12 Sep


That’s what a sky filled with smoke from nearby forest fires is like.  Eerie!  The sun, when visible, is red.  The air hard to breathe . . . ash falls from the sky, coating everything with a fine sludge . . . the sky seems to be falling, closing in on you from above . . . there is an ominous feeling of the supernatural at work that is hard to ignore.  People move slowly, unable to cast off the unseen chains of concern.

Observations from last week in Olympia, Washington.

For whatever reason, most likely some imprinted animal memory, I am taken back to my twelfth year, in Tacoma, Washington, ten at night, a cold night, and the Jackson home burning to the ground, a chimney fire consuming the house of five, all residents safe, the flames towering, the neighborhood aglow, and that ever-present stench of charred memories which seemed to hover above our block for months afterwards, reminding us all of dust to dust and the fragile nature of life.

Two weeks later my older sister gave birth to her third child, a girl, healthy, hopeful, radiant with happiness not yet stained by the struggles of life.

That same year a young girl by the name of Ann Marie Burr went missing, disappeared from her bedroom, eight she was, or perhaps nine, I don’t remember, round face, beautiful smile, here one moment, gone the next, a family shattered, never really to recover, her body never found.

Dust to dust!

Our paper boy that year, one Ted Bundy, who would go on to fame as a serial killer of young women.

Dust to dust!

The mind of a writer is a fertile ground.  Was my childhood all that remarkable? I don’t believe so.  I think most people, if they really concentrate on the past, will find inspiration awaiting them.  All they need to do is become receptive.

Writer’s block?  You’ve got to be kidding me!

A line from a song keeps playing in my mind today:

“Death is there to keep us honest,

And constantly remind us we are free.”


Maybe you’ll find some inspiration from that line.  Maybe not!

Someone I follow, another blogger, is contemplating giving it up and quitting writing.  Discouraged she is.  Can’t find a reason to continue, she says.  I find that sad.  What we do is important despite the lack of sales in this highly-competitive world.  Writers make a difference!

Have a great week of writing unless, of course, you’ve made other plans.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

32 Responses to “Vision-Hopping”

  1. Janine Huldie September 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    I love the way your writer’s mind works and you are right as I know writer’s block very rarely visits me as I usually can draw back from something in my past or even present life to find its way to written form, as well. Happy Tuesday now and hope you have a wonderful day ahead, Bill!! 🙂

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that, Janine. Maybe we have special minds??? I like to think that. 🙂

  2. G LEE September 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Bill. Good advice with a chill today Bill.

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      Thank you my friend! Stay warm and be happy!

  3. Sally Gulbrandsen September 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    Wonderful piece of writing Billy. I have to wonder if Ted Bundy was perhaps responsible for the missing child!
    Last night we watched a very long documentary of September the 11th and somehow this piece of writing seems so appropriate at this time. I still cannot get over the bravery of some of those fire fighters. They will long be imprinted on my memory.

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

      Sally, it has been a matter of speculation for decades that Bundy was responsible for that missing girl, but he never admitted to it. Thank you for your kind words. As for the fire fighters and their bravery…off the charts.

  4. Dee September 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    You words always inspire me – truly. It is getting harder to find motivation to write online. I agree with your thoughts, we do have something to say and give back to others through the written word. Find a way to speak your heart and mind. I haven’t written in awhile, work and personal obligations kept me busy. However, I am weeding out my schedule to write once again. Thanks again for the motivation.

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

      I’m happy to hear that, Dee! I want you to write again, and soon. I miss your words.

  5. Ruchira Khanna September 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    Well said, Bill.

    Life throws so much at us that as a writer we just need to look around and find inspiration to trudge along.

    This line: “Death is there to keep us honest,

    And constantly remind us we are free.”

    is so bare yet it speaks the truth.

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! I love that line as well…it is actually a song lyric.

  6. Mike September 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    You most natural writing is to be found here at Artistry with Words.

    • Billybuc September 12, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

      Thank you sir! That is a compliment I can embrace and run with.

  7. Audrey Howitt September 13, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    Wow-you could get a whole novel out of this post–and name it dust to dust!

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

      I could, Audrey! Oh, if I only had the time. Thank you for the Wow!

  8. suziehq September 13, 2017 at 7:25 am #

    Always a joy to read Bill and when you get right down to it we all have events, stories and emotions to draw from when writing so no need for writer’s block! I really want to get back to writing more now and find me wondering where to start??? Have a great week my friend XX

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      Ahh, Irish, it seems to me your latest adventure is fodder for a new set of stories…..and I would look forward to them.

  9. Sageleaf September 13, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Your writer’s mind had me going there, Big Bro! But…are those stories based in fact? I gotta know. 🙂
    And…long day yesterday. I work at the school on Tuesdays and take an evening professional development class – on “building bridges” – improving the dialogue about racism. Fascinating course, but one that didn’t get me home until after 10pm last night…and for the next 8 Tuesdays. lol…so I may be a day late in commenting for the next little while.
    Here’s to hoping you have a fabulous week and keep working on that writer’s mind: it’s sharp! 🙂

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      All true stories, Lil Sis! All true stories!

      You are a busy woman…great purpose behind that development class. Hopefully people will come out of that class and spread the love.

      Hugs, Lil Sis!

  10. Andrea Stephenson September 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    A beautiful evocation of past and present intertwining Bill, I was right there with you in the smoke and the light of the flames.

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you Andrea! I appreciate you being with me.

  11. phoenix2327 September 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I can sympathize with your friend wanting to quit. It’s a tough job. If you saw a job that read long, lonely hours, no guarantee of pay upon completion of work, plenty of frustration, no perks, no time off, no benefits, no bonus, would any one apply? And yet here we are doing just that without being asked.

    So why do we do it? Because there is something inside that compels us to create a world and then share it with others. We do it because we must. We were given a gift and it would be ungrateful of us if we rejected it.

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

      That, Zulma, is the perfect description of what we do and why we do it. That sums it up about as well as is possible. Thank you!

  12. MartieCoetser September 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    Oh, those fires! All over the world Nature seems to be in war with humans. Perhaps fed-up and eager to retrieve all stolen land.

    The older we get, the more we remember the far past while forgetting the most recent past.

    This afternoon again, halfway on my way home, I had to return to my office in order to check the door. I could (again) not remember locking it!! Sounds scary! My granddaughter already diagnosed my problem. “Granny, you think too much!”

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      LOL…Martie, that is hilarious and I found myself in your situation for sure. Been there, done that….glad to know it’s because I think too much. LOL

  13. 1authorcygnetbrown September 13, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi Bill, I too have never had writer’s blog. So true, our own experiences are fuel, so is history and even other books are fodder for the writer’s fingers on the laptop to tell stories that make some of the best trips to other places and other times. I think a lot of writers who claim writer’s blocks have something else going on. Either they da\n’t have the confidence, they are in need of a break from writing, or there’s some sort of fear that they have over the content of what they want to write. Another problem might be the internal editor running amuk when the muse should be allowed to play.

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughts, Donna! I believe everything you said is true….I welcome my muse and let her run free.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown September 14, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

        I am sure she appreciates it. Are are muses female? (I know mine is)

      • Billybuc September 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

        Most definitely female, Donna!

  14. Sarah Potter Writes September 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    That’s a beautifully written post, Bill. I think that writer’s block is sometimes about having so much to say that it causes temporary gridlock! How to get out of the jam? But sometimes that block is down to sheer exhaustion. Personally, my recent writer’s block is due to a combination of all of those things, plus the death of a friend. As a result, my brain has been in rather a scattered state for the last few weeks, but I’m presently reigning it in! Just saying this, in case it’s me that you were talking about re contemplating giving up writing…which I’m not. Just a slight change in course will be in order in the New Year, if things don’t go according to plan with the speculative fiction novel.

    • Billybuc September 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      No, Sarah, it wasn’t you….really a very casual, online friend, who has been writing for a number of years….I just found it sad that she might give it all up and stop writing.

      Anyway, I appreciate you being here. It’s always a pleasure having you visit.

  15. Melanie September 16, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    HELLO Bill! Greetings from a sunny spring Saturday in Cape Town. I have a flask of tea with me, and I’ve just got back from a lazy stroll around the neighbourhood. Life is good! And I’m so glad to finally be back here again and have some sort of normality again to catch up. Putting up a podcast when you’re an introvert is no easy feat. But it’s done and I have a looooooong way to go and lots to learn, but I’m very glad I did it. 🙂

    Your description of the fire felt like I was right there… gosh, we’ve had some fires here over the summer months; it’s devastating when you think of all the plant and wildlife that die with it. Dust to dust… you got me thinking…

    Life. It just carries on, doesn’t it? This week I finally packed up some of my mom’s clothes that I’ve been putting off for the last 6 months – it was too hard to even think about. I donated it to the shelter near to us and it felt good, knowing that clothes looked after with love will help someone else.

    Hope your Saturday is good my friend! Will catch up on more posts soon!

    • Billybuc September 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

      Good to have you back, Mel, and congratulations on that podcast. I’ve talked of doing one for a long time, but never actually pulled the trigger and tried it…so kudos to you for having the guts to follow through. That’s huge for an introvert…huge!

      I’m glad to hear you are moving into some sort of normalcy. You sound happy and that also is nice to hear. Hugs to you on this cloudy, slightly chilly morning. The rains are on their way after a brilliant summer.

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