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  • Writer's picturePete

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

When we were making the documentary Facing Ali, I had the honour and nostalgic joy of interviewing ten heavyweight legends. Joe Frazier was at the top of that mountain of champions. Joe was the first fighter to defeat Muhammad Ali and his main nemesis in the ring. There was a moment in my interview with Smokin' Joe when I thought I might lose the interview. Just the way Joe stared me down and then asked me something...and stared more, waiting for the answer. Preparation helped me get off the canvas. The video is about how Joe reminded me how important research and preparation is for the writing process and life. Are you a researcher? Big on preparation? Or do you just go off the cuff? I don't have the talent for that...

Hope you like Joe as much as I did. Don't make him mad. Ali did, and it didn't go well.

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  • Writer's picturePete

Creatively speaking, sports is drama in real time, with hooks, inciting incidents, scene breaks, nail-biting moments, tragedy, triumph, the whole nine-yards. On that note, I LOVED making the 6-part HBO Canada documentary series Sports On Fire. It's now on CBC GEM. Thank you CBC—and I think you can watch at least an episode, if not all of them, for free. Each episode is a moment or time where sports and history collide. With a great team, I got to create episodes about the 1936 "Nazi" Olympics (the great Jesse Owens), the classic 1972 hockey series between Canada and the USSR (oh the nostalgia for this Canadian kid—and the greatest sports series of all time), the origins of NASCAR (booze related—corn whisky anyone?), the bias against women with gender testing in sports (so what else is new?), the blind-eye institutionalization of steroids in sports (it turns out, you make more money if you win) and a personal story about the terror at the Munich Olympics in '72 (we interview Ankie Spitzer, whose husband was killed in the tragedy). Whoa the people we got to talk to and the stories we heard...check it out. And oh all the other stories I wish we could have told! What are your favourite sports moments, with or without a historical connection?

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  • Writer's picturePete

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Hey everybody. I recently launched a website dedicated to inspiring your writing—writing of all kinds, novel-writing, non-fiction, songwriting—and part of maximizing that process for me is FINISHING writing my songs and recording them, quickly, even if there's no audience. Just to say, "Hey, I was here." The key there for me is to finish and move on. A Different Kind of Freedom is a song inspired by flashes of remembering growing up in a small town in Canada surrounded by nature—and being able, even as an eight or ten year-old, to leave for the whole day with no phone, no plan, no explanation and no forwarding address. And coming home alive, for dinner.

Anyway, this is the song. If you grew up in the imperfect 1970s, imperfect for so many reasons, you might still remember some of the good stuff, the Different Kind of Freedom stuff. I also did a video describing the creative process to write this song and how it could work for you in other areas of the writing process. Let me know if it inspires you in writing or songwriting. Are you feeling creatively inspired? Fulfilled? Getting stuff finished? Check out the videos and hopefully they help. Let me know.

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