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Fighting the Demons

18 Sep

I was in a car crash back in 1972.  I was sitting at a stop light, waiting for the light to change, and a gentleman, seriously inebriated, plowed into me from behind doing over sixty-miles per hour.  His car pushed my car through the intersection and my gas tank ignited.

I remember fumbling with my seat belt, which had jammed, as flames started in the back of the car.  I remember the heat, and smelling my hair start to burn, and I remember the sheer panic as I tried to get that damned seat belt to unlatch.

Obviously, since I’m writing about that memory, I survived.  I came out of it with a seriously sore neck, burned hair, and a couple second-degree burns on my hand and neck, but all in all it turned out much better than it could have.

The reason I mention that car wreck is because for months afterwards, when I went for a drive, I would not use my seat belt.  I absolutely refused to use it because there was no way I was going to get caught in that frightening situation again.  Intellectually I knew that seat belts save lives, but emotionally and psychologically all I could remember was that seat belt trapping me while the fire raged.

My reaction then reminds me of the reactions of some writers now who are afraid to publish because they have received negative comments about their writing in the past.  Months and years after receiving a negative comment about some story or article, they are still affected by that negativity and cannot pull the trigger and publish again.

It’s totally illogical, but it is a very real fear.  None of us want to be attacked for what we wrote.  Most, if not all, of us do not like negative comments or mean critiques.  It is only human to want validation and positive strokes.

But we cannot let that stop us.  If writing is a passion . . . if you derive pleasure from writing . . . you need to buckle up and go for a drive again.  There will always be haters.  There will always be negative people.  That’s why God gave us middle fingers.  LOL

TWO WEEKS TO GO

Can you tell I’m excited? Two weeks of farmers markets to go and then I can return to creative writing. I am beyond pumped for that moment to arrive.  My brain is overflowing with ideas. I plan on finishing my current novel, “The Magician’s Shadow,” and then tackling a novel I’ve been thinking about for years, a 60’s memory which is inspired by “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  Stay tuned!

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

I just watched the latest news coverage of that hurricane back east.  The scenes of loss are heartbreaking.  The scenes of neighbor helping neighbor are heartwarming.

Watch the scenes . . . file it all away . . . use it in your creative writing.  This is the human experience, for better and for worse, and writers need to capture the angst and the jubilation that is unique with being human.

Can you feel it? How would you feel? What would you do?

WELCOME TO FALL

I love this time of year.  There is inspiration in the air, a time of change, a sense that something exciting is approaching, something which will affect us all.  The lethargy of hot temperatures is being pushed aside by the winds, and the smoke of burned memories is washed from the air by the September rains.

I love this time of year!

And I love all of you.  Thank you for joining me once again.

Remember to do all things with love.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Peace, Quiet, and Creativity

11 Sep

FROM YESTERYEAR

Back in 1980 we moved back to Vermont . . . previous wife, previous life . . . we rented an old house in a town named Northfield when we first got there, but eventually we purchased a log home in East Calais.

That log home was beautiful!  It was on five acres with a year-round stream flowing through the property (and a waterfall); it had a daylight basement and wraparound deck, and the whole home was heated by a big woodstove down in the basement.

Back then Vermont did not have many people living in it; still doesn’t I’m sure.  And the town of East Calais probably didn’t have more than a hundred or so residents.  I remember there were no street lights at all.  The homes were so far from each other, most tucked into the woods, so that at night there really was no light to speak of.  I could step off our porch and not be able to see twenty feet in front of me.

Now I mention all this because at night, on a clear night, the stars were vivid.  There was no ambient light to ruin the show, as it were, so I swear every star in the sky was visible.  It was spectacular!  Of course, if we turned the porch light on, the stars were harder to see, and if we had a patio party at night, with lanterns and such, it was also harder to see the stars.

The less distractions the better!

The less we interfered with the natural order of things, the better!

Do you sense a metaphor at work here?

JUST TALKING ABOUT ME RIGHT NOW

More naps these days

I do my best writing in a peaceful setting. Too much noise makes Bill a fidgety writer.  Noise beyond the acceptable level makes Bill a crazy man.

It’s just how I’m wired.

It’s the same when I’m reflecting on life, or when I have an important decision to make.  Drop me down in the middle of a virgin forest and I’ll pull up a stump and solve the problems of mankind.  Stick me in a crowded room, or a busy restaurant, with wall-to-wall noise, and I’ll only add to the problems of mankind.

I need to allow my senses to embrace the moment. I need to smell my surroundings, to hear my surroundings, to taste, really see, and to touch it all.  In so doing, my mind is freed of chains, and I am then allowed to absorb it all and find clarity.

I don’t know how you rock n roll, but that’s how this boy enters the creative process.

A QUESTION FROM A WRITER FRIEND

On my weekly series “The Writer’s Mailbag,” someone asked me about marketing and in particular online marketing on social media.  He asked if it was all right to befriend someone on Facebook in order to promote your writing.

To me no, it isn’t.

I will make mention of the new novel I’m writing from time to time, but that’s only because some people want to know about my progress made.  I actually don’t care if anyone buys it in 2019 or not.  I’m certainly not going to ask anyone to buy it.  I write my novels because I love to write.  I love to entertain people, and I love to toss out my thoughts and reflections about life in a way which is less overbearing.  If people purchase those books that’s nice; if they don’t, that’s nice as well.

It’s all good, folks!

And with that I will bid you a fond farewell for this week.  I wish for you peace of mind and heart this week and beyond.  Treat yourself, and treat others, with compassion and love.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Good Luck, Bad Luck, No Luck at All

4 Sep

CONTINUED RANDOMNESS

Way back in another lifetime I (we) owned an Arabian mare.

She was a majestic creature, unbelievably beautiful, and one seriously willful animal.

On early mornings I would grab a cup of coffee, go out into the pasture, and sit on a stump to enjoy the peacefulness of it all.  I could always count on Regal walking over to me, air pluming from her nostrils, the sun slowly rising in the east over the fir trees, the sounds of the countryside rising in volume, and I would reach into my pocket and pull out an apple for her. She would then nuzzle my shoulder, man and animal, joined together, finding a common bond of trust . . . great memories!

I’m reminded of those times every day now when I got out to our son’s farm to feed the chickens.  They have three horses there, plus about fifty goats, and there is always someone seeking attention from this human.  It’s real hard not to smile when I’m at the farm . . . I don’t even try to frown.

I like the relationship between farmer and farm animals.  We really get down to basics . . . I will feed you and provide shelter, and in turn you will provide what I need, whether it be food, fibers, meat, or just companionship.

I’m a lucky man!

ABOUT LUCK

Some say there is no such thing as bad luck or good luck.  Others say you make your own luck by the choices you make.  I guess I straddle the fence on that one and take the road less traveled. I don’t like the word luck.  I think we greatly affect the outcome of an event by doing the necessary work in advance and yes, that applies to a writer and his viewership/sales.

Most of you, I’m sure, will agree with me when I say writing a book is the easiest part of selling that book; without marketing and determination, sales will be limited to family and close friends.

And maybe that’s fine with you.  It is with me. I have no illusions of great sales, no expectations, and no dreams.  If it happens it happens; if not, I’m secure and happy in my life. And I find that to be a very cool place to reside.

So I don’t much need luck as much as I need the wisdom to continue doing what I’m already doing.  Why rock the apple cart when the pavement is perfectly smooth?

THE MAGICIAN’S SHADOW

It’s been a year!  It really is hard to believe I’m even typing those words.  It’s been a full year since I worked on my latest novel, The Magician’s Shadow.  As many of you know, it is half-done, and it has been patiently waiting for me to continue for twelve long months now.

That time is now four weeks away.  I can feel the creative juices flowing in my veins in anticipation.

Here is the prologue to that novel:

“Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.”

He sang as he continued with his work.  He considered it vitally important that a person enjoy his or her work.  How boring it must be, he thought, factory workers who do the same thing, day in, day out, week after month after year, mind-numbing work, spirit-breaking work, and at the end of their fifty years they receive a plaque, a series of handshakes, and the heart attack follows shortly.

That would not be his fate, for greatness does not fade into oblivion.

It began, for him, shortly after his tenth birthday.  A dream had come to him, and in that dream he was The Magician, not a magician as in a description of his craft, but The Magician, the greatest ever, a man of such incredible talent as to defy all laws of nature, to defy all logic, a man who could not be described by mere labels such as “illusionist, enchanter, or conjurer,” for how does one describe the impossible?

He stood on the shoreline and looked at his latest work of art. It was perfect in every way.  The young girl was exquisitely staged.  The authorities would come to the scene in a matter of hours. They would look for evidence.  They would hold countless meetings where they would share theories.  They would hold press conferences and assure the public that the case would be solved soon, but to themselves they would admit that they were stymied, completely in the dark, for how could such a thing have happened?  And how could it happen three times?

They would call in other experts, and more theories would be postulated, and more meetings held, but still no answers would arrive, (for the impossible has no explanation), and then their greatest fears would be realized.

It was all perfect in every way, but he expected nothing less of himself.

He was, after all, The Magician!

############

As you can see, this will be another lighthearted romp through the mind of a serial killer.  LOL

I have to run. There’s painting to do outside while the weather is still cooperating. Have a great week of being human.

Bill

Complex Puzzles to Ponder

28 Aug

More naps these days

I’ve been told, by some, that I have very little patience.

It’s not true!

I have very little patience with incompetence.  I have very little patience with laziness.  And I have very little patience with rudeness/disrespect.  Other than those three things, I’m a pretty laid-back kind of guy.  Is it my fault that so many people are either lazy, incompetent, or rude?

LOL

I’ve also been told that I look grumpy all the time.

Also not true!  I don’t smile that often because I don’t like my teeth, so rarely will you see an openmouthed smile or laugh from me.  But I do smirk quite often.  Someone once said I have a RBF . . . if you know what that means then you get it . . . if you don’t know what it means, I can’t say it because one word is a bit insensitive.

Oddly, if you listen to me talk, you’ll notice that my voice sounds friendly and happy, in contrast to my resting face.  Someone also told me I have friendly, loving eyes, so toss that into the mix.

And what is this all about?

Complexity!

We are complex creatures, and I always try to remember that when creating characters for a novel or short story.   Characters need to seem real.  They need to seem human, and in order to achieve that, they must be as complex as real human beings.

Just something to ponder as you go about your week of writing.

A former middle school student of mine, from 2012, just got married this weekend.  I cried when I saw the notice.  Complexities . . .

I CAN’T WRITE POETRY

I’ve said that many times, but actually it’s not a true statement.  I probably could write poetry if I chose too.  I’m not certain it would be any good, but I could manufacture something if the spirit moved me in that direction.  Heck, I could write song lyrics if I really wanted to do so.

But I don’t!  I love creative writing.  This is what I’m good at, and I suspect part of the reason I’m good at it is because I love it.  Since I have a limited number of years remaining, I see no reason to venture down a brand new path and attempt poetry.  I think I’ll just try to become the best damned creative writer  I can be in the time I have remaining.

TED BUNDY

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the defense lawyer who represented Bundy in the late 70’s, John Henry Browne.  Several times during the show, Browne called Bundy pure evil.

As many of you know, Bundy was our paperboy when I was growing up in Tacoma, Washington.  He has always fascinated me . . . this concept of pure evil fascinates me . . . people do evil things, for sure, but are they pure evil?

Complexities!

Many people believe Evil exists. Some call it the Devil.  Some choose to not name it.  Many do not believe in it, choosing instead to believe that man is capable of evil, but it is silly to believe in a malevolent being.

Complexities!

Just something to ponder as you go about your work week.

THERE IS NO SUN TODAY

While someone else sees darkness and muted colors

Forest fires from British Columbia . . .the wind is coming from the north, so today’s clear day is anything but clear.  The sun cannot be seen . . . the mountains cannot be seen . . . and the air quality is downright unhealthy as we are under a health red alert in this area.

Times they are a’changin’ . . . complexities!

“Don’t let the sun, catch you crying” . . . thank you Gerry and the Pacemakers . . . “The sun ain’t going to shine anymore” . . . thank you The Walker Brothers . . .

More random musings from an old man thinking about what it once was like, what it is now like, and what it could be like.

You can hear John Lennon singing “Imagine” in the background.

John McCain died.  Old school politics dead and buried soon, the politics of compromise and integrity . . . random musings . . . complexities of life.

Time for me to get busy. . . . I have chickens who are more complex than some politicians I know.  Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Defining Success

14 Aug

I read an article the other day about ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.  In it the author debated whether McCartney should be considered among the greatest of solo artists since the Beatles disbanded.

The debate went something like this: on the one hand, there can be no denying the body of work McCartney has produced since 1970, nor can there be any debate about records sold.  For forty-eight years now he has been one of the most productive writers/performers on the planet.  The other side of the argument, though, had to do with the quality of his work, its pop status, and the relatively weak lyrics.

Now I actually have no horse in this race, and I really don’t have a strong opinion one way or another, but I did find the whole discussion to be interesting.  I know I’m always picking on James Patterson, but I’m going to return to him as an example of this debate.  There can be no doubt that Patterson has been wildly successful and prolific, making him one of the most successful authors in the last thirty years, but is he a good author based on the quality of his writing, or a successful writer based on his sales?

Just something to think about!  I really am just tossing it out for something to think about and talk about.

TURNING THE PAGE (does anyone remember the song by that name by Bob Seger?)

And then I was watching a YouTube video of a “release party” by Jason Mraz, who happens to be one of my favorite performers.  He’s releasing a new album, and he was talking about the process of writing songs, and he mentioned his muse usually takes him in directions he never planned during the writing process, and I’m sure most of you can relate to that.

AND TURNING ANOTHER PAGE

And then I was thinking of a musical group out of McMinnville, Oregon, called “We Three.”  They are currently competing on America’s Got Talent, a sibling band, two brothers and a sister, and their music has touched me in a way I am not often touched.  It’s a bit odd because I’m not sure why.  Is it the arrangement of the music, or their voices, or the lyrics?  Is it their charming personalities and their obvious humility?  Or is it a combination of all those factors.  Give them a listen if you get a chance. I’d be interested in what you think.

Relating that to writing, I often wonder what it is that attracts a reader to a particular book, or why one book is considered a classic while another will never be . . . there are so many factors which play into success . . . and the conclusion I came to is that it is random and it is particular, it is ethereal and it is visceral . . . toss in random luck and a kiss from fickle gods, and you just might find success.

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly

“When I’m Sixty-Four”

7 Aug

More naps these days

Someone asked me the other day what they should do if they run out of synonyms.  They were referring to the color blue, and they had already called it indigo, aqua, and cobalt.

It’s a pretty common problem for writers.  You certainly don’t want to keep using the same word over and over again, thus appearing as though you have a limited vocabulary, but you also don’t want to take a long walk down Synonym Lane because, well, it seems a bit contrived if you know what I mean.

I suggested to that person, and I suggest to you, that you use similes and/or metaphors to reach the same goal.  Instead of saying a person’s eyes were blue you could say her eyes reminded you of robins’ eggs in a nest on a brilliant morning, or you were lost in the tide-pool depths of her eyes.

Just a suggestion . . .

GOING BACK

I spend the last hour of my evenings reading, usually a novel by one of my favorite authors, but this past week I’ve been reading my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.”  I guess I wanted to see how I have evolved as a writer, but I also wanted to revisit my own personal favorite and try to recapture things in that book I was proud of.

It’s an interesting exercise and I highly recommend it.  If you don’t write novels then go over some of your old articles.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also can be beneficial.

Oddly, parts of that book made me question whether I had grown at all as a writer. Some passages were better writings than I’m doing right now.  I’m not sure what to think of that.  LOL  There were some passages which seem poorly written now, and I can see what I should have done instead, but we all know that hindsight is a luxury none of us can act on in the present.

So we move forward!

MEMORIES

I was thinking back to when we were kids, and the things we did, without parental supervision, which would today be considered almost frightening.  My parents usually sent me out the door to play with two words of advice: be careful!  Of course I paid zero attention to those words.  We had snowball fights with rocks in the snowballs, just to spice it up a bit.  We played dodge ball with the hardest balls possible because, well, it was really cool to nail a kid in the head with a high, hard throw.  We loved to jump off roofs, and we climbed trees like we were spider monkeys, never giving a moment’s thought that we might fall down and break a bone.

“Be careful”….no chance, Mom and Dad, but thanks for caring!!!

And then we got older, and with age came an oppressive wariness, and our risk-taking adventures dwindled to nothingness, and honestly I find that a bit sad.

I haven’t climbed a tree in a very long time.

I miss doing so.

I was reminded of my age the other day.  I was in the hay barn looking for eggs, and a sleeve from a hay bale broke loose while I was standing on it, and I fell down on my side.  Didn’t hurt anything, no permanent injuries, but the realization hit me that friends my age have broken hips and ankles and shoulders by doing exactly that, something seemingly innocent which turns out to be six months in rehab.

It was a sobering moment, a moment of considerable introspection, coming face to face with the inevitable.

I laughed when I first heard The Beatles sing “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  I’m not laughing now.

Anyway, the next day, I went back into the hay barn and climbed to the top of the hay stack because, well, it was necessary for my own peace of mind that I do so.

WHAT’S THE POINT, BILL?

I guess the point is that a day will come when I can no longer produce the way I am today.  I will sit down at the computer on that fateful day and the words simply will not be there.  My fingers will not be able to dance across the keys, and my mind will not be able to dance across the spectrum of our language.

So today I must squeeze every last drop of enjoyment from writing that I can.

And so must you!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Awareness

31 Jul

I see sunshine and beautiful colors

I was talking to someone the other day who suffers from clinical depression.  It was a fascinating talk, for me at least.  The thing is, I have no frame of reference with that particular malady.  I can’t wrap my brain around that kind of darkness of the soul, the almost crippling nature of it, the hopelessness of it.

Yes, I am a recovering alcoholic and yes, there have been days when life seemed cumbersome at best, but I always knew that if I just stopped drinking, if I could find the help to get me started on a clean life, I could turn things around and life would be sunshine and lemonade once more.  I never truly felt like there was no hope for me. I never felt the overwhelming, oppressive weight pressing down on me, leaving me incapable of even getting out of bed on any particular day.

What does that have to do with writing?  It’s just food for the idea gristmill.  At some point I’m sure it will come in handy.  What it mostly is, though, is a realization, on my part, of just how different we all are while at the same time so similar.  We humans are complicated animals for sure.  If you want a lesson in writing tossed in, make sure your characters are complicated as well.

On the flip side, and I laugh when I say this, I can’t wrap my brain around the Pollyannas of the world.  I will never understand the constant good moods of people like that, how they always manage to see a silver lining in the worst of circumstances, and how they are always smiling.  That just doesn’t register with me.  I’m not finding fault in it at all, but when I’m around the Perpetually Happy folks, it always leaves me with a sense that I must be broken, that there is something profoundly wrong with my personality profile.

While someone else sees darkness and muted colors

IS THERE A POINT, BILL?

I guess what I’m trying to point out, in my own circuitous way, is that my muse is always taking notes. She is always observing, and she is always questioning.  I suppose that has given me a valuable tool as a writer.  I do know people who don’t notice things like that at all.  They have very few introspective moments, seeming to be about as deep as a mud puddle with regards to philosophy and sociology and other studies of the human species.  The word shallow comes to mind when I think of them, but perhaps that is a bit too judgmental of me. My humanness is showing again, I’m afraid.  The fact is I simply do not understand them.  It seems odd to me that they wouldn’t notice the things that are so obvious to me, but then I’m sure they find me a bit strange as well.

A NEW GUARD DOG

Out at the farm (Bev’s son’s goat farm where we keep our 100 chickens) there is a new addition, a two-year old guard dog.  Her name is Sasha and she is part St. Bernard and part Anatolian Shepherd.  A big dog for sure, seemingly a gentle giant, but I would hate to tangle with her. I’ve seen her breed in action, on YouTube, taking on a bear.  A BEAR!!!!  And not backing down one bit.

Sasha loves me.  I spend quite a bit of time with her when I’m out at the farm, just rubbing her ears and talking to her.  She puts her massive head in my lap, drools all over me, and more often than not slips into semi-conscious mode . . . but if you pay attention to her eyes, she never really stops scanning the farm looking for predators. She is always on alert.

I pity the next coyote who decides to walk onto the farm in search of a cheap meal.  That coyote is in for a very unpleasant surprise.

And yes, I’ve known people like Sasha.

My muse is a lot like Sasha.  She never takes a vacation. She is always on alert for the next inspiration.

Kinda cool!

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Revisiting the Ten Second Rule

17 Jul

I was asked a rather interesting question the other day.  A friend of mine asked me if all novels must begin with a Big Bang to capture the attention of the readers. She was basically asking about The Ten Second Rule, my name for the fact that you have about ten seconds to convince a potential reader that your book is worth their time, so that opening paragraph better be a doozie!

But does that mean you need to start with a spectacular explosion, killing, or spine-tingling scene?

No!

A Big Bang can simply be spectacular writing, writing so good that a potential reader would be foolish to set your book back on the shelf.  “To Kill A Mockingbird” comes to mind immediately.

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.

There is no Big Bang with the opening paragraph in that book.  The same is true with “The Grapes of Wrath.”

“To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth. The plows crossed and recrossed the rivulet marks. The last rains lifted the corn quickly and scattered weed colonies and grass along the sides of the roads so that the gray country and the dark red country began to disappear under a green cover. In the last part of May the sky grew pale and the clouds that had hung in high puffs for so long in the spring were dissipated. The sun flared down on the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each green bayonet. The clouds appeared, and went away, and in a while they did not try any more. The weeds grew darker green to protect themselves, and they did not spread any more. The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale pink in the red country and white in the gray country.”

No slam-bang there either.  What we do see, in both examples, is just enough of a hint of impending doom…or impending chaos…to entice us to continue reading.  The tone is brilliantly set in each example.  We are given just enough of an appetizer that we really want to taste the main dish.

They are both brilliant in their simplicity.

So yes, the Ten Second Rule still applies, but that doesn’t mean someone has to die to accomplish it.

REMEMBERING BACK

A baseball coach I had back when I was fourteen or fifteen told me once that the most important pitch of the game was the first pitch.  I guess it was his version of the Ten Second Rule.  He counseled me to make that first pitch purposely wild, either a foot over the head of the batter or a foot behind him, just close enough to get his attention, and just wild enough to plant that seed of doubt in the batter’s mind, so he didn’t spend too much time getting comfortable with that bat in his hand.

Just something for all of you to think about.

WALK SOFTLY BUT CARRY A BIG STICK

That was my Dad’s way of approaching a day.  He was not one for grandiose gestures or statements.  He did not brag or showboat, but if push came to shove, he was a good guy to have backing you up.  He was a perfect example of low-key in tone, and he would have loved the opening paragraphs of Lee and Steinbeck.

Me, I prefer killing someone to begin my novels.

Whatever floats your boat!

Have a great day!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

A Journey Through My Mind

10 Jul

I was writing this week’s “Writers’ Mailbag,” and I mentioned being curious about the saying “dog days of summer,” so I looked it up and discovered it was in reference to the Ancient Greeks and the star Sirius. Evidently Sirius can be seen in the summer in Greece, and the name Sirius means “dog star.”  The sighting of Sirius back in ancient times signaled the arrival of hot, miserable temperatures . . . thus our calling mid-summer the “dog days of summer.”

Which then got me thinking about the old 60’s band Three Dog Night, so off I went to find out the origin of that phrase . . . I was unable to find out exactly WHEN that phrase became an idiom in our language, and there is some dispute whether it originated with the Eskimos or the Aborigines, but its meaning is not disputed.  Back in the old days, before central heating, a really cold night called for desperate measures, and one such measure was to have your family dog sleep with you.  A cold night meant one dog; a very cold night meant two dogs, and an extremely bitter cold night was a three dog night.

And for those curious about such things, the lead singer of Three Dog Night was Chuck Negron, and the band hit stardom in 1967.

Speaking about summer, can you guess which Major League Baseball Team holds the record for most wins in a single season? It’s the Seattle Mariners, perennial losers and the only team in the Major Leagues to never play in a World Series.  In 2001 the Mariners won 116 games.

Oh how the Mighty have fallen!

Life really is fascinating!

Random musings on a Friday morning . . .

My mind then went back to my first dog, Sugar, when I was four. Sugar ran off, and when I was five my parents got me a little rat terrier named Pixie, and Pixie was with me for the next seventeen years, a constant companion during my formative years and yes, she slept with me many nights whether it was cold or not.

And then we jump forward forty-seven years to my next dog, Maggie May, our new puppy, and hopefully Maggie and I will grow old together.

Random thoughts for sure, but I guarantee you that some of those thoughts will eventually be in short stories or a novel down the road.

The mind of a writer . . .

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

4th of July Randomness

3 Jul

The 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . . “

Lovely thoughts, eh?  I guess it’s all in your definition of what a man is.  Back when those words were written, a black man was not a man.  An “Indian” was not a man.  A woman was not a man.  A man, back then, was white and a property owner.

But lovely thoughts at least.

What about now?  If Bill Gates has a child (I actually don’t know if he does or not), is his child the equal of a child born into severe poverty in Mississippi?  Is his child the equal of a black child born in the slums of Chicago? Is his child the equal of a Native American child born on the Devils Lake Indian Reservation?

Just random thoughts . . . I certainly have no political agenda here, but a writer’s brain is always tossing these things around.  We are the observers and the chroniclers of our generation, so we need to pay attention, to question, and to surmise.

That’s what we do as writers!

Of course, if you write travel articles, I guess none of that matters, so ignore what I just wrote.

TAKING A MID-MORNING BREAK

It’s been my custom for quite some  time now to take a mid-morning break from writing . . . nothing major, just ten minutes to go out and feed the quail and chickens in our backyard.  It may not seem like much, but ten minutes is important, and I always return refreshed.

My reward for a day’s work is waiting for me out at the farm each afternoon.  Sometime between one and two each day I go out to feed the hundred or so chickens we have there, and after I do that I always lay down under some trees in the pasture and watch the clouds float by.  I spend about a half hour doing that. It’s my break period for the day, a chance to clear my mind, think of nothing in particular, and re-charge my inner batteries.  I think this is vitally important for people to do, but surprisingly few do it.  It is so easy to say we are too busy, but really that just means we don’t choose to do something beneficial for ourselves.

Well I do and I’m better for it.

Have a great week!

bill