I can date this post as May/June 2010) and my deadline to finish the 1st draft is July 31, 2010.

75. I might act all confident about being able to finish ACWWINY, but in truth I'm terrified that I'm not going to complete it.

76. Last year, when I turned 40, I did my first 10K race. It was a 10K Mud Run. A trail run through rivers and streams, over obstacles and finishing with a run through a 40 foot gigantic mud pit. It was a blast. I'm doing it again this year (in one day, in fact) - (there, I REALLY dated this point as June 5, 2010)

77. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of the monster under the bed. I'm afraid of things that go bump in the night. (Particularly my toes when they go "bump" against the foot of my bed. OUCH!)

78. For a few years now I've been a bit worried my son might ask me about the boogeyman, hoping I'll tell him the boogeyman isn't real. Since I believe in the boogeyman and I don't like lying to my son, I'm a bit conflicted over what to do.

79. So far, I've written two stories involving the boogeyman. One has been published, the other is (at the time of this writing), sitting in a publisher slush pile somewhere.

80. I like adding to this list. It's a lot of fun. But I'm really tired as I type this and really should get some sleep. I'm debating turning in now.

81. I look back at point 77 and wonder if it's a real point ABOUT ME or just me trying to pad this list into another unit by being self-relective. I worry about things like that, but often thing I should just let it ride. Life's too short, after all.

82. I'm one of those writers who benefits tremendously from an editor. Take this list, for example. I just went back and found half a dozen typos that I fixed. That's just one more great thing an editor would have helped me with, never-mind better word choice, structure and flow. A good editor is a writer's best friend.

83. I went back and did some typo edits on this list on June 5, 2010 - fixed some things, updated others, and then I inserted new items between other items. Now I feel like I cheated or something.

84. I became president of Canadian Booksellers Association recently (May 2010) - It's funny because, though I've been on the CBA board for several years now, I didn't think it'd be all that different. But suddenly I realize I'm supposed to be a mature and responsible adult. I hope I can live up to the expectations of that.

85. Speaking of "adult" - even though I'm 41 years old, I don't feel any older than I did when I was perhaps 17. (Except for the balding head, of course, and the fact that I can now look back on four decades of really cool experiences.

86. The older I get the more I come to appreciate songs like Springsteen's "Glory Days" and the Rush song "Time Stand Still" and Mellencamp's "Cherry Bomb" -- ah, I think I'm understanding the feeling known as "nostalgia."

87. In point 79 I mentioned that I'd written two stories involving the boogeyman but only had one of them published so far. Not that long ago, I sold the second boogeyman story that had been sitting in a publisher slush pile. But, just to be fair, the story isn't ABOUT the boogeyman, he just makes a crucial appearance in it.

88. At the time of this writing, it's summer and I have three different "lime" beers in my fridge, and they're all from independent Canadian breweries. Moosehead Light Lime, Red Baron Lime and Stonewall Light.

89. The three different beers in my fridge won't last long.  To understand the reason why, check out points 27 and 47.

90. Since my other "beer" points were 27 and 47, I've seriously considered going back and changing point 87 to a beer point (you know, swap the current 87 for 89), just so that there's a detectable pattern. It's that kind of goofing around that I recognize is just not useful, but continues to tempt me.

91. As a writer, one of the things I have long found most valuable would be a good editor; or at the very least a good proofreader.

92. In 2014 I walked the red carpet at a premier in Los Angeles. It was a book premiere for Writers of the Future. But the black ties, the glitz, the glamour and the 3 hour show gave it the feel of The Academy Awards. I was delighted to give a short talk on the future of publishing at those awards, and present all winners with a Kobo Aura HD.



Anonymous said...

Mark I've known you for more than 24 years. Wow! I'd say number 40 and 41 says more about you than anything.

. . . for what it's worth, I wounder how many people have gone back to read 40, 41, 39, and 1.

You know what buddy? I think I just figured out why we became friends, and still are after all these years. And I thought it was all just about the beer.

ancient clown said...

Here's ONE thing I'll share & ONE think I thought.
I don't think I know...I just know I'm thinking.
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown

.- said...

is it me or did this 101 list end at 43?

Curly J said...

I just found your blog through google!

I also just made a blog hop post on my blog for everyone who has made a complete (or partial) list of 101 things about themselves!!

Come visit my blog and add the link to your list!

Hope you're having a great day!

- CurlyJ

Anonymous said...

If # 58 and # 69 are both true then you must have been the worlds dumbest high school graduate Or you need a better editor for this list.

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I never noticed the typo in my high school graduating year. I've fixed it.

db johnston said...

Re: 32: Extremely similar to my 'Tree Riding' experiences when I was young (except my buddy and I would climb a tree and our older brothers would chop them down).