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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 273

Updated on September 9, 2019

Random Musings

I was visiting with my best friend Frank down in Oregon this past weekend. We’ve known each other since 1962; do the math and I think that computes to fifty-seven years, longer than many of you have been alive.

To say I cherish his friendship would be a gross understatement.

Anyway, we were reminiscing as two old men have a tendency to do, and we were ruminating and musing, and sometimes we were doing all three at once . . . reminiscing, ruminating, and musing . . . which is quite a juggling act . . . and at one point Frank said “thank God you and I were raised during the 50’s and 60’s; it was such a simpler time to grow up. Kids today have it so much harder than we did.”

I had to give that some serious thought. Did we have it much easier? Was it much better then? I really don’t know. I loved growing up then. I loved the freedom and the illusion of safety. The neighborhoods seemed friendlier. People seemed more willing to help one another. Life was simpler without the technology explosion. We were joyously naïve without the internet and cable tv.

But I don’t know if kids have it harder today. I really don’t. Growing up is always hard. There has always been bullying and there always will be. There will always be the loss of loved ones, and the heartbreak of love lost, and there will always be confusion and doubts and fear. That’s how life is, universal, all-inclusive, a similarity that spans the ages.

Anyway, those are my random musings on this Monday morning, more bullets for your writer’s gun. Let’s see what the Mailbag has in store for us.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

EDITING

From Nancy: “While writing a novel, should I edit as I go, or wait until I finish a draft?”

I’m going to be no help at all with my answer, Nancy. I’m not going to give you a definitive answer because I don’t believe there is one.

You should do what is comfortable for you.

I edit after a draft of the entire manuscript. I know quite a few writers who edit as they go along. Personally, and this is just me, editing as I go along ruins the flow for me, and for me it is all about creative flow. I want the story to pour out of me, and it can’t pour if I’m continually applying the brakes and correcting grammar.

But again, that’s just me. You might be totally comfortable editing as you go. Try it both ways and choose what works best for you.

ANTAGONIST

From Lynne: “Does the antagonist in a novel have to be human? That sounds like a strange question, now that I’ve written it haha. Anyway, what’s your opinion on human vs non-human?”

Lynne, it better be okay, or my entire “Shadow” series of novels is drastically flawed.

The only requirement of an antagonist is that he/she/it provides an obstacle for the protagonist. Throughout history there are many examples of extraordinary books which have non-human antagonists. You are in good company if that’s what you want to do.

Beware the antagonist!
Beware the antagonist!

The Chair

From Tarun: “I have another question to ask and if I am well within the deadline then you can answer this Monday or perhaps the one next. The question is not directly connected to writing per se but it surely is connected to the writing regimen. I say - What's with the chair Bill? I see the internet swarmed with views about how you need to look for the best chair to sit on and write before you even began thinking about writing. Is it that serious a thing about the chair that there is so much noise out there? For me I have a basic chair and when I am absorbed in my work I could easily sit for a couple of hours or more in one sitting and have gotten accustomed to it. I see from the picture you use on the mailbags that even that is a basic chair. Do you actually use that for your writing endeavors? If yes, how does it come off. Are there any do's/don't do's connected to the chair? Can we talk about some chair hygiene today? I guess this could be an open question for even the mailbag readers and they could share there chair hygiene as well. I am also open to any recommendations of a particular chair for comfort etc. But remember I sit in India so the recommendations should be on those lines. Maybe my Indian mailbag readers can help me on this.”

Tarun, I’m laughing only because that’s more information/comment than I’ve ever seen about a chair. My goodness, you gave this some serious thought. I wish I had given that much thought in choosing a chair.

The chair in the picture was the one I used for about two years. It had a cushion on it, it was the right height, and it served me well. Today I have one of those swivel office chairs, more padding, adjustable height, costs about fifty dollars more, and I can’t tell the difference between the two. My bottom was quite happy in both of them.

Regarding chair hygiene, I’m lost. I’ll leave that one to your Indian friends to answer and believe me, I’m looking forward to their answers.

SETTINGS

From Bernie: “Real-life settings or made-up settings? Do you have a preference and why?”

Most definitely, for me, real-life settings and yes, I have a reason: I’m lazy!

I started writing a science fiction novel about five years back. The novel took place on a faraway fictional planet. I spent about two days inventing names for places and straining my brain to capture the physical appearance of the locations, and I finally highlighted everything and hit “erase.” The process wore me out.

I like to write fiction. I love to make up stories. I do not like to make up locations. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I love the familiarity of known places but again, that is just me. I’m giving you a reason why I do what I do. If you have no problem creating a new place, go for it. Just make darned sure you are very clear and detailed so your audience can easily picture the place in their minds.

Real life settings work best for me
Real life settings work best for me

Marketing Oneself

From Sara: “I know you are a freelancer, so maybe you can answer this question: what’s the best way to market myself as an online writer?”

Sara, this is an important question, and I hope many others read it and internalize my answer.

The best thing you can do to promote yourself as a writer is to write, and write well, and then memorize this mantra:

Write . . . publish . . . repeat!

Your writing is your resume in freelancing. Your portfolio is what you are judged by. A weak portfolio will most often net you nothing in return. Learn how to write and then write. Write on a blog, write for HubPages, write on other sites, but just write, and work hard at improving your writing.

Once you have done that you can concern yourself with the marketing aspect, the social media, the guerrilla marketing techniques, etc.

What I’m saying to you is make sure you don’t put the cart before the horse. There is no quicker way to arrive at a freelancer death than to be a poor writer. Good writers gain a following; bad writers fill the internet with useless doo-doo, and you can quote me on that.

Ebook Vs Hard Copy

From Brandon: “Where do you think we are regarding ebooks vs hard copies? Do you think ebooks will eventually control most of the market? Or will there always be a small percentage of people who just prefer holding a real book?”

The latest statistics I saw, Brandon, suggest that the market is stabilizing after a huge early surge by ebooks. The latest figures I saw point out that sales of traditional books rose by about 5% last year, while sales of ebooks dipped about 17%. There was no mention as to why this happened, but it does follow a trend in the last couple of years.

In the meantime, I also saw a statistic that said 85% of books in public schools are ebooks. I would have to do some more research on that one. It seems a bit high but then, considering school budgets, I guess it makes sense.

Will traditional books survive? I suspect they will. I suspect there will always be people who simply love holding a book, smelling a book, and cherishing a book. At least I hope that’s the case, because I am firmly in the “traditional” corner on this controversy.

REMINISCING

The Beatles pretty much speak for me regarding the old days. I’ll let them say it for me:

“There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all”

I loved my childhood. I’m one of the lucky ones. I have quite a few acquaintances who had a tough time growing up, so I’m thankful. I had parents who adored me, I had a great education, and I lived a comfortable life. It could have turned out much differently for this adopted kid, so you’ll never hear me badmouth the old days. They are, in great part, the reason why I am who I am today.

Have a brilliant week!

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Lawrence, and I thank you for them. Love your attitude about the chair.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      My chair is just a simple wooden dining room chair with a cushion to sit on. Great for perfect poise and just uncomfortable enough to stop me falling asleep, but then again I'm usually so engrossed in either writing or reading that I just don't notice!

      As for editing, Grammarly will do the spelling and grammar 'as you go' but leave the rest until later and you know where the story is going. That's what I do.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Li-Jen! Always grateful! I have a good life; how could I not be grateful?

      Blessings to you always!

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      2 months ago

      Hey Bill. Great mailbag article! I also can't wait to hear about the chair hygiene from Tarun lol. I agree on the editing part. Let the creativity flow first. Like your advise! And glad to see you show your gratefulness. It reminds readers to be grateful too. Thanks for sharing!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Heidi, about audio books. I hadn't thought about that....no surprise coming from you, the guru of marketing. As always, you are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a hoot, Dora! That chair is now famous worldwide. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the chuckle, MizB. I have never heard that one before...dust from magazines threatening the electronics. My oh my, how horrible! lol

      Have a brilliant week, my friend. A lovely day here, partly cloudy and seventy. I would gladly take about 300 of these per year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can sit in agreement with your musings, Mel. I love the opiod lawsuits, like people didn't know opiods could be addictive? What rock did they live under???

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 months ago from Chicago Area

      Late to the Mailbag (crazy week so far)! Anyway...

      Re: Editing. Write, then edit. If you edit as you go, you'll go nowhere because you'll get stuck in perfectionism. And you can't see your work from a macro, overall perspective of the work.

      Re: The Chair. Consider it part of your writing equipment. If you're uncomfortable, your writing will suffer.

      Re: Marketing Yourself. Yep, writing and publishing your work is your best marketing tool. If people can't find and see your work online, you're finished these days.

      Re: eBooks, Print Books, and??? Yes, print books are still strong, but that doesn't mean that the print and bookstore business is strong. eBooks have slowed down a bit. But where the surge in growth is occurring is audio books with double digit growth year over year. We need to be multi-format authors.

      Gotta run. Thanks for all you do! Have a great rest of the week!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      "That’s more information/comment than I’ve ever seen about a chair." Same for me; just when it seems that all the questions had been asked. Keep it going Bill, and Thanks!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      2 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill, Tarun's question still has me chuckling. That isn't so strange a chair to me. Today I use a second-hand pink upholstered office chair I bought at state salvage for 35 bucks. I used it at my sewing machine for years until my old office chair (also second hand from the 60s, I think from its avocado plastic cover.) gave up the ghost. Before that I used a wood chair similar to yours at the sewing machine. Chairs are very important, you know (chuckle).

      I've discussed the merits of ebooks before, and now I'd add one more reason why I like them. I don't have to dust them. Last night Larry let me know that my magazine collection was causing problems near his electronics, namely dust and spiders. Oh, well.

      Last night it stormed pretty badly here just when I was going to read your mailbag, so better late than never. It dropped the temperature from high 80s to about 75, so that was good. Have a good one my friend.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 months ago from San Diego California

      I may fall short of you in years, though I think people would probably guess we are about the same age, because the post office has been brutal on my body.

      Anyhow, though a little bit your junior I can relate to your reminiscing, ruminating, and musing. Life was better back then, but I´m not sure technology has everything to do with it.

      I have been doing a lot of thinking on this matter, and I conclude that we live in the age of victimization. Everybody is a victim and wants a payout. Opioid addicts demand a bonanza because they were innocent victims of the drug companies. A McDonalds customer reaps a windfall because she spilled hot coffee on herself.

      Back in our day, I think we took responsibility for our own actions.

      Just another old-timer reminiscing, ruminating, and musing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Verlie! I guess, to a certain extent, the loss of motor skills comes with the "elderly" landscape for me. That doesn't mean I like it much, but it does mean I can be philosophical about it. :)

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Hey Bill, I'm sorry to hear about the nerve damage in the writing hand. Funny that you should mention that, I've just been experiencing similar symptoms (over the past couple of months) from what appears to be a pinched nerve that has made writing with a pen more difficult and have actually resorted to writing at times with my left hand which is pretty laborious. I read in a news article that a man who had lost all motor skills in a stroke was still able to write a novel by 'blinking' so I guess where there is a will there is a way huh. Cheers!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear that, Sha! Thanks for getting back to me.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Sorry, I missed the IM, Bill. I don't pay much attention to FB. We made out just fine. We dodged the bullet this time. Lots of prep for naught. Better safe than sorry, tho, right?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All good thoughts, Brian! My goodness, switching from 1st person to 3rd has me sweating right now. That would be a living nightmare for me. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Peggy! Great times back then for kids. I don't remember ever being bored. There was always some sort of mischief I could get into. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, one of my cheeks always goes numb after about three hours of sitting. Probably more information than you wanted. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks as always, Bill! I wouldn't want to grow up now....way too much pressure from all manner of sources. Thanks for your thoughts and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your kind words, Verlie. I have a poet's heart. On that we can agree. As for writing with a pen, I'm no longer able to do that. Nerve damage in my writing hand make it impossible, and I do find that sad.

      Happy Tuesday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No regrets at all, Mary! Good friendships just get better over time,and the memories last a lifetime.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You too Alyssa! Have a great week and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I find that sad, Shaloo, and I am guilty too. I once loved holding the newspaper and reading it. Now I scan the internet for quick headlines...too busy I tell myself. I should never be that busy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Sha, I IM'd you on Facebook to find out how you did with the hurricane. I hope all is well in your section of the world.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lori! Looking forward to your question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No way you are that old, Melissa! You could have been one of my students when I first started teaching. Thanks a lot! Now I do feel old. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm in total agreement with you about the chair, Venkatachari M. A footrest is a must for me. I don't like my feet on the floor when I'm typing for some strange reason. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! I'm afraid a real comfortable chair would be counter-productive. I'd probably fall asleep in it and that would do no good at all. :) I do think hardcover books will be around indefinitely; there's just something about holding a book that is special.

      Enjoy your week as well, Liz! Thank you again!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Tarun, you are too funny. You had me chuckling about the e-single....we'll call it The Greatest Hits of Billybuc!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      2 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      I've always been a get to the end of the first draft before editing writer, but it occurs to me that maybe there are times when editing is the best choice. That is when a story needs major, structural editing. If, after writing multiple chapters of the first draft of a novel, the awful truth becomes undeniable that it should be third person and not 1st person (or vice versa) or that the 20th scene should be the 1st scene or that it is this character's and not that character's story, then perhaps it's time to turn that so far written first draft into grist for a rewritten first draft.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The questions and answers are very interesting in this edition of the Mailbag, Bill. Thanks for sharing them. I hope you have a good week.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Like you, I loved growing up in the '50s and beyond. Most kids (at least the ones we knew and where we lived) could play outdoors until dark. Doors and windows were often left unlocked...or everyone knew where the key was located. Without social media, we were left to our own devices to fill in some time. Climbing trees, reading books, riding bicycles and more filled in the day. We even had time to lay on the grass, look up at the clouds, and daydream. I would not trade those days for anything.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Good questions and good answers. About the chair, I sit in a padded straight chair and my butt gets tired. lol Have a great week....

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Interesting Mailbag this week, Bill. I do think it may be more difficult growing up today than when I was a kid. Too much social media, peer pressure, and parental expectations. Certainly, there are issues that all youth face, but I’ll take my time in the ’60s and ’70s over what kids deal with today. Nice mix of questions in this Mailbag, have a great week.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, you are sure pulling at heartstrings with this Mailbag. You say you are not a poet, but your method of writing as you describe it here is similar to the way I approach writing poetry. Regarding the writer's chair, I would like to add that the height of the desktop/keyboard is a huge consideration if you are working at it for hours at a time. And yeah, you want a comfy chair with a footrest. But if you write with a pen (old school) none of that matters; if you are seated or standing or lying in bed, try to write it down when inspiration strikes, and worry about what it looks like later.

      Happy Monday Bill, thanks again for these valuable resources.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have many friends with whom I grew up and in our golden jubilee from high school two years ago, we spent so much time together and it was not enough. I am also lucky to still have my childhood friends and we all had a wonderful childhood. The challenges came after that when we started our own lives, several in new countries. Life has been good to us so there's no point complaining.

      I used to love Kindle when we were working in other countries where good bookstores are sometimes non-existent but back in Canada, I love getting traditional books. I am of the generation to enjoy it.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Another fabulous mailbag! Thank you for all your advice, Bill. Have a wonderful week!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      2 months ago from India

      Quite interesting questions this week...I am still laughing at the chair one. About the ebooks, I guess the traditional books will stay because there's nothing better than holding the physical book in your hands while reading. However, we cannot overlook the threat the digital platforms are posing to the traditional books. I have been working with newspaper industry for more than a decade now. It has become so hard to sell the newspaper. The new generation is just not into the habit of reading newspaper. They prefer reading news on Twitter.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I agree with you about being raised in the '50s and '60s. Well, for me it's the '60s and '70s, since I was born in 1957. With the lack of technology, we were driven by imagination. I'll take that over computer games and iPhones any day.

      In response to Brandon's question about ebooks vs hold-in-your-hand books, I'm hands down a real book with real pages reader and collector. I can safely say without a doubt, that that will never change.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great mailbag. Never heard of "chair hygiene," and don't know if I want to go there either, lol. I have a question or two I will email to you. Have a wonderful wet week here in the Pacific northwest.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Some very interesting questions this week, and as always, great responses. In regards to ebooks, I watched the progression of the ebooks becoming way more prevalent in my kids schools, including college. I concur that it was probably 85-90% in high school for sure. Things sure are different than 30 yrs ago when I was in high school...

      Have a fantastic and productive week!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A lovely mailbag with some wonderful questions.

      The chair hygiene one is a very good question even though we might be laughing at it. A right chair with good height and fitting backrest should be there to sit comfortably. Some provision for comfort footrest also needs to be kept in mind. But, everything depends on one's own need and feelings. Whatever works for you is your best chair.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      As ever you give plenty of food for thought. I am currently editing two books for relatives. Both were more or less complete before I was called upon to edit them. I guess with digital technology there's nothing to stop writers making basic edits as they go along, but I favour major editing of the complete work.

      You have got me thinking about antagonists. I was surprised how many non human antagonists I thought of.

      I laughed about the chair. I too have wondered whether you use the chair in the picture I have a padded swivel office chair, but I often catch myself leaning over my laptop. I was with a writer recently and surprised to notice his basic chair, but it must suit him.

      When I read I like to read of familiar places and locations abroad that set the scene for me.

      You give great advice about self-publicity.

      I am pleased to hear that hard books will be around for awhile yet.

      I hope you have a good week, Bill.

    • Tarunponders profile image

      Tarun Chhauda 

      2 months ago from Roorkee, India

      I am so happy that the "chair factor" has brought in a few smiles. As you I also so look forward to what others have to weigh in when it comes to our most important writing buddy - The Chair. I am hoping some of my Indian mailbag readers can chip in with a few Amazon India links which could help me decide where to rest my butt on . Until then, thanks to you Bill for taking up my question at a short notice and this mailbag actually looks like a length of a e-single they sell these days :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I wouldn't trade my childhood with anyone else. There were some tough times growing up, but that's true for every child. Overall, though, it was a great time to be a kid.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      i've had the thought that I grew up in a better time, but I do not know if I am right. A bunch of us kids payed together even into the evening. We played freeze tag, numerous other outdoor games and caught lightening bugs in a jar to just let them go before bed. Yes, I was naive in many ways as compared to children today, but I don't think that is a bad thing. I learned to work for money at a young age and never considered living on a handout of any type. So, childhood was a place to learn to responsibility and have fun.

      I really enjoyed the wide variety of questions today. I am not sure about the chair hygiene question. I write in 2 different spots as I have a laptop and an older desktop computer that I really like, plus there is an office swivel chair with a cushion, of course. Have a great week, Bill. You had very interesting questions today, thus a good article.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      God, Linda, now you have me depressed. LOL You are right about everything you wrote, of course, including the need for a good chair. lol Thankfully it's no longer hot, so we don't have to worry about bottom sweat. :)

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, what an awesome mailbag. I loved this one! Chair hygiene? Good heavens, I never considered that. The chair I use is horrible. What could I get done if I actually had a comfortable place to sit? Hmmm.

      Made up places? I thoroughly agree with you. Tolkien spent a decade creating Middle Earth (and the language to go with it). I'm glad he did and his works are epic, but golly it's too much for me to contemplate. On the other hand, Stephen King casts most of his stories in Maine (where he lives).

      Do kids have it rougher today? I think so. Yes, there are disappointments and deaths. Those always have been and always will be. We were bullied, but when we got home (assuming that we had a loving family) that bullying was shut out. We were safe and cocooned for a while. Now, with the internet not only is the bullying inescapable, but it's viral. You and I were afraid of the Russians bombing us, but we didn't really know what Russians looked like, where they were, or what would happen. Now kids go through active shooter training and learn first aid to stanch blood loss. That's a bit more in your face and REAL. And there are greater expectations for education. We were "set for life" if we got a college degree, but now that's not just a goal, it's a requirement. To really succeed you need a Masters.

      Yikes!

      I think I'd best go to Office Depot and shop for a chair.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Mary, I'll be laughing the rest of the day over your last sentence. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine ! Frank and I did some serious reminiscing and it was good for both of us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do think there is validity in your statement, Pop! The phone has made for "convenient" friends...how much depth to those friendships is another topic for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Quite the mixed bag,eh, Mike? Where else indeed would you find all that in one article. Thanks for being a part of this success. I hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Me too, Flourish! I guess in a hot, humid area there would be sweating concerns, eh?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What could be more intimate, Eric, than our favorite chair. lol Up close and very personal!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've thought about that one often, John, since I am a parent and of course worried about my son growing up. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 months ago from Brazil

      What a gloriously eclectic mailbag this week!

      I do think kids have it harder now. They have unbelievable pressure on them to perform both from parents and peers. I also think that many have no common sense, due to being 'nannied' and overprotected.

      Have to go, I'm off to clean my chair.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, hope you had a great visit with your friend and now wishing you a wonderful week ahead here, as well, Bill :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      2 months ago

      Things were better back then because we didn't have the internet. Friendships are different now. The phone has replaced an actual live human being. Kids now believe that if they have hundreds of friends of FB, they have real friends. It is all very sad to me.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hello Bill - Chair hygiene, made up places, editing toilets and the Beatles. You just can't find conversation like this just anywhere. Your mailbag series is a big success. Good to hear you spent time with your longtime friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      I’m very curious about chair hygiene.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      OK you look around and you fall in love with a certain chair. You enter the contract with loving money and you take her home. And 20 years later you still sit together and keep each other company. That is all the good.

      I will cogitate on marketing, makes me - uneasy still.

      You remind me to connect with friends from '62. Great folk.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, what a great mailbag this week. Loved the questions and your answers...especially Tarun's about the right chair. I honestly don't think kids have it any harder today than we did, it was just different. We may have had more freedom, but as you said there were still bullies, loss of loved ones, and heartbreak. An interesting question to ponder.

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