Friday, September 17, 2021

Writing: Imagining The Words

Writing is perfect for the person who's introverted. We sit down in front of a computer and imagine words that we might not say out loud in real life. We imagine people in situations that are made up of whole cloth, saying words that we pluck out of the air, and keep on doing that until we've filled our allotment of pages for the day. And when it comes time to send our manuscript forth into the world, we "put on our game face." However, instead of facing people for a limited amount of time, we're going to  put our words out there for thousands (we hope) to read and comment on for as long as the book is in print.

I love the quotation that I sometimes use as a signature line. "Some people hear voices when no one's around.  They are called mad, and sit in a room all day and stare at the walls. Others are called writers, and they do pretty much the same thing."  I may not have the words exactly the way writer Meg Chittenden said them, but writers will know what I mean--and nod. How about you?


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Snipe Hunt

Before my first wife and I were married my soon-to-be father-in-law and several of the brothers-in-law (all Aggies, I might mention) said they were going to take me on a snipe hunt. For those who might  have been raised in the big city (I wasn't), that's a fictitious event that involves the "hunter" chasing around hunting the snipe. Fortunately, I knew what they were talking about and so I didn't go on a snipe hunt--we just talked about it.

Recently, I went on a modern version of a similar hunt when at 4 AM (why do these things always happen at that time?) I was awakened by two loud electronic beeps or chirps. I eventually thought that it might be from the battery operated alternate power source that I've left hooked up to my computer. Even though the battery is no longer operative, it has half a dozen electrical outlets that furnish surge protection, so I've continued to use them (because it's too much trouble to unplug them and get another power strip). Because it's under my desk, I have to be careful not to hit the power switch, but it appears that I did, re-activating the alarm feature. Long story short--I found the source of the electronic beeps and fixed it.

I've looked around today and see lots of places which could cause me similar problems--always at 4 AM, it seems. Maybe this is due to our dependence on gadgets--we seem to have an abundance of electronic gadgets around, none of which I'm ready to give up. Have you done anything to avoid such an unpleasant surprise? 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Let Us Always Remember

 Tomorrow we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attack on us in our homeland. We have vowed never to forget...let's don't let up now (despite what our current "president" has done in Afghanistan). Never forget! Never forget! Never forget!

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Day After...

How was your holiday? Did you do anything different? Did you reflect on the people still held hostage by those who follow a different law? Did you stop and think that only four days from now we'll commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first ever attack on the US that took place on our own soil? 

Somehow, this didn't seem like a holiday this year. Don't know if it was because of the political turmoil, the international situation, or what. But it was different. So what did you do?

Friday, September 03, 2021

Labor Day, 2021


This has been a year like no other. This weekend, we will recognize those who work throughout the year to keep the wheels of commerce turning. As we enjoy our time off, let us not forget both  those affected by the Coronavirus and the natural disasters that have come our way recently, as well as our situation in Afghanistan.

I agree with over 80% of the US citizens polled that our troops should leave Afghanistan, but the way in which it was done by the person occupying the White House was terrible (as typified by the 13 US military personnel that were killed). I won't go into the politics of the situation, but will just say that we got over 10,000 Afghans out but left 100 or more US citizens (who wanted to leave) behind--the number seems to vary, depending on who you listen to. 

The flooding in New Orleans and environs is one of the worst natural disasters our nation has experienced, and comes on the heels of floods in Tennessee. There are still many it has robbed of homes and property. If you haven't donated (time, things, money, whatever) to relief efforts, please do so...and remember that after the water recedes, there's still lots to be done. I won't presume to mention specific relief sites--you can choose your own--but please give.

I'll be back on Tuesday. Enjoy your time off. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Busy Week

Don't know about your week, but mine looks pretty busy. I have a couple of routine appointments in the next few days, then -- well, who knows. I've gone through my next novel for the fourth or fifth time, and will soon be starting on the next phase of getting it published. 

There's always something else coming up, but that's what keeps me going. What about you? What's at the top of your "To Be Done" list--and what are the chances that it won't change in the next few days? 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Writing: Leaving Behind

I'm currently re-reading (as I often do) the books left behind by a number of deceased authors: Robert B. Parker, Dr. Michael Palmer, Ross Thomas, Donald Westlake. The list goes on. I intersperse it with inspirational (or, if you're as old-fashioned as I am, "Christian") fiction by living authors. But I'm often reminded as I read their words that a lot of what authors leave behind is encompassed in these printed words. That especially hit me as I re-read the last novel Parker wrote. He was found dead at his computer. But his novels live on.

It's at times like those that I turn to the little card fellow author, the late B. J. Hoff. sent me years ago. It pretty much encompasses what I'd like people to think about me after I'm gone, and the reason for my writing.

"It matters not if the world has heard, or approves, or understands...
The only applause we're meant to seek is that of nail-scarred hands."

What about you? What would you like to be remembered for?


Thursday, August 26, 2021

What Are You Feeling?

 This morning, two apparent suicide bombers were responsible for explosions at or near the HK International Airport, killing (so far) 11 US Marines and a Navy Corpsman, plus killing or injuring a large number of Afghanis. I've now heard that, to effect safe passage to the airport, the US Government has passed to the Taliban names, addresses, and other information about US Citizens and Afghan allies. What have we heard from the white house? If things go as advertised, he will speak about seven hours after the attack. 

What are you feeling? My emotions are too complex to tell. How about you?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Life As A Football Game

I watched a recorded program from the Big Bang series last evening. In it, Sheldon (the protagonist who has absolutely no common sense but lots of intelligence) is depressed because a theory that he has developed has been disproven. Through a series of misadventures, he watches a tape he made in childhood--for his "adult" self--and ends up seeing his father give a locker room speech to his losing high school team. Sheldon takes from this that, while he thought it was all over, "it's just halftime."

Right now, things look bad for those of us who watch with dismay the events in the Middle East. But, as Sheldon pointed out to me (and others watching), the game isn't over. And if we are fortunate, a different group of players will be elected and we can recover what our nation has lost. And even if that doesn't occur, we still have great Coach, urging us to play well, even if we're behind, because sometimes our reward comes after the game is over.

The game isn't over yet. Don't give up.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Writing: So What?


Sorry, Friday sneaked up on me. It's getting harder to remember to post, between watching the political theatre nowadays and doing all the things I have to do as a retired person and grandfather, the time got away.

I thought, when I was reading my first reader's comments about the initial draft of my next novella, about the most important lesson I ever learned about writing. I was at a well-known Christian writer's conference, early in my career, and was telling an individual about the idea for my latest novel. And he frustrated--actually angered--me by repeatedly saying, "So what?" I finally got the idea, though. There has to be something--plot, character, or circumstance--that gets the reader invested in what you're writing. Otherwise, it's just "blah."

So, writers--So what? Let me know.