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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 226

Updated on October 15, 2018

Chili for Dinner Tonight

It’s one of those rituals of fall. The weather turns colder and I start getting a hankerin’ for chili. I don’t much like chili in July, but October it’s my meal of choice. Go figure!

Life is full of those little quirks. I’m full of them. I’m certainly full of something and that’s for sure. My dad would laugh at that; he always said I was full of something for damned sure. My mom said I was full of piss and vinegar. I was never quite certain what that meant, but she always smiled when she said it, so I guess it wasn’t a bad thing.

I’m also full of love, and I suspect both Mom and Dad knew that as well. After all, they taught me all about love, so I figure they knew it. I miss them. They brought comfort to me; they brought wisdom; and they brought love.

And so I pick up their legacy and I try, now, to do all things in love. I fall short at times, but the intent is there and that has to count for something, right? Hey, truth be known, they fell short at times too. We all do. We are human and that means imperfection, and pointing fingers at others is the activity of a fool in my opinion.

So I’m all about love, thank you very much.

Let’s see what the Mailbag has for us today.

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

The Battle Within

From Zulma: “I like the idea of the hero being his own worst enemy, but I'm not sure I understand. It seems like your saying a character flaw can set the protag up for defeat. Can his environment, upbringing, social circle etc. also work against him?”

Zulma, in my mind yes, those can all be the antagonist in a story, as can the inner struggle we all have with good vs bad. I’m reminded of that agonizing novel “Crime and Punishment.” Now, in my opinion, that novel was about five-hundred pages too long but it was, and is, a perfect example of the internal struggles of man.

Actually, my novel “Resurrecting Tobias” was all about that inner struggle. Toby was the embodiment of our better angels doing battle with our darker inhabitants. It is a struggle I think we all have daily…but then I might just be full of it, too. Lol But seriously, doesn’t that make sense? I can even make an argument for a book like “The Old Man and the Sea.” Yes, the huge fish can be seen as the antagonist for eighty-four days, but at its core that book is about the lifelong internal struggles of Santiago.

Or maybe not! Hemingway liked his rum, so maybe that was just a fishing story and nothing more.

A constant battle rages within
A constant battle rages within | Source

It Will All Come out in the Wash

Also From Zulma: 'It will all come out in the wash,' I haven't heard that saying for years. I didn't know what it meant then and I don't know what it means now. Can you explain it to me like I'm five, please.”

Oh God, Zulma, my mother drove me nuts with that saying. Her meaning, and the meaning I have always attributed to that saying, is that over time things will normalize, that things are never as bad as they seem, and to just hang in there and wait for things to improve. Now it just so happens that I believe that to be true, but I’ll be quite happy if I never hear it again.

Oh my God, I’m turning into my mother!!!!!

MULTI-TASKING

From Eric: “So I ask you straight up. When you are doing a chore, even writing for clients, does your mind do a multitask and create an idea. Possibly worth writing about? Probably just a quick answer here would work.”

Eric, I swear to you this is true, my muse never shuts up. I was thinking about this yesterday when I was feeding the chickens. Every day I have to chase the peacocks out of Chicken Town because they love to steal the chicken feed. Actually I’ve trained our dog Maggie to chase them out, and she’s good at it, provided there is a treat for her when she finishes her task. Anyway, I was tossing out the grain on the ground, and thinking about those peacocks. There’s no reason to get mad at them, just as there is no reason to get mad at coyotes when they attempt to kill one of my chickens. They are just doing what they were born to do; there is no malice in their actions, unlike with some people I have known, and that got me to thinking about a possible article.

And that stuff literally happens all the time to me. I see life as some chapter in a book which hasn’t been written yet, and really I think that’s pretty cool. I hope my muse never abandons me, because I kind of like having her around.

A Little Bit of Me, a Little Bit of You

Two From Rinita: 1. “Do you think it is bad to include a little bit of you in whatever you pen down? For example, if I write anything fictional, there is at least one character, not necessarily the protagonist, who shares some of my own characteristics or experiences in life. If you think it is not good, how do you suggest getting over it and not put any part of you in your work?”

Rinita, I don’t think there is anything wrong at all in doing that. I do that all the time in every story or novel I write. I’d be surprised to meet a writer who does not do that, so I would be hard-pressed to tell you how not to do it.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure why anyone would want to eliminate that from their writing. I’m sure there is a reason for not doing it, but I can’t think of it. Just keep doing what you are doing. If you are satisfied with it then that’s all that really matters. First and foremost we must please ourselves with our writings.

2. “This is a lighter question. You answer all of our questions, is there anyone who answers yours?”

Rinita, absolutely no one! LOL I joke a bit. I don’t mean to get all philosophical on you, but life is my teacher. Actually it always has been, but for years I wasn’t receptive to the answers. All of the valuable lessons, and all of the valuable answers that I need, were taught to me long ago. Now all I have to do is recall them and live by them.

And if you were talking about writing questions, I have a small group of trusted writer friends I can always turn to for insight.

Every one of these books has me in them.
Every one of these books has me in them. | Source

And That’s All There Is

It’s foggy this morning as I write this.

I love the fog.

I love the distortion is brings to the norm.

I love the mystery and uncertainty it brings; the perfect metaphor for life in general.

Random thoughts!

Only one real message for you today, and that is to do all things with love as you go about your day. We may not be able to make major changes to this world with a single action of love, but cumulatively, over time, I have to believe we make a difference. “And, in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” Thank you Paul and John!.

Love to you all!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always my pleasure, Dee, and thank you my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 months ago

      I do enjoy a book that portrays the inner struggles of man. One can learn so much from such a story. Thank you for the wisdom shared.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Ziyena...I appreciate your kind words, my friend.

    • ziyena profile image

      Ziyena Brazos 

      7 months ago from Somewhere in Time ...

      I used to get that feeling, and still do ... with the fog in the morning ... always brings to me a good memory of savory aromas - smokey woodsy bacon-like scents coming from the local tannery near Durbin, West Virginia when visiting as a child. Always around Thanksgiving time ... I love your hubs, so quaint with deep thoughts and brutal honesty

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I'm oddly thankful that someone else's mother said that same thing. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, Natalie. Thank you for your thoughts and your beautiful words of support.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      My mother used to say "It'll all come out in the wash" as well. She had a number of favourite sayings, which I find myself using more and more lately. It's a nice way to remember her. Thanks again for sharing your advice and ideas, Bill.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      7 months ago from Chicago, IL

      What a beautiful introduction, Bill. The idea of trying to do things from love is so simple seemingly, yet so few of us focus on this as being our primary emotion. It may be easy when everything is going well and we are surrounded by supportive loving people. But life rarely proceeds without conflict and turmoil and pain. To still try to focus on love in those times, even if not always succeeding, is a remarkable goal. You are an important role model for all those around you whether in person or online. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of maintaining a loving, positive attitude.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, it is always a pleasure having you stop by and comment....nothing is fixed...flow...motion...it is endless, is it not...we are all one...simply fabulous!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, Happy Anniversary! I hope that cruise is everything you want it to be. You've earned a fabulous vacation.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! You are always appreciated here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, I have had that breakfast dish, as a matter of fact, although it has been quite some time...delicious for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora1 It's nice having you behind me for support. We all need the support of loving people.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am having a great week, Heidi, thank you, and I wish the same for you. Listen, I'll just give you a hall pass and then you'll never be punished for being tardy. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      7 months ago from london

      Elizabeth Gilbert speaks like she writes: totally awesome!

      "I see life as some chapter in a book which hasn’t been written yet,"

      I love over 100 individual things that you say, or rather, I identify with them. We believe in self-transcendence … nothing is fixed, finished … all is in flow, motion … today's goal is rather like tomorrow's starting point. So life is in the process of being written, only it's a birthless and deathless journey. How cool is that!

      I would tell Rinita what she already knows -- that personality is the sum total of our character, which is innately ours -- that whatever we are or do in art form, is a projection of our own Consciousness. In fact, it is more likely impossible, not to put ourselves in our actions - whatever form it takes.

      Great or inspirational ending. Continue, my friend, continue ...

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I don't think anyone has ever asked that question before, so thank you...and German salami in chili sounds heavenly, thank you very much! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M....wishing you love and Happiness as well, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! You do the same!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, you are correct, this is a beautiful little community we have here, and I love it! As for the weather, what can I say? We broke heat records yesterday. It was 80 at the ocean; it's never 80 in the summer at our ocean beaches.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      You must've been reading my mind as chili is on the menu for tonight! Thanks for another insightful glimpse into your thought processes and of best writing practices in this week's mailbag. I agree that writers use their own experiences to create different characters. Who else would we know as well?

      Saturday, we're headed off for our first cruise to celebrate our 30 years together. I keep singing the theme from the Love Boat in my head. Love.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      Chili and chilly weather go hand in hand, my friend. That time of the year is back again here as well. Informative mailbag as always and it's always a pleasure reading it. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All better indeed, MizB!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, Shannon and I...we both are laughing at your comment. You are just too funny, my friend. Thank you for brightening my Tuesday, as always. Have a brilliant week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am very happy to hear that, Emese. Thanks for telling me that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I sure am, Rodric! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that question, Rodric. I'll have an answer for you soon..sorry about #224 missing...my bad!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 months ago from Houston, Texas

      "Love, Love, Love"...now I have that Beatles song in my head thanks to reading this. Nice! I love the old sayings and homespun memories you incorporated into this mailbag. It reminds me of earlier times.

      Our high temperatures dropped about 40 degrees in one day down here in Texas. It is definitely time for some good chili. Have you ever eaten chili over scrambled eggs topped with a little shredded cheese? That is a favorite way my husband likes to have it for a late breakfast occasionally. I add some pickled jalapenos over the top on mine.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations on your recent birthday! Following close behind and it's great having you in front. I admire you; you inspire me.

      You reveal so much of yourself in your mailbag answers and I learn everytime. Thank you.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 months ago from Chicago Area

      Good thing I'm not in your school class, Mr. Holland, 'cause I'd be getting tardy notices a lot lately. Late to the Mailbag again this week!

      Re: Chatty and Inconvenient Muses. So helpful and so annoying at the same time! I get ideas, too, when it's usually not easy to record them. Middle of night (I try to write down the idea in the dark), while I'm driving (thank God for stoplights), walking the dog (forget it!). Oh well, I'm going to hope that the most viable ideas will stick with me for when I can get my muse out of my head and onto paper, my idea recorder of choice.

      Hope you're having a great week! Cheers!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes we do, Flourish! Indeed we do!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chitrangada Sharan, and thank you for the kindness on Manatita's Hub....your kindness is greatly appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not necessary, Sha, but thank you...thank you so much for your kind words on Manatita's Hub...it brought tears to my eyes, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Totally agree with you, John! Not the same appeal at all, I'm afraid. Thank you for your kind words on Manatita's post about me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You might be in for a long wait, but thank you, Clive.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, I can especially relate to the extremes. I am very similar. I am fine with not speaking at all, but if I do speak, it will not be with embellishment. The truth or silence for this boy.

      Peace be with you always, my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill, it's me again.

      I can't remember if I asked you this before but how do you mark time in your novels. Years ago, I entered a mini-saga competition. One of the judges said that there was no indication of time passing in the piece. I thought it was a ridiculous comment considering you were limited to 30 words. How much time did she think was going to pass in such a short tale. I couldn't ask her to elaborate as she didn't show up when it came time to announce the winners. Perhaps, you could explain how I could have accomplished this?

      By the way, I forgot to mention that my husband also adds small chunks of German salami to the chili. That's my favourite part. So yum.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A wonderful mailbag like always. Some unique questions and great answers.

      I like that thought of the day "cumulatively..., we make a difference" even though we can't change anything suddenly or with our single actions. So, let us keep spreading that love.

      Wish you all the happiness and love in each moment of your life.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      7 months ago from Ohio

      Autumn came so quickly... and chili does sound amazing! Another wonderful installment. Have a great week! :)

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      7 months ago from Texas

      Hi, Bill. MzB just made me laugh. And all these comments about weather are kinda neat. You've certainly created a little community all your own in the mail room here. That says quite a bit about your capacity for love.

      As for weather here, cold. Can't you take it back up north? It's 40 degrees colder today than it was yesterday and it's been raining so many days in a row that the ground can't handle anymore. Oh, did I mention the tornado warning that caught us off guard the other day? Crazy weather. This is Texas, though. It will probably be 90 again before winter is here to stay.

      About the voice question, I think a part of our own voice is in everything we right even if we write about something we don't believe ourselves. As in something from a character's point of view or someone else's point of view.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, my muse just kicked my rump and told me to correct something I said in my post. He said to use the phrase "affectionately joking way of saying" not a "crude way of saying." That makes it better now.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill, I'll give you an answer today about a question you didn't ask. You just said you didn't know what it means. "Piss and vinegar" is a crude way of saying "pep and vigor". Now I'm not saying your mom was crude because my mom used to tell us kids that, and my mom was anything but crude. It was just a popular expression of the day.

      I may have misunderstood Rinita's question about including a little bit of yourself in your stories, but I thought we all did that as part of our "voice". Did she mean it more literally? There's no greater compliment to a writer than someone saying "you've found your voice."

      BTW, I had an ESL who claims to be a Shakespearean scholar get on to me for using the word "sounded" when I said he "frequently sounded angry" in his writing because he misunderstood my meaning. I meant the "voice" he used in his writing.

      The tail end of Hurricane Michael reached Arkansas. At least the rain did and we have flash flooding. Now we've got your cold snap. It was 47 this morning. That's an average winter temperature for us, so I guess no autumn again. Bleah. Have a good week, my friend.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      Emese Fromm 

      7 months ago from The Desert

      Sometimes I get the most mundane inspirations from you, Bill. I'm making chili for tonight. Everyone in the house likes it, and it is finally cool down enough here to make it. Seriously, thanks for another great mailbag, I needed to hear it, especially the message from the end. It's easy to get discouraged at times when you feel like you keep giving and giving and trying your best but making no difference... but I believe what you said to be true, and your reminder came at the right time. Thank you for that :)

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      P.S. I admit that I know nothing about the phrase piss and vinegar. I looked up the usage and it is mostly associated with an overabundance of youthful energy. I am not full of it.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Your parents' legacy rides safely with you. Love is the thought on my mind now. Not to preach, only to share, I learned in church two Sundays ago that to be a true follower of Christ means to love EVERYBODY. I am not quite there. I always knew that, but it struck me tolling in my soul. I have spent the last week purposely treating my family the way I want to be treated and it feels good. I get angry less, there is less misunderstanding, there is more clarity.

      I have a few teens who are full of piss and vinegar, which I understand as angst and something to prove. I don't think it is bad, just normal teen life. I think I am still full of piss and vinegar!

      That is why love is a healthy addition to all the bitterness of vinegar and contests involving the pissing. I think you just inspired an article out of me with this.

      Anyway, if I have a muse, but I wonder about it. I have heard people say that their stories write themselves. You have said it. I keep trying to see that in the way I write, but it is not there. I agreed in the past trying to fit in with other writers, but honesty prevails today.

      Every story I write I have to work hard to make it come together. I worked hard to develop the characters and the setting. Drawing from my own experiences and that of others, my stories form with great effort.

      My question is, is it okay to use another person's writing as your muse? Does it mean that I am not a natural writer if I don't have that writing-it-self-story experience?

      Like today, your reference to piss and vinegar gave me an idea for a story. Even your experience of peacocks swiping the chicken fed gave me an idea for a story. Is that muse? My apologies for the length of this. I am still behind on my mailbags because I was looking for 224. I will get over it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pamela, stories like that one of that woman, just amaze me. Makes it very easy for me to smile today.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I am following your Brexit struggles with interest. I'm a history nut so that is right up my alley.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      We leave traces of ourselves like breadcrumbs everywhere we go, in our writing and everywhere else.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill and thanks for sharing another wonderful mailbag.

      The question by Rinita is relatable and I agree with your answer. There is always a little bit of me and a little bit of others, whom I observe, in my writings.

      Important takeaways from today’s installment, ‘We May not be able to make major changes in the World......we make a difference.’

      And, ‘We are human and that means imperfection......’

      Thank You and good day to you!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I love your message for today. I met a woman that was smiling today, and she has stage 4 cancer. She told me she was stable right now and she was living her life until "the good Lord decides to take me".

      I think acts of kindness are so important to our own daily happiness and satisfaction in life. This was another good mailbag article.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 months ago from Central Florida

      Excellent wrap to Mailbag #226, Bill.

      Frankly, I don't know if I'd be able to NOT put something of myself in my writing, especially creative writing. Our minds and souls give our words a voice and that voice lives deep within us. I'm not sure I'm making sense, here, but I have a feeling you know exactly what I mean.

      Happy belated birthday, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shaloo...sorry about your stressful day...hoping for a relaxing evening for you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Coffee and cocoa powder, Zulma? Well hell, why not, right? If it works it works, and I for one would definitely try it. You are right about stew....rarely if ever leftovers. It is true comfort food, my friend.

      Wishing for you a fabulous week in the UK.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      I could do with keeping a list of your advice for writers. Your mailbag never fails to educate and inspire. In the UK I am currently hoping that the Brexit business will "all come out in the wash"!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      7 months ago from India

      Loved the concluding lines... exactly what I needed to hear after a stressful day... thanks!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This particular Mailbag just had a “feel good” atmosphere about it..is atmosphere even the right word lol? Maybe your mention of fog effected me. The best part about the colder months is the warm comforting foods like stews, soups, chilli, curries etc. Here in Aus it is warming up so we are having more salads and things like that...and they certainly don’t hold the same appeal to me except maybe to help me lose a few pounds. Cheers, Bill.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      7 months ago from Jamaica

      Billy Buck...More appreciated mailbags for young or seasoned authors.. Great for an eBook. Looking forward to see all of them publish on Amazon.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not "might be" for me, Mike. I insist on pushing my way into every story and book I write. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Truthfully, Melissa, there is no way I'm waking up fully to jot down ideas. My muse will just have to keep better hours. :) Happy Workweek to you, my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rinita, if you believe in the power of love, you will be my friend for life. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will indeed, Linda, and I wish the same to you. Thanks again for the lovely tribute on Manatita's hub. It made my day.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "I don’t much like chili in July, but October it’s my meal of choice." - Do You live close to Mr. Eric? I hear his wife makes a good green chili soup. Haha!! : )

      "We are human and that means imperfection" - One of my philosophy professors in university used to say that: "Humans have clay feet." We often stumble.

      'It will all come out in the wash,' - I don't mean to argue with your mom but I often put some stains on my clothes that never come off. My grandma used to tell me as a kid that she could see my menu from that day, on my shirts.

      "I’m sure there is a reason for not doing it, but I can’t think of it" - The reason I do not do it is because I feel that I'd be making things-up, while inserting little truths about myself. I am a creature of extremes: I will speak the truth, with no inventions, or nothing at all.

      "All of the valuable lessons, and all of the valuable answers that I need, were taught to me long ago" - I certainly do not have your experience but I feel the same way. I often say that I have made so many mistakes in my life, that there aren't many left that I can make.

      "I love the fog." - Me too!! It's natural camuflage. Love it!! : )

      Thanks again for your writing and all the best to You and la Familia!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 months ago from United Kingdom

      I get what you mean about chili. Some foods are just better at certain times of the year. Now that it's getting colder, we're craving beef stew. I love making stew because it isn't just warm and heartening, it's great for using up veggies that are laying around. Chili is also a favourite at this time of year. That's my husband's specialty. He makes it off the top of his head and is always changing the recipe. The last batch included coffee and cocoa powder. Weird, I know, but damn it that wasn't good chili. lol Now matter how much chili and stew we make, there are seldom any leftovers.

      Thanks for explaining you Mom's old saying. She sounds like a dear and if you're turning into her, is that a bad thing?

      Have a great week, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Theresa..it was lovely to have you visit before doing battle. lol Best wishes in the week ahead.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, it may not be your calling...or it may be...you will find the answer, and that answer will be the right one for you. Of this I am certain. Peace be with you, my friend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Good morning Bill - Cold, overcast day in S. California, but no fog. Your parents taught you a lot. They can't have hoped for more than that. As for putting ourselves in our writing, it might be impossible to 'write us out.'

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      7 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! As I was reading this mailbag, I was struck by how often I get an idea while I'm lying in bed, promising that I'll get up and write it down...then I can't remember the brilliant idea a few hours later. I know I should have a notebook or my phone next to the bed...I just love my sleep so much, lol.

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      7 months ago

      Your answer to my first question was a huge comfort, so thank you for that, Bill. It is good to know everyone does the same. As to your response to my second question, it was great knowing you have a network of trusted writer friends, and of course, at your age, life would have taught you the most.

      Loved the mailbag today, more so because it was centered around love, the only emotion that matters.

      Have a great week, Bill.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      A good morning to you my dear friend. Another great mailbag, full of good-natured humor and certainly love. Thank you for loving the world enough to answer our questions. Some are deep, and some are trivial or silly but you patiently answer each one.

      I hope you have a wonderful week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, my friend, thank you! I'm sorry I couldn't take part in your challenge. I used to love those challenges we all played around with. Sigh! As for your question oh my, yes....more on that next Monday.

      Wishing you a muse-filled Monday! Watch out for that fog.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It truly is my pleasure, Verlie, but thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Fabric softener, Eric, that's the key ingredient. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A perfect comment, Janine, to start my day with. Thank you for inspiring me. Now I need to turn on Sgt Pepper's

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      7 months ago from Canada

      So much to ponder in your Monday mailbag Bill. Thanks for providing such a wide open forum for writers' questions. And thanks for the love!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Lovely read this morning just before I head out the door to do battle with, I mean educate and encourage the students in my classes. Thankfully, I actually love what I do (as do you) 95% of the time. P.S. I love that you trained the dog to shoo the peacocks out - totally agree that there is never a reason to be angry with any animal for doing what is in it's nature to do. Blessings!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Most times, my mind is full of many things that I just can't sit down and write as I get overwhelmed so I try to look for distractions, little things I can do. I do several things at the same time. We just moved back to the city so we're just settling down. I always have reasons for not doing something that I question myself if I really want to be a serious writer. I love to but maybe, it is not really my calling. Anyway, thanks again for the reminder to do everything with love. At my age, I am only learning this.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Well I came early today. And this was really fine I hope none of it will come out in the wash. Be back later.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 months ago from SW England

      How do you make every mailbag as fresh as the first, bill? Amazing!

      My muse gets in the way all the time. I'm trying to concentrate on one thing and 'pop!' up comes an idea on a tangent; by the time I've finished jotting down all the 'extras' I'm exhausted and hard-pushed to get back to the original!

      Fog is great, as long as I'm not driving, as then I am totally lost! Isn't it strange how the lack of familiar landmarks and clues of orientation makes such a difference? Philosophically, I suppose life is like that too; we lose track of that which anchors us and... off we go!

      On a tangent to that, have you ever gone off-track when writing and come up with a completely different and better story than the one you started?

      Mondays are for musing, mentoring and making mischief! Just a bit skittish today, bill.

      Ann

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 months ago from New York, New York

      OK, I am literally listening to Abbey Road right now as I type this. So the line at the end of your post today couldn't be more timely or appro for me. By the way, I actually watched to Paul McCartney live last Sunday night in Austin on Facebook Live. So, since then I have not stopped streaming The Beatles once again while working during the day. Seriously John and Paul just knew, as did your parents. Therefore, I do believe that the line in "The End" sums it up perfectly, my friend. Happy Monday now :)

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