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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 260

Updated on June 10, 2019

Seeing the Truth

I’m busy working on my memoirs, “And the Blind Shall See,” and it’s really a fascinating, liberating, and gratifying process.

When I was a child I did not know what it meant to “see the truth.” I just was. I was experiencing life and just trying to move forward without any major pitfalls. As a teen I suspected there were truths, but I wasn’t completely sure how to discover them. As a young adult I chased after false truths, and some valid, attempting to discern which was which, often with painful results. And now I know the truth and I’m just trying to milk it for all I can in the time I have left.

It’s been one hell of a ride, and it isn’t over yet!

Thanks for being a part of my journey.

Let’s do this thing we call the Mailbag.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

More on Hooks

From Linda: “Good morning Bill. I saw this bit of advice online "Every sentence must do one of two things--reveal character or advance the action." A penny for your thoughts on that.”

I won’t even charge you a penny, Linda. I agree with that statement to about a 99% level, and the only reason I’m not willing to give it a 100% is because full-length novels are impossible to police that closely. Occasionally a throwaway sentence will be inserted which neither reveals character nor advances the action.

Perhaps the truly great fiction writers of the past, and present, were and are able to write 100,000 words without any waste or fluff, but I’m not one of them.

Just call me a rebel without a cause and be done with it.

Now, if you had said “every paragraph,” I would be more willing to say I agree 100%.

More on Hooks

From Flourish: “I enjoyed the discussion about the hook. I wonder if we have hooks in our lives that drive us forward and if so what that would be for each of us?”

Flourish, this might just be the most fascinating question I have ever been asked on the Mailbag, and that’s saying quite a bit. Because I’m writing my memoir at this time, this question really hits home for me. I can see now, with great clarity, certain events and circumstances which “propelled” the action in my own personal story. If I were to ask all of you, right now, to make a list of the five most impactful events in your life, what would you write? I know what mine would be, and I can now see how my life has been shaped by them.

Here’s an excerpt from my memoirs, describing my adopted parents and an event which shaped them:

The Code was the determining factor.

The Code . . .

There can be no understatement when describing the importance of The Great Depression on those who grew up within its grasp. It changed people on an almost molecular level. To lose almost everything you own, to wake up daily not knowing if you were going to eat, to see the world you once knew undergo a complete metamorphosis, to watch loved ones commit suicide, to witness despair in the flesh, to see the darkness inherent in the human species, and to be completely and utterly devoid of hope, those things will chisel your psyche and leave you with permanent scars, the type of which will never fade away.

The Code sprang up out of that experience. There was an almost fanatical need to work, and work hard. There was a wary distrust of authority. There was a willingness to help friends with unquestioned loyalty, and family was sacrosanct. If you believed in the code you treated others with respect, and you were unfailingly polite to others until they proved themselves undeserving of that politeness. You never quit a job, you prayed to the same god in different churches, you had very little faith in financial institutions, and for whatever reason you still clung to the belief that the American Dream was real. President Roosevelt had assured his “children” that fear was crippling and to never allow it. President Truman had showed the world that you didn’t mess with Americans, God bless them all and the red, white, and blue, and President Eisenhower brought the illusion of stability to a nation desperately in need of that stability.

Those Depression survivors were some of the hardest workers I have ever known, some of the most generous I will ever know, and they were card-carrying believers in The Code.

The Code . . .

Always try your best. Never waste an opportunity. Hard work plus determination will get you whatever you want in life. Never, absolutely never, give up ground. Lend a helping hand. Show compassion for those less fortunate. Work hard, play hard, and when your time is up, and the final whistle has blown, leave not one ounce of unused effort on the field of play.

They showed me the way
They showed me the way


From Liz: “What, exactly, do you mean by an e-newsletter?

E-newsletters are publications that are most often developed and distributed by businesses, charitable organizations, societies, clubs and religious bodies. They have also become a popular way for online writers to share thoughts and opinions about specific topics with their friends and followers. Based on topics that interest customers, they are an effective way to maintain contact. Businesses also use newsletters to promote products or services, as do individuals who just want to advance opinions or causes.

Would you like access to some of the e-newsletters available online? Go to Newsletter Access, an online directory of online newsletters available to you. It is organized by topic, so just click on a topic which interests you and you will find e-newsletters for you to browse through.

Would you like to make your own e-newsletter? There are a number of online companies with free templates available, so just go online and type in “e-newsletter templates. Any of those sites can have you publishing an e-newsletter like a champ in a matter of an hour or so.

What’s Happening With Hp Earnings?

From Robert: “Any idea why HP earnings are down?”

None! Zero! Zilch! Nada! Rien! Niente! Intet!

Get the picture?

HP and I have an understanding. They leave me alone and I leave them alone. I used to be critical of HP, but those days are gone. They are what they are, a content site where we are allowed to post our works, for free, to the world, and we are also paid to do that. What we are paid depends on HP algorithms and lots of other technical crap I just don’t understand.

I’m just happy to be here. This is where 90% of my online friends hang out, so it’s like a secret clubhouse or something similar. I’m still waiting for someone to teach me the secret handshake, but I’m sure that will happen soon.

Seriously, Robert, I don’t know. I’m sure they will increase in the next few months. There have been fluctuations to HP earnings for as long as I’ve been here.

The Truth

Do you know what the “truth” is that I referred to at the opening of this Mailbag? Share with me in the comments section what you think it might be. Let’s find out just how well you know me. It should be obvious for anyone who has read my works over the months and years.

Have a fantastic week! Make it count! Time is a’wastin’!

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

My truth!
My truth!


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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Li-Jen! You might have mentioned that before haha

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Peg! Have a great Sunday!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      17 months ago

      Hi Bill, have I mentioned your article is interesting as always? Haha. Enjoyed the selection of topics. Thanks for sharing. Great that you write for enjoyment!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      17 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Another good one, Bill. I always look forward to the new questions and answers and if we're lucky, an excerpt from your writing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brenda! this is my second home and I do love it. Great community!

    • Brenda Arledge profile image


      18 months ago from Washington Court House

      Enjoyed the read. Loved how you are content to be here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Love it is, Ann, and love it always shall be.

      Me, in charge? You must be joking! I'll have a better answer on Monday, but thanks for the chuckle. I had a mentor once who told me if I was in charge we would all be on thin ice. He was correct.

      Wishing you a thunderously tickle-filled Thursday.


    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Understanding our past, Mary, is a key to our future, or so I believe, and thank you for the very lovely words. I appreciate it very much.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      18 months ago from SW England

      That code is just about it, for so many of that era anyway. There are many that need a code and anything close to that one will do; a reminder of what is important.

      The truth - well, that has to be love , doesn't it? We are nothing without love.

      The question and discussion about 'hooks' is fascinating. You've got me thinking carefully about mine - I need to make a list. There are so many angles!

      Teaching my dyslexic students, I had to give them hooks to help them learn various different spellings or facts or aid memory. I guess our life hooks are points where we are influenced and learn the most, for good or bad.

      Super-great mailbag this week, bill!

      Question: Are you in charge of your writing or is your writing in charge of you?

      I'll tell you why I've asked that after I read your answer!

      Have a wizard Wednesday evening, bill!


    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I remembered attending a retreat years ago where they asked us to identify the hooks, the triggers that make us respond so strongly. The hooks then are no longer the same as the hooks today. I am sure there are new ones as I have changed and I need to be aware of it. You are also implanting a new code, the code of love and sharing, in everything you write

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I believe The Code is timeless. Unfortunately it also seems to be easier to ignore for many people, and I find that sad. Good behavior will never go out of style. As for Maven, your answer cometh on Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautifully stated, Bill, and I completely agree with all of it. Oh, to have hindsight, eh?

      Have a great week, buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure, Venkatachari M...universal all over the world....we need more people to follow it,my friend.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      18 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I think "the Code" was pretty much the same everywhere. My dad would have added one thing to it because he taught us to stand on our own two feet and not ask for charity. Today I think events have made charity necessary for a higher percentage of families.

      The excerpts from your memoirs are very enjoyable. I'm sure you will reveal more of your hooks as you go along. At our age, it's pretty easy to name five.

      What about Maven? Has it had any impact on the drop in earnings, ya think? Have a good rest of the week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, it may well happen. There is craziness afoot, here and in Europe, and it's dangerous craziness at best. It would be nice if it didn't erupt until after I die, but I doubt I'll be so lucky.

      Have a fabulous Tuesday, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So do I, Flourish, and you are very welcome.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Double is darned good, John! I'd say you must be doing something "write" along the way. :) Keep on keeping on, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! Any believer in the Code is a friend of mine. Wishing you a fabulous week in Ohio.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh wow, Dora! You really went deep with that question. Stay tuned! I have an answer for you Monday, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      How about that indeed, Ruby! I am in total agreement with you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is very cool, Pamela, and I'll stick around for the duration because of it. I love my HP friends. You guys have accepted this imperfect introvert and given him a place he can call home, and that, too, is cool.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks is the answer, my friend. It's all I've got that I can totally rely upon.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts

      HI Bill. Interesting mailbag this week. I agree that there are probably a handful of hooks that have steered us to where we are in life. Certainly there are numerous forks in the road of life, and each impacts where we wind up, but the major ones, or hooks if you will, have the biggest impact. I can definitely think of a handful that have had the most impact on my life. It has always amazed me that just a few decisions in life have steered us to where we are today.

      As for the HP earnings, it's just the ebb and flow of the beast. What goes up will most certainly come down, and vice versa. Have a great week.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      18 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A very great mailbag as always.

      I think seeing the truth is seeing nature as it is and accepting everything that comes in your way without complaining.

      The discussion on Hooks is very interesting.

      The code from your memoir is wonderfully described It's a universal code applicable for all in any corner of the world.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      18 months ago from United Kingdom

      The Code? At a guess, it sounds like 'do unto others...' but more fine tuned.

      Yes, it is something how fighting for your and your family's survival will mark a person. I can easily understand how having all your support systems ripped out from under you can leave someone distrustful of authority and determined to rely on one but family and proven friends.

      With the powers that be, I sometimes wonder if we're not heading towards something similar again.

      Enjoy your day, Bill.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      18 months ago from USA

      Thanks for answering my question and including an outtake from your book. I wish the code were still honored like it used to be.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Another interesting mailbag, Bill. The “hooks” discussion is interesting. As for HP earnings, some are saying they are up others seems to go around and around. I had the highest earnings that I have ever had last month and every month this year my views and earnings have been more than double the same time last year so I am not complaining. I will never be able to live off it, but hey it keeps me in coffee lol.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image


      18 months ago from Ohio

      Fantastic mailbag this week! I love the excerpt you included from your memoir. The Code is something I was taught as a child and I still try to abide by it as much as possible. Have an awesome week!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      18 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I have a question instead of an answer to your truth. Is it significant that you now see and know the truth (singular), when previously you searched for truths? Just checking.

      Thanks for your weekly share of information from your knowledge and experience.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      18 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I think I've been searching for the truth my entire life. I think I'm as close as I've ever been. I've heard my mother talk about the years when the banks closed and only the wealthy survived, losing a child to polio because there was no vaccine available. I think we both are closer to the truth because we both decided to let love in and forget the past. How about that? Thanks again for all you do to help us and encourage us by reading our work and leaving a comment..

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      18 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thanks for sharing a piece of your memoir. I can't wait to read it. Have a good Monday.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      18 months ago from Sunny Florida

      My parents had those same values that followed the Great Depression. Hard work, expectations expressed for the children, etc., etc. The truth is probably love and live your life to the fullest each day with family and friends and doing what you love, like writing and the farm.

      I think the money is not good here at this time, but I can write an article and talk to the world. People from Canada, England, India, the Philippines, Brazil, and so on. How cool is that!

      Have a great week Bill. :)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      18 months ago from San Diego California

      Johnny Cash asked "What is Truth?" I couldn't begin to fathom my own truth, much less yours, but I do know you go to great lengths to be a father figure to this struggling community. As to HP earnings, I go back to that old climatic adage - "If you don't like the weather wait five minutes." Great work again.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's the goal, Linda,and I thank you for being a part of our party each week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'm sure you will recognize much of what I describe in my memoirs. It's amazing how similar our parents were...or maybe not so amazing considering what they went through, eh?

      I am already dreading Wednesday, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not so weird at all, Verlie. Not so weird at all! Good morning to you and I'm sorry about your weather. We are getting ready for a heat wave, darn it!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, your guess would be accurate. As for the HP earnings, when you figure it out please let me know.

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Pop, now you've depressed me. The poorest paying site? But that doesn't take into account what your friendship is worth to me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Shannon! Love, baby, love...that and some chocolate and I'm good to go.

      A great week for you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi! Can you imagine every sentence being a hook? I'm exhausted just thinking about that kind of intense writing. Quite frankly I think it's impossible to do. I know for a fact some of the classic Russian novelists were incapable of doing it. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday, Janine, and again, Happy Birthday to you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The questions and answers about hooks were very interesting as well as thought provoking. There's always something new to think about in the Mailbag!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      18 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill, and thanks for answering my question. I agree with you--paragraphs yes, each sentence stretches it a bit.

      Your memoirs are so touching, and you know how I feel about the Great Depression. It shaped your parents' and my parents' lives in a way that people today cannot begin to understand. I can hardly wait to see the completed book (how's that for putting on pressure?) I almost feel like I'm cheating (shaking the packages under the tree) by being able to read this snippets from your work.

      I hope you have a fantastic week. You and Maggie will need to find a shady spot on Wednesday. It's due to be a scorcher.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      18 months ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, I love your memoir excerpt on 'the code'. It came right out of the book my parents used on us growing up, sounds so familiar! And truth? For me it is actually a physical sensation. I get shivers down my spine when I see it, or hear it. Like tiny truth detectors implanted. Weird eh. Happy Monday Bill. It is raining cats and dogs here...

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      18 months ago from UK

      Much food for thought as ever. Interesting thoughts on hooks. I shall be more analytical of books I read, looking for the hooks and I shall be more mindful of life hooks. We get a regular e newsletter from someone who used to do church work abroad and, even in retirement wants to keep everyone up to speed with his own and his family's activities.

      Even in the short time I have been on Hub Pages I have read varied comments about HP earnings. As a relative newbie I am still trying to figure out how Google AdSense fits into the picture.

      I'm guessing yout truth is love, Bill.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      18 months ago

      I'm with you billy. HP must be the poorest paying site on the internet. What is does have is an abundance of terrific people, and that's why I stay.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      18 months ago from Texas

      Love, man, that's your truth. LOL. And it should be everyone's, but it's not. Flourish's question is indeed fascinating! Certainly made me think. Looking forward to your memoirs. Have a great week!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      18 months ago from Chicago Area

      With all info on hooks in this Mailbag, I thought this was a fishing article. :)

      Re: Hooks. In longer works, writing every sentence as if the entire work hinged on it would be exhausting for both the reader and the writer. I like to think of hooks as highlights, quotable bits that get remembered and shared.

      Re: Life Hooks. Yep, there's always something, positive or negative, that catches us like fish. That's fodder for some deep thoughts.

      Re: HP Earnings. My earnings are up significantly this year. But then that might be because of the material I write. A couple years ago, it was way down. That's just the way the Internet works. I'm not going to worry about it.

      Re: Newsletters. I could go on extensively about this. Where people get stuck, especially those of a certain age, is thinking today's "newsletters" are like yesterday's print newsletters filled with good stuff and a lot of fluff to make them seem valuable. I get a bunch of these types in my Inbox, stuffed with so many articles that all I can say about them is TL;DR (too long; didn't read). Today, they need to be short. My "newsletter" is essentially a link and preview to my podcast, weekly video and any relevant blog post on the week's topic. Today's "newsletter" is social media.

      Have a great week!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      18 months ago from New York, New York

      Happy, Happy Monday to you Bill and always seriously love joining in to read your Monday Mailbag and musings. So, thanks for that and more here today. Now, wishing you the most wonderful week ahead, as well :)


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