W. Ian Walker on his author experience
By W. Ian Walker
We are pleased to introduce W. Ian Walker, the author of Stirring my Soul to Sing.
In 2009, I graduated with my BA in Theatre in Film from McMaster University, I wasn’t like any other young, mid-20’s graduate, I was 49 years old and it had taken me 27 years to obtain my BA. All along I had been dealing with and surviving ADHD.
I was so proud that my parents Doreen and Bill Walker were there, my wife Elaine, and my mentor, close friend, conductor, and educator, Robert Cooper was my honoured guest. More about Robert in a moment.
While this was a great time to celebrate, somewhere in the back of my head, I felt that maybe there was a spark, an idea to write my own autobiography detailing how I eventually overcame ADHD—through vocal and choral music.
In 2009, I was working at Blessings Christian Marketplace in the music department of both the Mississauga and Brampton stores. During the day God would repeatedly speak to me revealing different aspects of my life—like a movie—flashing before my eyes. I would casually dismiss these thoughts until I would come home after working a long day in the store. God would literally start downloading the book in my head. I couldn’t type fast enough with the initial download, and many late nights were spent, transcribing and editing the beginnings of that first manuscript.
God literally gave me, the title, Stirring My Soul to Sing: Overcoming ADHD Through Song, there was a lot of stirring going on in my life at the time!
Fast forward to 2018, I’m now 58, and it took ten years to get the book written, edited, and published by our wonderful team at Word Alive Press. Sadly, both of my godly parents are gone now. I am so blessed with what my mother Doreen (a singer) and grandmother, Violet, (organist and choir director) poured into me as a young boy soprano soloist, who had severe self-esteem issues and was at times, lost in his own world.
Much of my emotional trauma was the physical and verbal abuse that I received from my peers. Being a child of the 70’s when bullying was tolerated and ADHD had not yet been defined, my life was miserable. I was unaware that as an artistic boy, I was different; I wanted to sing, preparing myself for a career as a professional singer and/or musician.
All the while, ADHD was an unhelpful companion. From 2008 to present, there were many hurdles to jump through, a lot of frustration, much money spent and tears with thoughts of “Let’s just put this manuscript in the drawer and forget about it, for now.” But God wouldn’t let me rest, until it was edited and organized His way.
I am God’s instrument and oh how He plays me—speaking about my ADHD disorder, singing in church or on the concert stage and or meeting other folks who suffer with ADD/ADHD in the book store. I want to hear and share their stories, along with mine.
I can finally rejoice, that this book is ready for the public to view to experience my ADHD and musical world! I feel that for this season, God has given me the platform and His voice to speak on these issues!
Robert Cooper, Choral Conductor came into my life in 1979, and we connected, I commuted from Hamilton to Toronto every Tuesday evening for one year, so that I could be in his semi-professional, Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir (TMYC). His influence on my life has been profound.
Being in TMYC, started the bubbling of freedom for me, being independent and not focused or concerned with my ADHD, and in being organized to practice my music pre and post rehearsals, plus networking with some of Canada’s greatest musicians and singers. In my book, I recount some amazing adventures both with TMYC and when I was being accepted into the prestigious Tanglewood Young Artist Vocal Program (YAVP) in 1981.
Today, I am an Arts Consultant dealing with public relations, marketing, development, and fundraising issues for clients with my own firm. To get here, I have learned to count on my “quiet times with God”. Singing and being involved in vocal and choral music has helped me with 95 percent of my own ADHD issues.
Singing is so good for the body, the mind and the spirit. First, the natural body is slowed down when you sing, because of your breathing. Also, by singing in different languages, the brain becomes more efficient. And then there is the spiritual aspect of it. Nothing makes me want to participate more, “spirit to spirit” than singing praises and worship to our Father God and Master, King Jesus! Through song and daily praise and worship times, as well as reading of the Word, I have resisted the need to take prescription drugs for my once “ADHD symptoms.”
At last, there is contentment in my life. Seeing my career as both a writer and arts administrator flow together, is God’s blessings from Him to me, despite my early chaotic and troubled years. There is a continual, deep “stirring in my soul” and I’m ready to sing!
About this Contributor:
Musician, arts manager and author W. Ian Walker is a positive role model for ADHD sufferers. Through music and prayer, Ian overcame his lifelong ADHD struggle which is retold in his autobiographical book.