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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 230

Updated on November 12, 2018

The Holidays Are Coming, the Holidays Are Coming!

I’m not as excited as that subheading makes it appear. In truth, I’m not a big fan of the holiday season. My approach to the holidays is to grab hold of my butt, tightly, and ride it all out for six weeks.

There are a variety of reasons for this dark approach to what should be a happy time, and most of them are related to psychological and emotional stimuli from the past. No matter how hard we may try, it is practically impossible to run away from the past, or so I’ve found.

Growing up I loved the holidays. It was a magical time of year and my fairy tale childhood embraced that magic. But my dad died when I was twenty, during the holidays, and his death seemed to swallow up the joy of that time in following years. Then you can toss in my alcoholism, and how it affected holidays, and guilt, and sadness, and my entire family then dying, and on and on and on we go.

So I do the best I can from mid-November to the first of the year. Luckily Bev is very understanding and loving. We made a deal years back where I do as much as I can to support her happy holiday time with her kids, and she gives me the space I need to just make it through another season. It works for us and that’s all that’s important.

So let’s get started on this week’s questions, shall we?

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room!

CHALLENGES

From Shannon: “So....buddy, ol' pal....I believe it's been a couple years since you issued a challenge, judging by the date on the one I did for your last challenge. Think you'll do another one any time soon?”

Shannon, this is an easy question to answer: NO! I really would love to do that. I happen to love challenges, issuing them and taking part in those issued by others, but I have to prioritize if I’m ever going to publish another novel, and dropping challenges was part of that prioritization I’m afraid.

My HP friend Ann has issued some dandies of late, as I’m sure you know, so I’ll let her be the torch-bearer on the challenge front.

That and Which

From Linda: “Here's a simple question with perhaps not so easy an answer. Are the words "that" and "which" interchangeable, and if not, what is the rule?”

Shame on you, Linda! I answered this question five weeks ago. And where were you, young lady? LOL I’m teasing you and I’m sure you know that. I would be very happy to answer this question once more because it is a question many, many writers need a refresher on.

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.

Wordpress Blogs

From Lori: “Hi Bill, I notice your blog is with Wordpress. I very much want to do the same and started but I found it so complicated I gave up. Was it easy for you? Do you know of a resource that explains it for extreme tech dummies like me?”

Hi Lori! WordPress is easy for me, but I’m not sure it is an easy site to navigate or I’ve just used it for so long it has become easy. Yes, I use it exclusively, and truth be known I only work on customer websites which are WordPress. I literally, during any given week, will post about twenty-five articles on a WordPress site. So yes, I find it easy to use.

Without really knowing what is giving you trouble, it is hard to answer your question. I’ll attach a couple videos which will hopefully help you out, and if you want to email me a specific question I’ll be happy to answer that as well.

And if you follow this link I think you will find an in-depth tutorial on how to start a blog on WordPress. I read the entire tutorial and found it to be pretty clear.

Political Writing

From Shaloo: “And talking of politics, have you ever written something related to politics? A political piece can give rise to much discussion and trolling. How to deal with it?”

Shaloo, your question made me realize just how long I’ve been here on HubPages, and also the fact that many of my followers have no idea of my “firebrand” days on HP. There was a time, four or five years ago, when I wrote almost exclusively political articles and social commentary articles. Three or four times each week I could be counted on to pick up the torch for some topic and ride my trusty steed into battle.

But I stopped! It just became too tiring and scarring for me, emotionally speaking, and I had to move on. Writing about sex-trafficking, or sexual abuse on Indian reservations, those types of articles can take a toll on a person, and it was definitely taking a toll on me.

Is your question how does one deal with the discussions, or with writing the articles? If it is the latter, I dealt with it by eventually quitting. If it is the former, I dealt with negative comments in a very generic way. I simply thanked the person for their comment and opinion and that was all. I refused to be dragged down into a nasty online argument which no one could win. I didn’t join HP to argue and be divisive. I joined HP to help build a writer’s community, and even today, after all these years, I have remained true to that course. I will not debate politics or social issues on HP. Period! End of story! And I also will not promote, nor condone, negativity and rudeness.

Period!

There are quite a few trolls on HP, and they are not worth my effort or time.

No more for me, thank you very much!
No more for me, thank you very much!

Why Hp?

From Brian: “Bill, you’ve been here on HP for what, six or seven years? Why do you stay here? I hear so many other writers complaining about HP, how it is hard to make money, how the editors ruin their work, etc…why do you stick around?”

Brian, that’s an easy question for me to answer: this is my writing family, and family supports family.

I don’t get involved in all that negativity. I pretty much ignore the HP staff and editors. I’m not on HP, nor have I ever been here, to make money. I’m just a writer who likes hanging out with other writers, and it is as simple as that for me. I wouldn’t even be a writer today if it were not for the support I received here on HP long ago, and that support meant the world to me.

Again, for me, it’s as simple as the concept of loyalty.

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays in Advance

I might as well say it now and quit denying and avoiding it. I do hope all of you have a safe, happy, and blessed holiday season. Thank you so much for your friendship and support.

And if you have a question for the Mailbag, you can either include it in the comment section below, or you can email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.

Thank you all!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence! I think I'll take my own advice and not go there; the trolls will find someone else to argue with.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 days ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I can identify with what you say about the political articles, them and ones dealing with religion do seem to get more visits than most, but they aren',t always the kind of visits you want!

      When I first started writing on hp I wrote a lot to do with faith and got quite a few visits, some I had good conversations with, but some weren't interested in what others were saying, just their own rhetoric!

      Best way to deal with them? I think you hit the nail on the head, just don't go there.

      As always, great content here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Dee, and Happy Holidays to you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      13 days ago

      I can understand how the holiday season may be difficult for some people. I hope and pray you have a good pass through the next few weeks. Good read once again.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! I promise to try hard to take part in your next challenge...here's to hope!

      Blessings my friend, and thanks always!

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 weeks ago from SW England

      Sorry for the tardiness, bill! I thought I'd left a comment on this mailbag but it appears I haven't!

      So I'm the torchbearer of challenges, am I? Well there's a challenge in itself - I'd better cook up some more. I enjoy setting them. I can also understand why you don't, as you're far too busy and it takes quite a while to make sure one has read every response and linked them.

      Great mailbag as usual, bill!

      Happy Tuesday to you; hope it's thrilling!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Another fantastic mailbag! Thank you for the clarification on 'that' and 'which.' Very helpful! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always my pleasure, Rajan! Thank you for being a part of the journey!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      It is always a learning experience here. Many thanks for keeping this series going.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I guess Thanksgiving is getting close, Zulma. It sneaks up on us, doesn't it? Good thing you are into preparations. I'm sure you guys will have a fabulous get-together.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lori! For sure email me with specific questions you might have about WordPress.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! It is a great place to gather with great friends.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm getting good at winging it, Nell! Bless you this holiday season. Get lots of writing done. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Bill, I get why the holidays can be a real downer for you. Too many bad associations, I imagine. My family has suffered losses round about the holiday season. The 18th of this month will mark the 10th anniversary of my mother-in-law's death. We miss her dearly but we still find joy in the holiday season. This was her favourite time of year and to ignore it or not celebrate it seems, well, disrespectful to her memory. Frankly, I don't need her ghost coming back to tell us off for being so gloomy.lol

      Even as we speak, I'm making preparations for Thanksgiving while my oldest daughter organises Christmas.

      Happy holidays to you as well, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that,Natalie! I appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No need to guess,Manatita. I lived it.:) Thank you my brother!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It turns out, Heidi, that you weren't as late as I was. It's now Friday and I apologize for being so late. This week got away from me. Thank you and Happy Weekend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Time does fly, Manatita my friend, but it is always worth living and loving. Peace to you always!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Hi Bill, thanks for tackling my question. I am late getting here with a crazy schedule. I will watch the video soon and get back to you with any questions.

      Writing political stuff can bring out the crazies sometimes, but I have seen your comments on other political writers and I love how you find common ground or sanely state your opinion. It amazes me how so many adults in this world don't act adult when it comes to political ideaologies that are different from theirs. Nothing new under the sun.

      I'm sorry for painful memories at holiday time. I miss celebrating with family, especically my mom who died many years ago. All but one of my four son live near me. We seldome get together. I'd rather spend the days at home watching movies and eating popcorn. God bless.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I will smile the rest of the day over your comment. I figure the same thing, buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sorry, Peggy,it is so hard...they are under William D. Holland...thanks for the interest.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Rinita! It is amazing how many people find the holidays to be a difficult time.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 weeks ago from Dubai

      The use of that and which can get pretty confusing. I love the idea that you have suggested for the use of that and which. I too love hanging out with the writers reading and learning all the time. I enjoy the whole experience of being here on HubPages with all my amazing friends. Happy Holidays Bill!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Great advice as usual Bill. And yes I totally understand what you mean about the holiday period. its not the same as when we are small. My son goes to his girlfriends mums house Christmas day, we never have a lot of money to do anything so yes I wing it too! lol!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      4 weeks ago from Chicago, IL

      I also don't love the holiday season, Bill. My father's birthday was Christmas Eve and we always went out to dinner together as a family - he was a big birthday fan. He died on November first - we though for sure he'd never leave before his birthday that year but he proved us wrong. Thanks for another thought provoking Mailbag.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 weeks ago from london

      I heard a beautiful piece at our Centre tonight. It was written by my Guruji, about a couple bringing up a blind child ... ring any bells? Guess the rest. No, not you. Just thought I'd share. Peace Bro.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William. I haven't seen anything from you lately. I hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No it's not, Bill, although it did stoke my engines from time to time....but I'm getting too old for stoked engines anyway. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your kindness, Marlene. You are a dear friend and I appreciate you greatly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, it is always a pleasure hearing from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about HP....you are a valued member here, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Sis, I hope you are well. Give me a shout out if not....missing your wit and hope to hear more from you soon. Happy Holidays, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Audrey, for the beautiful words about our HP friend. You are a jewell.

      love,

      bill

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Good grief! It's Wednesday before I'm getting to the Mailbag. Ugh! Lots of year-end stuff and still working on the self publishing survey (you are going to find it interesting... so stay tuned).

      Re: That/Which. I still get this one wrong many times and have to catch myself. Not sure why that is... which is why I appreciate the tip.

      Re: WordPress. I agree that it (the WordPress.org self hosted version) can be daunting at first, even though it's one of the easier platforms. I'd suggest not trying to figure it all out all at once. One little change at a time.

      Re: Politics. I limit my politics to encouraging people to vote. End of story.

      Re: HP Family. Glad we're all still in it and supporting each other. Glad you've taken a leadership role in making this a wonderful community.

      Have a great rest of the week!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 weeks ago from london

      An entertaining week, Bill. Thank you and naturally hoping that your festive season will be cool too. Only yesterday you had too much work - what with the market and stuff? Now you can concentrate of 'shadows kill.' Time flies Bro.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, the quick answer is yes, voice can change over time...the long answer is coming soon. :) Wishing you a peaceful holiday season.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Linda, and I wish the same for you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Dora! It took me a long time to get in touch with those feelings. Glad I finally made it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, isn't it, Mike? I love the Mailbag, thanks to people like you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John, and Happy Holidays to you and yours. As for climate change, good decision on your part. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I just loved this one. I reconnoitered. I think 'bout the 13's to maybe the 15's we would publish at least 5 times a week.

      Mano y mano I think we do in fact know to much about each other. I get these Ct Scans a bunch and I really do know I do not want to know all that stuff. But we have bared our souls. (not beared or soles) I can smell your little quails and chickens. Your dog needs a bath. A man I emulate bestest I figure I can. Love

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Peggy, Bill's books are listed under William D Holland on Amazon.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suhail, and I think wildlife is a great cause to defend. Quite frankly I will never understand the attraction to hunting.

      Happy Holidays to you and yours, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I guess we will both just have to muddle through the holidays and hope for the best. We didn't have a tree last year and still managed to survive. :) Thanks for the addition to the discussion of "that" and "which." As for temperatures, we are chipping away ice this morning. Brrr!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Sorry to hear that your dad died during the holidays. One of my brothers died right before Christmas and my mother died in early January, so I can relate to mixed feelings during the holidays. We lost a dear friend earlier this year. Her husband is still grieving and will have an extra tough time this year. Good that Bev supports you during this time of year. Wishing you peace and happiness during this time.

      Am searching for your books to purchase. Just typing in books by Bill Holland does not work on Amazon. Will have to scroll through some of your other mailbags to find titles. You often show them in your mailbag posts but not this time. Just my luck! Ha!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! Actually, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are great days to go to a movie. No crowds there at all on those days. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's good to have you back, Kathy! Welcome!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing, Shannon! It's nice knowing I'm not totally strange. I get all the excitement so many feel for it, but I sure don't feel it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed, Melissa, it is a time of compromise and understanding. I wish, for you,a wonderful holiday season. Thanks always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel! It's good to have you back among us on a regular basis.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I definitely get your drift, Mary,and I agree. It would be strange living somewhere where the holidays were low key. It would throw me off completely, I think.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Chitrangada Sharan. I appreciate you very much.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      4 weeks ago

      Holidays are over for us in this part of the world, but I can totally relate to you not being so excited. My dad-in-law passed away around Diwali few years ago, and since then my husband has never been able to give his heart to the celebrations. We keep it to the bare minimum, and he is thankful for his space.

      I find it hard to write on political and social scenarios, simply for the fear of lack of empathy from readers. I try to disguise my thoughts on certain social scenarios through fictional pieces, no one is 'hurt' that way, within certain limits. I admire those who can directly write about these things, so my suggestion to Shaloo, just go about your business if it makes you content.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another bunch of good stuff, Bill. I always found WordPress to be a little confusing, too. Glad you figured it out.That and which is that which I still get confused so thank you for clearing it up again (I did read it before, but sometimes my memory is shorter than I'd like.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Great week for the mailbag. I tend to go on autopilot during the holidays also as it's not my favorite time of year either. Good for you for avoiding writing about anything political, it's just not worth the aggravation. Have a great week.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      Like you, HP is where I come to be inspired by other writers. Way back in the beginning, the trolls would bring me down into a negative emotion. But I learned how to handle them from supportive writers like you. Thank you. And Bill, happy holidays to you too.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very nice, Bro. You deal everything so precisely and intelligently. A lot of good questions and your replies here.

      I am also surprised at Lori's question. It's so easy to create and manage a blog on WordPress. So friendly a site! I am there since the last 4 years with my free blog. No tension at all.

      You explained the difference between using "that" and "which" so beautifully. The use of "that" specifies a group that possesses a specific nature or quality that is being referred to.

      I am also here at HP only for that love and support that I find here from our friends. This place attracted me at the very first sight itself when I accidentally visited this site for the first time. I went through the articles and the comments section and it attracted me too much along with the look and appearance of the site.

      Happy Holidays to you and all my lovely friends here in advance.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill bro, I should apologize for being so scarce lately. Do not mean to be a slacker & what you need to know is that you're all always in my heart. The end of another year with a new one on it's way....I have faith it will be a GOOD one for all of us. My very best to you, Bev & Family. Wishing the Best of everything! Love, Sis

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear Bill,

      I just want to say that I sort of understand how you feel about the holidays. After I lost Todd to cancer I've not been able to recapture the feeling and excitement of Christmas, He loved this season so much.

      Your response to the question: "Why Hp?", echoes exactly how I feel. I love, love, love, my HP family. My monthly earnings are a bonus. I'm still here after eight years because I love to write and have grown leaps and bounds and my friends are important to me...which include you, my dear friend.

      Thanks for another helpful mailbag!

      Love,

      Audrey

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      4 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This is, as always, an informative article. Not wanting to discuss anything that may be harrowing, I will say that I lost a loved one during the holidays 23 December 1989. My positive thoughts and prayers go out to you.

      About HP, I cannot leave it alone for the reason that I love being here. I have become a considerably better writer since I have started following you. Your advice and encouragement are cherished. Also, I think a man of your capacity still offering your knowledge to those of us learning to step out into the writing world for FREE is a great act of charity!

      I feel like my writing style is changing into something else and I don't know what it is. It has to do with what I am learning on HubPages. The voice I write in is supposed to be funny and relatable, but it seems to gravitate toward serious and informative now. Do you think voice can change without a writer wanting it to? Also, is it good to have a go-to voice to write in or should it be malleable to what is being written, the purpose of what is being written?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I understand why this time of year can be difficult for you, Bill, but I hope you have as good a holiday season as possible. Best wishes to you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, it's great that you understand you-your green lights and red lights, not that I'm surprised. Being in touch with your feelings help you to write honestly and more powerfully. Hoping that pleasant memory surfaces during the holidays to cheeer you up.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      4 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - Have as good a set of holidays as you can. The mailbag is such an interesting place to see what is on everyone's mind.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Well, I will say Happy Holidays to you, even though I know it is not the best time of year. Since my kids left home it isn’t so special,even though we often get together for a few days over Christmas with at least one of the,. My wife loves to decorate the tree etc, where I just find it a chore.

      Anyway, the questions were enjoyable. I won’t write anything clearly political unless it is satirical or not referencing any specific person or party and just about my politics in general. The only article I have received adverse comments on was one relating to climate change, so I won’t even go there in the future. Cheers.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      4 weeks ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hi Bill,

      Great session once again. I learned a lot, especially from your response about those political discussions. I am slowly and gradually trying to get rid of it from my life, which basically means from Facebook. There is just too much polarization everywhere you go. USA, Canada, Pakistan, which is the country of my origin, the hatred is intense and relentless. So better take that negativity out of the life!

      But coming back to sanity has been a big challenge too. Coming to think of it, too bad you are not going to be throwing challenges anymore.

      However, I am not giving up on defending wildlife ha-ha. It really doesn't matter if trophy hunters go for my scalp on the blogs.

      Holidays are a great season for me. I wish merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a happy new year to you and your loved ones in advance.

      Regards,

      Suhail

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I can relate to the holiday feelings. I used to get excited around Halloween and not come down until after New Years when we had a great big extended family. However, as years progressed, the older ones died off and younger ones moved away. There are only 3 of us left in town now, sometimes 5 when they can make it in. Add to that my sister committed suicide just before Thanksgiving 1980, and my son died in the summer 2 years ago, so I really don't give a hoot about holidays anymore. In fact we don't even put up a tree or decorations at Christmas. If I could stand on my feet to do it, I probably would volunteer at a homeless shelter because that's almost how I feel during the holidays. I guess our losses have left us jaded.

      I don't remember if I mentioned this before on the "which" v. "that" issue. When I was at the newspaper, they had an easier definition of restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. They taught me to think of "essential" for "restrictive" and "nonessential" for "nonrestrictive". In other words if it was essential to the meaning of the sentence, and the sentence wouldn't make sense without it, use "that". Otherwise use "which" if you could remove the clause and the sentence would still make sense. To me that was a good memory stoker when I questioned it. Hope that helps somebody.

      It's cold (43 degrees), wet, and dreary. Hope you are having better weather in your state, my friend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Bill, my husband has about the same view as you regarding the holidays. I have always loved them, but I also find that it is difficult to prepare any type of great meal anymore So, I don't worry too much and just do only what is reasonable for me.

      I like the variety of people I have met on HP. I did have a blog for a while and found that to be too much work. I am not here for the money either or I would have to write much more frequently!

    • KatWin profile image

      Kathy Burton 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      Hey Bill, I’ve been away from HP but I’m back. Glad to see you are still writing. I enjoy you mailbags series . I hope I will get the fortitude or discipline to stick with writing like you.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      4 weeks ago from Texas

      Well, I didn't expect my teasing to become a mailbag question, but good to know people still have fun with the challenges.

      Hand in there, friend. The holidays will be over before you know it. I've had a few bad ones myself. Last year was no exception. In fact, we had no holiday celebration for Thanksgiving or Christmas last year. At all. This year promises to be much better though. I don't know, it makes me sadder not to celebrate. It's not the same magic as childhood memories, but I love the potential of it. If that makes sense. Little acts of giving that should be year round but seem to be more prevalent during the holiday season. Remembering a few Christmas miracles we've experienced. But I get it. My husband's great-grandfather died on Christmas day and he was close to him so the holiday was never the same for him after that he says.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      4 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Since this is Veteran's Day observed, you are the only mail I'm reading today! :)

      Isn't it amazing how we all deal with the holiday season differently? Some people adore everything about the holidays, while others just want to survive. Our family has a mix of both, so you just have to compromise and figure it out as you go.

      Hope you have a wonderful and productive week!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 weeks ago from San Diego California

      Ditto on the political posts. The trolls have jaded me from politics, and also the idea of beating my head against the wall in a losing battle. But knowing how I can't keep my opinions to myself, I'll probably be back at it again. This mailman loves the mailbag, keep it up.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 weeks ago from Brazil

      I for one miss celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving. Here, in my part of Brazil, Christmas is low key. New Year's Eve is the big celebration though.

      I know the holiday season can be rough for many.

      Regarding HP, I love it here, although I find myself avoiding the forums nowadays. Too many Chicken Littles, the sky is always falling, if you get my drift.

      Have a wonderful week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shaloo! Life is just too short to be arguing all the time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go, Sha, and that is an invaluable gift you are giving him. Understanding, compassion, and love are beautiful gifts indeed, my friend.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Bill!

      Enjoyed going through your mailbag. The questions and the answers are quite relatable, especially by Linda and Shaloo. I agree with your answers.

      I loved holidays, when my children were younger and we used to have fun filled time with them. Not sure, whether I still like the holidays as much as earlier.

      Thanks for sharing another interesting installment!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      4 weeks ago from India

      Thanks for answering my question! I agree that it's better not to be pulled into arguments as they are never ending. Happy holidays!!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Bill, you and Bev complement each other. I'm sure it's comforting to have her in your life, especially during times that are hard for you. My son lost his father when he was fifteen. It wasn't during the holidays, but birthdays and holidays are hard for him and understandably so. I try to stand back and not take certain behaviors during these times personally. He's just dealing with grief and loss and probably will for the rest of his life. All I can do is be a presence for him. If he needs a shoulder, I have two.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm beginning to understand that, Flourish. Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not sure how we avoided that head-on clash, Pop. lol In many ways I'm glad we did.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure cold out there, Linda. I think I'll delay my trip to the farm until it thaws out. Having said that, i'm so sorry to hear about your best friend. So very tragic. :(

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Patty and the same to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, Brrr for sure! First frost of the year here in Olympia. I'm having a hard time thawing out this morning. :) Wishing you inner peace this holiday season, my friend, and thank you always!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I’m so sorry to hear that the holidays are a difficult time for you. My grandfather was in hospice then died during the holidays two years ago and poinsettias in particular remind me. You’d be surprised how many other people have similar mixed feelings about the holidays.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      4 weeks ago

      I totally understand your difficulty during the holiday season. My father dies on Thanksgiving weekend when I was 18 years old. That day has never been the same for me. On another note, I am surprised to hear that you once wrote political articles. How did we not run into each other, literally!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, thank you for answering my question (and not wrapping my knuckles for not paying attention in class).

      I share some of your feelings about the holidays. My best friend was on her way home from work on the 23rd of December. The plan was that she would pick up her husband and kids who were waiting for her and then they would all come to my home for an early Christmas celebration. She never made it. T-boned on the driver's side. On Christmas Day the doctors declared her brain dead, and life support was withdrawn on the 26th. Christmas will never be the same for me again.

      Thank you for including the video on how to start a blog. You've unknowingly done some of my legwork for next week.

      I'm glad that you are here on HP. Like you I don't write for the money; this is (as I believe you said) the place where the cool kids hang out.

      Bundle up; it's cold out there.

    • pattyfloren profile image

      Patty Florence 

      4 weeks ago from Illinois

      Happy Holidays!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      4 weeks ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, I am aligned with you on the angst of the approaching holiday season for similar personal grief issues that it gives rise to. Strange how it's a sad time for so many. This mail bag is rich. I like that you re-did the 'which' and 'that' advice. Happy Monday, it's a Remembrance Day off work and planting the daffodils weekend here, blessed with perfect weather, but cold brrr.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I swear, your family lives at Disney World! lol Have a great time there. I'm sure your daughters are thrilled!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      4 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Happy Holidays right back at you. I do, however, get your feelings as I happen to feel similar where Valentine's Day and that time of the year is concerned having had my grandfather pass on the day almost 20 years now. But like you I do my best to deal with it for my family as my kids, especially love the idea of that day. Still, by the end of the week, it will indeed be holiday time here as we are going to Disney World on Friday to enjoy the Christmas Party they have there this weekend. So, all but ready myself now! Happy Monday and enjoy your week ahead now, too :)

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