Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

The Preacher Likes the Cold

12 Jan

“You know the preacher likes the cold; he knows I’m going to stay.”

I’m sure you’re all familiar with that line from the classic rock song “California Dreamin’”

It popped into my head the other day as I was preparing to walk the dogs on a 36 degree, drizzling day.  We have a different cold here in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Western Washington.  It’s a damp cold.  It’s a cold that seeps into your clothing, somehow, some way, and finds the marrow of your bones.  It’s a cold that sucks the last remnants of warmth from you, leaving you chilled throughout the winter.

I know, I know, it’s colder in other places. I’ve lived in Vermont and minus twenty, the snow glistening in the sunshine. I’ve lived in Alaska, minus forty, moon dogs floating in the air, defying logic, air crystals frozen, other worldly type of stuff.  But good God, there ain’t enough fleece to keep you warm, in Olympia, when the skies are weeping and your breath plumes, day in, day out, dampness the default setting for everything you see . . . everything you touch . . . and how many more goshdarned days until April?

That might be the first time I’ve ever written/typed goshdarned.  What’s up with that? I can cuss like a sailor, so goshdarned stretches the limits of believability and authenticity, don’t you think?

I think about that when working on a novel.  Is this authentic?  Is it believable?  Supernatural thrillers like I write, The Shadow Series, I’m pushing the limits of believability right out of the gate, so I want my dialogue to be believable if nothing else, you know?

Of course you do!

You do and I do, for better or for worse, till death do us part, and there goes my mind again, taking another side-trip down the Word Association Lane, wondering where I’ll end up next, might be a dead end or it might be the beginnings of a story, or novel, a seed planted in the womb of fertility, growth or abortion, picketers around the abortion clinic, shouting their slogans, anti-protestors opposite them, shouting their slogans, no one really listening, a wall of sound, and that takes us to Phil Spector, Motown, 1964, music history in the making, smoke-filled studios, engineers, experimenting with a sound soon to become classic, and isn’t this fun, playing with words, creating on the fly, no nuns to slap my hands if my grammar is broken?

You bet it is!

Happy 2021 to you all! Let’s rebound in a big way, put this darkness behind us, warm up after the cold, put those preachers out of business. 😊

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Staring At A Bleak Landscape

16 Dec

The evergreens, sixty feet in the distance, are gray in color, embraced by the low clouds. Their limbs constantly weep.  No breaks in the clouds can be seen, a smooth carpet of pewter overhead.  It is nearly impossible to say where they end and the landscape begins – disconcerting, depth-perception malfunction, messing with my feng shui.

The gray seeps into my writing studio, layers upon my head, seeps inside, cloaks me with melancholy, a blanket of somberness, making it difficult to summon uplifting thoughts.

I’m drowning in the drabness of a Northwest winter.

A high of forty-five, low of thirty-five, set the selector for repeat, and repeat, Shannon on the local news telling us a series of systems await offshore, all aimed towards us, ten days into the future, a future of soaked clothes, soaked shoes, soaked psyches and soaked dogs.

And winter ain’t even upon us yet! Heaven help us all!

Turn on the news, COVID twenty-four seven, another blanket of gray upon the mood, trying to remember what shaking hands feels like, what hugging feels like, what discussing anything without the filtered masks of protection feels like.  Twenty-twenty, you are no longer welcome, thanks for the visit, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Neighbor across the street, Joel, house-husband and new father, wheels his son, Fritz, I swear to God the kid’s name is Fritz, outside in the stroller, both bundled against Nature’s wrath, and off they go down the street.  Anna, eighty-something and frail, pushes her recycling bin out to the curb, raingear clutched, her walk so much slower than when I first met her.  Alana, from down the block, walks her poodle by, sees me in the window, waves, shakes her head, throws up her hands to the sky, in supplication, a statement without words.

Life goes on, through the storms, through the pandemics, day-to-day stuff, terribly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but crucial to our grasp of sanity, one foot in front of the other, always moving forward, doing what we need to do to simply survive one more day, waiting for Shannon to greet us one night, nightly news, and tell us brighter days are ahead, the storms have ceased, the sun will shine.

My wish, for all of you, is a day of sunshine! Blessings to you all this holiday season!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

New Novel Published

24 Nov

Just a quick note to let you all know my new novel has been published, and you can find it by following this link.

So far I have only published the paperback. There are some issues for the ebook, and right now I don’t have time to deal with those issues. I’ll let you know when I work it all out.

This is the 6th in the Shadow series, and I think the best. It was fun to further develop some of the main characters.  Now they get a break while I work on a stand-alone novel which has waited patiently for its turn.  In six months, I’ll return to the Shadow series, I’m sure.

Anyway, there you have it. Thanks in advance if you purchase it, and thanks always for following this blog.

Be well, be safe, and for my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Odds and Ends

17 Nov

A quick moment of self-promotion: “Shadows Across The Pond” is coming this week. I thought it would be published by now, but the review process on Amazon is taking longer than usual.  Stay tuned!

BLOGGING

How many of you have a blog? I’m just curious.  Why do you have one?  What value do you get from it?  You can answer in the comment section if you want; or don’t! I started out blogging as a way of adding to my writing platform. Today, though, I simply blog because I enjoy it. My following is small, but I’m fine with that. It’s just for my enjoyment, and the interaction with others is a pleasant bonus for this introvert.

How about vlogging? Podcasting? Facebook Live? Do any of you do any of that?

I still think I’m going to do a podcast one of these days. Self-deception is a wonderful thing. It’s like taking hallucinogenic drugs without taking the drugs.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS

A confession: I’m a Youtube junkie! I love videos about tiny houses and farming. Right now I’m hooked on two in particular: “Farmhouse Vernacular” and “Gold Shaw Farm.”  The farmhouse video in particular is entertaining and habit-forming because of the young woman who produces and stars in it.  She is simply a delight to watch. Very little of what she says about their farm applies to my life, but I enjoy her enthusiasm and her willingness to take on any job with a childlike spirit of adventure.  Plus she’s kind of a goofy dork, and I like goofy dorks.

Anyway, I mention those two because they have huge followings on YouTube, and I suspect the huge followings are because of the delivery and personalities.  You have to be able to sell your own work, whether you are a YouTuber or a writer or an artist.  Without self-promotion, you are doomed to languish in relative obscurity.  Now me, I’m quite comfortable living in obscurity, but there may be some of you who would enjoy a little limelight, so that’s why I mention it.

REFLECTIONS

From a writer’s standpoint, I wish I was younger. I wish I had started this writing journey twenty years ago, when I had the time, desire, and fortitude to really dive into it and make a success of it.  Today, well, I just write because I enjoy it. I doubt seriously if I’ll ever find fame, but I’m fine with that.  It would be nice to receive a sizeable income from my writing, but the effort it would take, today, to make that happen just isn’t something I’m willing to expend.

I’m just being real!

I know I can write. I know I can write well, and that’s all the confirmation and affirmation I need.

It’s nice to be that secure.  It took me a long time to reach this point of inner-security in my life, but I finally made it, and for that I say “HOORAY!”

I hope this finds you well!  Have a fantastic week, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you down the road of life.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Trudging Along in Relative Obscurity

20 Oct

I haven’t written on this site for a while.  It’s not like I’ve taken a break from writing. The opposite is true, actually, I’ve been so busy that this blog just wasn’t important to me.  Besides, it’s not like I have thousands of followers, so I didn’t feel like I was disappointing throngs of people by not writing here.

No followers here

How the hell do people get thousands of followers, anyway?  It blows me away, really.  I was watching some Youtube channels last night, and one woman has like ten-thousand followers for her channel, and the whole thing is about renovating an old farmhouse in Kentucky.  Now granted, she’s a good-looking woman, and I hope I doesn’t sound sexist but that has to help, right?  But still, ten-thousand loyal followers?

And the leader on Youtube in 2018 was a seven-year old kid who did toy reviews, had millions of followers, and made $22 million that year.  A seven-year old kid.

Anyway, I have a couple dozen, and I’m grateful for them.

THE BOOK

One more read-through and then “Shadows Across The Pond” will be complete. Give me a week after that, and it will be published.  So let’s call it a November 1st Publishing date.

I had plans to then write a stand-alone novel about growing up in the 60’s, but my wife, Bev, had other plans for me. She wants me to re-write my very first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today,” in my writing style today. In fact, she wants me to write a trilogy based on that original book.

So that’s what I’m doing. The working title of that new, old book, is “Resurrecting Hope,” and I’m kind of excited to do it.  It’s a fantasy about climate change, and the environment, which is actually what my other blog, “The Art of Living Simple,” is about.

There are times when Bev knows me better than I know me, and that’s a bit frightening.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I wish I was younger, if only because I would do this writing thing a bit differently. I would take social media seriously, and use my marketing degree to help me self-promote and actually, like, make an effort to sell my writing.

But that just doesn’t interest me now that I’m seventy-two. I write now for my enjoyment, and if others find my words to be of interest, fantastic.  If not, well, I’m still having fun.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Remembering You

23 Apr

The statistics just keep on pouring from the radio and television.

Allan Finder . . .

498 dead in New York City last night,  move on, a couple hundred in Detroit, Memphis had a bad night, look out, Boston, the numbers are rising, can’t get that damned curve to flow downward yet, but hope springs eternal.

Lorena Borjas . . .

And I hate to admit this but hey, someone has to, I am so accustomed to all of the death statistics that they barely register with me now. It’s like background music in a dentist’s office, you know.  I hear the sound but the actual tune is nebulous at best.

Bob Glanzer . . .

The thing is, and it’s something I’m trying to absorb today, is that each statistic is someone’s brother, someone’s wife, someone’s aunt or uncle or father or mother or child.  Each statistic is a loved one to someone, you know, and I think it’s crucial that we remember that fact.  I don’t ever want to reach the point where those statistics mean absolutely nothing to me.

Janice Rodman . . .

I think back to the Vietnam War, and how television really brought the realities of war to us all.  While eating our Swanson TV dinners, on our folding tv trays, we could turn on the news and watch as body bags were unloaded from transport planes, and witness,  up close and personal, the anguish on the faces of soldiers, thousand yard stare intact, as they grabbed a smoke on some numbered hill in the middle of some country none of us had heard of ten years prior and  God almighty, the pain we saw on those faces, and the burning corpses and amputees and rivers flowing red after the airstrikes.

Ron Hill . . .

And they built memorials for those soldiers, black granite walls for all to see, for all to remember, and hopefully for all to learn from,  but . . .

Time has a way of muting the memories, now doesn’t it, and I wonder if, when this is all over, we’ll go back to the way it was, or will we wake up, snap to attention, and let this lesson sink into our gray matter, change the way we go about our lives, and appreciate the sweet wonder of life itself.

And will the dead be remembered, those sons and daughters, wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, will there be memorials for them, the victims of a faceless enemy, one who crept into the night and filled so many with dread and nightmares . . .

Wishing you all good health and happiness

Love,

bill

Where the Hell Did My Life Go To?

29 May

I am drowning in an abundance of riches.

I know of no other way to describe my life right now.

It seems like that would be a good thing, right?  But I’m actually being serious. I’m so busy doing the things I love to do that I don’t have time to sit back and just enjoy them. I’m too damned tired to smell the roses.

I’ve always been like this. I go balls out when I find something I enjoy.  I remind myself of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere, all bright light and burning embers, only to fall to the Earth as little chunks of spent chemicals.  Something in my genetic makeup that makes me do this, and all the logic in the world doesn’t change it.

I’m easily twice as busy today as when I semi-retired eight years ago.  In truth, I can’t imagine what retirement looks like. It doesn’t register with me, like a foreign concept which will forever be too complicated for me to grasp.

But right now I have definitely overdone it!  I need to cut back a bit, and just writing those words fills me with dread.  What do I cut back on? Do I spend less time with the birds? I love raising them.

Do I spend less time with our puppy Maggie?  No chance!

Do I spend less time with the farmers market duties?  But I love that part of my life.

Do I spend less time writing?  I would rather cut off my arm!

See?  A dilemma for sure!

I’ll figure it out.  I always do.  A natural balance will, eventually, happen, if I’m willing to just get out of my own way and allow it to happen.

I’m sure it’s just me, right? We always think we are unique in our problems, in our thoughts, in life in general, so I’m sure none of you have had a similar experience.  Lol  So don’t mind me while I voice my thoughts to the random universe.

SPEAKING OF RANDOM

Did you grow up thinking you were going to change the world? I did!

How’s that working out for you?

Truthfully we all affect our immediate environment/universe, don’t we?  Our very existence causes a ripple effect which touches countless others, so thinking we are going to change the world is, in fact, a cinch!

But if you want to throw a monkey-wrench into the situation, add the words “positively or negatively” to that question . . . are you changing the world positively or negatively?

Just something to think about . . . have a stupendous day!

Stupendous does not sound like the word it is, does it? Sounds too much like stupid . . . sigh!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Passing It On

21 Nov

childhood homeOne of my freelance writing customers here in Olympia is a garden center.  Three times each week I do a blog posting for them, and this past week I made mention of the kids’ section of the store where there are gardening tools for children, and how those items would make great Christmas gifts.

I love that section of the store because I love what it stands for: parents sharing with their children the love of gardening.  I look at that section and I imagine a mother out in the garden with her five-year old, telling the small child that soil is a living thing, and how, from that soil, other living things will grow, and how it is all the grand circle of life, cue the Lion King music.

And many of those young children will grow up loving gardening and urban farming because that love was passed down from their parents.

I love that stuff!  I seriously get misty-eyed when I think about it.

And then I think of Sam and Delores Conrad, next-door neighbors of mine when I was a five-year old, them both being in their nineties at that time, and them taking the time to tell me stories of their trip out west in a wagon, back in the 1860’s, and how those stories came alive for me, the wonders of storytelling, man, the passing of history down from generation to generation, just as it has always been done since the first walker on this earth told his son, or daughter, tales of brave Ulysses, and lost souls crossing the River Styx.

And I felt then what I feel now, a sense of pride, to be a part of the storytelling tradition.  It’s a small thing, really, in the grand scheme of things, this storytelling gig, when you think about world events, it really doesn’t match up with the Emancipation Proclamation or the Bill of Rights . . .

Or does it?

Just random musings from an old man.

If you are so inclined, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Hugs, thanks, and love to you all!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

In Search of Talent

7 Nov

No talent there . . . or is there?

I was thinking about the people I’ve known over the years, family and close friends, those kinds of people, and what talents they had.

Websters defines the word “talent” as:  a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude, and a talented person as one who has an innate, special ability at something.

Sheez, when I look at that definition, I have to admit I didn’t really know anyone who was “talented.”  LOL . . . Certainly no one in my family could be described as talented.  None of my close friends were talented.  Heck, it could be argued, with some success, that I wasn’t talented, and if I was I certainly kept it hidden pretty darned well.

And yet today, without any formal training, I’m a pretty good writer, and several of my close friends are now described as talented in various fields of endeavor.

I can speak about me with a great degree of certainty.  I can speak for my close friends with a fair degree of certainty.  What I have noticed about me, and about my friends, is that my/their talent was hard-earned.  We/they worked their asses off to hone whatever “abilities” they had, and through hard work, determination, and a stubbornness which borders on obsessive, we have found some semblance of talent.  Maybe it was always there, but without that hard work and determination, there was no way it was going to show up.

Just some random thoughts as I prepare to work on my latest novel.  I don’t know about this talent thing.  I don’t know how much is innate and how much is earned.  But I do know it’s a shame when it is wasted.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

 

Writers Matter

5 Sep

The State of Montana is known as Big Sky Country.  I never really understood why until I went camping one time along the Yellowstone River.  Our campsite was located a good twenty miles from any real town or city, so ambient light was non-existent where we were.

That first night, laying on the ground in my sleeping bag, looking up at the stars, I finally understood why Montana had that nickname.  I had never seen so many stars in the sky as I saw that night. It was one of those sights which leave you gasping, and it was one of those sights which also leave you humbled.

I felt that way again three days ago when I received notice that my articles and stories have been viewed one-million times.

Unbelievable!

This isn’t a pat-on-the-back sort of post.  This is a “HOLY SHIT” sort of post.

There’s nothing special about me; at least I don’t think there is.  I’m just a guy, one of over seven billion on this planet.  I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and really lived a very “under the radar” sort of existence.  I never made the news.  I really never did anything that I consider noteworthy.  I’ve stumbled and bumbled my way through life, just like everyone else.  I eat, I sleep, I work, and I love.

So the realization that my words have been read over one-million times is amazing to me.  Thank God for the internet, right?  It has allowed a nobody like me to have friends in over fifty countries and in fifty states without ever leaving my writing studio.  It has allowed me to work on my craft and receive unbelievable support along the journey.

For an introvert like me, we are talking a huge bonanza I never expected.

My message to my writer friends: what we do has an impact.

When I first started out writing, I wrote a lot of articles about alcoholism.  It was only natural that I do so since I’m a recovering alcoholic, closing in on eleven years of sobriety.  Now I mention that because those articles were written seven years ago, and I’m still receiving emails from complete strangers, thanking me for those articles and telling me how much they have been helped by my words.

Complete strangers, helped by my words!

We make an impact with our words!

So treat this gift of writing with the respect it is due.

One million times!

Who would have thunk it?

Thank you, all!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”