June 28, 2015

I Am, Therefore I Write - Bruce Atchison

"What do you do for a living?" That question fills me with dread because I'm on disability. People I know seem to be succeeding at every turn of their lives. My life, on the other hand, was nothing but blunders and wrong turns.

After all the trials and errors, I've found that writing is the only thing I do with any proficiency. At the CNIB smoke stands and cafeterias, I worked too slowly. The only reason I was a security guard was that the company was desperate for guards. The only reason I was a government clerk was because of the quota to hire disabled people as well as women and native people.

Of course becoming a writer wasn't easy for me. My vision is so poor that my nose almost touches the paper when I write. Spelling was a huge problem too. The English language has many exceptions to the rules. I managed to collide with every one of them.

The house church elders made my life even more miserable by claiming I didn't have enough faith to be healed. Time after time, the congregation laid hands on me and prayed fervently but to no avail. The minister even claimed that I lusted for good vision so God denied it to me. I often wished I was dead so I wouldn't have to be humiliated for having limited sight.

Though I had written a few articles on an amateur basis, a job counsellor suggested that I try going professional. Since I had recently been laid off from the government, it seemed like a good idea. I took a magazine writing course from the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension and began pitching ideas. My first article sold after a year of hard work. This inspired me to keep writing and sending out query letters.

Eleven years ago, I took a course on autobiography writing online. Three memoirs later, I now feel confident to tackle fiction short stories.

I love writing. Putting together an article or story fills me with excitement. Being able to create characters and settings is akin to God creating the world but on a much smaller scale. When I feel satisfied with my edits, I can say, "It is very good."


  1. God doesn't give us more than we can handle. It sounds like you have taken these setbacks and turned them into important lessons. Especially unfortunate are the comments made to you by other Christians... REst assured not all believers have this view.

  2. Thank you for sharing. Keep writing.

  3. Inspiring post. I love how God has put a fire in you for your writing. Keep going.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Sorry, couldn't find an 'edit' button. That should have read Jesus said that Peter would one day be 'incapacitated.'


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