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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 205

Updated on June 4, 2018

So Whatcha Working On?

Poor grammar, I know, but the question stands: what are you working on lately? If you have the time and the inclination, let me know in the comments. Why? I’m curious by nature but also, well, I care.

Have you ever noticed the number of people you meet who don’t respond in kind when you ask them how they are doing? I was raised to ask in return…someone asks how I am today, I respond, and then I ask them how they are doing. That just seems polite, you know? Sure, the skeptics out there will say it’s just busy talk, small talk, meaningless gab, but I think it’s an important first step in making a connection with another human being . . . show them that you care enough to inquire about their day.

So, whatcha working on?

Me? I’m working on this Mailbag, and here are the results of that labor.

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

A Know It All?

From Eric: “So to it now. I think you do like I do and research about all the stuff you write about. Some things we know about through life and it gives us a start but to be true to our readers we have to be very accurate. As we correct our grammar we correct our facts. Are you a "know it all"?

Eric, you make me laugh!

I am a fountain of seemingly useless information. I think that comes from being an introvert but also from being curious by nature. So a lot of the things I include in my novels come from that fountain of facts and figures I have accumulated over the years.

Yes, I do some research. I wrote a novel set in Rosario, Mexico, last year, so I had to do some serious Googling to get the streets correct and find out a little history about that city. Usually I stick to places I have visited or lived in because, well, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to research, but with Rosario I couldn’t fake it.

Know it all? Not by a long-shot, but I do know a little about a lot of topics.

More on Responsibility

From Robert: “I think it was last week you talked about the responsibility writers have to the reading public…fiction writers should entertain, non-fiction writers should tell the truth. I was wondering about the flip-side of that question: what is the writer’s responsibility to himself or herself?”

And there we have another first!!!

What I find amazing about the Mailbag is the fact we have been going on for what, four years, and it seems like every single week a new question, one never asked before, shows up. It just happened again.

Great question, Robert! I can only answer for myself, but I would love to hear what other writers think about that question.

My responsibility to myself is to write the absolute best novel, or story, I am capable of writing at that moment. I have no boss. I have no supervisor checking my work. The quest for perfection rests with me alone. I am answerable to only one person, and that person, me, has rather high standards. I know I’m not going to be a perfect writer every time I come out of the chute, but I can be the best Bill at that moment.

My dad told me that if I was going to spend time and effort to do something, then I owed it to everyone to spend time and effort doing something as well as I could. Otherwise I’m cheating everyone, including myself.

I try not to cheat anyone.

I have a responsibility to myself to be the best writer and human being I can be.
I have a responsibility to myself to be the best writer and human being I can be. | Source

A Place for Slang

From Donna: “What’s your stance on using slang in your writing? Do you feel it adds to the flavor of a person’s writing?”

And we have another first-time question!

For my non-English readers, slang is defined as informal, non-standard vocabulary. It is as common as breathing for we humans. Instead of dying, someone “kicks the bucket.” Instead of being interrogated, someone received the “third degree.”

What’s my stance on it? I feel like a majority of people use slang daily in conversations, so to leave it out of dialogue in a story or novel would be a grave error. Fiction is supposed to ape real life . . . see what I just did? . .. so dialogue in fiction should be as real as possible.

But slang should be limited, in my opinion, to certain types of writing. Formal, non-fiction writing is probably not the place for street slang. On the other hand, I use slang quite often when I’m writing non-fiction social commentary pieces.

So there you have it! Yes, I do feel it adds flavor, and authenticity, but I also think it needs to be limited to certain types of writing.

I've written about these people often and never used their names.
I've written about these people often and never used their names. | Source

Responsibility to the Truth

From Sarah: “I’m thinking of writing a novel based on a particular incident that happened when I was a young girl. I’m wondering if I should use names of real people from that time? Isn’t it my responsibility to tell the truth and report accurately what happened to whom?”


How’s that for succinct?

Here’s the thing: do you really want to risk hurt feelings and/or a libel suit? That’s what you are facing if this incident that happened was of a serious nature. I personally don’t think it is advisable to do so.

You said this is going to be a novel. If so, just change the names of the people involved and thus put a buffer between you and those involved. An extreme example of this was the novel “Primary Colors.” There is no doubt that book was written about former President Bill Clinton, but real names were never used in that novel. Even so, people were angered by that book because it left very little doubt about the subject of that book.

Be very careful when writing books of this nature. Yes, it is important to you, but I just want you aware of the quagmire you are wading into.

Good luck!

The Song Is Playing in My Head

Eric posted an article this morning, and in it he mentioned a song from long ago, the Bugle Boy of Company B….I can’t get it out of my head. Catchy tune, played all the time in the 50’s when I was a young one, resurrected by Eric, and now taking up residency in my brain.

Thanks a lot, Eric!

Time to go! Have a tremendous, stupendous, ridiculously successful day, and thank you for being a part of my life.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      22 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Useful and interesting information as always. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is worth it, Lawrence. It adds authenticity. Go for it and best wishes on that next installment.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      I'm working on instalment 3 of my 'Scorpion' series, and I'm planning a historical fiction (possibly cum Romance but we'll see how well I write that).

      That'll keep me busy for a while, and I'm glad you agree that slang should be in fiction, I was writing some today, but trying to tone it down so that people would understand without losing the 'flavour'. Not easy, but so worth it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Jo! I think our language has turned into a sort of hybrid here in the States.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      23 months ago from Tennessee

      I was very interested in your discussion of slang since I taught for a short period of time once at an English language school abroad. I looked up American slang to go over with the students some phrases they might not be familiar with and I was amazed at what is considered slang, terms like cop, freebie, glitch. I could go on and on, so many words and phrases that we take for granted are not known to non-native English speakers, but it would be hard to write, especially fiction, without using these terms. See what I mean here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, it's one of those songs that will not go away, darn it. I'm sorry for both of us. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, Peg, that would be a bit confusing for the reader, and I'm not sure that's the correct approach to take.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will carry on, William, as long as I am able. Thanks for always making it here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rodric! You are appreciated.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Oh dear! Now I also have that Bugle Boy of Company B reverberating in my head. I also heard that catchy tune in the 50s when I was a child.

      It is interesting to see what questions pop up each week and reading your responses to them.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      23 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      It's amazing that so many first-time questions continue to come up. May the well of unanswered questions never run dry.

      I love the one about using slang. I recently read a non-fiction book where the author fluctuated between using formal terms and commonplace slang. It seemed to be a bit contradictory in tone.

      It's always a learning experience to visit here.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      23 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      WEll, Bill. I finally got here. Later is better than not at all, but not as good as sooner. Anyway, thanks for another week of information. It is amazing how after all this time you still get first-time questions. Carry on, my friend!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      23 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Great info as usual. Thanks for another mailbag, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't have an answer to that, some point you either find the courage or you never go public....I wish you the best as you struggle with that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I know that it is not all that unusual that a picked on chicken will not be allowed back into the flock, but that hasn't been our experience. We put them in a cage and leave them protected among the flock when it is time to integrate them back. Leave them in that cage for 24 hours. The other chickens can get accustomed to the new one without doing any harm. That usually has for us now four times.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      23 months ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Hi Sir billy you are indeed a fountain of wisdom :) You have answered one of the questions in my heart :) i just wanted to know that is it normal to have fear when your plot for a novel thickens and that I feel afraid of writing altogether as those around me think that its my own experience? I think fear is the one that keeps me back from moving forward with my writing :( Don't know how to let go of that one ...

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      23 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, thanks for your replay about the chickens. I appreciate that, my friend. Were you able to successfully integrate the picked-on chicken back into the flock without them being abused again? We are worried about that, and she has become my special little pet.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, how do I like being an introvert? I like it much more now than I did when I was younger. I suppose that comes with time and finally being comfortable with who I am. I, too, talk to animals. I find them to be much more truthful and they rarely have an agenda. :) Yes, I quite like being an introvert today.

      best wishes on that presentation...I hope you get that plant shut down permanently.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, David, talk about a flash from the past! Thanks for stopping by and I'm happy you are still among us, albeit briefly. Don't be a stranger!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Natalie! What isn't going on with me? Probably not enough fiction for sure, but my life is full and I enjoy what I do. Thanks for asking.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like your thoughts on slang, Mary! I had not thought of that...evolving....excellent!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Manatita! All worthy actions of service. Bravo to you and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Linda! I always learn from your articles, and for that I am grateful.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, a man after my own ilk. Always a project to do..they are never-ending. As for that are very welcome! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I'm happy to hear you have two new articles in the works. I'm looking forward to them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you make me laugh. As for that chick missing tail feathers, you did the right thing. Isolation is the only thing that will save her until those feathers come back. We've face that many a time with our flock.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like you take on it, Dora! I hadn't thought of that.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      24 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "what are you working on lately?" - I got to prepare a presentation for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission by the end of this month, trying to persuade them to shut down a nuclear power plant that's been built in the 1960s and it's past its due date. (It's also very close to my house lol)

      "That just seems polite, you know?" - Yes, indeed. It seems polite, in my opinion to say (when meeting someone face to face): "Hello, good (insert time of day here: morning, day, afternoon, evening, night), how are You?" Or, if we're on friendlier terms: "Hey, how You doin'?"

      The more we sit in front of a computer screen and less facing each other, the more we will lose social skills, etiquette, traditions, etc. We live in interesting times. That I will admit.

      "I think that comes from being an introvert but also from being curious by nature." - So, how You like being an introvert? As one myself, I actually enjoy it quite a lot. I tend to entertain myself well enough and I can go on for long periods of time without the need for any interaction with other humans. I always talk to animals and birds, even rocks. So, I'm never really alone anyway.

      "My responsibility to myself is to write the absolute best novel, or story, I am capable of writing at that moment." - When I write: "I put my heart on paper". That's how I always phrase it because that's what writing means for me.

      Instead of being interrogated, someone received the “third degree.” - See, I didn;t know this one. Thank You for sharing. Since English is my third, or even fourth language and since I am not much interested in popular culture, I often miss-out on certain slang terms, or name refrences.

      " I’m wondering if I should use names of real people from that time?" - Always remember: "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." It is just that simple lol

      Thank You for your piece of writing here. Always good words and things to learn here. All the best with those chickens and all!

      Until again : )

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 

      24 months ago from Nevada and Puerto Vallarta

      Happy that you are still writing here on Hub Pages! It has been a long time since I've visited HP and would guess that the platform has evolved, hopefully in a positive manner, a lot since my last visit. Anyway thank you for being here, I've always enjoyed your content. I am in Puerto Vallarta for now and am looking forward to having this time to focus on my writing!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      24 months ago from Chicago, IL

      What am I working on? Not nearly enough. Besides the articles I write for HP I have been working on editing the novels and novellas for the publishing house I work for. But I haven't been getting enough of my own fiction out. Seem to have lost the drive - I imagine it will come back eventually but I need to push it. Thanks for asking. So what's going on with you? I know you told us but keep up updated. Thanks for another informative and interesting article.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      24 months ago from Brazil

      Great to see new questions still entering the mix.

      What am I doing? Reading more about positivity, encouraging my coconut trees to grow faster and working on designing more products.

      Sadly the writing has taken a backseat for the near future.

      Regarding using slang, I love to read it, write it and use it in conversations. It keeps the English language evolving.

      Hope your week is going well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Audrey, I would say this is one of those "roll" times for you. Keep it going, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I am so glad to hear the judge tossed out that claim. Silly to the extreme, that was. As for you, of course you are working on another manuscript. That's what you do, and you do it well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Mary! As a former history teacher I have seen that sort of reporting many times in history books.

      Have a "relaxing" day, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it,Bill! Go as hard as you can for as long as you can,and then take a well-deserved rest. Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions, Kristen,and I thank you for them. Have a great week!

    • manatita44 profile image


      24 months ago from london

      Very intelligent questions. I think we do our best to communicate ... to reach peoples' mind and hearts. Some are quite receptive, others take what they need and the third group finds us impossible.

      Perhaps this is why the Buddha said: "Don't even believe in me. I'm happy that you have come. If I say something that you find useful, then use it. If not, let it go."

      What am I doing? I give motivational talks to kids who seem to have been abandoned by the system. I try to inspire hope.

      I talk to others who can afford to travel to an expensive hall and I ask the Divine to give me the opportunity to be of service. Like you, Bro. Like you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It certainly is amazing that you received two first-time questions for the 205th edition of the Mailbag! As to what I'm working on, I'm updating an article, which I've almost finished doing, and thinking about my new one, which is about one third done.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      24 months ago from Queensland Australia

      It's been a busy time for me, Bill, thanks for asking. Trying to source some parts for our replacement vehicle so I can have the air conditioner repaired, also working on renovating the kitchen so there is a doorway onto the back balcony instead of just a sliding window.

      Trying to squeeze some writing in around that and other everyday occurrences. Loved that you finished up with The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. Thanks a lot, now I can't get it out of my head.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      24 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. So what am I working on? Other than my day job, working in my garden, and other duties around the house I am writing 2 new hubs. One is about a day trip we made to NYC a few weeks ago and the other is about a stop in Washington DC while driving from Florida to Massachusetts. At the rate I am progressing it will be a few weeks before either is completed, but at least I have a few in the works. Have a great week.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      24 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill, I'm doin' fine, thankee. You? Oh, I think you told us first. Great questions this week. I say if the slang fits, wear it! But only if you are using a dialect or if the slang is very common. I sometimes have problems understand slang of furriners, especially from Brooklyn or New Jersey. And never never in formal writing. Would you believe that my coworkers and I occasionally had to correct slang written by bill drafters?

      Facts in fiction? Just the facts, ma'm, if it's historical fiction, but otherwise, hey, it's fiction, isn't it? I believe it is entertaining to have a little fun. That's why I like science fiction and fantasy, and other people like romance novels.

      Me? I'm still trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear of that book I'm editing and rewriting for a relative of mine with a doctorate. I'm beginning to wish I'd never taken on that project. I'm also watching my new chickens grow up. My little Chickadee has been a problem from the gitgo. She's had to have extra attention because she is a couple of weeks younger than the rest, and now the others have pulled out all her tail feathers. Poor baby. She's now isolated in our atrium and she's lonely and calls for the rest of her flock. It's a pity that even among the animals, the abused look to their abusers for companionship.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Agreed, Mike! We should all go to the race track.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great plan, Janine! Spend that quality time with them while you can. Time has a way of sneaking up on us and before you know it, those two girls will be off to college.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I'm exhausted reading your reply. I don't know how you do it, but just know I'm impressed.

      And you are so correct about contractions. My writing is filled with them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. It's always a pleasure to read your thoughts. You are appreciated in the Mail Room.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      24 months ago from The Caribbean

      I like the question about the writers' responsibilities to themselves. Without giving it the deep thought it deserves (I'm sure I'll keep thinking about it) I'd say it is partly to clear your mind about the issues life stuffs inside you). Makes a good topic, actually.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      24 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Another super-duper mailbag! Color me "editing". Updating and revising all 202 hubs to keep these babies fresh. Oh, and yes, just about ready to send you the revisions you requested for chapter 1. Ran into a block or two trying to be creative. Seems like I'm either on a roll, or nothing at all.

      Love you Bill,


    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      24 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday! How ya doin'? See how I asked how you were and used slang? :)


      Re: Handling the Truth. I see so many books that just scare the living daylights out of me in terms of storytelling or, should I say, kiss-and-tell. I advise authors that risks exist, and tell them to see a lawyer before publishing.

      Re: Cockygate Update. Remember that nonsense about the author who trademarked the word "cocky" and wanted all other romance authors who used it to be banned from Amazon, etc.? Well, a judge denied the motion by the author, saying it was a common word. There's a great article update on it on Publishers Weekly if you want to check it out. Dang! There goes my plan to trademark the word "the." :-D

      Working on another manuscript critique this week. So gotta go. Cheers!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      24 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      My day did not start well as I was provoked to anger by a very simple comment. The party has started in our lake and I just can't find time to write or do things I need to do given the many visitors we have had and will have so I blew up. Just to let off some steam as the busy time has started. Now, I am sitting down and reading the mailbag and I feel more relaxed.

      About the writers' responsibility, I agree about accuracy in non-fiction but even there, many writers highlight some things by picking only those facts that prove strongly what they want to say. What happens though is even when two people were at the same event, their truth could differ. My sister and I surprised ourselves when we had a different memory of the colour of our first car.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      24 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, you were on the top of your game, today, Bill! Really feeling good, really answering well! What fun!! ;-)

      To answer the question: I'm on a roll with two posts a week. Trying to keep both lines going, at the same time. Don't know how long it will last, but starting a new one this week, so we will see... ;-)

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      24 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - Two 'firsts' for questions, those are long odds at this point in your long running series. Happy Monday.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      24 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, awesome mailbag. As for me, I have been so busy today working on two different sponsored posts I will be sharing soon on my blog. And pretty much trying to get ahead as summer vacation looms for my girls. So, I want to try to get as ahead as I can to spend some lazy, summer days with them. Happy Monday now, Bill :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      24 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag as always Bill. Per Eric's question, for research, I do prep and research as well--via online mostly. I do email and phone interviews and send snail mail if possible.Books and magazines are good to get facts right. For Robert, I'm with you on your answer. My responsibility is to write a good novel, edit it until it shines, and get it down on paper or on the screen for publication. As for Sarah, she could answer people permission to use their names or change their names since it's nonfiction.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      24 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I really enjoyed this one. Your good mood is infectious.

      What am I doing? Writing two hubs per week (the Monday Q&A plus 1 more, of which I have 7 in reserve), garden (pulling the annuals that are spent and weeding the perennial beds (they take up about 1/4 acre, estimate), hand-quilting a new hanging for the entryway, and making a going-away gift for our Pastor and his family who are moving to Houston.

      One part of slang that we fail to consider is contractions. Our language is so dependant on them, but they are difficult for ELS to comprehend. I am struggling (in my spare time) to write a novel that takes place over 2,000 years ago. No contractions allowed. Not easy.

      Oh, and thanks for the ear-worm. I had successfully removed Bugle Boy from my head, and you've started it up again!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      24 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting mailbag with great questions, this week also.

      I always respond to questions or greetings by reciprocating, just like you. That's the good culture that we dwell in.

      I admire the questions from Eric and Robert. I think all writers might be doing a little bit of research at least through various means, not necessarily through the internet. And, we as writers try to present a good stuff that is quite worthy to the readers.

      And, your advice to Sarah is great to avoid quagmires.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      How very cool about the video! Best wishes with it, Alyssa!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Louise! I appreciate you finding the time to visit.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon...we are all too busy...and I find that sad. I need to take my own advice and slow the hell down!!!

      Sounds like that kid would have worn me out in about fifteen minutes. Good thing he moved so you could save your sanity. lol

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image


      24 months ago from Ohio

      Wonderful advice this week! And since you asked, it's not writing related, but your mention of the Whitesnake video a few weeks ago, gave me the inspiration to create a new yoga challenge. Thank you so much! I'm pretty excited about it! I hope you are enjoying your summer!

    • louise-barraco profile image

      Louise Barraco 

      24 months ago from Ontario

      You do make an excellent point what I am working on is both of my blogs that is why I haven’t been here much. My fitness blog and my limitless stories are taking up all of my time even when people don’t think it is I am still plugging away and will get where I need to go eventually. This is a great mailbag

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      24 months ago from Texas

      That question of how people are does seem like mere small talk and people attempting to sound polite. In customer service, I see it every day. I don't always respond back because I am usually at the drive thru in a fast food place multi-tasking orders with taking cash. It gets tricky sometimes to keep up with it all and listen to both folks at the same time and make it at least seem like they have my undivided attention. And in general, it doesn't feel like most folks really mean it. The world is moving so fast these day with the technology and all that people hardly take time to interact with strangers anymore in person. Or so it seems to me. And with casual friends, it seems the same. Busy lives and hard to show that we really care. Shoot, sometimes with very dear friends, too. Have to deliberately make the time.

      What am I doing? Practically the same things as last time we talked. LOL. It's always busy around here lately. Working. ..babysitting...attempting to file a court intervention. . . Trying to find time to write and to keep this apartment clean. Obviously cleaning comes first, but ... ugh. That means no time for me most of the time!

      Speaking of babysitting, your first question reminded me of one kid around here I didn't exactly babysit, but he came over to play a lot. He just moved, but he always had me playing 20 questions. The strangest line of questioning, too. You know how with young kids, especially around preschool age, one question triggers an avalanche of more until you are buried in questions before long. LOL. The other day, it went a little like this with two four year olds: Shannon, why do we bleed? Shannon, why do we need blood? How do we stop bleeding. How long will it take for it to go away? Why did the grass cut me? So on and so forth. . . .And then a couple days later: Shannon, why do rats bleed? . .. Yes, he questioned about rats. The kid knows more than most kids his age! He's into dinosaurs and all kinds of animals. He's totally ready for preschool.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes, Pop, exactly! I aim to change that with people I meet.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, they aren't excuses when they are reality. :) I hope you find the time soon. Until then, thanks for finding the time to spend some with me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I can always count on you to put things in clear perspective. Love your comment about slang.

      Busy..glad to hear your house renovation is almost wishes, Mate!


    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Frank! You had me laughing out loud. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at you, Flourish, a woman for all seasons! You are all over the place, busy, happy, challenged...very cool!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A baseball analogy, Eric? That's right in my sweet spot as an old baseball player. I'm looking forward to answering that one, buddy! Thanks!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      24 months ago

      You make an interesting point, bill. Whenever I ask people how they are doing, they keep walking. I get the feeling that they are so used to people saying it and not meaning it that responding seems like a waste of time.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      24 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill!

      Keeping it brief today, but enjoyed today's bag. I wish I had more to report on the writing front, but haven't been actively writing for a few months now. But, hoping to fix that now that my busiest time is over at work. Enough with the excuses! :)

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      24 months ago from SW England

      Yes we have responsibility to ourselves to be the best we can at that moment, or probably during the proof-read of that moment! What's the point in writing if it's not our best?

      I agree with you about slang, apart from a humorous piece perhaps. I think of slang as just an alternative, albeit lazy, word for something rather than an idiom. For example, 'It's an old car' becomes 'It's an old banger'.

      What am I doing? I'm writing a story inspired by a book I'm reading at the moment (from our book club). It's a mixture of an idea that came to me as I looked up from my book onto my just-finished garden yesterday, and my memoirs. It'll probably take years in the making but that depends on how much spare time I need! The house is nearing the completion of its renovation so that might be quite soon - I hope.

      Mondays are for mates; thanks for being one of mine, bill!


    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      24 months ago from Shelton

      Slang.. I really agree and believe your answer and approach to that question...oh wait.. hows your day going... don't answer... I really don't care...LOL... joking was trying to get you to snap.. oh and Eric's question.. he's a know it all... Bill I enjoyed this week's bag... honestly

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      24 months ago from USA

      The question about the name made me think of a neat online tool I ran into the other day. It was a random name generator. Enter the gender and it would generate a name for you and some biographical details you could use (or not). If you didn't like what you got, just give it another go. I thought it would be much better than leaving it to the old imagination that might have unwitting preferences.

      To answer to your question, I'm working on several playlists in parallel, my daughter is graduating from high school, am getting ready for a trip to Peru, and am getting ready to write a collection of ghost stories.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just down right perfect. Like when I pitched and they bunted right at me. Seconds to pick up, miss the runner and throw a down low strike to first base while on the dive.

      Maybe there is love and age that is better. I do not think so.

      Your teach reads your essay and it is 110% grade.

      So the question goes like this; When, in writing do you hit just the right mark? I know that it is inside not outside. That perfect throw and your own pat on the back. You spit on the ground, have raspberries and raise your hand in victory of your own.


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