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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #309

Updated on May 18, 2020

I Had a Tooth Pulled

How’s that for an exciting prologue?

The darned thing hardly had any root at all, so it had to go. The dentist gave me a quote of $5,000 for a replacement implant. I literally laughed at him. Evidently he thought my name was Bill Gates instead of Bill Holland.

So now I have a rather prominent gap in my smile, like the front tooth for God’s sake, no hiding that at all. If this had happened thirty years ago I would have moved heaven and earth to pay for that implant. Now, I don’t much care. If people want to judge me, or make fun of me, about a missing tooth, I say go for it. I’m happy I can provide a little levity for someone who obviously needs it.

It’s kind of nice finally being secure in who I am, and not hung up on physical appearance. You know?

It’s time for the mail. I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

The Mailroom
The Mailroom

Great Question About Scenes

From Brian: “When you describe a scene, do you sometimes start with a photo or painting? (For a sense of possibilities, at Google Images search on drunken brawl, or caught downpour, or alone midnight, or high school smokers, or dilapidated motel.) Or do you start with deciding whatever items are essential to the plot and then minimally add to that? (In "The Killers", Hemingway provides only two details about the boarding-house room: "the bed" and "the wall".) Or do you start with an actual, familiar to you setting and adapt it for use in a story, subtracting most details? Or?”

That’s a fascinating question, Brian. It really is. I had to stop and think about that one for a moment or two.

All of my “Shadow” novels are set in Olympia. Describing a scene from my hometown is not a problem at all, and I use familiar scenes almost exclusively in those novels. Only twice have to detoured from that approach. One novel was partially in Mexico, and this latest one I’m working on now is partially in London. I pulled up pictures from the internet to familiarize myself with those places. I also asked a writer friend who lives in London about one scene. What I have found to be true, though, is that most locations in industrialized cities look very similar. I was looking at a picture of a neighborhood in the suburbs of Perth and it looked an awful lot like where I live in Olympia. I’m afraid we’ve all Westernized the hell out of a good portion of the world.

For the most part, though, I take the easy way out and stick with what I’m familiar with. In my “Resurrecting Tobias” novel, all scenes were set in cities I have actually lived in or visited, so that, too, was fairly easy.

Just call me lazy and be done with it. It’s one reason I would never attempt science fiction or fantasy. The idea of creating a new world is just too daunting for me.

My approach: find a location I am familiar with.
My approach: find a location I am familiar with.

A Danger of an Autobiography

From Rinita: “Interesting topics today and I hope all's well with you. I have a question similar to the pen name topic. I think part of why the author might want to use a pen name is that they are writing about their own family history and don't want people to know that? Anyway my question is, how do you write something autobiographical without it being evident that it's about your own life? You could change names and places, of course, but people who are close to you personally would still know that these incidents happened to you and if it involves them, might get offended too. Is there any other way to "mask" this?”

Yes, Rinita, they would definitely know what and who you were writing about. I don’t think there is any possible way to mask that from people who know you well, and that is why care is called for when writing a memoir or autobiography. You have to make a decision about how brutally honest you are going to be, and who that honesty will affect. It’s your call, as the writer, but you need to be aware of the fallout. It could be radioactive. I found that out the hard way in one of my novels, and I don’t plan on making that mistake again. It’s just not worth it to me.

Be careful of hurting others in your autobiography.
Be careful of hurting others in your autobiography.

Covid-19 Story

From Lori: “Hi Bill, I have an interesting question: if you could write about this time in our history with the covid-19 and all the stuff that goes along with it what do you think your focus would be? What genre of fiction would it be? Would you ever consider writing a novel based on it?”

I doubt I would write a novel based on it, Lori, but if I did it would be a science fiction. I can see aliens stopping by for a visit and leaving us on earth with this virus. Then our government finds out where the virus came from, and declares war on the aliens, and by God Luke Skywalker comes to our rescue, but the damage has been done, and we can no longer buy our computer components from the aliens and trade plummets.

Something like that!

But no, I wouldn’t write it. I wouldn’t write any novel focused on the virus. It seems like everyone is writing about it these days, and I’m not too fond of all that company – social distancing, you know. lol

Biggest Complaint About Novels

From Allegra: “Just wondering, what is your biggest complaint about novels you read, or maybe about short stories you read? If you’re like me, for every good novel or short story you read, there are ten that are not very good.”

Only 10:1, Allegra? I would have put that ratio much, much higher.

I could go on a rant very quickly about this topic, Allegra. By the way, your name flows like a gentle stream. I love it! But back to your question and my mini-rant. Writing is an Art, and I capitalize Art to give it the importance I think it deserves. Self-publishing has flooded the market with a plethora of not-so-artistic novels and short stories. It drives me nutso, and trying to narrow down my complaints to a single one is like a Mission Impossible.

But since you asked, I think I would say that far too many writers do not ramp it up quickly enough and often enough. By that I mean a thriller should be thrilling, a love story should be very romantic, and a comedy should be damned funny. I don’t want to wait five chapters to be thrilled, romantically wooed, or amused, and I want that to continue throughout the book.

I think a major problem with many writers who write novels is that they don’t understand how to sustain the interest for over 75,000 words. It is not easy to do and I think that’s a major reason why there are so few really good noveiists.

Don’t even get me started on grammar!

But that’s just my opinion!

Back to My Tooth

I was born at the wrong time for good teeth. My family was lower-middle class. They couldn’t afford for me top get braces. Heck, I don’t even know if braces were around in the 50’s and 60’s, but if they were there was no way my folks could afford them for me. Consequently, I grew up with crooked teeth and two teeth set back from the rest. That’s just the way it goes, you know, and I understand and I’m fine with it.

Now that I’m older, I just don’t care. I’m seventy-one. I’m way beyond caring about how my smile looks, and that is liberating. There truly are benefits to getting older. I just hope this missing tooth doesn’t affect my speech when it comes time to start doing my “Yesterday To Today” podcast.

Remember, if you are in need of a writing coach, one who works cheap, email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and we’ll get you on the road to better writing.

I wish, for all of you, a peaceful, safe, and healthy week ahead. Be good to yourself and be good to others and please, remember, do all things with love.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All is well with my tooth extraction, Rajan. Thank you and blessings to you always.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

      Fine lessons on the craft of writing. Hope your extracted tooth area has healed completely. Have a great time in the remaining week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, I'm afraid the tooth fairy passed me by. Such is the curse of being an old man. The tooth fairy just doesn't care about us oldsters. :) Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Stay safe!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      11 months ago from United States

      I stopped by earlier this week but forgot to leave a comment. Thanks for answering my question. Even though you won't write in it I love the alien theme.

      Someone mentioned a pen named. It reminded me of the great writer CS Lewis and his book A Grief Observed in which he wrote about the agonizing grief he experienced at his wife's death. He put it under a pen name N.W. Clerk because it was so raw and personal, and by that time he was such a renowned author, he didn't feel comfortable being that transparent. After his death his stepson had it put back in his name.

      The only bummer about your missing tooth is that that the tooth fairy didn't leave you anything...or are you holding out on us on that one?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Technically you are correct, Dora. But does it have to be 100% inclusive if feelings will be hurt, or reputations harmed? That's the question writers must answer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Miebakagh! You do the same.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      I'm confused about the autobiography. Doesn't the writer commit to being honest, transparent and vulnerable? Anything else would be labelled fiction, I thought.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      11 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi Bill, it is an understandment. Enjoy your life.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your encouragement about the tooth, Venkatachari M. It's nice to know there is life after a lost tooth. :) As for your tribute, lesson learned.

      Be well my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that very much, Devika. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg, I love your idea about the tooth. I can see a great, heroic act coming, one which will be repeated over and over again on the news. lol Until I'm found out and shrink from the public eye in shame.

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I'm happy that mystery was solved, although I didn't feel bad at all blaming HP. lol

      I wondered that about speaking and the podcasts. I suspect I'm going to have a slight lisp. Oh well, maybe people will think it's quirky. I'm into quirky. lol

      Best wishes, my friend. Stay safe!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a great read, Mr. Happy, and you always make me laugh. Books...I am beginning to think that novelists will soon go the way of the saber-toothed tiger. People don't have the time, or the desire to make the time, to read a book in today's world. The numbers are dropping rapidly. Will that change, or are we doomed to a future of instant soundbites and short stories?

      Aliens? Nice people? Okay, I'll go with it until proven wrong. :)

      Gotta run...thanks for the chat. Break those grammar rules today and smile while doing it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Li-Jen! I could use a little cute, so maybe this gap will work out for me. :) I hope you are well, Take care young lady.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will just eat more soup, Miebakagh! :) Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No worries, Linda! It's only a huge amount if I pay it, which I won't. :) Happy Wednesday to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks John, and cheers to you as well. I hope this finds you well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I'm with you regarding dentists. Not my favorite way to spend a couple hours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! I need all the luck I can get. :) Be safe, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Brenda. I'll just keep on keeping on, minus one tooth, but still full of ideas and imagination. Turns out imagination is not tied into the number of teeth one has. Who would have guessed? lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Funny dentist, Flourish! That's a great line. I think I'll continue with my West Virginia look, thank you very much. Now, where did I put my moonshine???

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you, Bill! I can do without any COVID novels. I am looking for some happy right about now, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise! No dilemma, no worries. It's just a tooth, and I'll adjust, just as we all do when a lemon appears. Take care of you, be safe, and be happy.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Heidi!

      Those Coronavirus books have already arrived. On NPR they have talked to a couple authors who jumped on the bandwagon early. I question their purpose in writing the book, which is cynical of me, I know, but there you go.

      Happy Hump Day, my friend, and thank you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing your tooth adventures, Becky! I'm afraid Mexico is not in my future. I'll just grow old missing teeth, and that's fine with me. :) I just won't smile in person.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      11 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi Bill, my Bro.

      I have two front teeth lost and overall more than 5 or 6 teeth lost both up and down. But, I am going on well with no stress. If I have to implant them, I am to get all of them removed and get a fresh set for my mouth as per the dentist. So, I am unable to think of it.

      And, regarding the autobiography, my " A Tribute to Your Spouse" article includes some such stuff annoying my relatives who troubled my wife. A son of her elder sister read the Tribute article and shared those annoying things to my sister-in-law here. They started complaining to me for writing such things. So, I amended the article a little bit so that it doesn't directly refer to them.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill i am sure there are many who can relate to your series of events. I enjoy reading your hubs and you tell it as it is.

    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      11 months ago from Idaho, USA

      Bill - As usual, some great topics here, and looks like there's been very good discussion started already, too. When it comes to grammar, I have been probably been far too willing in my lifetime to use the red pen when helping others with their works. My help sometimes becomes their bane. I've tried to work on that over the years, though. For example, I don't walk around anymore putting "-1 for spelling" or "-1 for grammar" on signs with misspellings and such like I used to do around campus when I was in college. I'm making progress.

      The tooth $ is crazy. Save that ca$h and tell everyone you lost the tooth while accomplishing some heroic deed. Given your penchant for helping others, such a tale would be plausible. Given your creative talent, it also would very likely be enjoyable.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      11 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I finally found out what was happening to my Monday Mailbag and other notifications. It wasn't HP, it was Google. My gmail has several categories, and they moved HP from Updates to Promotions. Somehow it doesn't fit because most HP articles are not promotions. Those went to Maven. Oh well, at least now I know where to find you.

      Sorry about that tooth. And yes, you may be replacing it with at least a cheap "flipper" so you can talk on your podcast because anything that affects the mouth affects speech, or at least it does for me. I have a bridged front tooth that the gums around it has receded, and I sometimes plug the hole in the back with some chewing gum to stop the occasional whistle when I talk.

      Yes, the flooding of the market by self-published non-writers is a gripe to me because it masks many who really deserve to be read. I used to borrow books from the Kindle Owners Lending Library until I realized that I was wasting my time. Now I borrow ebooks through my local library. The library goes through Amazon for the good ones, and the authors do get royalties from the libraries use. Not sure what their deal is but I don't feel bad about reading them free. My tax dollars at work, you know.

      Have a good rest of this beautiful week, my friend.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "I don’t think there is any possible way to mask that from people who know you well" - I wrote a story in highschool about a weekend party at a cottage. The story was true. It was a wild weekend, haha!! I still can;t keep a straight face about it and decades past already.

      I kept the names of everyone in the story as they are still to this day. The problem is, one of my buddy's mom came across a copy of the story which I had given to my buddy. That resulted into a huge drama. After reading the story, the lady ended-up somehow thinking her son was gay (which was not true) and ... haha!! Oh man ... hilarious but ya, I learned a thing, or two right there and then about writing true stories out on paper. I still battle with such issues nowadays. I can write about a lot of things which are/have been true but the consequences ... LOL

      "I can see aliens stopping by for a visit and leaving us on earth with this virus." - Why? They're nice. Stop projecting! lol jk

      "sustain the interest for over 75,000 words" - Good luck with that in a world of fast-food, microwave, ten topics in five minutes on the news and so on. We're becoming more and more difficult to keep in focus for long periods of time.

      "major reason why there are so few really good noveiists." - Typo on "novelists" I think.

      "Don’t even get me started on grammar!" - Go on. I'm interested. Do You think we have to abide by rules (not necessarily gramatical rules but those as well) such as: "Do not start a sentence with "but", or "because"? Can I not capitalize my "Y" on "You" because someone said so? When in no other language on this planet one would capitalise their respective "I"? If You capitalize "I" then, out of pure respect for others, I have to capitalize the "Y" on "You". Can't capitalize my "I" but not your "Y". So gramar is actually wrong here.

      Haha!! See what You got me into?

      "I don’t even know if braces were around in the 50’s and 60’s" - I came to Canada in 1992 and when I saw wires in people's mouths I thought it was some sort of a horror movie. I kinda still think it is. People ask me if I had braces 'cause my teeth are so straight. I didn't. Thank the Gods. I don't want wires in my mouth, preferably.

      About the scenes part, read the opening scene from "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Mind-blowing for me anyway. The attention to details was beyond my wildest imagination. I could not believe someone did something like that when I read it. Then again, Oscar Wilde was a genius, flying far above us mediocre humans.

      Alrighty, I'm gonzo for now. Kinda like Hunter a little. I try. Cheers!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ouch, Alyssa! I feel sorrier for you than I do for me. I don't think I ever had a wisdom tooth pulled. I sure don't remember it happening.

      I hope your week is filled with good surprises and love.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I will bow to you experience. I know nothing about nothing when it comes to areas in Western Europe. I just know I would love to visit England, but not enough to actually spend ten hours in an airplane.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That made me laugh, Peggy! I can't imagine spending that much money on a dog's tooth. lol Good decision on your part.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Misery loves company, Melissa! LOL Actually I'm not miserable at all. I'll just be happy to get rid of these stitches and go back to chewing normally. :) Happy Tuesday to you!

    • profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      11 months ago

      Hi Bill, hope you are well. I think having gaps in between teeth is quirky and cute though. It's cool that you challenged yourself to write a personal event that involves others. That's what makes stories interesting. I like your point about engaging readers throughout a novel consistently. It's like how some people binge watch something. Thank you for sharing!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      11 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      I agreed. At over 70-years, it is not always necessary.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm sorry about your tooth, Bill. $5,000 is a huge amount to pay for a replacement. Thanks for another interesting installment of the Mailbag.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      11 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, sorry about the tooth. Dentists always try the upsell don't they? Good questions and answers though this week. Cheers.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      11 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great mailbag Bill.

      Interesting first paragraph. Just be the way, you are. No need for the dental implants. I feel, they give recurring problems. I am scared of these dentists, really.

      The question by Rinita is relatable and I like your answer.

      Thank you for sharing another wonderful installment. Take care.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      11 months ago from Dubai

      Great mailbag Bill, it is good you got the teeth out. Implants are expensive and not always successful. Some of the novels do not get into the thick of the plot soon enough and by that time I have lost interest in the novel. All the best with your podcast.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      11 months ago from Washington Court House

      Enjoyed the read.

      Sorry about your tooth. Hoping it was not painful. The money they want is outrageous.

      My mother will be 80 in July and she is the kind of person who would move heaven and hell to keep her appearance when it comes to teeth.

      We did this a couple years ago for a partial because it was in front.

      So glad you are comfortable without it, it's really not worth the money.

      I love a book that can keep my interest from the beginning...if it doesnt i will not be reading it.

      I feel people write best from their own pictures unless they have quite a vision of imagination.

      I love your theory on the book you will not write about the aliens.

      Goodluck with your podcast.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Several years ago a front tooth cracked straight across and I had no idea how it happened. Perhaps grinding my teeth in my sleep or during a recent medical procedure but whatever the cause it hurt a lot. I hadn’t been in any bar fights. Being only in my 40s at the time and having dental insurance that would help pay for it, I replaced it $$$. The dentist even joked about me looking like Miss West Virginia. Rock your new look and keep the money, Bill.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I agree about the tooth decision as I made the same decision last year and never went back to the same dentist. Anyway, I wish I can ramp up quickly and often in my writing. Right now, am trying to make my writing less formal as in research. I want it to be more informal and not boring. Any ideas?

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Great mailbag, Bill. I have to agree with you about the tooth, at this point in life it matters not. I’ve had my fill of Covid-19 and the last thing I would want to read right now is a novel about a deadly virus. I’m sure we’re going to see many soon and most of them will most likely add to that bad to good ratio. Have a great week.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Another fascinating mailbag edition! Getting teeth pulled is no fun.. I had three wisdom teeth removed a few years ago, ugh. It was not a pleasant experience. I hope you are well and the weather is nice up there! Have a wonderful week!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      11 months ago from Fresno CA

      I can relate. I had a tooth with almost no root left but it was hanging on and I really wish I had left it there. The dentist convinced me to pull it. It isn't the look of the thing. It was a molar and now my chewing is a little upset. For someone who likes her crunch salads and vegetables, that bites! Sorry for your dilemma. I certainly appreciate the advice about autobiographies. I know if I wrote my story there would be a number of people who wouldn't be happy. Big family, you know. There are a couple who would figure prominently who have passed but others that haven't. So I keep it to myself.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      11 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday!

      Re: That Bites. Sorry to hear about your dental adventures. I'm on year 4+ of invisible braces to correct some alignment issues from when I had braces as a kid. Looks like I can avoid any work like you're having. Yikes! And remember that Michael Strahan has a gappy grin and, well, he's comfortable with his.

      Re: Danger! Autobiography! Yeah, those unnamed/renamed folks in your autobiography will know who they are. Chances are everyone else does, too. So other than the question of "Do you have a good lawyer?", I'd ask these folks, "What do you hope to accomplish by including this person or incident in your autobiography?" Some want some passive aggressive revenge. Others want sympathy. And I have to also ask, "Why do you feel it's necessary to write an autobiography? Do you have fans who are clamoring for it? What value is it providing to your reader?" For many, this exercise is cathartic. They'd be better off doing a personal journal or getting therapy. Sorry for the rant.

      Re: COVID Clutter, Conspiracy, and Fatigue. I am not looking forward to the spate of coronavirus books that are sure to hit Kindle in the months ahead. Everybody is going to have a story or advice. And we're already tired from all of this. Do I want to read even more about it? Then there will be the conspiracy theorists. Make it stop! Glad to see you're keeping your social distance from the topic. I just want to wash my hands of it. Okay, too many puns.

      Anyway, take care of yourself. Dental work is just as challenging to deal with as other health issues. Have a good week!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      11 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have more than one tooth missing, and got a bridge made. It was a lot less money than that. In the hundreds, not thousands. I have a friend that got full implants, and says if she had the choice to do it again, she would not. Food gets under the implants and then it is really hard to get out. She has to use a waterpick and try to flood it out. Implants are just vanity on overload. I live less than 20 miles from Mexico, and my daughter in law is Mexican and has a cousin living in Mexico who is a dentist. I have gone to him, because he is much cheaper, and he does a great job.

      I had anyone who was involved in my little personal ramblings read the article and tell me what they thought. They objected about some things and not others. Depended on how personal and embarrassing the topic was.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 months ago from SW England

      Notting Hill eh? Any sign of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant?! Don't forget the blue door! Paris is a much better idea than London - beautiful city and I'm not a city person.

      Ann

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Sorry to hear about your front tooth going awol, but age does have its compensations. I think that most of us of a certain age start to realize what is most important in life. It is not outward appearances, but what is inside of us that counts most. Some people seem to learn that earlier than others.

      One of our dogs was undergoing needed surgery many years ago. They noticed a cracked back tooth and called me while she was still under anesthesia. They asked whether I wanted it pulled and an implant installed. Can you believe it? My answer was just pull the tooth, please.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      11 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Ok, I had to laugh when you talked about your front tooth being pulled...not because I have a warped sense of humor, but because I actually am going through the exact same thing! My front tooth cracked from an old root canal back in college, and they had to pull it. Thankfully my dental insurance is really good and I am able to proceed with getting the implant BUT its been put on hold now because all our oral surgeries were canceled. So, I have been walking around with a toothless grin myself. :) Maybe that is why I don't mind wearing a mask when I do venture out? LOL

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aishatu, that is very kind of you. I can't imagine me ever traveling to Pakistan, but your offer is very kind. And thank you for always reading my hubs. I appreciate that greatly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, shame on your dentist. I think you exude wealth. :)

      London....I think I've settled on Notting Hill, but I might change it. See, I'm just not comfortable writing about England. I also have a chapter in Paris and one in Italy. What have I done to myself? lol

      Happy Monday my friend, and thank you always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ruby! He may have been gouging, but in this area implants are definitely in the thousands, and at 71 I don't see any point in spending that much for a gap, you know?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You just keep waiting, Shannon, but for God's sake don't hold your breath while waiting. lol Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No worries, Miebakagh. A tooth does not a person make.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very sweet, Linda. Thank you! Sweet Williams after me? LOL Still, you are nice for saying that.

      Our garden exploded this weekend. So did the slugs (in population, that is). It's time to declare war against them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do too, Pamela. I keep reading, hoping for that rare gem which will dazzle me. It's out there, I just know it is. :) Thanks a bunch. Have a fantastic week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no doubt, Mike, that I could save money by flying to Mexico and having it done there; but then I'd be in Mexico! lol Good to have you back. Thanks for the visit, my friend. I hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I like the Chicklet idea.

      We did that buttercup thing all the time as kids. I never did get the answer I wanted. lol

      Happy Monday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rinita and best wishes to you as well. No worries about my tooth. It's almost healed already.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rosina! The tooth just isn't high on my priority list right now, and probably never will be.

      Best wishes to you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All is well, Janine. I just look a little sillier than normal with the tooth missing. Thanks for commiserating with me, my friend, and Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Liz! Thanks for the great comment. I appreciate it. I'll answer your question about COVID next Monday, okay? Until then, be safe and be happy.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      11 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      My Canadian and American relatives get their dental work done in Pakistan, and no surprise - a single implant costs around 350-650 USD here. If you ever decide to come to Pakistan, let me know - I can to help you get permission to stay at Darul Ziafat, Rabwah. Darul Ziafat is a free hotel run by the local government for foreign guests (though Pakistanis can stay there, too).

      By the way, while I don't always leave a comment, I always read your hubs.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 months ago from SW England

      Shame about the tooth, bill, but I admire your confidence to just leave things as they are. It only leads to more complications. I have two gaps in line but not at the front so they make no difference - however, the dentist didn't even ask if I wanted anything done about it which I quite resented at the time as he obviously considered I didn't look rich enough!!

      Which part of London have you chosen to make an appearance in your novel, bill?

      Having read a few novels for book club recently, I'm coming to the conclusion that it's not always the subject but the style or the quality of the writing itself which carries anything. One was about a great subject but it didn't grab me, the other was a mundane scene which I thought wouldn't be interesting but it was great and so well written. Just backs up what we say about standards and quality of writing, eh?

      So here's a question: What would you say comes second to quality of writing, in the importance stakes?

      Enjoy your Monday, bill, and look after that gap!

      Ann

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      11 months ago from Southern Illinois

      My son Jackie lost a front tooth and had a tooth made. I'm sure it didn't cost that much, sounds to me your Dentist was gouging. There is gouging taking place here. You need to have a picture of you smiling. It would make no difference to us, we love you as a friend with or without a front tooth. Thanks again for all you do in helping us to be better writers.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      11 months ago from Texas

      Hey, man, I'm still waiting to see that picture posted! LOL. It doesn't feel like a Monday today, but this was an excellent mailbag.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      11 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Bill, sorry for the lost teeth, and thanks for sharing the question and answer challenge.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, there's good reason to write about the things and places that you know. Even Stephen King sets almost all of his stories in the state of Maine, right? I've been struggling for several years on a story set in a time and place unknown to me. Sounds easy, right? It's that lack of knowledge that has me stumped but darn it, I really want to do this. {{Sigh}}.

      I'm sorry about your tooth but honestly, you have such a kind, loving personality, who's going to care if you have a gappy smile. I sure won't.

      I hope you have a great week my friend. The garden is going to pop this week. The forget-me-nots are just about done and the sweet Williams (must have been named after you) and foxglove are in the queue. I'll take photos.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 months ago from Sunny Florida

      First, I am sorry to hear you lost a tooth. Our childhoods are so similar and I have found that to be true several times. My family was lower-middle class as well and I didn't see a dentist until I was 16 years old. Fortunately, I didn't need braces but I had several cavaties. I also say $5,000 is rediculous. We can survive and move forward without the help of the dentist.

      I enjoyed the unique questions today and your answers were excellent, as always. I agree about the percentage of good novels, but I do enjoy reading.

      Have a good week, Bill. Stay safe and healthy.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hello Bill - I am taking a moment with hubpages today. Commenting on the introduction, I would have laughed at the dentist also. Perhaps a second opinion, say from a Canadian dentist is in order. Or even a dentist practicing in Mexico.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      11 months ago from Central Florida

      Having a tooth pulled is no fun, but neither is the pain that necessitates it. Shoot, Bill. You don't need an implant. Just stick a Chicklet up there! Ha ha.

      I wouldn't write about COVID-19 either, or any virus for that matter. If I were to bring a pandemic into a fictional tale, I think it would be something we haven't seen before. Like, human noses turning yellow when putting a buttercup under your chin to see if you like butter.

      Have a great week, Bill!

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      11 months ago

      Sorry about your tooth. It's always a harrowing experience. Hope you are doing well.

      Thanks for responding to my question. I'll keep your own experience and caution in mind. Have a great week, Bill (as great as the current situation allows).

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      11 months ago

      I am sorry about your tooth but you are right not going for an implant. I am glad you wouldn't write a novel about covid-19- it's not my cup of tea either. This mailbag like others was definitely intriguing and exhilarating. I really loved it.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      11 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, $5K is crazy for an implant. I do realize that cosmetic dentistry is a fortune as my mom has had some done similar with implants and crowns and such. But still, I am with you and not willing to spend that kind of money at this point. So, I'd be willing to live with it too at this point. That said, hoping this week is a better one. Happy Monday now!!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 months ago from UK

      Sorry to hear about your tooth, Bill. It's never good to have to visit the dentist, but especially not now.

      I often imagine a writer describing a scene as they see it in their imagination.

      Writing an autobiography seems to be loaded with potential problems.

      I agree with your point about COVID-19. Would you also rule out using this period as a back drop to a novel, rather than writing specifically about it?

      It is a problem finding a good book to read. Even when you think you have a writer you like, you can't guarantee that their next book will be so good.

      I hope you have a good week and stay well, Bill.

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