Another Day Going By, With a Poem To Inspire You


                   Needed to have a photo done for an appearance in “Moods” magazine, this was the best one I took I feel.

(blog to follow today’s poem)


Words upon words

Line after line

Hundreds of pages

Thousands of books

If only

I could consume every book that I buy

I sit in my room

Swimming in the glow of knowledge

Basking in the light of wisdom

A sea of learning, growing, so many chances

To see the world through another’s eyes

I will never have time

Never be able

To digest all the words

I have laid at my table

From comics for children

To Sartre and his bright genius nausea

I have no greater joy

Than leaving this world

This mind

To live in another

Travel through time

Journey through words

Some of them mine

Leif Gregersen

March 20, 2016

     Good day to all my amazing followers.  The blog has been doing so well lately and I wanted to thank all of you.  I am not sure if this has happened before, but I recently got a new subscriber who is a really cool psychiatrist, I feel that sort of thing is the ultimate endorsement.

Spring is nearing, though in Edmonton winter still teases us with the odd snowy day or freezing cold morning.  I am feeling very good about myself as my first issue of “SZ”, one of the two magazines I am now editing is nearing completion and all seems right with the world.  In a couple of weeks I am also taking on another job working just for a couple of hours on Mondays teaching creative writing to a group that meets at a local club for people with mental health issues.

I don’t have anything too specific in mind to talk about today.  I guess one of the things, since I am doing so well that I would like to talk about would be hope.  Fifteen years ago when I was in the hospital for six whole months, I had almost completely lost hope.  I had been extremely sick and in order to get me back thinking straight it was necessary for me to be on a lot of pills that left me a tired, drowsy mess, and I also had gotten into some financial trouble, but no one in my life let me give up.  There was some really hard things to swallow.  When I was sick I had ruined some very important relationships.  The truly sad thing was that I had one friend who stuck by me but I later had to cut him out of my life because he was a manipulator and a user of people.  But my parents and my brother and sister and later my ex-girlfriend did stick with me and it meant so much.

I think one of the luckiest things that happened to me back then was that I found the group home I now live in.  The place is very reasonable in rent and I like just about all the people that live here and work here, and perhaps most importantly I have been able to plug into the local community and make many friends that don’t have to do with anything mental health related.  One of my favorite things to do is to write free articles for our community newspaper.  I have gotten a lot of kindness and support from doing this not only from people who read my work, but especially from the editor of the paper who has helped me with everything from this website I am now reaching you with to getting me paid work as a photographer.  Friendships like this go so much further than networking and extra work now and then though, I really feel blessed to have such cool people in my life.

But to get back to the subject of hope, I think there was always hope for me I just didn’t look for it so intently when I first left the hospital.  For a long time I would just read a couple of pages of a book I liked, go on the computer a bit and spend the rest of my time sleeping.  Slowly over time I built up to spending more time writing and with the help of many of my friends one day my book became a reality and it has gone out now to likely more than 300 people.  I really like the concept that my writing can help those who come across it and a big part of the hope I talk about has to do with me wanting to reach out to people who suffer from mental illness, so I keep on trying to improve things like my public speaking skills and writing skills.

I really wish I could kind of package all of this up and give some advice to anyone out there who reads this.  I guess the big things I have to say I have said before: keep trying to do even just one small thing each day, have goals and try and work towards them even just a tiny bit.  Your goal can be getting better, your goal can be to have two friends you can talk to, but make the effort to move closer to them.  Another thing I may have covered as well is that there are some things people with mental health issues really should heed.  First of all, it is best to try and live in supportive housing like I do, but if you can’t, please do not try and live alone.  There is just too many ways for a person to fall by the wayside when they live on their own.  Living with a family member can be great, but not always possible.  If you do feel you can live alone, make sure you are hooked into some kind of home visit or plan where you have to check in with a nurse or counselor.  And keep your home clean, tidy and make it somewhere you can retreat to, unwind, get away from the stress of the outside world.  One mistake I made once was to let someone come and stay for free at my place and before I knew it they had invited all of their friends to live there.  It nearly destroyed my whole life, you have to be strong and hold to boundaries.

Above all, I think the most important thing to remember is just to take care of yourself.  Look at yourself and ask yourself the question, am I going through anything I need to change or stop?  Ask yourself how you would feel if a brother or sister or parent was going through what you are and if you would let them suffer in silence.  Be good to yourself, nurture your relationships and take life one small step each day.

There Were Beaches To Be Taken


Today’s Poem: (scroll down for blog and a second photo for today)


Insanity Poem

I am the shore; the beach

And I see endless waves capped by headless demons

Each with an issue of blood, a smell of death

Demons riding gentle sloping water mountains

Always coming

Waves that carry Satan’s surfers

Deep in the recesses of my soul and mind

I thought only Christ could walk on water

No, not in my head

If I knew my brain would do all of this to me

What once could I have done to it?


When young; so many things undone


I thought then that life would be peaches, roses

All at once complete

And happy

Happy as the minute the clock ticks away

Finally making it to the 3:30 bell

On that last day of school

Before short precious summer days of sun and fun

Those days were not so fun

When school ended for all time for me

And life was still newly begun


Leif Gregersen

February 10, 2016

     Good morning Dear Readers:

Well, I don’t really have a lot off the top of my head to say, but I suppose I can still manage to rattle of f a bit of stuff.  I had a very cool job interview today for a temporary position as the teacher of a writing class and I have to admit I am feeling pretty good about it.  I will be helping adults to develop their writing skills and though it is part time, the hourly wage isn’t too bad.  I am really looking forward to something that is my own idea, I want to try and take my class on a field trip to the amazing Edmonton Public Library and show them some of the many resources available to all citizens of our great city.  Most of these people will be adults with mental health issues which makes me feel even better about the job.  I have always really enjoyed working with people who are at a disadvantage, whether it be an issue of their age or mental state or physical state.  For some time I volunteered at a veteran’s extended care hospital and I really loved some of the wonderful old men that were there.  I got some good story ideas from it and made good friends with the hospital chaplain who in more recent times has been a great supporter of my writing efforts and a wonderful guy.  I know what I do isn’t volunteering, but I would encourage anyone dealing with a mental health issue who has gotten beyond the initial difficulties of establishing housing, medication and a routine to volunteer their time in projects like this.  It can only help you get regular jobs further down the line, help you to meet people and keep busy, and be an amazing learning process.  I always encourage people in Edmonton to contact the volunteer network, but in many cities there are places where a person can be put in touch with volunteer opportunities.  The neat thing is that you can basically choose your job.  I knew a young woman with schizophrenia who was able to get valuable accounting experience using this idea.

One of these days I wouldn’t mind going through a couple of book reviews.  I wonder what some of the favorite books of my readers are.  My favorite book of all time is Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in which he tells the story, a true memoir in a way, of a trip he takes across America with his son and two best friends on a motorbike.  As he drifts down the highway he has these talks with himself and thinks through a lot of stuff in his life.  This book was one of the first books I read that talked openly about mental illness, I think I have read it numerous times, it was so good.  The same author also wrote a sequel to this book more about sailing called “Lila”.

There is another book that had a great influence on me called “The Richest Man in Babylon” but I won’t get too deeply into that now.

I suppose I could talk a bit about growing up and friends.  One time I was discussing friends and friendships with my Psychiatrist, and he told me that he doesn’t have that many friends, and has no problem functioning at a high level.  I had some times when I was young that I desperately wished I had friends, anyone to play with, talk to, get into trouble with.  From as young as seven to even just a few short years ago I was very alone.  One of the worst summers of my life was when I was sixteen and I spent the whole summer with no friends at all, deep in a depression working full time, driving around with no one to talk to, no fun things to do.  What was odd about it was that just before school let out that year I had a lot of friends and even went on a few dates with some very attractive young women.  Then, seemingly just as school ended everything kind of went to shit.  I have played these times over and over in my head and I have never been able to understand where things went wrong, what I might have done to shun these people from me.  A couple of years later when I was severely mentally ill I had such a hard time understanding why so many people seemed to be against me.  It had seemed that all my life I had only contributed to the community, done good things.  Maybe I will never understand.

The only thing now that I really understand is that it feels good to be a hard working, giving person and to have many friends.  I also know that I would be in serious trouble without my daily medications, especially the one that stabilizes my moods and Prozac, my anti-depressant.  I have been so content lately most of the time, much more so than in previous years.  I really like being an adult and attending church, having neighbors who are good friends and supporters.  I often associate all my good fortune partly to quitting drinking, gambling and smoking some time ago, and in a much larger way to publishing my first book (I have now published 12 and have 10 in print).  What is takes is just a little concentrated effort, with a goal in mind, a destination, just a little effort each day towards that goal be it big or small, and I honestly feel dreams can come true.  For many years I dreamed of being a writer and now I can honestly say I am one and that I likely have a great career ahead of me.  Anyhow dear readers, I have made a decision to put out a blog with a poem a little less often, but still keep checking back for a new one once or twice a week, and as always, please feel free to contact me or to post comments to this site.