I had a near death experience and it changed…

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

I’m feeling much better and all my doctor’s appointments have gone well. I still have heart, brain, eye, and various other tests to go through, but besides that I’m good.

I was told on December 8th that if I had waited before going to the hospital, I would have either had a stroke or a heart attack. Effectively, I was one bad decision away from death.

In case you weren’t following, I was hospitalized on December 8th with an extremely high heart rate and irregular heartbeat due to a really bad case of RSV. I had been sick for five days and was dehydrated, malnourished, and had developed mild pneumonia. I had trouble breathing and was coughing up quarter-sized chunks of cranberry-red gunk.

As I lay there waiting for the medication to control my heart or for death to take me, I thought to myself that this was a pivotal moment, I would never be the same. Because, that’s what happens… right?

I wish I could say I had some great epiphany about life, the universe, and everything, but I didn’t. Sure I longed to hug my wife and children, I wanted to write more, and I was sad at all the things I might miss in my family (blood and found), but none of that is new or revelatory.

I knew I had a good life and wonderful people in it before I got sick and I still know it after. Despite some physical and mental health issues, I’m a lucky man.

One big thing I need to say is how touched I am by all my friends and family who reached out to Jen and offered to help. I knew I had awesome people in my life, but I was still surprised by how awesome (and that was just a few that knew what was happening).

I guess in the end, I had a near death experience and it changed very little, but helped me appreciate the life, family, and friends that I have.

Thank you!

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Top 5 Things I wish I’d Known When I Started Working

Hello My Imaginary and Fans,

Hold on to your hats… I am not a full time author. I wish I were or that I was independently wealthy, but nope I work. Currently I work in the government as a Desktop Publisher, which is a sort of typesetter meets webmaster. On the side, I run a coffee business and do freelance typesetting.

I’ve also worked as: Bricklayer, Babysitter, LCBO Clerk, Convenience Store Clerk, Office Assistant, Typesetter, Tour Guide, Radio Host, Boat Captain, Independent Producer and Director, Computer Lab Assistant, Secretary, Black Jack Croupier, Webmaster, Technical-Manual Writer, Media Monitor, Administrative Assistant, Pamphlet Distributor, Convenience Store Night Manager, Desktop Manager, Phone Survey Operator, Editor, Video Editor, and Battle of the Bands Judge. (Full disclosure my memory isn’t what it used to be so I might have forgotten some.) That’s just my paying jobs not my volunteer work or things I did for fun.

It’s safe to say that over the past quarter decade, that I’ve had a lot of jobs and a lot of bosses. There are some things I wish I had known when I was young and impressionable.

5. Your boss isn’t your friend

This has been really hard for me to internalize. With very few exceptions, bosses are tools of the company and will have to do what the company says. Some are reluctant, some skirt the rules, and some take pride in being assholes.

Most bosses will put themselves and the company ahead of the employees. That’s just the way of things. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that they are trying to hurt you, but they are not your friend.

The best bosses do care, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be nice or reasonable when the company tells them to do something.

You can have a great boss that has swallowed the company line so thoroughly that they can’t even see how toxic it can be.

4. You are replaceable

You might be the best a your job. You might be so good they give you praise and say, “What would we ever do without you?” In the end, you are completely replaceable. Everyone is. That’s how our businesses are made, they are designed to survive.

Don’t stay with a job or not take days off because they tell you that you can’t be replaced. That’s either bullshit or they are terrible at their jobs.

3. A performance is more important than your performance

You are hired to do a job. Do it and try to do it well, but that doesn’t mean you owe anyone more than that.

That being said, if you want to climb the ladder you need to say, do, and act the way they want you to. It’s different in each workplace, but performing the song and dance is the best way to get ahead and it rarely has to do with how good you are at your job.

2. Use the benefits/rights you have

If you have sick days and you are sick, use them. Use your vacation days. Use your health benefits. Use parental leave. Whatever the company has been forced to give you, use them when you need them and DON’T FEEL GUILTY.

Those are your days. If they can’t live without you, it’s their fault, not yours. Don’t let your employer make you feel bad for it.

Research the laws around work in your region, look up the safety rules and laws, and don’t let your bosses tell you to ignore them.

Your health is more important than your job!

1. Have pride in what you do (even if no one cares)

There are a hundred things I do to make sure my work is the best it can be and I have come to realize that it really doesn’t matter if no one cares because I do.

Do your work to the best of your ability, but don’t expect recognition. If you get it, great, but if you’re going to survive the capitalist dystopia that is our world, you have to find joy and pride in your work. Otherwise it’ll get really boring and make you angry and bitter.


Just to be clear, bosses are not clients and clients are not bosses.

And of course #NotAllMenBosses

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Dragon at Comiccon 2019

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This was Dragon’s third Comiccon and she had a blast! (Read about last year here)

She spent this year playing with her new (they were actually her mum’s) Fisher Price Little People, hanging out with Vic, Aunt Lindsay, Modryb Sonia, and all the other wonderful people who vend around us.

Her favourite thing to do was stand on the cooler and “help” me sell coffee. Other things she enjoyed include:

  • Playing in the wagon
  • Hanging out with Vic, Lindsay, S. M. Carrière, Madona Skaff, and Grannie.
  • Walking around the Con floor
  • Fries
  • Pepperoni Sticks
  • Saying hello to everyone
  • Getting her face painted by Paint Me Playful – Face and Body Painting

The two big highlights for her were Daleks and amazing cosplayers. (Tinkerbell by Princess of the North, Sailors Moon and Venus by Mysticfae, and Rapunzel and Eugene by East Coast Speedster)

Dragon had another great year at Ottawa ComicCon.

Thank you to everyone who interacted with her and helped us this year.

Éric

Feeling Inspired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I get inspired by a lot of things. When it comes to writing, for me, there’s nothing better than a good conversation. Friday I got to hang out online with my writer’s group and they are absolutely genius. The things they read were diverse and inspiring. It’s great to be with so many talented authors.

Then on Saturday, I hung out with some close friends that I wish I had the chance to see more of. We talked about everything from books to politics and it was wonderful.

I’m feeling extremely inspired. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do some writing.

I just got the third round of edits from my publisher for The Sign of Faust and I can’t wait to dig in.

Later days!

Éric

Thankful

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Today I want to tell you a few things I’m thankful for, you know in honour of yesterday being thanksgiving.

Warning the sappiness is off the chart!

Stolen from: BrotherWorld
Stolen from: BrotherWorld

Friends

I suck at keeping regular contact with people but I’m extremely thankful for the friends that understand and accept me anyway.

I’m thankful that I have awesome friends who accept me for me and don’t freak out when I say stupid or weird stuff.

Family

My close family is small, just my brother, his significant other, my father in-law, mother in-law, Sister in-law, and wife. Over the past 7 years I’ve lost both parents and that makes me even more grateful for the wonderful family I have. You’re all amazing.

I’m particularly thankful to my wife, who is both understanding and supportive in everything I do. Even when it’s random like learning to soldering or roasting coffee.

You

I’m especially thankful for you all of you, My Imaginary Friends. I’ve been blogging, in one form or another, since 2004. Sometimes it feels like no one out there is listening but every once in a while one of you will surprise me.

I got a text this weekend about a friends grandmother who was telling the family about an article she read on facebook. And it turned out to be this post. It’s not going viral or anything but to know that I made someone happy is great.

To everyone who reads, glances, or stops by occasionally… Thank you!

The 16th of September, 2039

Hello,

I have skills, but sometimes I feel utterly useless when it comes to the working world. There aren’t a lot of full time jobs for Layout Artists, which means there’s little to no advancement. I have a good job and I’m good at it, but both the public service and private industry are moving away from print layouts and going straight to website. It’ll take a while before I’m completely obsolete, but it is inevitable.

I got my Pension Statement today. I can retire in 2039 with penalties or 2044 without penalties. I’m lucky that I was hired before they bumped the retirement age by 5 years. So in theory, I’ll be able to retire between 56-61 years of age. Those numbers are scary for me; both my parents died before 60. My plan is to live until 90 so I can yell at kids to get off my space lawn, see the 200th anniversary of confederation, and the 100th anniversary Doctor Who special.

My dream is to make enough money from writing and freelance work to never need to retire. I want to love my work so much that I’ll gladly keep going until I can’t anymore. I’ve been at this seriously for just over 5 years now. It’s a slow business but I’ve:

  • written 5.5 novels,  four of them that I’m proud of;
  • updated my blog regularly for 2 years.;
  • written dozens of stories;
  • designed two role playing games;
  • received rejections from 8 book agents, 3 book publishers, and a dozen magazines or anthologies
  • received one conditional acceptance from a book publisher;
  • made lots of friends that understand (and some that don’t);
  • and drank enough coffee to fill several Olympic pools.

I have a lot going for me, but sometimes it’s important to list the things I’ve done, if only to prove to myself that I haven’t been idle or wasteful.

One of the issues with writing, or any other creative calling, is the constant fear that you’re wasting your time. Even when you succeed it’s not perfect.

It’s not always easy to have faith, especially when the odds always seem against you. I know I’m a good writer and I know my stories are fun. All I can do it keep working and hope for the best.

I’ll get there! (Hopefully before 2039)

Thank you, my imaginary and not so imaginary friends, for everything, but mostly thank you for listening.

 

In what dramatic way would you quit your job if you could?

Éric