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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 235

Updated on December 17, 2018

Two More Weeks of 2018

That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

This concept of time is an interesting one to me. I’m fully aware that time doesn’t actually fly, so no worries about my sanity (yet), but how is it possible that 2018 is already over and done? Perhaps it is the fact that I am so busy, and never seem to have enough time, that makes time move by faster? The less you have of something you desire, the more you want of it, that sort of thing?

Just random thoughts to ponder. This is a short Mailbag, so settle down for a brief visit. Thanks for spending part of your busy Monday with me. You are appreciated!

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

More on Criticism

From Bill: “Hi Bill. The criticism question is a tricky one as you point out. Why is it that we seek constructive criticism of our work, yet it hurts our feelings when we receive it? Is it that we are really expecting a glowing critique, and what we seek is to have our ego massaged. And, when we don’t get it we are disappointed and upset. I don’t know the answer, which is why for what I write the only critique I request is from my wife.”

Bill, I have no clue. It almost defies logic to say that all writers are sensitive to criticism. Perhaps all human beings are sensitive to criticism. Maybe it’s just as simple as that: the human species wants to feel accepted, and criticism, perhaps, is seen as rejection? I’m just spit-balling here, so work with me. I’m as “guilty” of this reaction as anyone. I don’t like to be criticized about anything…not too fond of being critiqued about anything…perhaps that is why I shy away from people in general, and rarely share any of my work with anyone in any face-to-face aspect of my life? Maybe human beings in general just have fragile egos, and it is not just writers and poets.

Again, I really don’t have a clue, but I suspect I’m closer to being correct than I am to being incorrect.

Even family will criticize!
Even family will criticize!

Cost of a Childrens’ Book

From Gloria: “How much does it cost to publish a.children's book presenting my own illustrations with color? The pages would be 25 in count not including authors and illustrators autobiograhies with front and back covers.”

Gloria, this is one of those questions which could be converted into an article all by itself. There is a ton of information which needs to be covered in order to do justice in the answer.

If you are doing the illustrations, if you are doing the editing, and if you are using a company like CreateSpace, each book will cost you in the neighborhood of $8 for a hard cover. Give or take. There is so much that goes into the pricing of a book of this type. Contrast that with the price of my novels, 250 pages in length, no illustrations, around $3.50 each.

If you go the vanity press route, the price is higher usually. One word of warning: if you go with vanity press, do not get locked in on the recommended page size of 8x8. That will cost you more. Smaller is better when printing a children’s book with regards to price.

The self-publishing business is constantly changing to meet demand, so chances are the information I just gave you will be outdated before you read this, but that’s the best I can do for you on this topic.

That Almost Seems Like Cheating

Only two questions? Does that even qualify as a Mailbag?

Since this is my gig I say yes, it does qualify, so there you go. It’s my ball so we play my game. Lol

Thanks for stopping by. If you have a question for the Mailbag you can put it in the comment section below, or you can email it to me at holland1145@yahoo.com. I will even change your name if you want to be anonymous.

How about I leave you with an excerpt from my new novel, The Magician’s Shadow, which might be completed in January or February, 2019? I hope you like it. I changed one offensive word to “friggin” so no one is offended by this excerpt.

The sun sets on another Mailbag!
The sun sets on another Mailbag!

The Magician’s Shadow

We never saw Striker’s explosive buddies. Two days came, and went, with no indication that anything out-of-the-ordinary was happening in our little corner of the world. I even walked by Bitron’s house a couple times, curiosity more than anything else, and saw nothing, no black-clad commandoes, no Black Hawk helicopters, absolutely nothing to make me think the home wouldn’t be standing for many years to come. I did see, on each walk-by, mothers walking with baby strollers, young women jogging, and children playing in neighboring yards. It’s estimated that debris from the explosion of one pound of C4 can travel five miles depending, of course, on the weight of the debris. Doing time in the Army will leave a person with endless pieces of useless information like that. On my last walk by the house, I found myself estimating how far a baby stroller would travel once Striker’s friends hit the button. I was actually doing the computations based on a fifteen-pound stroller when I regained a sliver of sanity, turned sharply, and left the future battlefield.

My best estimate had been two-hundred-and-fifteen feet.

I was listening to some current events talk show awhile back, and on it were two guys debating the current estimate about PTSD. The government guy was using estimates which said PTSD can be as high as thirty percent in the military, while this other guy from Rand Corporation said the figure was closer to seventy percent. I personally believe the seventy percent figure is low, most definitely among soldiers who have seen combat. There is no way, and I mean zero frigging chance, of taking a relatively well-adjusted human being, running him through combat training, teaching him various methods of killing, shipping him to a combat zone where the pretend scenarios are suddenly real frigging real, having him watch buddies dismembered, having him sleep with one eye open, assaulting his ear drums with constant explosions . . . there is no way that happens and that soldier comes out of it “normal.” Talking heads like to say that modern man is one evolutionary step removed from his violent ancestors, but I don’t buy it. For centuries, now, we have been civilized. With each passing day we are further removed from violence as a way of life, so life in the military goes against evolutionary patterns. I’m not saying the military isn’t necessary, because it is. I’m simply saying don’t pretend there isn’t a price to be paid for those who put in their time wearing cammies. PTSD is that price, and my insistence on computing the distance a baby stroller would fly in an explosion is just one small example of that truth. A soldier’s mind is wired differently, and it will never go back to its pre-military wiring pattern.

Striker and I, cops like Lyle, Liz, Robie, and Putnam, we’ve seen too much shit that altered us forever. What’s your clearest memory of when you were nineteen? A new car? Playing football in school? A blow-job in the backseat of a Chevy? Mine is seeing Private First Class Enrique Montez stepping on a roadside mine, on the outskirts of some nameless desert village, and watching him disintegrate in a red mist.

PTSD is real!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Li-Jen! You are appreciated!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very good point, Rajan! Thank you sir, and Happy Holidays to you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! Merry Christmas to you. 6th grade? Oh, be strong, Mom!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      10 months ago

      Hey Bill, interesting article as always despite 2 questions. Good of you to bring up PTSD. People with disorders should be treated nicely too. Thanks for sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      Bill, I believe it is our outlook on life that makes time creep or fly. I think the same goes for criticism, even constructive. Very few of us can really take it well. Happy Christmas, my friend.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      10 months ago from Ohio

      No, it doesn't seem possible that we are closing out another year. When I was younger, time just crept by and I never really cared for breaks from school. Winter break always took the longest. Now that I'm an adult, time seems to fly by, more so now that I'm a parent. I'm still in disbelief that my son will soon be in 6th grade. But, I'm rambling. I think you hit the nail on the head with the criticism. It's never easy to swallow. Thank you for another wonderful mailbag. Merry Christmas to you and your family! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I figured as much, Manatita! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the question, Kathy! I'll tackle it in Monday's Mailbag.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M, and Happy Holiday season to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Blessings to you always, Manatita! Thank you for sharing your truth with us all. No, the Shadow will be in book form in a couple months...these are just teasers.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      10 months ago from london

      I meant 'crowded, or simply long paragraphs. Nothing wrong with your writing. I am talking about The Magician's Shadow. Peace.

    • KatWin profile image

      Kathy Burton 

      10 months ago from Florida

      I too am amazed to find myself just this side of 2019. Between quilting, writing, and taking care of my 3 month old granddaughter, and other chores I feel busier than ever. I enjoyed this mailbag including the excerpt from your book.

      My first questions: how do you figure out the structure for your books? Do you recommend taking classes or reading how to books?

      Wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Flourish! I've had a few friends who suffered from PTSD. I paid attention to what they said.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, glad to hear you are re-connected. We've paid our weather dues this past week for sure. Stay safe and thank you for the kind words.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I will be laughing the rest of the day thinking about that. I've known a few ass talkers in my time. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, the whole point of this mailbag series is to help each other. I'll answer as many questions as you have, as many times as you want. It's all here for the asking, my friend. Thanks for the question...see you soon!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      10 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's really too short a mailbag. But, the questions are strong enough. You answered them much smartly.

      Criticism is a good thing even though we do not like it. But, trolling or bullying is entirely different.

      Publishing cost is much dependant on various matters as already explained by you.

      The excerpt from your book is very interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

      Wish you Merry Christmas period ahead.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True to that, Zulma! :) An early Happy Holidays to you, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, the angels are appreciated. Sending you hugs on the same wings, and love always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Dora! Happy Holidays to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, I would say your son has seen his share of horrors...enough for both of you. It is time to heal and love.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      10 months ago from london

      Well, you have not done too badly with Bill's question. In fact you have done very well. There is the human or mundane way and then there is the spiritual way. You have covered the human way effectively and added a pinch of that thing called 'ego' as well. You are very similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs. Your man can read this.

      In the spiritual way, we see everything as Consciousness. The Saint or God-man can remain in deep equipoise, even when bombs are falling around him, let alone criticism. Why? Well, he has conquered ego, for a start, but his energies/Spirit/Consciousness is much higher than us mortals. That requires practice.

      Are you hoping to leave the Magician's Shadow's paragraphs like this, Bro? Makes it a little 'heavy' to read for me. What do you think?

      God's Peace to you and Bev at this wonderful festive time and Spirit. Happy Christmas!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      That PTSD outtake is vivid. You’re right about never going back to pre-military wiring. This reminded me of someone I used to know.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      10 months ago from Canada

      Hi Bill, Almost missed this mailbag, so happy I didn't. Cable company re-connected me today after major storm knocked out power here. I am thrilled to see your book excerpt 'The Magician's Shadow'. What a fine piece of empathetic writing. I have to say I agree that it is a frigging nightmare that those on the front lines of our warring planet must encounter.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      10 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro....Criticism? I rarely am criticized, unless I request an opinion. In those cases, I expect truth & prepare to accept what is offered (like a big girl) Feedback is not going to always be sweet & wonderful.....if you appreciate the HELP, be willing to handle the critique.

      Oh...and then there's always what you taught me when we were young. Anytime someone criticized you or me, you'd shake your head and say, "Jeez Sis, maybe someday that jerk will discover his brain and know what the hell he's talking about, instead of talking out his ass........Ya think??"

      I love ya bro....that advice got me through a whole lotta insults!! Sis

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      10 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill! You put that excerpt in the mailbag and overshadowed everything I read! How dare you?

      I am glad you did. I look forward to purchasing another book. Also, it is nice to know that I have access to the author. I don't even remember the mailbag now. I have to go back and check what it was about!

      Okay; okay. So, you are on the nose when it comes to criticism. I do not enjoy it, but I crave the attention. I love comments that praise my work. I want to say I love the ones that point out my faults, but I don't. I appreciate those comments, though.

      I want the criticism because I notice that I improve my writing to avoid receiving it. So, I welcome all the most brutal critiques of my work. I take advice and want to make my writing excellent!

      So, Bill, my criticism for you is that you made the excerpt too short. I was getting into it then it ended!

      Thanks for changing the word to friggin. I am not a fan of profanity, but I accept that people write and speak those words. It makes the work authentic in so many ways. I have decided not to use it for spiritual reasons in my writing, but many of my favorite writers do not limit themselves in that way.

      God knows I curse in my head on occasion and sometimes it comes out in my speech. I want to say that my thoughts are free of it, but on 90%. The other 10% comes out when I stub my toe or drop something. On occasion, it comes out to describe a person. So, who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly.

      Question: You have answered this before, I think, but I cannot locate it. I notice that you put the excerpt of your book on some of the Mailbags--to my joy! Does doing that help increase sales? I know that I am going to buy the book now, but does that work for you consistently?

      I want to write about my book, but I keep feeling like a thirsty addict looking for scraps when I do it. I know you have addressed this before because I asked the question myself. If you have the time and desire, please school me again. I wish I could search your Mailbags like a database.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      10 months ago from United Kingdom

      They say success is the best revenge. lol

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      10 months ago from sunny Florida

      Our peek at your new creation left me wanting to know what comes next....when I read about PTSD it took me back to the time when the Vietnam War was going on. A very dear friend of mine returned from there broken and shattered. It was heart-wrenching. And your comments about this year haven't gone fast wow I totally agree ---it has had wings. Take care of you my friend ---sending many angels your way this evening. ps

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      10 months ago from The Caribbean

      A powerful message comes thought in just those few lines of your book. Thanks for your exemplary devotion to writing and helping writers.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      10 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      That criticism thing is challenging. I push past the hurt feelings and put thought into what was said and take it to heart. Although not every negative critique is true. It can be very subjective.

      I have PTSD. A most horrific condition. Mine is not from military action but from childhood trauma. Your thoughts on military people are spot on. My son has it from military conflict, then he witnessed a murder, then he was at the Las Vegas shooting. My blood pressure just went up thinking about all he is going through and so many others. I will say for my journey it was when I began to seek God's help that I was finally able to move forward in recovery. The open wounds have become scars. Strangely I cherish them because they remind me that God had done wonders inside of me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate you, Eman! Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jason! I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Holy cow, Brian, you're asking me to actually think? :) Talk about a tall order! Hopefully I'm up for it, my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'll settle happily with "interesting."

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, Bill! Thanks for the question, one we can all relate to. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! Things move slowly in the military. It took them decades to admit there was a problem; at least they now admit to that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela and Happy Holidays to you. You are appreciated!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna! It is always nice to hear from you. Peace and love during the holidays!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      10 months ago from Egypt

      The life in the military goes against evolutionary patterns. I fully agree with you on this. Thank you, Mr. Holland, I always benefit from your articles.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It does, doesn't it, Melissa? How did we end up in the future so quickly? lol Happy Tuesday to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True, Liz....trauma of any sort can bring on PTSD...at least now we recognize it and hopefully will deal with it properly in the future.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, thank you for the very kind words about my writing....and your last sentence is a keeper!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, that was two cents worth so much more.Thanks always...I've never been one for whining. My dad wouldn't allow it growing up....maybe revenge is better? lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, thank you! Love your self-discussion on time.As for your sister, maybe she needs some of that rhino skin. :) Peace always my friend!

    • manunulat profile image

      Jason M Quinapondan 

      10 months ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Concise yet substantial!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      10 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Bill's reaction to criticism hasn't been my experience. In the more than half a century of my adult life, I've been in quite a few critique writing groups, and I have never encountered a writer who was not pleased by the critiques requested and received from colleagues in a workshop or writing group. I very much appreciate learning that a work of mine in progress can be made even better.

      Thanks for the preview scene from your new novel.

      Question: Have you benefited in practical ways from any theory of story creation, such as Aristotle's Poetics or Volger's Writer's Journey (based on Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces) or Phillips's Dramatica (which I just learned about in a Google search) or Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing or whatever?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Two questions definitely qualifies for the Mailbag, Bill. The excerpt from your new novel is interesting.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      10 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Thanks for addressing the criticism question again. I think you are correct, that not just writers, but all human beings are sensitive to criticism and have fragile egos. I also agree with you about not sharing work in face-to-face situations, that is definitely me. I much prefer the faceless, easy, hit a button to share method.

      Love The Magician’s Shadow excerpt.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      10 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another good Monday sharing. I look forward to reading your book. I have a friend who has PTSD after a major accident of her husband. I felt so bad I was not there for her. We only touched base again recently, after 23 or so years. It is very disconcerting that PTSD is common among the military and I don't hear effective intervention being done.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Bill, I agree that the questions were good and the exert emplified how I actually feel about soldiers who experiene combat even though I know this was a good except of your book. It is hard to believe that this is the end of another year. Happy holidays!

    • profile image

      Genna East 

      10 months ago

      Hi Bill. I like constructive criticism, but I look at "constructive" as coming from a knowledgeable editor -- one who can spot my screw-ups, oversights, and the "Oh, shite(s) -- I never thought of that." They kinda smooth out the edges. :-) I like your Magician excerpt -- now that's a cool teaser, my friend. I love the way you write. Wishing warm and happy holidays for you and your family.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Good questions, good answers, good excerpt! What more could we ask in a Mailbag! ;-)

      Have a good week, and great holiday gatherings!! ;-)

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      10 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Thanks for sharing the excerpt from the new Shadow's book. I am intrigued and really look forward to reading the whole thing in January or February 2019! I can't believe it is almost 2019...sound so futuristic....

      Have a productive and happy week!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      10 months ago from UK

      I think two topics is very acceptable in a mailbag. You deal with them so thoroughly. I always learn something new. I agree with your link between criticism and rejection. PTSD is recognized increasingly in the UK not just as a problem in the military but for anyone who has suffered a traumatic experience. Our modern perspective on PTSD is a little too late for so-called World War 1 deserters.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll answer that Monday, Mary, and I actually will have two answers for you, one for normal writers and one for writers like me. :) Stay tuned, and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Pop! Thank you very much!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I sent some business your way. I hope it works out for ya, buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, now everyone has me curious. I'm going to go check out CreateSpace and find out what's what. Thanks and Happy Monday to you!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      10 months ago from Texas

      I certainly don't have a critique of your excerpt, except that I can tell it will be your signature style and an excellent read, of course. And that's the honest truth.

      Personally, I think that if we want an honest constructive criticism we have to be open to disappointment. Sometimes a friend or two I trust will point out something to me that I hadn't noticed, which makes it easier for others to read. I guess the key is in the "constructive" part. You know, why is that critique given? And how is it given? The why helps with improvement and the how matters as to how well it's received. Rudeness never encourages change.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      10 months ago from United Kingdom

      The mailbag's short and sweet this week which I put down to the run-up to Christmas. Still good questions, though.

      When it comes to criticism, I don't pretend that I don't find it disheartening. But I did ask for it so I don't brood over it for long. I've had people tell me something wasn't quite right and offer suggestions. That is my definition of constructive criticism. They saw a problem and offered to help me fix it. I've had people say they didn't like something but offered no explanation or ideas how to make it better. I consider critiques like that worthless and ignore them completely.

      I think you're right about humans having fragile egos. However, we do have a choice of how we handle criticism. Pout and whine and do nothing or get your head down and fix the problem.

      And that's my two cents.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      10 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill

      Both interesting questions so although short, informative.

      Normally I tend not to visit the forums on HP but did this week. It was the usual complaining about a drop in views on the run up to the holidays.

      Since we have had a few days of rain, I've been dusting off my articles and giving them an update.

      I know you have a vast number of articles here on Hubpages and the niche sites. My question is, do you update any of your articles? I know HP suggests updating but just wondered if you felt it was important to your type of articles?

      Have a wonderful week.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      10 months ago

      I find that the older I get the faster time goes by. To me, one week is a second. Thanks for the tease. I love the way you write.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      10 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I wrote a bunch, then I closed the windows on my computer screen by mistake: all gone lol The dog ate my homework. Haha!!

      Ohh well, so as I was saying before I erased everything by shutting down the web page, "Time" is a fascinating concept indeed. I have a poster of Salvador Dali's "Clock Explosion" behind me on the wall here. For me it expresses the melting of time, which I have been working on for decades.

      We made-up time. Or, we make it up as we go. Everytime we think of something that is not "now", we create "time". Everytime we think of events, or experiences, as in a multitude of them, we create "time".

      If we sit in the "now", time is nonexistent.

      "The less you have of something you desire, the more you want of it" - Have no desires. That is the smoothest path but it is an awefully difficult path to get to. Nonetheless, "having no desires" is the only desire (and the last) worth having in my opinion.

      "Perhaps all human beings are sensitive to criticism." - This issue sits in education and in how children are brought-up. Some children are taught that failure is not good. Many are taught that "good" is to be praised, to get shining reviews for what we do, etc. Mistakes are not part of "good" so, we cringe when we get criticism.

      Now, I'm not part of that group. In the dictatorial regime I grew up in, teachers would tell You if You failed a test that You have to work a lot harder, otherwise: "You'll grow up and amount to nothing. You'll remain dumb for the rest of your life". Ya, teachers did not hold back in any sort of way when I was growing up. I can;t say it was nice but at least I grew some rhino skin.

      "Maybe human beings in general just have fragile egos" - I told this to my sister some weeks ago. She wasn't happy LOL But hey, that just proves my point, haha!!

      Okay well, maybe next time I woun;t be shy with the questions since You don;t have that many. I did have a question a week, or so ago but I let it slide and now I forgot it. As last time though, if it's important, I'll remember it.

      Ca c'est tous pour aujourd'hui. Merci beacoup - salut! : )

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Good morning Bill - The excerpt was a nice tease. The Magician’s Shadow is shaping up well. Yes, the military changes people.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, unlike the local mail service, the Mailbag will be delivered, Christmas or no Christmas! It's just a thing we can't ignore, you know?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Short but sweet, Bill. I can't believe how quickly 2018 went either. It started off really badly for me but improved towards the end luckily...touch wood, it aint over yet. The next mailbag is due Christmas Day...so have a great one!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All true, Chitrangada Sharan...thank you for pointing that out. Peace to you always!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      10 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill I had way too many questions to answer and you had only two. If that happens again, just let me know and I'll share a few of mine with you. How's that sound? (Just kidding).

      The timing on the question about publishing a children's book was perfect. I have a friend who has completed her first draft. I sincerely hope that CreateSpace is still a THING.

      Have a wonderful Monday. In the blink of an eye Santa will be hitching up the sleigh.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It has to be hectic for you, Janine, so thank you for taking the time to comment here. You are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can and I will,William. Thanks for the question!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, you are probably correct, I don't want to see what you are wearing as you write this. lol You are too funny!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      10 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Bill!

      Yes, this installment is comparatively short but useful. May be, everyone is busy in the Holidays season.

      Regarding the question of criticism—To be honest, everyone likes appreciation. That’s human nature. But this is also true, that those who want you to improve further, will point out your mistakes and we must not doubt their genuine intentions.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      10 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, time seriously is flying. Here it is the Monday before Christmas Eve and I am truly just trying to get as much done before the holidays next week. But, of course, had to stop in to wish you a wonderful Monday and week ahead now :)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Bill, I see you address CreateSpace. I have always (until now) published with CreateSpace. A few months ago I was told that all my books were being moved to Kindle as there was no more CreateSpace, Could you speak to that? And thanks in advance.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Again Bill I get all dressed up with coat and tie early on Mondays just to get a first look at the Mail Bag. OK I get up an hour earlier and don't wear my work clothes but you would not really want to know how I am dressed.

      I loved the criticism concept. I sometimes sit in a room with 3 folks ripping my work to shreds. I do emotional in a world of technical.I think I got over it around 2000.

      Bill I have had an issue lately. You at least seem all structured and move from one task to another with intent. I get out there and just stood for about thirty minutes watching the clouds light up in their morning flare. How the heck do you stop such manner of "wasting" time. I know you like to sit under trees like Buddha. (perhaps a life question rather than a writing one - but to me there is no line of demarcation)

      Let's rock this week!!

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