I have never thought of myself as a writer. During high school I had the darkest period of my life with the death of my dad when I was 15. I was grieving from my loss, and to make matters worse, my 17 year old brother and I tried our best to keep our 300 acre farm going without our dad. At the same time we were trying to get through high school. The only time I had to study and work on assignments was from when school ended at 3:15 until 4:00 when I loaded the bus. I tried to study the 30 minutes each way on the bus, but felt sick, and used that time to catch up on needed sleep. A lot on the shoulders of a 15 year old, and needless to say, my grades plummeted, failing 4 subjects in one year alone. Most teachers were awesome. They knew my situation, a couple teachers even raised my marks a few percentage points in order to give me a pass. Not so my English teacher. When I couldn’t get a book read in the time allotted, and complete the important book report, I got an automatic fail. Lazy, unmotivated, a failure were my descriptions on my report card for English. I took that report card very hard and personally.
I loved writing, and as a younger kid I used to write my own lyrics to already established songs. It was my dream to be a songwriter when I grew up, which looking back is unusual, particularly because I could never read music. A fireman, a farmer and a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League were three other of my Canadian boy’s dreams. When I was 26 I took a year to travel, backpack, volunteer and take a 3 month course in mountaineering. No regrets here. It was the best year of my life. I only had a cheap Kodak Instamatic for a camera, which eventually got fried on my friend’s pickup truck’s dashboard in Death Valley. I only shot about 3 rolls of film, and only about half those pictures turned out, so I ended up writing about my adventures. I loved plunking out these creative stories on my mom’s manual typewriter. I made copies and shared them with my friends and relatives. Instead of clicking a button on social media like we do nowadays, I would mail them or hand them out in person. And sometimes my friends and relatives would make copies and give to their friends. Who would have thought this would become commonplace with social media? There were even a couple of people tell me I should be sending my writings to some major magazines. I didn’t think so. I was not a writer. I reminded them I was a nobody who flunked English in high school. I had no confidence in myself that my writing was magazine material. Writers were scholarly people who majored in English in University. They went on to be writing professionals in various fields.
The next 25 years I got busy with the societal norms of life. Working, providing for the family. All the things we are supposed to do. I struggled with anxiety disorder. I struggled with depression. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel with no way off. Then at 55 years old, I was talked into joining a running club at the job I now work at. I hated it at 1st, but stuck with it because I had enrolled for a half marathon. We were raising funds for a charity called Dekpor School in Ghana, Africa. The more I ran, the more I found it helped me mentally, and after 25 years I found myself back in enough of a mental frame of mind to actually begin writing again. I wrote some stories to try and raise some funds for my charity. This time I didn’t have to make copies and hand them out. There was this thing called Facebook, that made it much easier.
A friend saw my Facebook page and suggested I should have a blog. She had her own blog and mentioned that you could do so much more with it. I am not tech savvy, so I kept putting it off, but one day I took the leap. Using an established platform like WordPress, it was not all that difficult setting up and maintaining it. If I could do it, anyone can do it. I was now a “blogger” (not a writer). A blogger was a term I was much more comfortable with. WordPress Magazine mentions a new blog is created every 30 seconds worldwide, and there are over 152 million blogs on the internet. That is a lot of blogs. There are so many great blogs and bloggers out there, and it blows me away that people sign up for e-mail updates for my blog. I am amazed they would want to follow me and read what I have to say.
Blogging has been very therapeutic for me. It has been a release. And the many blogger friendships that have come about are all a huge bonus. I will be soon turning 60, and after working pretty much in physical labour for 40 years, I get pretty weary somedays. During a preshift meeting during what seemed like a particularly long week working in the warehouse, I asked my supervisor if there was any chance I could do a bit of blogging for the company. My company has some bloggers working in the marketing department. Having failed high school English, and no post secondary training in writing, I was expecting a big NO! I was so shocked when the answer was a yes. What has blown me away the most happened a couple of months ago. The human resources lady handed me a nametag with my new position on it. It said “Carl Wright…Creative Writer”. And I could not be any happier.
It has been way too long since I have written anything on my regular running blog. I have so many exciting races coming up in 2018, and I can’t wait to run them and write about them. But for now, I would like to share the links with the articles I have written in my new position that includes a little introduction to each post. . The articles are predominantly to do with the environment, something I am very passionate about. And I have discovered these kind of topics sometimes can get quite heated and controversial with readers. So I have to be careful I don’t sound like an environmental Nazi. I work with a great team in marketing. Not only do they edit, they encourage me, and kindly point out some lines that might need toning down a little. So these are not just my articles, they are our articles as a team, from the marketing department at Busch Systems.
Article #1: What It Takes To Be Sustainable In Coffee Cups. Originally Published November 29, 2017
After over 40 years of physical work for a living, it was so strange to go into work and head to a desk and computer. And boy was I nervous. The 1st topic I was given was about all those throwaway coffee cups. What happens when we throw them out? Although I don’t any access to any of the blog traffic information on the web site dashboard, to my understanding, this has been one of the most read and shared articles to date. And for my 1st post, this makes me very happy. 🙂
Article #2: The Mo Bros and Mo Sistas of Movember. Originally Published December 1, 2017.
This was such a fun post to put together. My work participates in a lot of charity fundraising initiatives throughout the year. One of them was for the Movember Foundation, raising funds and awareness for men’s prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
Article #3: Environmental Impact of a Fake Christmas Tree. Originally Published December 22, 2017.
Writing has always been very therapeutic for me. This article brought out family Christmas tree memories buried for many decades that I had forgot were even there. A couple of times during writing this article the memories had me quietly weeping. It is a long post, and have so much respect for my editors who were sensitive with how deeply personal this article was to me…..and left it’s length virtually untouched.
Article #4: The Carbon Footprint of Christmas. Originally Published December 25, 2017.
Anyone ever receive an orange in your stocking at Christmas? I did. Most people my age did, and the orange in our family has quite the significance. During the Great Depression my mom was a little girl and her Christmases were very meagre. But she received an orange and a few other modest luxuries in her stocking. She never forgot it and passed that tradition on to my generation.
Article #5: The Dirt on Diaper Waste. Originally Published January 1, 2018
Starting a family means big changes, and each family dynamic is different. My wife really wanted to be a Stay At Home Mom. I struggled with this, as I only had seasonal work during this period, and my hours were always hit and miss. But she was willing to do whatever it took to make it work. That included using cloth diapers to keep the diapering cost down. We managed fine. And I also discovered that doing so, we lessened our impact on the environment.
Article #6: What’s The Most Sustainable Method of Heating Your Home? Originally Published January 31, 2018
In Canada, home heating eats up quite a large percentage of a family household budget. There are several types of home heating available. But what is the most environmentally friendly? What is the most energy efficient? What is the most sustainable? Your questions should be answered with this article.
Article #7: The Importance of Wetlands. Originally Published February 2, 2018
It is only been these past few years that there has been an importance placed on our wetlands. For decades they were regarded as wasteland and were drained and filled in. Since 1900, half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared. They are some of most beautiful and tranquil places on earth, and offer so many tremendous benefits. A touching compliment came from Mandy, who ran the final edit of this post when she said, “Thank you Carl, I just want to go out now, and hug a wetland”. 🙂
Article #8: Are The Olympics Sustainable? Originally Published February 9, 2018
The 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games are now officially over. The cost of hosting these events often run into the billions of dollars. And after a few short weeks, the Olympic torch is extinguished, athletes return home and host countries are left with massive debts and the struggle of finding ongoing uses for the extensive venues. This article takes a look at the sustainability of the 2018 Olympics and how they measure up with a few previous events.
Article #9: The Evolution of Environmental Charities/Advocacy. Originally Published February 26, 2018
This was a very academic title I was given. But once I figured out the direction I wanted to take this article, I had so much fun writing it. It took me back to 1985 when I was backpacking and climbing in California’s magnificent Sierra Nevada. I walked in the very footsteps of environmental pioneer John Muir. The article was also important to me, because I was given the honour of introducing a new environmental initiative our company is pioneering called RISE. You can read all about RISE in the article.
Article #10: Hollow Legs and The Carbon Footprint of Eating. Originally Published March 12, 2018
If you have ever had teenage boys in your home, you likely understand the “Hollow legs” part? Where on earth do they pack away all that food? It must be a pair of hollow legs. And looking back in time I was the very same way when I was a teen. Everyone living leaves a carbon footprint on earth, and the food we eat (and don’t eat) is a big one. Up to half of all manmade emissions in Canada and the United States are from food.
Article #11: World Water Day-Everyone Has A Right To Safe Drinking Water. Originally Published March 22, 2018
I take water so much for granted here in Canada. I turn on the tap and there it is…clean and refreshing. Not so in many areas around the world. There are 844 million people in the world who lack a basic drinking water service. One of the areas I focused on in this article is the country of Ghana, Africa. Busch Systems has made a huge impact with the charity Dekpor School Development Organisation in Ghana. Their director Carol mentioned to me that women and children used to fetch contaminated water for up to 8 hours a day, balancing 20 kilograms on their head which caused head and neck problems. But no more. It is so exciting to be a part of making a difference through my work. Pictures within the post of the contaminated water and the clean pure water were provided by charity director Carol Sheardown. And more photos and information can be found on the Dekpor School World Water Day post.
Forty years is a long time to have feelings of failure and inferiority eating at me from the inside. My running and writing has given me confidence that I have never had in my lifetime. It has been very liberating. This will be a huge year for my running. I am looking ahead to running some big events in 2018 with a mixture of fear and excitement. And also looking forward to meeting some really amazing people that I have been in contact with and yet to meet. AND I CANNOT WAIT! 🙂