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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 280

Updated on October 28, 2019

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

So many changes happening right now in my life, some bittersweet, some lovely, some challenging and some a proverbial piece of cake; they are all part of this thing we call life, and I welcome them all with open arms and heart.

It’s a bit of a metamorphous for me. I do not normally embrace change. I’m a creature of habit. I find comfort in routine and normalcy, so these changes have been a challenge for me; still, I see them as a means for growth, and growth can never be bad . . . no matter how much I sometimes fight it.

One thing which has remained constant, though, is the Mailbag. It’s odd, really, because I never intended for the Mailbag to be a series. It was supposed to be a “one and done” article. Shows you how little I really know, and I’m grateful that I was wrong about it. The Mailbag has turned into a marvelous way to connect with other very talented writers and high-quality human beings.

Just too cool for words!

Shall we?

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room

The Voice

From Tina: “How does a writer find her voice, or style? I struggle with it. I don’t even know if I have it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

It’s an interesting question, Tina. I think our voice, or our writing style, develops over time. If you write enough, your particular style of writing will evolve without much prodding by you. Having said that, I also think a writer can alter style a bit depending on the genre. I write thrillers primarily, and my voice in those novels is considerably different from my voice when I wrote “Resurrecting Tobias,” or when I wrote “The 12/59 Shuttle.” Similarly, my voice when writing the Mailbag is a bit different from my voice when writing “Travels With Maggie,” or some of my social commentary stuff.

Suggestions? Don’t think about it for now. Write the way you are comfortable, and write about things you have a passion for. If you have passion it will show in your writing, and if it shows in your writing it will become your voice.

Make sense?

The day the music died
The day the music died

MEMOIRS

From David: “Hey Bill! I know you’ve been working on your memoirs for a few months now. How about sharing an excerpt from it for those of us who care?”

I can do that, David. Thanks for the request. Here ya go:

I became a different person after my dad died. It’s obvious to me now. In fact, I can say without hesitation that I turned out differently because of his death. I am not the man today I would have been if Dad had not dropped dead on that cold January night. This is, in part, a revelation for me as I sit here writing. On January 8, 1969, I was one person, and on January 9, 1969, I was a completely different person, a magical transformation, first you see him, then you don’t, and there are times the blind truly cannot see. I had no idea at that time. For sure I was sad, but I could not begin to fathom the enormity of what was happening inside of me as January pushed into February and beyond that year.

Most of my adult life, my default setting has been melancholy. I had to work at being happy. I know for some that sounds ridiculous, but it is what it is for me. Prior to my dad’s death I was a pretty happy kid, then teen. After his death, I settled into the cold embrace of dolefulness, wearing it like a cloak to protect me from the pain of joy. I don’t believe I am clinically depressed. I don’t exhibit any of those symptoms. I’ve never been suicidal, but I do have an intimate relationship with the dark side of life.

I had to work at being happy after 1969. It’s such a strange thing to write, but it’s accurate. Laughter did not flow freely. A lightness of heart was oftentimes manufactured to fit the scene so as to not appear strange to others. I knew how I was expected to act in certain situations and so I acted that way to appease the masses, but internally I was convinced the sun would never again shine on my heart.

Knowing what I know now about my biological family, I suspect I was pre-programmed for sadness right out of the womb, but it took my father’s death to unlock the Gates of Gloom and allow those poisonous waters to wash over me.

I can see it all now with a much more objective eye. I was angry then. I was angry at my dad for dying and for not taking better care of himself. I was angry at my mom for checking out and leaving it all up to me, and angry at my sister for doing the same. I was pissed at God and hell, I was just pissed at the universe for dropping me into a situation which just wasn’t fair. But more than being angry . . . I was afraid. I was afraid of failing everyone who was counting on me, and I was afraid everyone would come to the realization that I was not strong enough for the job. Fake it till you make it is all well and good when deceiving people who don’t know better, but it isn’t worth a damn when trying to deceive yourself.

The walls immediately went up and, for the most part, did not come down until 2006. I took special care in constructing an emotional wall to protect myself from loss. Specific words were not spoken, outlining the intent, but the intention was crystal clear: I would never again allow myself to care so much for someone that their passing would hurt me. I would keep everyone at a distance, a no-fire zone, an invisible cocoon if you will, protecting me from future pain. Friends were fine to have, as long as they were casual friends. Dating was fine to partake in, as long as the heart was not fully invested in the process. Hell, even marriage was an acceptable undertaking because, well, it was expected, but it was important to keep some of me in reserve, a safeguard for when the expected happened and the vows were torn asunder.

A different person today . . . what would I have become if Dad had not died that night? What path would I have taken? How much different would my reality today be if not for that event? How much future pain could have been avoided?

It’s all an intellectual exercise I choose not to take part in. What happened, happened! My response, for better or for worse, is the response I orchestrated. I personally mixed the mortar. I personally added the rebar for extra strength. I dug the moat and filled it with all manner of man-eating amphibian creatures, and I personally tossed away the only key which could open the only door to my sanctuary.

I blame no one!

Writing Class

From Lydia: “Should I sign up for a creative writing class? I feel like there is something missing from my writing.”

I don’t know, Lydia, should you?

If you can afford to take one then take it. For the life of me I don’t see any negatives by doing so. My only suggestion is this: if you can afford to take a class, then take one from the best instructor you can find. Due diligence . . . ask around for references. Check out qualifications. Don’t settle for second-best. Heck, I’ll be happy to be your mentor . . . for a price! Lol

Yes, writing classes have value
Yes, writing classes have value

CHANGES

A short one today, but that’s okay. The streak continues, we all had a chance to visit for awhile, so it’s all good. If you have a question, include it in the comment section below, or email me at holland1145@yahoo.com. I’ll include it in the next Mailbag.

Until next Monday, my friends, I’ll be busy rocking my world and taking on those changes I mentioned earlier. I wish you all a brilliant week of accomplishments and love.

Bill

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your Dad, and for your friendship and kind words over the past year. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Not sure if I'd seen this one before, but even if I had it was still good coming back and reading.

      I sometimes wonder if things would be different if my Dad and I hadn't had a huge argument when I was sixteen, and I went and did the very thing he didn't want me to, but was so proud when I did, I joined the Army!

      Guess what, all that's pretty much irrelevant, or as Dad would say, "You made your bed, now you get to lie in it!" and I'm pretty happy with the bed I made.

      I can vouch for the value of looking for a mentor with regard to writing, I've had a few mentors along the way, and to be honest each one has helped me with a step of the journey (and yes, I am writing to one here who helped with a step, and continues to help) so yes, go for it, and look for the track record of that mentor.

      Great hub here.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your understanding, Devika!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Thank you for sharing your experience. To lose a parent nobody can ever know that unless they have walked in your shoes.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo....the main change is moving in April, and downsizing in the process...hopefully we will be ready to go by then.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      7 months ago from Tennessee

      I thought the excerpt from your memoir was very, very good. Can't wait to read the book. I love memoirs.

      And i was intrigued by the changes you're going through. Since I'm a week late in reading this I'll go now and read your current mailbag to see if you clarify more.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Denise. Thank you very much.

      Blessings always!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      7 months ago from Fresno CA

      I love your memoirs so far. I can't wait to read the rest.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are never late to the Mailbag, William. I'm always here in the Mail Room to greet you. Thanks my friend.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Not sure how I missed this one, Bill. Here it is Sunday. I'm ready for tomorrow's mailbag, but I missed last week. You know what they say - better late than never.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Li-Jen! I think a certain amount of personal insight comes with age and experience. I'm sure you will discover many things about yourself in the years to come.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always with a purpose, Zulma. Crazy like a cat...or is that a bat....or a...I forget! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, give you Pop a call today. Do it for me, please. :) And God bless you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nikki! I'm sorry you found the story sad...it had a happy ending and that's all that counts. :) Thank you for your empathy and compassion.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Audrey, I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you are improving rapidly, my friend. We have a book to finish, you and I. :)

      love,

      bill

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      7 months ago

      Hi Bill, thanks for writing this article. It's good to know that there isn't a specific voice to follow! It's cool that you managed to write a detailed description of your life. You understand yourself well. I hope I can understand myself like you. At least you would be able to pinpoint what went wrong. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 months ago from United Kingdom

      I imagine the method behind your madness was to get your students' attention. Then sneak it some education before they caught on. lol

      Happy Halloween!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      7 months ago from San Diego California

      My Pop is still living at age 81, as spry and quick out of the box as ever, and thank whatever supreme being you kneel to for that. I cannot even begin to feel your pain, but you brought a tear welling up to the verge just the same. God bless you sir for all you continue to do. Great writing.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      7 months ago from London

      Your story is quite sad Bill, I hope you feel much better now. But, parents you can never forget them. You keep on feeling the pain until your last moment. I am on the same road now, felt so bad when they died.

      Why me? Why my parents? Everyone else’s got parents. Kept on asking these questions everyday. But as times is passing, I’m feeling like what I learnt after them, couldn’t find when they were alive. God has plan for every human.

      Anyway, I loved this week’s mailbag and this is the best thing on hubpages I love.

      Keep it up my friend.

      Blessings as always!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I've been sick...real sick and this is the first day in 3 months Audrey Hunt has emerged to face the world once again. I've missed the Writer's Mailbag during my unexplained illness. Thanks, so much, for giving birth to this series and sharing these gold nuggets filled with valuable information.

      Love you, Bill.

      Audrey

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Al, it's so good to hear from you again. Long time no hear. I hope you are well, my friend.

      Thank you for sharing about your parents and the anger associated with their passing. I totally understand. Hey, you and I didn't turn out all that bad, did we? And there's still hope that we will improve with age like a fine wine. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no doubt, John, that they will be challenging and beneficial in the long run. Thanks a lot!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure, Zulma, and I agree about insanity. I was known as the insane teacher, but there was a reason for my insane approach.

    • Aliswell profile image

      Allen Edwards 

      7 months ago from Iowa

      Good Morning Bill

      I am back, after a fairly long hiatus, and return to following my 2 "HP Yodas"(You and Val).

      I quite often receive a seemingly serendipitous enllightenment from U2, as I read your creations.

      I can TOTALLY relate to the emotions you experienced at that time in your life when you lost your Dad. I am glad you were finally able to forgive him -- be it many years later --for his leaving you to forge for yourself in this scarey world we call our life.

      I have to admit, sad be it said; I have not forgiven either my Mom -- cancer when I was 8 -- or my Dad -- heart failure -- leaving me alone and lost. I especially feel betrayment from Dad, when, after he promised me he "would not leave me" -- only to do that a mere 4 years later!

      What the hell, Bill..I am only 3 months short of living with those events for 67 years now..so I perhaps, still have time to make the cake, so to speak!

      Keep up your "speak 2 me" words of wisdom Bill..I so do appreciate!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, the excerpt from your memoirs is wonderful. I can see it being a success. I guess we all have experienced at least one major event in our lives that has changed us in some way, yours was your dad's sudden passing. I wish you all the best with the "changes" you are facing. I am sure they will prove beneficial in the long run.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks, Bill. I look forward to your response.

      Insanity isn't always a bad thing. lol In my case, there's always a method to the madness. Those who can think laterally will get it. Those who can't just walk away and isn't that better for the both of us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Already commented, but thank you again for trying twice,Lori.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm happy you are back, Manatita. I hope that sciatica leaves you alone for awhile. Back pain is no fun at all.

      Love and blessings to you always

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Bill! It all turned out okay, so no complaints. :) Happy Halloween to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma. I'll tackle your question on Monday. Random events in our lives....my goodness, we are mysteries, aren't we? So many things affect us, steer us, and control us. It's a wonder any of us come out sane. :)

      Happy Tuesday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are motivating me, Brian, to take a class. I think it would be interesting and for sure beneficial.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Linda. I just wasn't prepared for it at all.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Rochelle, and you are probably correct. I don't really realize how helpful this series is to people, so thank you for saying that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary, and don't sell yourself short. Your writer's voice is just fine and works for you well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Ruby! We are all so similar. We think our pains are unique, but so many of us share common stories...so thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well damn, MizB, a stroke? I am so sorry. At the same time I'm happy you are able to write about it, and the prognosis is good. I wish for you a speedy recovery, my friend. Keep me posted, and thank you for finding the time and energy to comment here.

      24 degrees this morning here. I am not sure how I feel about the cold. A little early is my first thought.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Chris! Good to hear from you again, and thanks for the great question. I have it ready to answer in the Mailbag, so Monday I'll have an answer for you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora and yes, I am a man at peace and it is lovely.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No reason to apologize, Lori. I had fun reading your comment twice. lol I'm sorry you're stuck with a bad teacher. They certainly can take the fun out of a subject. I think we need a constitutional amendment banning bad teachers. That one would pass very quickly through Congress because we have all had them.

      Blessings to you always my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for commenting Lora. I appreciate you taking the time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Cynthia! Anger and discontent were once my partners, but you can teach an old dog new tricks if he is willing to learn. Today I would much rather find truths through introspection rather than lash out.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      7 months ago from london

      Great work, Bill.

      Second attempt here so hope it stays. Good to be back and yes, nice hearing you tell your story so well. Short but quality questions and about change, well, the sciatica reminds me from time to time as I get younger. Love to Bev.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Best wishes to you as well, Alyssa, on this 20 degree morning. Stay warm and Happy Halloween!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Ann!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shannon! That is kind of you. Best seller? I've never sold more than 100 of any book, so that would be a welcomed treat.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M! I detest house cleaning, so you have my admiration.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Thanks for sharing the excerpt from your memoir, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is never easy losing a parent, especially so when in our youth. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for you. Have a great week.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 months ago from United Kingdom

      A powerful excerpt, Bill. It makes me wonder how many seemingly random events in our lives were actually the result of subconscious choices, decisions influenced by unacknowledged emotions. That's some food for thought.

      Regarding the voice thing, you say you change yours depending on the genre, which I understand. But is it a total change or just another aspect of the same voice/style?

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      7 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      I've taken quite a few writing classes—in college during 1960-1964, in a community college in the late 1970's, and a couple of improvised ones in the late 2000's that met respectively in a community center and in a bookstore. Each class expanded and improved my writing craft and was worthwhile. A creative writing class wasn't always what I expected. I went to one expecting to be writing and critiquing stories and essays, but the teacher announced we'd be writing poems. I did my best and learned much.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing the section of your memoir, Bill. It's hard to lose a parent at any age, but it can be especially so in our youth.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      7 months ago from California Gold Country

      This post went in so many directions, it's had to comment on just one thing. It brings up a lot of thoughts-- thoughts of loss, of possibility, of growth and change. Glad to hear that changes do not include dissolution of the mailbag. It is more helpful than you know. You are very generous.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for sharing something of your memoir. I do look forward to reading it. You do share yourself so well. I wish I can have a writer’s voice like that.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill I can relate with your feelings after the loss of your father. I went through similar emotions after I lost my mother in 1976. She was always there, and when she wasn't I lost all sense of who or what I was or wanted to do. I still have times when I feel guilt because I forgot to tell her how much I loved and needed her. So much for looking back. Anyhow, I enjoy your writing so much, and your eagerness to help others brightens our day's. Thank you...

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 months ago from Beautiful South

      Great mailbag today, Bill. Tina's question was interesting to me because I've thought about taking a creative writing class. All my writing had been in the journalism or advertising "genres". But I've studied the creative writers on here and hope that I've absorbed enough. I don't like all those rules they insist that you follow. If Tina has a local university or college available, I would recommend that she take a class there. Too many CE and impromptu classes are taught by unskilled people.

      After reading your excerpt from the memoir, I realize we have a lot in common. I was a happy-go-lucky person and didn't have a serious bone in my body until my sister died. I was 37, she was 30. Remember the scenes in the old movies or books where a man or a mother slaps a hysterical woman in the face, and she goes from laughter into realization? I did that. Not much later, I realized that I hadn't taken life seriously, not even as a single parent. I buckled down and gave up my old career in broadcasting. Then along came a serious career that I loved, and I became the backbone of my whole family when older members began to die off, and it began to fall apart. So, happy Monday.

      Not so happy for me. I just got out of the hospital and I'm recuperating from a stroke. My prognosis is good, thankfully. But cold weather is on its way. Our freeze season is predicted to start Thursday evening. I'm not a happy camper. Have a good rest of this cold week, my friend.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      7 months ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

      Bill, I like the advice you gave to Tina about voice in writing. It can't be forced, but it can adapt to different formats and genres. And it keeps on happening, at least it still is happening to me. My latest story, which is drama, is told in a voice I have not used in my writing before, but it came naturally. Also, it will change to some degree with our point of view character.

      Here is a related question. In this Mailbag, you shared an excerpt from your memoirs—you bared your soul to us. Does your writing rise from that place? How has your writing changed as you have healed inside? These are personal questions, but you have already shared so much with us.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 months ago from The Caribbean

      "I blame no one!." Definitely, from a man at peace. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, maturity and good nature with us here at HubPages. Sure that we'll get even more form the memo.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      7 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Grr. Just wrote a long comment and it disappeared.

      Your advice to Lydia was right on. I took some writing classes in high school and college as well as literature classes. They were excellent. I am currently taking a continuing education writing class that SUCKS! The teacher informed us the first day she has published four technical manuals and two novels. "The first one sucked," she said. The second one was published through an agent.

      She is also very biased in genre. She loves horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. Instead of using books as examples of plot and character development, she uses movies. Well, find, movies are stories too but most of those she cites are movies I've never seen before. Even normal, popular movies she mentions most I have not seen.

      Next week we are supposed to get down to the nitty gritty of writing a novel. Should I hold my breath? I dunno. If my friend had not paid for the class for my birthday I would drop out. I have learned a few things and she gives great website resources for writing aids.

      Thank you Bill for sharing a portion of your memoir and for posting those videos. God bless you.

      Oh, I see it posted after all. Sorry about that.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      7 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I've taken writing classes in high school and college, and am in one now. All the other classes were great fun and I learned a lot. The current one sucks so far. It's a continuing education class. The instructor informed us first day that she had written and published four technical manuals and a couple of novels. "The first one sucked big time." Apparently she published one through an agent, but they still may not mean it's good quality. Who knows. Her bias for genre is making it hard for me. Instead of referring to examples of books, she does movies, and okay, they are stories and often based on a real novel. The problem is, most of the movies she cites I've never seen. She loves horror movies, sci-fi, and fantasy. If my best friend had not paid for the class for my birthday I'd drop out. All this said, starting the first week of November, we are going to get down to the nitty-gritty about writing novels. Hopefully, there will be improvement. In college, I had an outstanding teacher and learned so much. The only thing good about this teacher so far is she gives good resources and plays little videos from prominent or prolific writers talking about how they write, where they get there ideas etc.

      So your advice to research a good teacher is an excellent one.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      7 months ago

      Very good advice, Bill, about writing what you have a passion about or what really interests you. An excellent mailbag this week to help those who may want to write but are hesitant to take the plunge.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      7 months ago from Ohio

      Another excellent mailbag. So glad to have this to look forward to each week. I hope you are enjoying a nice Monday and sending you best wishes for an awesome week! :)

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      7 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Bill,

      I am so happy your Mailbag evolved from a single article into a series. I have come away with some precious learning about writing-- or something else-- since easing in to reading this weekly. Today's excerpt from your memoir was juicy in man's-exploration-of-the-origins-of-sadness that many of us women readers find so attracting in male writing, probably because sadness is often precluded from discussions with our male intimates. Anger and discontent are the usual default states of being. Anyhow, good work!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 months ago from SW England

      I'm honoured, bill! Looking forward muchly to your answers.

      Ann

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      7 months ago from Texas

      Okay, you teased again and I want more. I think you have a best seller on your hands. And this is coming from someone who is not usually a fan of memoirs. I'll buy yours without any hesitation. Real, down to earth, and relatable to the human experience of most everyone because it's honest.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Your memoir is interesting and at the same time saddening. I think all of us have traveled through much of those times during our lives. These losses and bad experiences make us strong to face the ensuing problems. But, it makes you to depressed also at times.

      We celebrated Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, yesterday. Prior to that, I was engaged in house cleaning for an entire week (one room per day).

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your loss, Melissa. It probably would have helped if I hadn't loved him so damned much. lol It all works out, as you know.

      Have a brilliantly wonderful week, my friend.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      7 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! So interesting reading your excerpt...my father passed away suddenly when I was 24 and I can relate how much that changes and rocks your entire world...Thank you for sharing that. You have me curious now about all the "changes" your dealing with. Hang in there, whatever is coming your way!

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shucks, Eric, whether I have or not, I will again on Monday. Thanks for the question, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure, Flourish. Thank you for your understanding.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Ann! Thanks for stopping by after those manic days. :) Great questions. I'll have fun with the first one for sure. Of course I'll answer them both next Monday. Any question from Ann deserves an immediate answer in my opinion.

      And my opinion matters greatly in the Mail Room, so there you go!

      Wishing for you a brilliantly productive and restful week ahead.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There is no avoiding change, Pamela, as you well know. Our defining moments in life come from the way we handle that change...defining as in what type of person we are.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I not only think it, Sha, I believe it. Thank you for liking my memoir tidbit....yes, emotion drives my muse. She loves turmoil! LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, Linda, and I thank you for your kindness. We all go through struggles. Hopefully mine can help others to understand that it is not the end of the world.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Hey I cannot remember you addressing the issue of writing and not publishing. Is it OK to write just to yourself or for yourself? Do you do that?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      It was sad to read your story of loss. So many people can relate to losing someone larger than life from their world and being left to pick up the pieces of what is left. Such important figures occupied such a momentous space that it is challenging to fill.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 months ago from SW England

      Hi bill! Another great one and I love the excerpt from your memoirs. It's hard to write about personal tragedy and to work out how it affects you.

      A question: How do you manage to put on the page such things as the difficult memories and events? How do you 'organise' your emotions?

      Another question: Do you ever limit yourself to specific amounts of work a week or do you have to get it all down on 'paper' before the best ideas disappear (and I'm not talking memory loss here, just overload!)?

      I don't expect you to answer both in one mailbag - you're obviously the one in control of that; and of course I don't expect an answer regardless, that would be arrogant and rude.

      Am just recovering from a manic few days with grandchildren and enjoying the peace of my own home! It was lovely but this is bliss!

      Have a great one, bill!

      Ann

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I will start right out and say I don't like change much at all. I like a calm life. Of course, postive changes are good and I have survived the the good and bad. I will continue on regardless as that is life.

      I really enjoyed reading that section of your memoir and you stopped right before the section that will tell us what happened in 2006 to start removing that arnour. It is a good thing to look back and see what guided us in the past, and we always learn from those things.

      I think your advice to Tina was exactly right. The more you write you will see things you like and some you don't, so you change those negatives and learn. I think it also depends on your future goal. Have a great week my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, the excerpt from you memoir is beautifully written. Isn't ironic how extreme emotions trigger the mellifluous voice of our muses?

      Speaking of voice, your answer to Tina's question was spot on. A writer's voice comes through the more s/he writes and that voice varies depending on the topic and which "personality" the muse brings forth. Our muses do have multiple personalities, don't you think?

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. change and pain seem to be an inevitable part of life. The only difference is how we respond to them. It hurts my heart that you had to experience such a dreadful loss when you were far too young. All I know is what you have ultimately become--you are one of the most loving, caring, honest people I know.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly what my dad would have said: just keep moving forward, Janine! Thank you my friend and Happy Monday to you!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 months ago from New York, New York

      Happy Mailbag Monday, Bill!! What can I say, but here you as changes are constantly occurring here. Some small, some big, but just trying always to keep up and move forward. that said, wishing you a wonderful Monday and week ahead now :)

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