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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 279

Updated on October 21, 2019

The Big Dark

I read that phrase recently in a story in the Seattle Times newspaper. It was a phrase coined to describe this time of year in the Pacific Northwest when the days shorten, the clouds weigh down on us, and the light seems to always be set on dim . . . The Big Dark! From October through March, our little corner of the world can be a bit oppressive. The current forecast calls for seven straight days of rain. Storm systems are lined up out in the Pacific Ocean, like cars in the McDonald’s drive-through, one after another after another, riding the jet stream directly at us.

It affects people, you know, the constant gloom. They even have a medical name for it . . . Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have friends who will slip into some serious melancholy for about four months.

Me? I’m not a big fan of it, but being a writer I find it is fortuitous, having a built-in excuse to just write more. When the weather is sucky, like today, my only two jobs are to walk the dogs and write, and I can easily live with that load.

How about you? Do you find you write better during stormy weather? Or are you a sunshine and warmth kind of writer?

I’ll let you ponder that while I tackle a few questions.

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Broken or Disappearing Links

From Rodric: “The question is: What can I do about videos I use from Youtube and references I link that disappear or should I worry about it at all?”

Rodric, I appreciate the question, but I’m probably the wrong person to ask about that problem. I post an article on HP and then I forget about it. I mean I never revisit it again. I have no idea if the HP staff is messing with my links and videos, so I sure don’t know how to fix that problem. I wouldn’t even worry about it but then, that’s me. I know a lot of HP writers who pay real close attention to that stuff.

My opinion, for what it is worth: the HP staff knows a lot more than I do about Google and SEO. If they think changing your videos or links will help your article with SEO, then I’m fine with it. I’m just a writer. I have a working knowledge of SEO, but they have metrics and statistics and advanced knowledge I will never be privy to.

Is It Worth It?

From Sarah: “I’m a freelancer, part-time right now, hoping to go full-time in the next year or so. I have a customer who is never happy. My most recent assignment for him was a 500 word article about business ethics, and I’m on re-write number four. I’m getting paid $50 for this article and I’m beginning to question my sanity for taking the job. My question is this: is it worth it? Should I just cut my losses and run, or stick it out until I finally make the customer happy?”

Well, Sarah, first of all, that sucks!

Secondly, been there and done that.

Thirdly, I ain’t going back again!

You asked if it was worth it. I’m guessing you have at least three hours of work invested in that article and four re-writes. Maybe four hours . . . anyway, do the math! Fifty divided by three is just short of $17 per hour. Fifty divided by four is a little more than $12 per hour. To me and my way of thinking, it isn’t worth it. In that same amount of time I can do five or six articles at $25 each for over $150.

Granted, you may need the money, in which case you might as well fulfill your commitment and at least pocket some money, but in the future, pick and choose your customers wisely. You might consider including a “re-write clause” in your contact which says you are only obligated to do one re-write upon the customer’s request. That way you avoid things dragging out ad infinitum.

Some pay for writing is not worth it
Some pay for writing is not worth it

What Is It About?

From Pree: “I write poetry, and sometimes my poetry can be a bit abstract. I’ve had people tell me they like it, but there are times they don’t understand it. Do you think I should include a paragraph after each of my poems which explains each poem?”

Oh boy, someone asked me a poetry question. LOL I don’t think that has ever happened before. By the way, I love your name, Pree. I would love to know the origin of that name.

Okay, on to your question. This is just me, mind you, but I love abstract poetry for the very reason that it often means different things to different people. I love the fact that my interpretation of a poem is neither right nor wrong. An accompanying explanation of the poem would ruin it for me. What if I was wrong in my interpretation? I’d feel like an idiot, much the way I felt in English class in high school when the teacher explained “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas, and his explanation was light years away from my interpretation.

I’m the same way with abstract paintings. I don’t have to be correct in my interpretations. I just need to feel it to enjoy it.

Have you ever read Tom Robbins? Same thing . . . I have no clue what he is writing about, but I love the journey.

Grammatical Rules in Dialogue?

From Jesse: “What do you say? Should we be concerned with grammatical rules when writing dialogue?”

I say NO!

Short and sweet!

What you should be concerned with is consistency. Dialogue is one way we can identify with characters, so make sure you are consistent in speech patterns of characters in your book or story. A lot of people in real life do not speak using proper grammar, but they do consistently speak the same way day in and day out.

Quotation Marks

From Brie: “I’m confused. When a character speaks in a novel, and that speech carries on beyond one paragraph, where do you put the quotation marks? Beginning and end of each paragraph? Or beginning of each paragraph and the end of the last paragraph?

We just had questions from Pree and Brie. How cool is that?

I know, I’m weird!

The last option is the correct option on quotation marks. I’m not sure if this rule has changed over the years, but I do know that it is currently considered correct if you put quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph and only at the end of the last one.

If Sister Mary Catherine was still alive I’d shoot her an email and ask her, but she’s been pushing up Daisies for about thirty years now.

The Big Dark
The Big Dark

The Big Dark

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it, like THE BIG SLEEP? And it is ominous for those of us who live here. I’m reminded of the Walker Brothers song “The Sun Ain’t Going To Shine Anymore” from 1965. It’s just our reality here in Olympia, the price we pay for gorgeous green scenery and the bluest skies you’ve ever seen during the summer.

And that is my wish for you, this week and beyond…the bluest skies your life has ever seen. Enjoy your day, your week, and your life, and remember to do all things with love.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You've had a tough few months, Audrey! Best wishes to you, dear friend.

      love

      bill

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 days ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thanks, Bill. You are right on both counts...growing older with each passing day ( I'm a little in denial with this) :) and I need to pull up my big girl pants and fight winter with the warmth of more pages for my book!

      love,

      audrey

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Audrey! I hope this finds you feeling better, my friend. You have a book to finish, and this winter is the perfect time to do that. We ain't getting any younger, my friend.

      love,

      bill

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 days ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I thrive in the warmth of the sun! On gloomy days, I bake chocolate chip cookies and whip up a pot of chili inspired by my mama...and that's how I make it through winter.

      As far as the videos go I simply replace them and move on. Readers get frustrated with broken links to both videos and photos and I want to keep my readers.

      Thanks for all your help.

      Love,

      Audrey

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Karen! Thanks for making five attempts at commenting. That's been happening a lot lately here at HP....serious glitch in the system.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      3 weeks ago from New England

      Here's my fifth attempt at this (previous notes kept disappearing when I pressed the submit button).

      Hope this cold time of shadows holds some inspiration for you, Bill. The Winter in New England is a good season for me to make lots of progress with writing projects.

      Other than maybe shedding light on setting and other historical factors that may influence the meaning of a poem, I agree that poetry is meant to hold unique meaning for the person hearing it, and therein lies some of its beauty.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Blessings, Nikki, always! I hope your Sunday is brilliantly lovely.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, thanks for sharing your routine with me. It is similar to mine in many ways. And yes, Northwest seasons, we have no choice if we want to enjoy nature.Get out there and get wet!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      3 weeks ago from London

      Another amazing mailbag with some interesting questions and answers. For me, every season has it’s own importance but winter is precisely good time to write more.

      Sun is still shining here in London but some days are getting more colder and darker as we enter in November.

      ‘The Big Dark’ is perfect word for it.

      Blessings my friend!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 weeks ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      My routine is to get up hours before dawn and work on a creative writing project for 2 hours and then focus on other aspects of the writing life—critiquing, commenting, marketing, etc.—for 1 hour by a countdown app, with brief pauses to make coffee or herbal tea, shave, or whatever. My bedroom roof doesn't leak and before dawn my window curtains are closed, so I am indifferent to whether the night is fair or rainy. When after writing time I start my day and eventually venture outside in the daylight, I accept that Bainbridge Island has a long rainy and chilly season—fall, winter, and spring. If the rain is more than a light drizzle, I put on a rain parka. Rain or no, I appreciate the lush greenery.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William! I'm late too, so you keep good company. 64 degrees? We actually hit that here yesterday. The calm before the next storm.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      It's been a busy week, Bill. I'm late checking in, but I did make it. There were a lot of good questions this week, and of course, I always learn from your answers. I'm glad to hear I've been doing quotation marks correctly. At least, I got something right - lol.

      I just wanted to say the sun is shining brightly and a comfy 64 degrees in PA. Why don'[t you catch a flight over?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I know Seattle at one time had to advertise for women to move to that town, and they paid for women to do just that to help populate the young city...I think that was what the show was about. I just remember it being terrible. I can't remember one actor from it, so it must have been bad.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you are absolutely correct, MizB. I sure hope there are no longer teachers out there who teach like that. We need kids to find the beauty in poetry, not be turned off by it.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Correct! You win the round.

      Now that you mention it, it wasn't very good. I'm not even sure what it was about. A take on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers maybe?

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I'm back after reading the comments on the poetry interpretations. Maybe my teachers were old-fashioned, but they taught that the reader was free to interpret the poetry. That brings up a little fit of anger I remember having over poetry. When I was taking one of those "__AT" tests required to get into graduate school, I got a score back on one of them that wasn't too hot. They explained why I missed every answer that I missed, including my interpretation of a poem they required. My interpretation was far off the track from theirs, and they told me that I WAS WRONG. Wrong, my hind leg...I just live in a different world from their snot-nosed academia, and perhaps I saw a different beauty or ugliness, whatever, from their viewpoint. But downright wrong? The poet himself had not left behind his own interpretation of the work. I think attitudes like that are what soured me on writing poetry.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a lot, Lori! Sorry I'm so late getting to this. That drive along the KP is a tough one at night; in the rain it is downright dangerous. I'm glad you made it safely. As for dialogue, your points are right on. I need characters who speak like people I know speak. Anything other than that is contrived and phony.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      "Here Come the Brides," which I watched, and I'll never understand why. As I remember, it wasn't very good.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm the same way, Linda! Two or three days of it are fine, but then I need a day of sun. That's all I'm asking and hoping for in the winter.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Well done, Bill. Two points for you. And now for the bonus question: What TV show used this song in their opening?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      After multiple days of rain, we got some sun today, which was nice. I don't mind rain, but I don't like it when it lasts for too long. I hope we get more sun here in the near future and that you do, too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, I've been to San Diego twice, and both times I found it to be a beautiful place...but way too much sunshine! lol Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The dreams will continue for at least six months, Mary,so get comfortable. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Flourish. Now I'm laughing at the mental image of a nun running in the daisies.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not a big fan of cold wind either, Bill. I learned that "dislike" living in Alaska for a year.

      Thanks my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the long comment, John! I love to hear from you and your thoughts. I like what you said about abstract poetry. I should try that...just write a totally abstract poem and then sit by and watch as people try to figure it all out. lol Might be fun!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 weeks ago from San Diego California

      Here in San Diego I have no choice but to be a sunshine and warmth kind of writer. Yes we have our June Gloom and May Gray, but I view those cloudy skies as a built in umbrella for me as I make my daily rounds. Besides, it usually burns off in the afternoon.

      Heres to muddling through the Big Dark. Great stuff as usual.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Where did the message go, Karen? :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know, Denise....I think you might be the smart one and I'm the one who needs an attitude adjustment. :) Happy Tuesday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I can't imagine 70. This time of year I can't imagine sunshine at all. lol Enjoy it for me,will you my friend?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Been there, done that, Shannon, and I hated Alaska. There is something very disconcerting for it to be pitch black out at noon, or sunny at two a.m....I never got accustomed to it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I wish you had a dog too, Zulma. Maggie slept with her head on my stomach last night. It was adorable. I would wake up throughout the night and feel for her to make sure she was still there.

      Perry Como...bluest skies in Seattle...what a lie that is! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Wishing you a brilliant Tuesday, Ann!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Eric! The darker the better. I am actually more creative when I'm swimming in the Sea of Melancholy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. HP is good about telling me they are messing with my articles. I just ignore it all and keep on writing.

      Have a superb week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Melissa and Happy Monday. I wouldn't mind stormy if it would stop once in awhile. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! Analyzing a poem was a class I hated. Still to this day I won't do it. I just let it flow over me and mean anything it wants to mean. :)

      Enjoy that weather while you can!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. That is horrible pay for freelancing. I would quit it too if that's what I was paid. I think you made a wise decision. Your time is worth more than that.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      We are back to the Big Dark. Cottage closed. Summer fun over. It's raining out making one feel gloomy but as you remind us constantly, do everything with love. Dream of the blue skies.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I got that same message, Mary! HP was pretty good about getting back to me about it, so kudos to them.

      Have a fabulous week,my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      The Big Dark. I love this. It would make a great title for a story. (not hinting, just saying lol)

      So many references here. The Big Sleep, a cool movie with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore. And the bluest skies? Is this a sly reference? I believe it is. Can you remember where that lyric comes from? I can.

      As for the SAD thing, you are preaching to the choir. I can feel myself starting to slip so I'm trying to distract myself with busy work and such to take my mind off it. Not too hard with the holidays coming up so there's lot's to plan and do. The hard part is going to be after the holidays are over and the gloom is well and truly stuck in.

      Oh well, it is what it is and I'll deal with it like I always do.

      Take care, Bill. Enjoy your writing and your walks with Maggie and Toby. (I wish I had a dog.)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      The big dark, never heard it but it fits to a T. I was out driving in torrential rains from the KP to GH to go to urgent care this evening. It was almost dark on my way there and very dangerous. When they checked my BP is was 169/95. They were thinking it was whatever bug I got. I said no, it was driving in dark, rainy, dangerous conditions. It was even worse on the way home. I just don't see well at night, especially in the rain, even though I have my cataract surgeries behind me. As you know, this area is not well lit. As I left the medical building parking lot it was flooded at the end, probably two of more feet of standing water and I couldn't see it, even with the lights. Ah, well made it home. I don't mind the dark, or the rain, but I hate hard long-lasting rain like today.

      Your answer to Jesse was a good one. If a dialogue can't be real, it shouldn't be written. People use slang, pronounce words sloppily, it's just how we are. Why have a homeless guy annunciate like a British monarch? Why have a teenager speak like a an English professor? Or an average person speak like an attorney at law. To perfect common English in dialogue lacks authenticity. Love this as always.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      Sister Mary Catherine is probably running in the daisies in the great field in the sky, having discovered she wasted so much time on punctuation. Pree should not explain their poetry. Who cares if it’s abstract.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I actually don’t mind cloudy days, but I can certainly understand how SAD can bring people down. What I really don’t like is the biting, cold wind that we get in winter. Another great version of the mailbag. Have a great week.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill it is nice that the mailbag keeps attracting new followers. I love the darker rain days probably because they are few and far between in this part the word. I find I tend to be far more productive with my writing then too.

      I know there was a glitch with YouTube videos in hubs recently and an error saying “you have opted out of YouTube and must enable cookies” but that seems to be fixed. However, from time to time a broken link will appear on an article where the video has been removed from YouTube or an article you linked to no longer works. A little black triangle appears. When I notice one I always go through and check the video or link and remove it if it is no longer working.

      I feel for Sarah, that has happened to me. I have one returning customer who always asks for rewrites and usually after he deadline has expired. I decided that if they ask me for further work I am increasing my price due to the extra hours they ask of me. All my gigs do state how many rewrites will be provided, however, so it is clear at the start and they pay more for the number of rewrites they want.

      On Pree’s question about explaining abstract poetry. That’s up to you. I only write abstract poetry when I deliberately want to confuse and puzzle my reader, so enjoy reading their interpretations. If I want my poetry understood and have a message, it will be clear. Another poet here, Li-Jen Hew always provides an explanation of her poems.

      Sorry for the long comment. Have a wonderful week.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      4 weeks ago from New England

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Maybe I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive, but I always fix broken links by linking a new video or a new photo, assuming the old one has been removed, deleted, or updated. I just like having all my links working. Thanks for the grammar rules. It's always good to be aware.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Great mailbag today, Bill. I love the question from Brie about punctuating dialog. I don't recall ever seeing a diatribe long enough to need paragraphs unless the speaker was interrupted by another speaker. Questions from Pree and Brie, how neat! Loved the video on punctuating dialog.

      I really love the darkness of rain, but neither rain nor shine affects my mood for writing. Heavy storms last night. I'm glad they blew out in Texas and Oklahoma before they reached our tornado alley. Today is a beautiful sunny and 70. Have a good week, my friend.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      4 weeks ago from Texas

      The Big Dark sounds so ominous. I'm not sure I'd do well in places like that or in Alaska where it stays dark for so long. On one hand, I'm a night owl anyway and I tend to be more productive at night. On the other hand, I love the natural sunlight and allowing it to light the room I'm in. Maybe Alaska is a good fit, after all, LOL.....best of both worlds. Except that it's too dang cold there in the wintertime!!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      Thanks, bill. It has been a bit like that - no rush and a little sunshine.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Check it out Bill, I was sentenced to 180 days of no sun. Really. A bad year in Vermont. What a trip. I picked up extra cash painting inside houses.And the moldy dank smell made me crazy. (probably crazier) Do not tell anyone but I love the down and dark, I feel like Poe!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      If I was living in the big dark I would write or find something else to do indoors. As to Rodric's question, I have never had videos vanish without a notice from Hubpages. Occasionally, they will make changes they deem appropriate (which I don't always agree with) but I get an email telling me they are editing my article. It hasn't happened recently. LOL Have a good week Bill!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      4 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! We've got the pouring rain here today also, so I'm familiar with the gloom...SAD is a real disorder that affects a lot of people...but, I do have to admit I kind of like the stormy weather while writing. No sun, but that chorus of rain and wind sings to me.

      Hope you have great and productive week!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      4 weeks ago from Ohio

      Happy Monday, Bill! Here in Ohio we're enjoying a beautiful (supposed to be 75 degrees, but currently, at the time of writing this comment, it's only 69) day. But it won't last. The weather there definitely sounds perfect for writing, though. I tend to get into things in the evening. There's something about the darkness that brings out the creativity. Excellent mailbag this week! I'm with you on abstract poetry. Mostly because that's what I write. I don't follow the grammar, line, or sound rules when it comes to that. I've never been a big fan of dissecting a piece, whether a poem or story, in class. It ruins the experience for me. Now that my son is in school, I have to get over it to try to help him. haha! Have a wonderful week!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      A good mailbag, this week. Ample questions though some are weird! You tackled them perfectly.

      Freelancing, I have done it for 2 years at two dollars per 300-word article. 15 to 20 articles in a month, some of them re-written. That's it. It sucks. If you need money, you have to do it. So, I never tried it the year 2015 afterward.

      Regarding the big dark, it is the same here also. Dim light during days with white clouds all over the sky. But, it is a good season for better work as well as enjoyment. So, wish you a good Halloween and the ensuing holidays.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 weeks ago from Brazil

      Where I live it's always sunny and warm and I find there are too many things other than writing that need tending too.

      Regarding the video problem, I contact HP because I was receiving a message saying I needed to update my cookie settings on YouTube. HP are aware there is a problem and are working to solve it.

      As always, great questions and advice. Have a wonderful week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, you are a doll for doing that quilt for that couple. I want to see a picture of it when you finish please.

      As for guilt over not working outside, forget about it. I sat inside yesterday and watched the Seahawks loe, and I didn't feel any guilt at all, thank you very much!!!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you crack me up. Your comments always leave me laughing. "Grammar be damned!" Classic Heidi and I appreciate you. There is a handful of people at HP I think would be a hoot to have coffee with, and you are one of them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Ruby, with a passion? I'm getting that way myself, which is odd since I should be used to the gloom having lived here most of my life.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! It is a mellow Monday. I have a light workload this week, so I'm taking my time and enjoying the voyage without deadlines hurrying me along. It's nice!

      That is quite an admission from you! I'm going to mark this day on my calendar. :)

      Wishing you a brilliantly laid-back day of wonder and joy!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Liz! Yes, I do ignore HP advice but again, that's just me. If one wants to increase payouts at HP, it would be wise to follow that same advice.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I'm not certain that this Big Dark makes me change my activities; I just feel less guilty working at my desk rather than outside pulling weeds. Like you, I know people who have serious problems with the drear and gloom, but I revel in the increased productivity.

      Good questions about writing. I was always disappointed when our English teacher would explain a poem. (Kinda like if you have to explain a joke it ceases being funny.) I wondered if the poet really had all of those thoughts in mind or was this merely an English teacher justifying his/her profession?

      The rule that you explained about quotation marks is exactly the way that I do it . . . therefore, it might be correct LOL.

      By the way, I'm full of happy these days. I have a king-size quilt to make between now and next July. I've never tackled anything that large, my head is spinning, and I'm in a sweat to get it done, but it's for a VERY beautiful couple who are planning their wedding--my younger daughter is engaged!!!!!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday... and it's jam packed I see!

      Re: The Big Dark (aka The Most Wonderful Time of the Year). Honestly, I have difficulty writing and concentrating when it's sunny out. Not because I want to "play outside." More that I find the sunny days visually distracting. Maybe I should move out your way. :)

      Re: Broken or Disappearing Links. About a week ago, I noticed that all my YouTube videos in my HP posts were replaced with a red bar that said something to the effect that I needed to add permissions to view. What? Anyway, I reached out to the HP tech team. They said they're aware and working on it. It seems to be pretty much resolved.

      Re: Is It Worth It? When I freelance, I keep a time log documenting every minute I spend on each project. When I saw that my hourly rate was heading south due to the amount of work it was taking, I upped my rates for future projects. The higher rate filtered out the annoying and cheap clients.

      Re: What Is It About? This is my biggest complaint about most poetry. It usually requires some explanation to provide context. So yes, if someone couldn't figure out what your poem is all about, explain it. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of the piece? And doesn't that negate any personal interpretation the reader would have? Poets, get out of your head if you want to be understood! Have someone read your poem cold and see how they interpret it. You'll be super shocked I guarantee.

      Re: Grammar in Dialogue. Grammar be damned when it comes to dialogue! How someone uses language is so indicative of who the person is that to sanitize it to meet grammatical rules ruins the work. Case in point, read The Sound and The Fury by Faulkner.

      Re: Quotations in Dialogue. You are correct! Also, I've seen some recent works that put dialogue in italics without quote marks to indicate that someone is speaking. Visually, I think that's a cool way to do it, even though it might not be acceptable in some circles.

      Okay, gotta get this week started. Thanks for the Mailbag, as always, and have a great week!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I dislike the gloomy weather with a passion, and my muse ( Shane ) hides somewhere, only comes out again when the sun shines. I learned about the proper use of quotation marks. Thank you..

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      I'm a great fan of the sunshine, it cheers me up no end, but I like storms too as they are wild and make you think of all sorts of wild and scary things. Not keen on high winds though! I like our weather because we still have the seasons, even though they have changed a little in duration and are never predictable. Without them I would feel lost.

      My writing depends on the weather and I think the sun spurs me on more. However, it's the mood that changes and we all need to write in different moods. I like the challenge.

      I find that grammatically correct dialogue is not 'real'. I know few people who speak grammatically all the time and there is less expression in such speech. It also depends a lot on the subject and on the character in question. From a grammar geek that's quite an admission!

      I think that explanations for poetry should be limited to the inspiration for it or the background to it. As you say, the rest is subjective to the reader.

      Great mailbag! And they just keep on coming! I'm trying my best to find you a really difficult question, bill, but I can't; not giving up yet though.

      Enjoy a mellow Monday!

      Ann

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      You put a positive spin on the shorter cooler days.

      I have noticed forum posts on the subject of missing links or links that no longer work. From your comments, I am guessing that you ignore the HP advice to regularly review your articles.

      I feel for Sarah. Your rewrite clause advice is good. I guess we all learn from experience the hard way.

      I guess that just because an explanation is offered with abstract poetry, not everyone has to read it, but it gives the option for those who want to.

      I reflected on your attitude towards grammatical correctness recently when I was editing a book. It was a great help and encouraged me to relax a little.

      Thanks for another collection of great tips. Have a good week, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Devika! As always, you are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike! I'm afraid the blue skies are a memory only. Have a good one, buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We are into our seventh straight day of rain, Janine. I'm a bit tired of being so productive. lol As always, thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Freelance jobs are a waste of time to me. I have been there and done that as well. It did not pay me to write a 1000 word article per $10. Informative and you answered questions to help others in similar situations.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hello Bill - Just stopping by to say hello this morning. Wishing you blue skies also.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      4 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Aw, Bill, I find for both writing and reading rainy, snowy and/or cold weather does indeed make me more productive in those areas as I hunker down and get what I need done. So, that said we are indeed approaching that time of the year like it or not. But I will indeed be getting more done as far writing and reading hopefully is concerned, because of it. Happy Monday and week ahead now :)

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