My Bio: In The Beginning

I shared recently that I like to know the backgrounds of the authors that I read. Here is my first contribution toward sharing my background.

Life Starts with a Miracle

Hi, My name is Ben Ezard, but it almost wasn’t.Profile pic - small

The first my parents knew of the pregnancy was when the doctor told them they had suffered an incomplete miscarriage (at 2 months). My mum had an ultrasound (prior to the dilation and curettage being scheduled) which proved I was very much alive.

At 15 weeks there was a major membrane rupture, leaving only about one cup of amniotic fluid. As my mum later wrote:

The doctor gave us the choice of returning home, which inevitably meant we would lose the baby, or stay in hospital to wait for it to abort anyway. It was implied there was a very, very slim chance of survival if I stayed.

The doctor informed my parents that even if I managed to live I would most likely be physically and cognitively disabled.

Just five days later:

By Friday my condition was so bad that the doctor could only shake his head when he examined me.  He expected the end to come within 24 hours, and I was prepared for it if it was to be.

The church rallied around my parents and prayed for me to be born healthy and alive; in direct contrast to the doctor’s 23 years of experience. My mum received an assurance from God, and clung to Psalm 139 that illustrates that God is intimately involved in the life of all.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-15)

From that Sunday, 15 weeks into pregnancy, my mum remained in  hospital for the duration of the pregnancy. In a beautiful display of love my dad visited her each day before and after work (about 160 visits), and my maternal grandmother cared for my older sisters during the week.

At 28 weeks I was done with the cramped conditions in mum’s uterus and made an early appearance. I was admitted to intensive care, and had five complete blood transfusions because both my red and white blood cells weren’t right. After six weeks I was allowed to go home.

Benjamin’s development showed he was not only slow because of prematurity, but he was also somewhat lazy.

Just after I turned one my parents were informed that I would need two minor and two major operations, which would be the first of 11.

At 15 months I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (technically spastic quadraplegia because all four limbs are affected to a degree). My parents were informed that they would need to give me intensive long term physio.

I believe one of the main reasons Benjamin was healed this time was because the Lord hear the prayer of a little boy. “…help the doctor get it right this time because I’m tired of going to hospital.”

Whenever we saw the negative side of things Benjamin’s comment would always be… “we’ll have to ask God to make it right…”

Early Life

I consider myself incredibly blessed to have been born into a loving family. It is unlikely that without such dedicated parents I would have been so healthy and lived the life that I have. (Not to mention the excellent Australian public health care system).

1982-12 family - Copy
The obligatory family photo.

 

Another key aspect of my early life was seeing my parent’s faith expressed in every day living. Both of them served in our local church and our house was one of regular hospitality. For decades I was accustomed to seeing both parents spend time in the morning reading the Bible; prayer was common.

And so, based on the demonstration of their faith I accepted Jesus at the age of 9 (I think) and was baptised by my Dad in a half-rainwater tank outside of the church.

1987 fireman 1.png
Which male doesn’t like ‘fixing’ a fire? (Me: 6ish).

“God made me so I can make people happy.” Me, just before my 5th birthday.

I remember myself as a happy-go-lucky child, with a quick smile and sharing my Dad’s finely tuned (and somewhat unorthodox) sense of humour. If I was told I physically couldn’t do something, then I would make it my mission to prove them wrong. As my  mum recorded:

HIS CONFIDENCE is very high and he tries to persuade his Physio to play with him rather than work.  He is currently practising walking with sticks only, and doing extremely well, although somewhat slower.

Fast-forward a number of years and school challenged my positive outlook. As I grew older I began to realise that there were more activities that I couldn’t participate in. I longed to play football or basketball, and began to notice that the gap between my social standing and the ‘popular kids’ was growing into a chasm.

I remember struggling a lot emotionally and wanting to be ‘normal’. This was something that I would continue to work through for years…

(The end of this installment).

 

 

2015 Report Card

Making goals for the coming year is relatively easy, achieving them is somewhat harder. But before we launch into the new year with hopes and expectations we’d do well to look at the past year. What we need is a little crazy eyes – one eye looking forward and one eye looking back. (Of course with only one eye looking back, your perspective would be wrong… but don’t read too much into the title – I mostly wanted an excuse to use the below photo…)

Crazy Eyes
From the very funny movie, Mr Deeds

How did I go at achieving last year’s goals? What things can I celebrate and what should serve as cautions for the future?

Mistakes will happen while we’re still breathing. There is normally a cost with mistakes, but there can also be benefits.

A mistake is made worse if we fail to learn from it; otherwise we can call it an unpleasant learning experience.

WritingA

While I did complete my goal of a first draft of Vengeance Will Come I did so about five or six months after when I had hoped.  Is the timeline a failure in itself? I don’t think so. My original target was over-ambitious;  I failed to consider the weaknesses in my plot which would require additional time to remedy. The story is now a far better product for the extra investment. (Like so many things in life quality is worth waiting for).

I had similar problems with other writing projects and timelines. I am however proud of the amount of effort and time that I have put into writing this year. No one can legitimately say that I haven’t been disciplined.

So from this I learn:

  • Try to identify plot flaws before they become a problem; it will cost less time to fix the earlier they are found. ‘Measure twice, cut once’ is an adage worth living by.
  • Set writing deadlines (aka milestones). When deadlines blow out, reschedule them. Be aware of external commitments and factor them in (e.g. assume very little writing will occur around Christmas, despite what you may think). The more deadlines set, the more accurate estimates will become.
  • Technique discipline. Try to write through an entire first draft without going back to rewrite sections. This will save a lot of time.

BloggingB

My blog is my platform for talking to other authors and hopefully in time engaging with readers. I’ve done OK but I need to be more consistent in posting and put more thought into targeting.

If all you are interested in is writing, this is the end of the blog post.

If you are curious in personal matters, please continue…


 

HealthB

Health is a very important thing for all living beings. Dead ones: not so much. Make health a priority.

I haven’t cared for my health as much as I had hoped for at the beginning of the year. Writing by its very nature can mean long hours sitting, which is exactly what I do at work…not a healthy lifestyle. My one saving grace that has saved me from a ‘C’ is that I did finally undertake some tests which I had been avoiding for years (and which came out all good).

  • Discipline with taking time to being active. Accept that this means sometimes exercise over writing, but it will keep me living (and writing) for longer. Don’t let weather be an excuse.
  • Master food. It’s called restraint, and I should have a double helping of that!

FamilyB plus

I am blessed to have an amazing wife and an amazing marriage to go along with it.

If I look at my wider family there is still work that I need to do. I don’t always act the way that I wish I would. If it takes a village to raise a child, I think I am sometimes absent… I’d like to be a better Uncle and a better brother.

FaithB plus

There have been some highlights and some not-so-great points. Again, I feel that I didn’t take full advantage of the possibilities of the year. There were some great times, but how much better could it have been? Was there too much of me, and not enough of Jesus?

The Meaning behind Christmas

For those of you who were following me when I was blogging under my alter ego you’ll know that over successive years I wrote several posts about struggling to embrace Easter or Christmas.

As a Christian I intellectually understand the spiritual significance of the events, but I couldn’t enjoy the festive periods as much as those around me seemed to. Perhaps I was jaded by the commercialism which respects nothing but the dollar. Maybe I just fell on my head too many times growing up… (it did happen an awful lot).

In recent years I’ve been pleased to confess that I’ve got Easter, and have had a growing appreciation for Christmas. A few days ago I sat down to reflect on Christmas, and jotted down a few faith-based thoughts.

  • Christmas was the beginning of the time when God started to write out the adoption papers for all those who would believe in Him, past, present and future.

    14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

  • 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)

  • If Jesus had never come to earth, he couldn’t take on himself a punishment that we were destined to receive.

    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23, 24)

    15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

  • It was the D-day of sin; the start of the defeat of the enemy of mankind.
  • God used unlikely, unskilled individuals because they were willing to be used. There was nothing particularly special about Mary or Joseph, except for their humility and subsequent obedience.
  • How God/heaven feels about Christmas is evident in his proclamation to the shepherds.

    13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

    14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
        and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)

    If that’s how God feels about Christmas, I think I need to be less grinch and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas. I haven’t quite got it yet, but I’m getting close.

    I wish you all have a great Christmas – focusing on what is important and ignoring what is not.

The Writing Adventure

The Adventure Begins

I have always enjoyed writing and have been doing it on-and-off for more than a decade, fitting it around other interests and side-pursuits. I have to admit that I’ve never actually finished anything substantial. Now, that’s going to change. 2015 is the year that I get serious.

This site is going to be dedicated to writing and writing-related content. On it I am going to record my writing process as I discover the tools and techniques on how to write properly. I hope that along the way you can learn from my mistakes and maybe offer some advice and feedback too.

I’m going to be writing fiction mostly (fantasy, sci fi) but are more than happy to experiment with other genres too.

If you’re interested in writing too, let’s share the adventure together.

About Me

My name is Ben Ezard. I am in my mid-thirties and am fortunate enough to be married to an amazing woman. I have an honours degree in software engineering degree and an additional post-graduate certificate in management. My week is spent mostly at work, and various volunteer roles at church. Any spare time I have is filled with writing. I was born with cerebral palsy and have developed a black belt in speed-typing.

Me cooking a BBQ with my very happy father.
Cooking a BBQ with my very happy father. Yep, that’s one heck of a floral apron.