It is important to study and gain knowledge about your craft and this life. It will help to build your style and your character. As you search for your calling and meaning of yourself within this life and this life’s meaning in you. This will come through the forms of literature, music, films, TV shows, live shows and the main one… your relationships with the people and the things in this life! When I was training I was following a man’s work called Geoff Thompson. I would watch his DVDS in-between each training session I was doing and I would also read his books over and over again! When I wasn’t skating I was watching the skate videos (yes, VHS ha ha) and I would be reading the skateboarding magazines like Sidewalk and Thrasher. When I really got into the writing at the ripe ‘old’ age of 24 I would start reading all the heavy essential books until my eyes were bleeding. Love has always been a passion of mine and I mean ‘true love’ were you become nothing other than a gentleman. You can learn this from various bibles or even prophets – but you need to put it into action as well. We all know this life is a shitty place to be, but once you can open yourself up to the beauty that is and always has been around you, you can write better work and you can complement those around you even though you know they feel like shite every day. As the saying goes ‘knowledge is power’ – but without action it is useless. So, yes, gain as much knowledge in-between your craft or even crafts, but when the work shows up: fucking do it!
Your craft –
Whether you believe that you chose the craft or the craft chose you. It doesn’t matter. You are now it. When I was a martial artist, I became the martial artist. When I was a skater, I became the skater. When I became a writer, I was the writer. When I was studying philosophy, I became the philosopher. When I was at school studying, I became the student. When I worked my part-time jobs, I became them. When I was in a relationship, I became the boyfriend they needed. When I played and had fun, I became the party. These are just a few things I have been and became throughout this life and I have enjoyed and I even hated them at times, but when I did something like these different art forms I had to go all the way and become them (and I mean become it)… like a chameleon. My mother doesn’t particular like it when I do something like this in my life because it takes over me… she would always say ‘you’re stubborn, but it has certainly got you far.’ You need to be like a method actor and emulate the craft! Unfortunately, people may think you are selfish – but Geoff mentioned in one of his talks by another writer that it is called ‘proper selfishness.’ There was one time when I was so dedicated to my training and my dad asked if he could eat a bit of my ice cream and I said no! He was hurt by this remark and I did apologise to him the next day about it but I told him ‘dad, I have to make sure that everything I eat is at the right level to keep up this heavy duty training otherwise I won’t be able to function.’ He did understand after a while. Some people won’t understand your dedication to your craft – but the only person you have to answer to is: yourself and maybe whatever or whomever your divine drive is… and that is all that matters!
Work ethic –
You must treat your life and your craft as work. You must live it, breathe it, piss it and shit it. Your work ethic will pay off even if you are shite to begin with. When I was doing my hard-core training in my late teens I was training up to 3 or 4 times a day and I was eating up to 5 and 6 times a day. My day started at 6am in the morning with a 5 mile run then I would move onto my weight training then I would do my boxing training then I would move onto my wrestling training. This would take me up to around 9pm at night then I would get a good 8 hour rest and start all over again. The best example I can give you is when I started writing poetry at the age of 19. When I started writing poetry I had no clue what I was doing at all. When I sat down to write my first poem about a dead dried up rose that I bought to my recent ex-girlfriend at the time, I didn’t even know it was a poem! Shortly after that I moved out of my broken up family home and moved into my very own flat. I started writing more and more poetry while reading more of it as well to gain a little more knowledge about it and style. Believe me the poetry I wrote in those earlier days was shite, but the girls in my bed were very, very kind listening to them and saying they were beautiful ha ha. To be totally honest with you it took me the guts of ten years to really start writing half-decent poetry and start getting them published in some literary magazines… but I stuck with it: the good, the bad, the ugly and the totally awful ha ha! But, my work ethic was second to none despite the bad writing and the rejections and looking like an illiterate fool etc. But when you know it feels right – stick with it – and that’s all you need to get through it!
Overall… your experience will mean everything. For example: if you have lived (and I mean LIVED) you will have no shortage of stories for your writing – they will be countless! Bukowski said ‘do a bit of living then get yourself a typewriter.’ There is a lot of truth in this! Before I was a writer I was many different things in my life which was highlighted in the ‘your craft section.’ The more things you are before you become an artist will show more diversity in your writing and it will speak to a hell of a lot more people and that’s what you are looking for as a writer: more people to identify themselves with your work. I was glad my dad got me into the training when I was just a kid and I think everybody who is able bodied should get into something physical in their early life because it will teach you strength and endurance of the spirit, the mind and the body and it may even show you your god! My dad also got me my first job when I was around 10 or 11 years old and I think having a job or even jobs is a good way to teach you the amount of effort you have to put into your craft for it to pay off in the end! Different types of relationships in your life will help you also along the way. Whether that is with yourself, your god, your family, your friends, your partners, your pets, acquaintances and even complete strangers! I met a young girl on the bus one time going into my hometown (by the way no one knows this story so keep it hush hush ha ha) but – I could see there was strain on her face and her spirit so I started to talk to her. She told me she was in a very bad relationship and she felt she couldn’t get out of it. So I thought up an idea, but no idea is really yours… everything belongs to that sky above your head! When we got into town I took her to our local bookshop and I bought her a book that may help her. I left her at the top of the street and said ‘enjoy the read’ and she said ‘thanks’ and we have never seen each other ever again, but I hope she is doing better after all these years (13 to be precise ha ha). So, back to the topic… go out and live as many lives as you can and then write about it and give it back to those people who may just get something from it! You just never know who you might speak to and what it may just do for them!
Writing became a woman for me
I flirted with her in my childhood and in my teenage years
But not much came from it except for self-satisfaction
Like an angel grinning at God saying ‘he’s almost ready for her’
Then at the age of 18 in an airport shop she looked at me
I grabbed that notepad and pen urgently with a gentle squeeze
Like the time I was running towards losing my virginity at 15 in Estonia
As I flirted with her on the planes rigid chair I knew this was my time
As that angel grinned at God and they touched me with his and hers magic
Two published articles later she became my temptress and I became her virile boy
I lightly kissed her, I snogged her, I made love to her and we both felt orgasmic
But after those articles she was about to do something to me I wasn’t ready for yet
She said ‘are you ready for me’ and from there she turned me into a poet
My first poem was published from there and then a story and then a film
She said to me: I’m so sorry but there is no way back now but I won’t leave you
Now I am twelve years on from that point and I’ve done more than I can remember
She has never once left me like some of the other temptresses I knew and felt
I was devoted to her the whole entire time and I know I love her
I will not and she will not ever turn our backs on each other
We look directly at each other as a set of eyes looking at the moon
And we never, ever, ever want to change that until the day we get to meet in person
I will be a soul and she will be a soul and maybe we’ll kiss and hold hands
Or maybe we will walk away from each other as we look for something better
As she births another writer and I just enjoy writing in heaven
Either way we’ll never forget each other like remembering to flick the ash off a cigarette