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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 140

Updated on March 6, 2017

A Small One Today

But that’s just the hand we were dealt with, so we make do, right?

Welcome back to the Mailbag. I hope you find an answer to a question that’s been bugging you, or I hope you have something to add to the discussion that will help someone else…that’s what this is all about, community, writers helping writers…so let’s get started!

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

We Matter

If you get nothing else from the Mailbag today, I want this message to sink into your brain and your heart . . . what we do matters!

No, there is no question prompting this. I just want you to know . . . what you do matters!

I swear there are days when it feels like civilization is coming unraveled, but then I think back on my sixty-eight years and I realize there has always been turmoil, in this country and abroad, and somehow we have always made it.

And one of the reasons we have survived is because of the Arts. Music, sculpture, paintings, books, poetry, it all soothes our souls when it is most needed. The Arts are a reflection of our advancement as a civilization and as a species, and the Arts are a way that we communicate to each other, soaring above differences in language, differences in religion, and differences in politics.

The Arts are universal, and each of you is a part of that.

So yes, what you do matters!

Every single one of these people need us!
Every single one of these people need us! | Source

Boring Repetition

From Rasma: “Always starting my week off right with your mailbag. Managed to catch it at the beginning of this week. This is nostalgia week for me with my B-day and all. Hope your week is great and inspirational. Oh, yes How does one keep from boring repetition when writing about something that has occurred in their lives? For instance I write about a certain period in my life and then I come up with another post but I feel it is necessary to remind others of what I wrote about previously.”

Rasma, that question is a first.

It’s an interesting question and I’m not sure there is a quick fix for that. Avoiding repetition in any writing, or any written series, is a matter of awareness, and avoiding boring repletion is a matter of making the language work for you. There are tens-of-thousands of words to use. Avoiding boring repletion seems, to me, to be a matter of putting your skills to work.

Give me a writing prompt, give me 24 hours, and I can write five different stories about that same prompt. You can do the same using the same personal experiences. Challenge yourself to find a new way of sharing those experiences with us.

View Counts Again

From Honey: “So now this has me wondering, "Does it count (show up as a view) if we click on one of our own hubs under our section where we edit hubs? It doesn't appear to me that that way adds to the total views but the above answer has me confused. I'm thinking maybe it only shows up as a view if you go into it through your profile page or of course google it and click on it that way.”

Honey, I asked and no, editing does not count as a view. It only counts if you open the article through your profile page or during an online search.

That was too easy! LOL

CONTESTS

From Pete: “I’m thinking of entering a fiction contest. I did an online search and suddenly I was faced with so many contests my head was spinning. How do I know which are legitimate and which are not?”

Another new question…I love it!

I would suggest you go with the established contests, Pete. “Writers Digest” always has contests going on. “The Writer” does as well. “Fanstory” is reliable, and I’m sure people who read this will comment about contests they have entered. Stick with contests offered by legitimate sources like the ones I mentioned and you’ll be fine.

AND THAT’S ALL WE HAVE

This will go down in history as the smallest Mailbag we have had. I’m all for breaking records, but let’s not make this a habit, okay? You can ask questions in the comment section below, or email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, even if it is the smallest amount of mail you have had, you still answered all the questions as wonderful and graceful as ever! So, for that I say thank you and am ever so happy and grateful to see you back at it here this Monday morning. Wishing you a great one now!! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! It's snowing this morning...sigh....and I need sunshine, so you are my ray of sunshine this morning. Happy Monday to you!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California

      Honey asked an excellent question that I too have been wondering about since I joined this site. Currently I am editing a hub, and it already has nine views. Since it is not on my profile page yet because it is unpublished, who is viewing it? I can only assume Hub Pages big brother is monitoring its content. Any ideas? Great mailbag, small but it still packed a nasty left hook.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is confusing, Mel, and I don't have an answer for you. I was told by HP that editing doesn't count as a view, so maybe aliens? LOL I have no clue, buddy, but I appreciate you stopping by and confusing us more. :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill, a mailbag from you whatever the size is full of gems from your good self . Always lovely to read your answers from across the pond. Glad to hear the youngsters made it through their first night outdoors have a lovely week my friend xx

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 months ago

      Good questions and good answers, Bill. Remember it's not the size of the thing that counts, but the quality of the output. I'm curious as to why writers think that contests are that valuable. Most, if any, don't critique the work, so the only value I see here is learning to deal with rejection and a lighter pocketbook. Heck, you can submit for publication and be rejected free of charge. Have a good week, Bill, it's 65 degrees and rainy here.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      Might be a small mailbag, my friend, but you raised some questions. I'm so glad that you mentioned the arts. Emily Dickinson for one, had and still have a tremendous influence on America. As did Emerson and Jefferson; Lincoln and Washington.

      They were great Presidents yes, but their strengths were in their 'soul force'. I do not need to name more American greats or speak of your Statue of Liberty or even your America the Beautiful! Consciousness pervades the very core of the country and will rise and is continuing to rise accordingly.

      So glad that you said there has always been turmoil... indeed for more than a few thousand years and more!

      Rasma is an interesting one. Her poems are full of love and charm. Still, yesterday was the dark mist of fog and today heralds the spring, like my poem says to you. Each moment is new. True, my main genre is esoteric, aesthetic; ethereal ... but I feel that each poem is new and different, even if similar sometimes. Therein lies the paradox.

      Love or love narratives can be repeated from time to time. No bad thing. I pray for her inner river to keep flowing with the currents as strong as they have always been. Praise be!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, great mailbag hub as always. You're always intuitive, my friend. I might just send you a question real soon for a future mailbag.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - This may have been a short Q&A today, but they were all good questions with good answers. Since you talk about marketing now and then, I offer this. Vista Prints offers reasonably priced business cards. For a couple of my titles I have bought business cards of the books front cover and send them out with any mailing I may do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, MIke. I use VistaPrints for everything and I think they are great. Thanks for mentioning them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll be ready when you do, Kristen. Thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, it would be wondrous if we one day found a way to meet, face-to-face. I feel I know you so well, as though my half-brother from another mother. :) peace be with you always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, that last barb about the temperature was cruel. LOL

      I don't have an answer for you, my friend. I don't enter contests; don't see the point in them; but seriously, what do I really know? LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Irish! I miss you. I don't know why that just hit me, but I do. Let's promise to stay in touch always, okay?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      That certainly was a short one, Bill. In answer to Pete, Winning Writers is a good site that have regular competitions (big prizes for the winners). Some have entry fees, others are free. Reedsy Writing prompts now has a weekly competition that pays $50 for the best fiction story using one of their prompts. Scribbler has regular competitions, as does fanstory (I was runner up in one of theirs.)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      In one sense, Bro. Would be an honour for me. In another sense, you are actually correct. We are both flames of the same Consciousness ... the Divine ... just elders brothers in the same family. I am your full brother, not half, Bro (chuckle) Glory be!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So be it, Manatita! Pax vobiscum, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There we go, John! Thanks for recommending those sites. Good to know.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Nice and informative mailbag, even though only three questions. You nicely pointed out the importance of Arts and the influence of Arts on culture, heritage, politics and society and every field.

      Regarding the question about views, I think that your own view will not be counted when you click on the edit button from the stats page. Even if you click on the title of the hub on that page, it gets counted as one view. Further, when you view the preview after editing any hub, it gets counted as a view. These are some of my experiences when I edit hubs. So, we should carefully avoid these mistakes.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 months ago from Europe

      Most women say that size doesn't matter. LOL. But we as men always feel that it somehow matters, isn't it?! Thanks for being our reliable guide at the beginning of this week, Bill. Wish you a great week and lots of sunshine!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I can't imagine life without writing. Even if I don't write daily, the knowledge that I will, is a happy feeling. I know we are living in uncertain times, but writing takes us away from the turmoil, and we are able to cope, and like you said, " Writing matters " Thanks for always being here....

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      May be short, but as aways filled with information. This is a classroom in itself. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this, Bill.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      ".... there has always been turmoil, in this country and abroad, and somehow we have always made it..." This is the most uplifting reminder I have heard in months, while it was at a time in my life about the only thought that had kept me going. Thanks for reminding me, Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, in no way am I trying to minimize the shit that's happening today...but we will make it. I believe that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, it's a perfect classroom for me. I don't have to drive to school. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for being here, Ruby! You matter to me!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, you had me howling at that response. Thanks for the laugh and thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Venkatachari M. I think this topic has confused quite a few at HP for a very long time.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Short and sweet, but packed full of inspiration. And just as a reminder to yourself, "YOU MATTER"!

      Have a wonderful week and I look forward to the next mailbag!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 2 months ago from Fresno CA

      I certainly appreciate the reminder that what we do matters. It's easy to forget in the mundane minutia of everyday life. I'm with you about contests. I wonder what the point is if there is no prize offered or even publication offered. I entered an art contest last year and got my painting included in a book full of similar work. That's nice but I don't get any royalties from the sale of that book. All I received was a copy of the book. I would feel honored to get my 'name' out there if only I wasn't just one of thousands of other similar pieces.

      Have a great week, my friend.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      I found your question about contests interesting. I run a website listing contests and come across many which are merely run as a means to get people to sign up to a newsletter and join a mailing list.

      Although there are rules and regulations about running competitions and contests, the internet has sparked a breed of 'wild west styled' scammers out there. As you say it is best to stick with well known and reputable firms who are sponsoring the contests.

      Enjoy your week.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      We will look back on this time for many years as one of unprecedented crisis and change. Writers need to consider documenting their experiences about this tumultuous time in history. We haven't even seen the start of it yet. I hope I am wrong.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 months ago

      Short and sweet Mailbag

      there's for me a message in it.

      Gone to pick thousand words more alright

      needful vocabulary apt to write.

      Blessings.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This edition of the mailbag may be short, but as always, it's useful. I hope you have a good week, Bill.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image

      Gwenneth Leane 2 months ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      People matter, each person is unique, We can't cast people aside as if they were a piece of junk.

      Maybe there is a tendency to cast people aside as if they don't matter and that's why we have political correctness gone made

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      This maybe a small one but your message at the start is just what I needed. What you do matters and thanks for emphasizing this.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you Bill. You reminded me of the content work I used to do. There were times I was required to write one short article five different ways. I had forgotten so you helped me out especially reminding me that there are so many different words that can be used. I will work on it and see how it goes. Hope this is a great week for you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad that helped, Zulma. Best wishes to you, and thank you always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Aesta! Blessings to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Perhaps, Gwenneth. We for certain see the world in turmoil, and so much of it is fixable if people are willing to be fixed.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, a new profile picture! Very nice shot of you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, are you dabbling in poetry? I love it....best of luck with those thousand words, and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I hope you are wrong too, but I don't believe you are, and we writers will be here through it all, doing what we do...writing. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for confirming that, Mary! The internet is fascinating but it is also a place of great harm for the unsuspecting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, that's what it feels like, isn't it? One of thousands in a sea of broiling waters, just hoping to be seen, or thrown a life jacket...just something!

      Blessings and best wishes,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, good morning and Happy Tuesday to you. Thank you for being here, for the kind word....have a stupendous Tuesday, my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Late, but I had to make it to the mailbag. Thanks for being a constant and for sharing valuable information always.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reassuring us that we matter. Us writers need to hear it from time to time.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Good things come in small packages and it's no different with the weekly mailbag. As always I learned something new today, regarding the question about views. Thank and have a great week.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 months ago

      You made my day by liking it my friend. You well know by experience that a lifelong lingering in the literature dabbling one never know what a wonderful trouble navigate to destination. (My first poem was published at age eleven successfully, despite long hard path of subsistence a muse strives for appreciation.)

    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 2 months ago from Earth

      Another great installment. My favorite part of this one is your intro. These are the same sentiments I find myself reflecting on from time-to-time :)

      Things need to break down before they break through :)

      What we do, does matter. We all just need to keep plugging away :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      SA, well-stated. Thank you for that, and I hope the rest of your week is filled with limitless possibilities.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Michael my friend. First poem published at eleven? You were far ahead of me, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Bill! I'll see you next week...have a great Wednesday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We do for sure, Larry! Thanks for always being here and being so supportive.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate you staying up late to read my ramblings, Dora! Thank you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 months ago from Dubai

      Another great installment of questions and answers. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Vellur! I appreciate you very much.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image

      Gwenneth Leane 2 months ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      I liked your story, characters are well drawn, suspense is high. Very thought provoking the way you have presented the story. Great

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 months ago

      Oh my friend, Life's irony makes things quite intriguing; placing me now well behind you...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, life being ironic is one of my greatest pleasures. :) I spend many hours contemplating the irony of everyday life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Gwenneth!

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      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      No matter how short the mailbag, bill, the questions are always pertinent. They always make me think, 'ah yes, I'd like to know about that'!

      I have a question. Many of us are influenced by our favourite writers. What do you take from your favourites? Obviously we can't copy a style or a 'voice' but how do you pick out a facet of an author to emulate, rather than copy, and how do you carry it through?

      Wishing you a thoughtful Thursday, bill!

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great question, Ann, and hopefully I will have a great answer on Monday.

      In the meantime, have a felicity Friday!

      bill

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Hi there, Bill!

      It seems to me that Rasma's question is one that should be asked and learned by scriptwriters on the History channel! They have a most annoying habit of wasting half the length of the show in repeating what was already shown in prior episodes!

      That said, and off my chest, I have a problem that may not be unique, but is unique to me. I will write and write, and research and write, and go gangbusters with "inspired" ideas for new articles, and publish up to three in a week's time.

      Then, I feel burned out, and get nothing at all done for over a week; just can't get it going again. What is YOUR means for kicking yourself in the slats to get going again? (Forcing myself to 'just do it' usually results in inferior quality writing.)

      ????????Signed, Puzzled in CA!!!!!!! ;-)

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 2 months ago from Alabama, USA

      Great job and informative. I've learned a few things today! Thank you for mailbag.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting questions and answers in this mailbag that has almost become a habit for all of us. I liked the question about boring repetition by Rasma.

      Thanks again and have a good day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan! I'm glad you found something you could use from this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bodylevive! It was nice of you to stop by and comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, thanks for the question. I suspect you are not alone in asking that one. As for the History Channel, I suspect they do that so they don't have to write too much new material. But then I'm a cynic by nature. :)

      Happy March to you!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 7 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Short, but sweet, that's what this hub is.

      To add to the debate on 'what is a view?' I've noticed quite a few times I'll get half way through posting parts of a hub, stop and go for a cup of tea (saving what I've done) and there the hub is, unpublished, but with one or two views showing up! (Sometimes as many as three!)

      I've concluded that if I go in from my 'Account' page then the system does count it as a view, but the accounting ( as in money payouts) system doesnt, as it doesn't pay out for them.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Lawrence. I'm not sure I agree that it should be a view, but I do believe that's what happens. Thanks for adding that.

      blessings always

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 7 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Short but sweet and two brand spanking new questions to boot! Gotta love it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Gotta love it for sure, Sha! This series just keeps on keeping on. Thanks for supporting it.

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