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Friday, September 13, 2019

FRIENDS ARE ALWAYS PRESENT TENSE


I heard sobbing at work today.

Not crying. 

To me, crying is surface pain. 

Sobbing is heart-deep.

A dying friend.  No one at work seemingly understanding.  I understood.

I had been there.



"ALONE

Yes, that's the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn't hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.”
- Stephen King


What happens when we lose a close friend?


Sadly, this form of loss is not always acknowledged or understood. 




What did Mark Twain write?

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size.”


WHAT DO YOU DO?


Realize you've taken quite a hit.

Healing from it will take time.  Day by day the wound will close. 

Let yourself grieve. 

The emptiness will stay with you for awhile. 

Nights are long, but
THEY ARE NOT FOREVER.


Realize there are no
"7 Easy Steps To Healing"

You hurt. Period. How long? 

Each of us heals at a different rate.

Society just does not get it that the loss of a friend is like an invisible amputation. 

Many people suck and are so self-focused that your worth to them is what you can do FOR them .

Not the other way around.

Others may not acknowledge the depth of your relationship, 

but it is important you remember that you have every right to the grief and devastation you feel.


FRIENDS ARE ALWAYS
PRESENT TENSE


Remember that emptiness I talked about earlier? 

It slowly gets filled with memories of your friend, your friend's words, jokes, and advice.

Sometimes you will almost feel their presence by your side, chiding or talking with you.

It will get so that when you come upon a confounding situation,

you will hear your friend's advice or critique of it.



Close friends become
a part of you. 

You know how they felt about life. 

Their remembered laughter in the night will make it not so dark.

It will take a while to get there ... but you will.

I know.  I did.

Monday, September 9, 2019

A World of Con Men, Spies, Politicians, and Double Crossers


The New York Times once called 
Ross Thomas 
"America's Best Storyteller."

 The New Yorker has said 
"Very few...
are as consistently entertaining...
even fewer can match him 
for style and power."

 
Stephen King called Thomas 
“the Jane Austen of political espionage.”
 
Best of all, each of his books, 
despite the cynicism,
makes you laugh 
and have a fun ride. 
 
Think Elmore Leonard writes Fargo.

I discovered him by this trailer:

Nobody wrote scoundrels 
the way Ross Thomas could.
 
His heroes all had checkered pasts, though often with a Bogartian streak that led them to do the right thing against their own self-interest.
 
 His villains were a spectacular assortment of con men, spies, shady politicians, corrupt cops, wheelers, dealers, fixers, and schemers.
 
 His complex plots often revolved around political intrigue and backroom chicanery 
 
leading to sudden violence, and featured double-, triple-, or quadruple-crosses, 
 
so much so that it might not be until the very end that you knew exactly who had done what to whom.
 
But you knew you had a FUN read.
 
At the core of his books were
witty dialogue and friendship
 as with   
Cast a Yellow Shadow: 
Mac McCorkle, Book 2
(Only $9 for a great audio book!) 
 
 
 

His debut novel, The Cold War Swap, was written in only six weeks and won a 1967 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

THE COLD WAR SWAP is a look into a period most readers won't remember (post War Germany) which also makes it 'new.'

Many people have thought there was a fair amount of spook-related activity sprinkled in amongst all Ross' traveling and managing and consulting.

 Thomas himself would only admit to being a “former civil servant.” 

His wife, when asked about it point-blank, simply smiled and said, “Not that he told me.”


 So pick up one of his books, 
and prepare to join Ross Thomas's 
legions of admiring fans.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

IWSG Post_The Hidden Pennies Indy Book Effect



When Annie Dillard was six growing up in Pittsburgh, 

she used to take a precious penny and hide it for someone else to find.

She would cradle it at the roots of a sycamore or 

in the hole left by a chipped out piece of sidewalk or some other hidden place.

Then, she would take a piece of chalk and draw huge arrows leading to it from either end of the block.

When she learned to write, little Annie would label the arrows: 

SURPRISE AHEAD or TREASURE.

As she would draw the arrows, 

she would be greatly excited at the thought of the look on the happy face of the lucky discoverer of her precious penny.


She would never lurk about waiting to see who it was.

It was enough just to know of the pleasure she was giving some lucky stranger.


And her imagination provided much more pleasure than the actual reality of seeing those faces I would suppose.

 Life is like that




How many lonely people do we pass 

that believe that they have drawn obvious arrows to the hidden treasure that they are?

Do they wonder why no one finds them?

Each person in our lives is a hidden penny ...

precious like Annie's penny, for they are all they possess of worth.

In a similar fashion, even our least read Indy Book

can become a needful Hidden Penny

to a browsing reader who finds surcease or solace in our hardly read book.

So, writer feeling unappreciated, take Heart:
  
Your book may prove a balm 
to a lonely soul.
 


“All great and precious things are lonely.”
- John Steinbeck

Have You Ever Been 
A Hidden Penny?


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Want to Know the Truth About BLOGS?



Recent studies have found people take about three hours and sixteen minutes to write a blog post. 


That's a 26 percent increase 
over the same surveys last year. 

However, the studies also found that “twice as many bloggers are now spending 6+ hours on their average post.”


THAT'S QUITE AN INVESTMENT.

ARE WE GETTING AN APPROPRIATE 
RETURN ON IT? 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Research shows the average blog is dead 
after a mere 100 days.

OUCH!

That number also means that the average blog 
that launches in the next couple of weeks 
will already have died by Christmas!

Yes, that’s a depressing thought.


But don't quit!


Make connections where you can.

Look for forums related to your topic. 

Look for active Twitter chats about blogging.


As I've found writing my novels ...

 a funny thing begins to happen as you continue doing something you enjoy, 

even when no one else is watching quite yet: 

 you get better at it. 

The quality of your content improves. 

Then, as people slowly do find you, 

you have a growing body of work that’s getting continually better, 

which encourages those first-time readers to become multiple-time readers.

 It’ll take work, and it’ll take longer than you expect to get noticed.

But it’s worth it when it happens.

What do you think
of the return on
your blog efforts?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW - YOU DON'T


EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW 
YOU DON'T

 
   Remember junior high and high school?  You thought you knew about your parents, about life, about your friends. 
 
   Then came college or the job(s) and/or marriage with or without children -- and you went:

"Oh, man, I had it all wrong.  This is what life is all about."
 
   And you were wrong.


 “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.

It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
Joseph Campbell

 
 
   Old Joe has a point:
 
   We bring the meaning to each stage of our journey.  The paths ahead look without number.  When at the end, we look back, we will find only one. 
 
   That path, good or bad, will be the result of our many life choices.

 
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books



   You may think you know the meaning of your book.  You are wrong.
 
   The meaning of your book is the one the reader assigns to it as you assign the meaning to your own life -- but it will change as the reader and you change.
 
   The you that you are and the reader that the reader is at the start of your book will not be the same person at the end.

 
“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life,

an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934



   You think you know why you started your blog.  But the why of its origin is not the why of its continuing.
 

   John Steinbeck, in his journey across America in 1960 described in TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY (his giant French poodle) seemed always lost. 
 
   Yet, where he ended up usually held more truth and meaning than the rare times he actually arrived at his stated destination.
 
   Gary Sinse, by the way, does a haunting performance of the book in audio.  Do yourself a favor and listen to it:
 
 
“However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Stanley Kubrick


 
That light for me, besides the Great Mystery, is the caring others I meet in this life.  Each soul casts a light of its own. 


As Samuel McCord says in DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE:
 

Each of us is a walking shadow.  The people in our lives are lights, varying in brightness and color. 
As they pass by us, our shadows move and change with each light, becoming something different with each one. 
We become a living dance of light and shadow with the people entering our lives … and leaving them.

I guess maybe we all become different people in response to different times and places, different duties. 

Maybe in a lifetime we become a small number of different people, when, in fact, we could become many, many more –

 if only life moved us around more.