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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 222

Updated on September 24, 2018

Childhood and Old Age Merge

I know, a weird subheading for the Mailbag, but I was thinking about it this morning. As I grow older, I seem to be in-tune with the wonders of life, much more so than I was in my twenties, thirties, forties, well, you know. I’ll see a spider’s web, sun shining on it from behind, and I’ll stop what I’m doing to share in the wonder of it all. I’ll spend time watching squirrels as they scamper about getting ready for winter. It is a pure pleasure to gently stroke a horse’s mane, or to simply lay down under a deciduous tree and imagine I can actually see the leaves changing colors before my eyes.

The wonder of it all, something like a small child must see, the first time, in awe of the mysteries of life, absolutely blown away by it all, every trip outside, on shaky legs, without the support of mother, taking it all in, absorbing it, becoming one with the majesty of it all . . . so very cool!

So I’m going to finish writing this Mailbag and then go out to the farm and take it all in again because, well, you just never know, ya know?

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room! | Source

Grammar Question

From Mary: “I have a very basic grammar question for you that I just can't seem to get a grasp of. I use the word 'which' when I should use the word 'that'. When I update my articles, I noticed I do this often. Can you refresh this tired old mind of mine?”

Okay, Mary, here’s an easy way to remember this grammar rule. It may not be all-encompassing, but it will handle most times when you are confused about “that” and “which.”

Here's an easy way to remember the difference between that and which: If removing the words that follow would change the meaning of the sentence, use "that." Otherwise, "which" is fine. Some people will argue that the rules are more complex and flexible than this, but I like to make things as simple as possible, so I say that you use that before a restrictive clause and which before everything else.

Example . .. dogs that bark frighten me . . . . . . . . . . and . . .dogs, which have very unique personalities, are a joy for me.

I think that’s reasonably clear, isn’t it?

Minimizing Words Used

From Ann: “I'm giving myself an exercise (in an article) as to how to edit, to get words down to a minimum in a given text. How would you tackle that, after your first draft?”

Well shoot, Ann, why don’t you ask something a little bit simpler?

I’m going to give you a few tips that will help. These tips are certainly not all-encompassing, but they will get you started. I am going to add a qualifier, however, in stating that there are times, in creative writing, when wordiness works. It has to do, as you know, with flow and mood and voice, so not all useless words are useless, if you get my point.

Having said that, here’s what I would begin with:

How can unnecessary words or phrases be eliminated? My friend at “Total Grammar” offers these suggestions:

  • Revise redundant phrases, synonymous terms, and unnecessary word pairs.
    • Quickly speeding (speeding implies quickness)
    • Young teenage mothers (young and teenage are synonyms)
    • Financial cost (financial and cost both imply money)
  • Revise redundant terms in order to be more efficient.
    • Redundant: Young adults should self-assess their situation before making a big, life-changing decision.
    • Revised: Young adults should assess their situation before making a major decision.
  • Remove redundant adjectives and adverbs; use only those that contribute to the intended message.
    • Overuse of adjectives: The large, angry, noisy crowd stormed the Capital building.
    • Revised: The mob stormed the Capital building.
    • Overuse of adverbs: She carefully and quietly walked through the room.
    • Revised: She crept through the room.
  • Remove redundant modifiers; overuse clutters the writing and distracts the reader.
    • Overuse of modifiers: The business capitalists, who focus on domestic interests, only really invest in American groups.
    • Revised: The business capitalists rarely invest in international groups.

I hope that helps, Ann!

Flush the useless!
Flush the useless!

Bestsellers Designation

From Mr. Happy: “Ohh, I remembered my question from the other week. I was in a subway, once again and I saw an advertising for some mystery/suspense type of novel and the advertising said in big letters: "Bestseller". I was wondering how do these ten dollar novels sold at gas-stations make the "Bestseller" list? Or, can anyone put "Bestseller" on their cover? For me, these are the types of books I would probably use at the cottage to start the fire (page by page), if someone else bought them and left them there.”

Although you had me laughing, Happy, it is a valid question, one I’ve asked myself from time to time. It was actually pretty interesting, doing the research on this one, so here’s what I found out.

There are quite a few “bestseller” lists, and most of them use different criteria in the compilation. The New York Times Bestseller list is the most famous, but it is also very flawed. First of all, it is not based on actual sales, but rather upon expected sales. Publishers are asked by the NY Times for a list of books which are expected to do well. That’s a big difference from actually doing well. The other problem with the NY Times list is it does not count digital sales. Since digital sales make up approximately 40% of all book sales, that seems like a rather sizeable omission, don’t you think?

The USA Today list does count digital sales but it, too, is limited in scope and does not count sales at independent book stores.

What’s the bottom line? Having “bestseller” on the cover of your book is great for sales, but let the buyer beware.

Great question, my friend!

Hiding Behind the Written Word

From Eric: “The other day you said you would rather not be out meeting and greeting people. That you are shy to an extent. Quite bluntly and perhaps rudely I ask; Do you hide behind the written word?”

How dare you accuse me of hiding, Eric!!!!! LOL

YES!

Is that what you wanted from me, buddy?

Seriously I think most writers, to a certain degree, hide behind the written word. Maybe “hide” isn’t the word I would use, but I understand what you are saying. There is no doubt I am much more loquacious when writing than I am in person. Without a doubt I am freer, and more willing, to share my thoughts about certain topics through writing. Is that hiding? Maybe . . . maybe not . . . but I think the spirit of your question is accurate.

Having said that, there have been times when I’ve written about certain topics, like my alcoholism, which in no way can be considered hiding. Just admitting to thousands of people on HP, and probably millions of people on the web, that I am a recovering alcoholic . . . that’s one weird way to hide! I would have to be a masochist if I considered a revelation like that to be hiding.

So I get what you are saying, but . . .

Looking for the wonder of it all!
Looking for the wonder of it all!

Now Back to Nature

I write this on Friday, and Friday is always a short writing day for me, so I’m going to shut down the computer and go out to the farm. There are a number of chores I need to finish before the fall rains begin and besides, I just want to sit in wonder some more, with my dog by my side, and be a little kid again.

Maybe someday you’ll be in my area and you can join me.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Your method has always worked for me, Lawrence! Thank you sir!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      This was interesting, I'm one who just tries to write what feels natural to say (I think you mentioned that in one of the mailbags)

      I think I'd say, "keep editing until it feels natural" but then again thats just me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Rajan! I look forward to many more years of the Mailbag.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      I really relish these questions and answers and look forward to your mailbag each week. Thank you so much, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's good to have you back among us, Devika! Thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have written several mailbags and with each a lesson learned. Informative for every writer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There are no conditions to apply. You are a writer and you are here....thus you are a member. :) Thank you for your kind words, my new friend.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      2 months ago

      Thank you Bill for including me. I am happy to join. What are the conditions that apply? I am sure your followers who drop you e-mails are pleased with your answers. I would too. No wonder you were voted Most Helpful Hubber. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Li-Jen, you are now a contributing member of our society here in the Mail Room, and we are happy you are here. Thank you my new friend!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      2 months ago

      Hey Bill. You're a funny person. Enjoyed reading your article. I have wanted to know how to be concise and straightforward instead of being long-winded and you were helpful..I didn't have to google for help. Cool topics too. Its admirable that you were able to do research on what constitutes Bestseller. Fun dialogues by the Hubbers as well. Eric's question haha. It seems that it can't be measured to what extent we show our true selves in writing and in real life..that depends, I guess. Good that you are sharing your discussions with them. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think, Mary, that sounds like a marvelous way to spend a few minutes. :) Thank you and wishing you a spectacular weekend as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like you analysis of that, Natalie. Oddly I am fairly comfortable speaking in front of groups...for an introvert I am a bit of an anomaly I suppose...but I agree with what you have written here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It truly is, Linda! You would know about that as a lover of science.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Selena, thank you! I really appreciate that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think, Eric, it is perfectly normal and natural to get pumped down to write about a bummer...I would do the same, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a common problem among writers, Rodric. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that the story is the most important goal and purpose.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag with some useful information Bill. Sorry I was late for the party once again.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for answering my question, I will now pause and think about it. What can I say, old habits are hard to break.

      I too spend time in childlike wonderment. Just yesterday while waiting for a friend at the bank, I stood and watched a large yellow swallowtail butterfly as it visited every flower in the bank's tiny patch of greenery.

      Interesting mailbag, once again.

      Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I am skeptical by nature, I think. I just know there are corporations who have nothing better to do but affect the market and our buying habits, and they will stop at nothing to do those two things....why not put bestseller on a book? just because it may not be a bestseller is no reason to deviate from the plan! So sad!

      Enjoy your Thursday, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, I love the relationship you have with your son....never los that desire to share extraordinary moments with him. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 months ago from United Kingdom

      How very interesting. So I shouldn't take bestseller lists as gospel, just with a grain of salt. Good to know, Bill, thanks.

      I hoped you enjoyed your day at the farm. (so jealous) :)

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      I also stop and enjoy nature... I think it's partly age, a mindset of gratitude, and just being a mom and trying to experience the little extraordinary moments with my son. (For example, we love wildlife and name all our little creatures, from the squirrels and woodchucks to the spiders and grasshoppers. haha!) Another excellent mailbag. I'm always excited to see what questions you are going to address. This week was particularly helpful. I think I'm too wordy at times and I could probably shave my writing down. I just love words and sometimes have a hard time making edits. Have a great week!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      2 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Bill - you live such a wonderful life. The comment about finishing the mailbag and then going out to the farm to appreciate nature just set such a beautiful image in my mind. The question about hiding behind the written word made me think. I am so much more comfortable writing especially something formal than speaking, such as in front of a group or at a gathering even with people I know. With writing you always have the chance to edit what you have written and create it for maximum effect. You don't get this opportunity in real life. The more I get involved in writing communities the more I find that a lot of writers are introverts. I am definitely one to the point of having social anxiety. I have met many others with similar dispositions. But instead of hiding I think perhaps putting ourselves into writing is a coping strategy. It may be a way some for those of us who are introverts or socially anxious can adaptively and effectively interact, communicate and engage with the world around us. Thanks for a thought provoking Mailbag.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your description of the wonders of life, Bill. It certainly is wonderful to observe and whenever possible to interact with nature.

    • selena gomith profile image

      selena gomith 

      2 months ago

      bill! your mailbag was inspiring.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I got a chortle over that which gives us pause. (I hope you caught that Lol) They say that wealth is wasted on the old. Well after having young ones in my twenties and now one in my sixties, children are wasted on the young. Sharing my young ones amazement with the world is the finest gift I have ever had.

      And then I found myself reading each comment and response as though they are all gems and they are if I slow down to take them in.

      You may be a gardener of plants, but even more so of writers.

      Yesterday I found myself getting pumped down to write. I mean I was writing about a bummer and so I found myself getting prepped by getting depressed. Really weird I think. What do you think?

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This was an informative and thought-provoking article. I wonder if I will notice the true things in life as you do Bill when I become a sage. Spider webs and dancing squirrels are so common that my generation tends to forget they exist. Nature is truth. It is simple and beautiful. I forget that when I have so much CGI to tantalize my eyes.

      I too and working on using less words so that I can tell more story. Reading a few of my older articles I notice that I spend so little time talking about the story. My filler words are a story to themselves. Wowing people with how I can turn a word does nothing for the story in most of my writing. There are times where it matters, I suppose.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell...I don't know that old writer's joke...now I feel left out! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always my pleasure, Dora! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, regarding your 6th grandchild....very cool indeed, my friend....cherishing moments like that for sure....thank you for sharing that, my friend. Go back to your singing.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rinita! I always appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do as well, John, and I suspect I always will. Thank you sir!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 months ago from England

      I did smile at the 'cutting down the sentences' thing. It reminded me of the old writers joke 'the fish swims.'! we were taught that many years ago at writing/authors group. Its an example of how to cut a huge sentence down to its minimum. Great advice as always Bill.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thoroughly appreciate the grammar lessons. The reminders are necessary.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi! I think it is all ridiculous and meaningless. Like you, I would be embarrassed to play that game.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've known the same type of people, Flourish. I think you find quite a few of them in the corporate world.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB! The old school teacher never dies. He's just hanging around in the shadows waiting to be called upon.

      Glorious weather here, high sixties and no rain. Perfect for this boy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad that helped, Bill! Thanks as always for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It was a good day of painting on the farm, Pamela. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, William. You can thank the nuns who taught me for that lesson in grammar.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 months ago from SW England

      Great intro and as for seeing the wonder of things through a child's eyes, my 6th grandchild was born on Sunday and I was singing to him just now; he remained perfectly still and just looked at me, the first time he has done that! He looked a bit puzzled but there was wonder there too. How cool is that!

      Thanks for answering my question. Your answer reads remarkably like my own text so far so I'm pleased, but you're going to think I've cribbed it from you!

      Have a Tuesday full of child-like wonder!

      Ann

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 months ago

      Loved your introduction and conclusion, Bill. All the topics were useful this week, Ann's topic a bit more to me. I face this issue writing for clients, a related question I have already asked before. This one really helps. As to hiding behind the written word, yes, I think we all do. Thank you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, Bill, I agree with your observation that as we get older we seem to appreciate the things around us more. Small things we just took for granted before now seem to fill us with wonder at their creation once more. Wonderful questions and answers as well. I readily admit to hiding behind the written word. I communicate much better in writing than verbally. Good job.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday (it is still Monday)!

      Re: Which versus That. Confession: This one still stumps me, too. I have to think about it every time. And we use the terms reflexively in our daily conversation, making it worse. Oh well, I'm not alone.

      Re: Best Sellers (the initials of which create the perfect acronym for it). I am going to spare you the best seller soapbox. You know where I stand on this nonsense. The NYT list is the most difficult to game, its compilation still clouded in mystery on purpose. And the Amazon "best seller" designation is a joke. I have never promoted any of my books as best sellers on Amazon (even though a few qualified for a short time). I'd be embarrassed to even claim it. Then there are the "book launch teams" that game the reviews, often to get the best seller status. Okay, I'm getting too annoyed just thinking about this stuff. I better stop.

      Enjoy your nature time and have a great week!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      I loved the question and answer about hiding behind the written word. I used to work in HR and Compliance, working closely with lawyers and yes there are many people who hide behind the written word or use the written word as a weapon!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, you did a great job with the mailbag today. The old schoolteacher in you came out with your explanations of when to use that or which and how to pare down wordiness. I loved your example of using "crept", a word "that" I rarely ever use. Mr. Happy's question is one that I've wondered about for years. I see "Bestseller" in the advertising for obscurity books all the time. Thanks for clarifying that.

      Temps in the 60s and rain. Fall is here for sure. Woo Hoo! Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. The question about removing unnecessary words hits home with me. Definitely something I have to be aware of. Another great week for the mailbag. Have a wonderful week.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I hope you have had a happy Monday on the farm. Your tips were informative and entertaining. Thanks for the information.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well, it's official. Another Monday has arrived. The mail is here. I just wanted to say thank you for your explanation of when to use that or which. Yours is a whole lot easier to apply than some of the explanations I've read. As always, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa! They are a crutch for every writer, Melissa, one we learn to do without as time goes by....but I doubt we will ever be free of them lol

      Enjoy your week, Melissa!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your observations, Venkatachari M. Love looking at the world through your eyes, my friend.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Thank you for another timely mail bag. I've recently noticed a pattern in my own writing...too many adjectives and adverbs. I know there are times when they are necessary, but often they are more of a crutch for me.

      Happy Fall! Enjoy the beautiful season!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I am with you, Bill, in enjoying the nature. I also keep watching some of those childish miracles of the nature like the flying birds over there in the sky above in front of my balcony, the setting sun and the white clouds that turn their colors along with the shades of the sun. Sometimes I watch the trees around there enjoying their beauty and even the clogged cables and wires that crowd the lamp posts over the street. There many things to watch when you are relaxed. (But, miss the sunrise as the walls of other flats hide the east side.)

      The grammar question and the one about minimization of words are very useful tips provided by you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nikki, it is wonderful to have you back among us. You have been missed, and I look forward to more articles from you soon.

      Blessings always

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary....yes, there is much to celebrate, my friend. Let us do exactly that this week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be a lovely day indeed, Manatita. I can always find room under a tree for that conversation, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Liz!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      2 months ago from London

      Hi Bill, my friend hope you’re doing great as well as your inspiring mailbag, been just off the road for sometime to find out if writing is ma passion to go with or I can escape it?

      But nobody can hide from his or her thoughts, so here I’m back again to make more thoughtful articles and some more stories to come.

      Your tips are great to follow in this mailbag as always.

      Take good care of yourself and your wife,

      many Blessings!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Many times I feel at our age that we are going back to our childhood days, the excitement of what life brings and the inability to do things for one’s self. Still, there is still so much to celebrate. Thanks, too, for the suggestions on the use of appropriate words, a word for several is powerful.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Somehow I find this one cute, more charming ... a read as comfortable and reassuring as your musings with the dog. Some day I'll join you, perhaps. Have a great Monday.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      I wouldn't miss your articles when I get an alert. I never fail to learn something new from them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Liz. Thanks for stopping by so regularly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I'm with you on that phone conversation topic. I absolutely shun the use of phone conversations. I am always misunderstood on the phone, and it is almost always my fault. I would much rather write a message....just one more reason for me to like you. :)

      I am going to do exactly what you suggested in about three hours from now. I hope you enjoy the last remaining sunshine as well.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      As ever a very useful hub for all aspiring writers. I shall be paying more attention to my use of 'which' and 'that' from now on. I have also been a little dubious of the 'bestseller' desription of some books. Thanks for shedding some light on it.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, thank you for reminding all of us that we have permission to stop and admire nature once in a while. Too many of us live at such a frantic pace.

      I have read a few "best sellers" by new authors who should have heeded your advice on wordiness. Why use one adjective when 3 or 4 (or more) will pump up the word count? Sheesh!

      As for hiding behind the written word, I find it easier (and preferable) to write to someone rather than talk on the phone. In writing, you have an opportunity to revise and refine your words. In a one-on-one conversation I sometimes find myself fumbling around for the exact word, or recalling a bit of information, etc. Is that hiding, or not wearing thin the patience of the poor soul who has to put up with me?

      I hope you have a great week my friend, and enjoy the heck out of that farm.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Big wheels keep on turning . . . Proud Mary, Mike! LOL Thanks my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Happy! Unfortunately, in most cases, this is simply a marketing ploy to sell more books. Sad but true, my friend.

      Peace always!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Good morning Bill - 22 weeks have passed since the enormous goal of 200. The wheels keep on turning and there are chickens to feed.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Well, thank You kindly for answering my question. I think I always had that question at the back of my head. It is quite aweful in my opinion that one can put "besseller" on their cover, even if the book is not a bestseller.

      Initially, as an uninformed creature, I thought that "bestseller" is perhaps put on at a second printing. Say, the first print sold millions then, on a second print we can put: "bestseller". Otherwise, it's all about deceiving people, or "marketing" as some call it. Haha!!

      Alrighty, thank You again for taking the time to answer my question. All ther best!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Janine, I do understand about life getting in the way. So very true, my friend.

      Wishing you a fantastic week, Janine! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Verlie! I wish the same for you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, great story about the spider's web. I have watched many of them take shape and do their thing...very cool show for free!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I love that as you are getting older, you are taking all in around you. While I do try my best, life sometimes has a way of getting in the way. Crazy as it may sound, but just true. That said thanks for the reminder here at the very least and now wishing you a very, Happy Monday :)

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Good morning Bill, great mailbag, so much to glean here. Hope you have a 'wonderful' day.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 months ago from Texas

      You are right on point there with the child-like wonder. It's hard not to marvel at nature. You made me laugh with their spider web comment because I had a coworker apologize to me for taking too long in the bathroom.... But she happened to see a spider catch a bug and watched him eat it. Everyone else wanted to know if she killed the spider. Lucky for him, she was too fascinated to kill him. I do the same thing, though. Perhaps there are some things of childhood we would all do well to retain.

      As for the mailbag questions, I gravitate toward the one on wordiness this week. Because, well, I can often be a little too verbose, mostly in written communication. LOL

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