9 Jan

Reciprocation . . . five syllables . . . a word which has importance for anyone in this writing business . . . hell, for anyone in life.

Let me tell you a story.

We moved into our new home on 18th Street in Tacoma, Washington when I was five years old. My parents were seven years removed from Charles City, Iowa, a small farming town where seemingly everyone knew everyone else.  There wasn’t much privacy in Charles City, but there also wasn’t much isolation either.  If you needed help, help arrived in that town.  Building a shed was a neighborhood occurrence back then . . . it’s just the way things were.

So when my parents moved us into this new neighborhood, my dad did what he was accustomed to doing: he helped neighbors with their chores.  He would shovel walks for Mr. and Mrs. Conrad next door when it snowed.  He would help load trash onto trailers when a neighbor was cleaning out a garage.  It’s just the way my dad was wired.  He didn’t mind doing it.  Mom was the same.  Someone sick?  She was there at their door with a freshly-cooked meal, offering to run to the store if they needed anything.

So after about a year, dad decided to build a cement retaining wall separating our back yard with the empty lot next door.  It was a big undertaking, one which would easily take him a couple months of hard labor after he got home each day from work.

The Saturday arrived when he was going to start this project.  He got his tools together, ran to the hardware store to pick up things he would need, and came home to a group of ten neighbors who were waiting for him. They had come to help. They all had their tools, they were all dressed in work clothes, and a one-man job became an eleven-man job that morning and every evening until the job was completed eight days later.

That’s just the way things were back then.

And that’s what I’ve noticed, for the most part, in the writing community.  Reciprocation . .. friends helping friend . . . friends sharing the work of others . . . friends commenting on articles and blogs . . . reciprocation, only five syllables but a ton of importance.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


35 Responses to “Reciprocation”

  1. Janine Huldie January 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm #

    Love this Bill and think you know how I feel about reciprocation in writing. So love how you also related this to your life from when you were a kid, too today. Seriously perfect analogy and appreciate you always for this and more. Happy Tuesday now, Bill 🙂

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

      Thank you Janine, and I hope you know the feeling is mutual. We’ve been supporting each other for quite awhile now, and it’s nice to know you are always in my corner.

      Happy Tuesday Janine!

  2. Audrey Howitt January 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm #

    You nailed this–support is so important–It is the only way–Happy new year to you Bill!

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 4:53 pm #

      And Happy New Year to you, Audrey, my talented friend.

  3. marlenebertrand January 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

    I have to admit that I didn’t experience the importance of reciprocation until I became a member of a writing group. I think writers are the most helpful people on the planet, and you, Bill, are the perfect example.

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

      Aww,thanks Marlene. I’m just giving back what was freely given to me. That’s how life is supposed to work,right?

  4. Mike January 9, 2018 at 6:14 pm #

    I am a big believer that the writer’s job is too big for them to handle alone. Especially the marketing task. Tough enough to write something worth reading, then to turn around and promote it by themselves is a lot to ask.

    Another great presentation.

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

      Mike, you are the best I know about helping other writers. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Manatita January 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm #

    Inspirational tale. The good old days, eh. We continue to do what we can. Nice! Feeds the soul.

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 6:44 pm #

      We continue to do what we can…indeed, Manatita! You do more than most, my friend.

  6. 1authorcygnetbrown January 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

    You are right! Reciprocation is important In the writing business as well as in being a good neighbor

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 9:07 pm #

      Yes indeed,Donna! I don’t think writers can survive without reciprocation.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown January 10, 2018 at 12:23 am #

        I had to think about that for a moment, but I think you’re right in this regard. I think that if it weren’t for reciprocation, there might not be very many of us.

  7. Sally Gulbrandsen January 9, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

    Love this, mostly because it reminds me of my own parents. They shared the same values as you and your folks and though they had little material wealth they always had enough time to help others.

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm #

      Thank you for sharing that, Sally! I would have liked your parents very much.

  8. Emese-Réka January 9, 2018 at 10:12 pm #

    Great post, Bill. I like how you related a tale from your childhood to the writing community of today. You are right, writers are some of the most helpful and understanding people. Happy New Year!

    • Billybuc January 10, 2018 at 2:41 pm #

      Happy New Year, Emese, and welcome back from the Yucatan!

  9. Sageleaf January 10, 2018 at 12:18 am #

    Big Bro – I love these stories you share. They always make me want to strive to be better. 🙂 I’m sure you had that instilled in you, too. I’m sure that you lend a helping hand, whether online or off. I just have to say that you’re once incredible human with an incredible journey. I’m so glad you share it because I know it affects folks’ lives and makes THEM aspire to be better, too. 🙂

    • Billybuc January 10, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Aww, Lil Sis, I could just give you the biggest old hug. Thank you for being such a sweet, kind, loving human being. You are special!

  10. Lawrence Hebb January 10, 2018 at 7:25 am #

    Might be only ‘five’ syllables, but they’re all connected to each other, just like us writers are in many ways, one can’t work without the other, just like the writer can’t learn their craft without other writers!
    Those are my thoughts anyway.

    • Billybuc January 10, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      And they are fine thoughts indeed, Lawrence, thoughts I agree with completely. Thank you sir!

  11. Andrea Stephenson January 10, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

    That’s a great story Bill, if only things were as reciprocal now in the material world, but here in blogland it’s certainly a spirit that’s alive and well!

    • Billybuc January 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

      Totally agree, Andrea, and that’s just one reason why I love being a writer. Thank you my friend!

  12. phoenix2327 January 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

    Reciprocation was unheard of where I grew up. It was a ghetto rampant with crime and a disreputable sort of people. Everyone kept themselves to themselves. You just didn’t want to give someone the opportunity to rob or assault you.

    I grew up watching people on TV doing the kind of thing you describe. It was just fantasy to me. Imagine when I finally moved away from that area and discovered that real-life people actually did the stuff I only saw on TV. Mind was blown.

    I do enjoy reading about your childhood. It’s just like on TV. 🙂

    • Billybuc January 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

      And yet, Zulma, there is no such thing as perfection in a family. Ours had its problems, an interesting mix of the tv shows Little House on the Prairie and Dallas. LOL As for your childhood, I have no frame of reference to understand what that would be like, but I’m glad you escaped.

      • phoenix2327 January 11, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

        Very few people do understand. That’s why I rarely talk about it. Most don’t know what to say and it gets awkward.

        I live in a good neighbourhood now in small village on the outskirts of large farms. It’s quiet, safe and the neighbours are nice enough. I’ve never worried about my kids going to a friend’s house on their own. And yet, I’m uncomfortable sometimes. But when I set foot in London it’s like a weight coming off me. I relax step to the rhythm of the city like I’ve lived there all my life. Funny, isn’t it. Maybe I haven’t escaped entirely.

      • Billybuc January 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm #

        Zulma, I don’t know how something like that would ever leave you. It’s ingrained in who you are, just a small part of a greater picture…thank you for sharing it with me.

  13. rollyachabotbooks January 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm #

    Hi Bill…
    I often think of how difficult some projects would be without the kindness of others. I have a backpack leaf blower that doubles a snowblower for up to a few inches. When I do my drive I find it quick and easy to do all the ones in the cul-de-sac. The best part is waking up in the morning on those snowy days to find someone has done the same for me…

    Hugs and Blessings from the cold

    • Billybuc January 13, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

      And isn’t that such a very cool thing, Rolly? I love those stories, the fact that neighborly spirit is still alive in some parts of the urban jungle. Thanks for sharing that with me.

      Blessings from balmy Oly

  14. MartieCoetser January 16, 2018 at 6:27 pm #

    Oh, I remember the time when everybody in the family gathered to do some major work on a specific member of the family’s property. Even in my time, in the late 70’s, our neighbor always pitch with his lawnmower to help my husband mowing our lawn. My husband… err… ex never return the favor. Or let me rather say he never got the opportunity to return the favor, as he was either working or sleeping in when our neighbor mowed his lawn.

    Yes, reciprocation is indeed very alive in our world of writers.

    • Billybuc January 16, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that, Martie! The good old days…or maybe not…they always seem better in retrospect, don’t they? 🙂

  15. Sarah Potter Writes January 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    I love that story about your father and the neighbours, Bill. In my experience, some neighbourhoods are alive with community spirit and reciprocity comes naturally, while others actively discourage that sort of thing as they hold to an “I’m alright, Jack” attitude (until they’re not alright, of course, at which point they’ll grumble that nobody has bothered to help them when they’re in trouble!).
    I do love reciprocity when it happens and it certainly does amongst the writing and blogging community, but there are those… Well, I needn’t tell you, other than they’re not that edifying to follow and always blowing their own trumpet, while not being interested in what anyone else has to say.
    But you, dear Bill, are a shining star of reciprocity, following in your father’s footsteps 🙂

    • Billybuc January 16, 2018 at 6:41 pm #

      Awww, thanks Sarah! I know a few as you describe, trumpet-blowers. They wear me out quickly and I find them exhausting. It is interesting, isn’t it, that some neighborhoods, some communities, foster reciprocity, while others are a bit stand-offish? I wonder why that is?

      • Sarah Potter Writes January 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm #

        In my mind, a place isn’t a community unless people communicate, and to make this happen you have to have a small handful of natural communicators, doers, and enablers. Otherwise, everyone lives in their own little bubble, probably talking on their mobile phones while ignoring the world around them! I once lived in a street where nobody spoke to anybody else. Then I moved to a house two roads away where everyone was exceptionally friendly and neighbourly. It’s really down to finding some common ground and building on that, but someone has to make the first move. The friendliest place I ever lived was in a particular road on a council estate (not sure what you call such places in the US), but nobody had a lot of money and they were mostly working class. We were in and out of each other’s houses all the time, and our kids were all friends with one another. I am still the best of friends with my neighbour from back then. We’ve known each other for about forty years now.

      • Billybuc January 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm #

        I think those would be called housing developments here in the States. It really is interesting how a particular community has a group mentality,whether that be a friendly mentality or a stand-offish mentality.

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