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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
    ––    W. Somerset Maugham
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On This Day In:
2019 Not Enough
2018 One Thing We Do Know
2017 Preservation
2016 Going Back
2015 Just For Today
2014 Reaching For Destiny
2013 Still Just Passing Through
2012 Live Or Die
2011 On Secession
2010 A Rocky Weekend

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Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?
  —  Ralph Waldo Emerson
[Usually, because their authors are so much better writers than I am.  But I do keep trying…  No matter how problematic it is for you to read my original thoughts.  LoL   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Two Books
2018 Prime Example = #45
2017 Building On
2016 Dueling Heroes
2015 Remarkable Creations
2014 Measured Faith
2013 April Fool, n.
2012 Faith, Ego And Patriotism
As It Happens
2011 What Counts

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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
   –  Cyril Connolly
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On This Day In:
2019 I’m Actively Irresponsible
2018 I Will Love You… Forever
2017 Pebbles In Your Shoe?
2016 Resolute Will
2015 Absorbed And Civilized
2014 Relax And Lead
2013 Location, Location, Location
2012 Are You Really Good?
2011 Relatively Objective, Anyway

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Every human pastime — music, cooking, sports, art, theoretical physics — develops an argot to spare its enthusiasts from having to say or type a long-winded description every time they refer to a familiar concept in each other’s company.  The problem is that as we become proficient at our job or hobby we come to use these catchwords so often that they flow out of our fingers automatically, and we forget that our readers may not be members of the clubhouse in which we learned them.
   —  Steven Pinker
[Apologies to all you linguists out there.  I believe I just turned a noun into a verb.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Good-Bye AG Jeff Sessions
2017 On Our Wall (Part 2)
2016 I Beg The Question
2015 By Their Fruit
2014 Proven Worth
2013 From Missouri
2012 Recipe To Write: Start With One Aching Urge
2011 Ip And Rib
Real Things
2010 Final Competition

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…The onus is always on us, we the oppressed, to challenge a system that wants to conserve its traditions and traditional values.  We come to understand that if we want to be included in the American conversation, we have to work twice as hard while being told that we’re lazy, or that the government gives us money, and then told that we’re angry if we bring up the problem of racism in public spaces or when it doesn’t feel like the right time.  So we keep putting off these conversations, or we’re having them on the Internet, where it’s too easy to be anonymous and therefore cruel and selfish.  It’s like car drivers behaving dangerously on the road, simply because they’re hidden behind metal, glass and distance.  In our more personal online spaces we fill our feeds exclusively with people we agree with.  If there is conflict below a post or tweet it never feels like a conversation – only like road rage.
So if we can’t seem to find ways to talk in person, or online, when and where and how do we talk?  I think a novel is a kind of conversation.  Both the writer and the reader bring their experience to the page.  The reader’s experiences and ideas can be reshaped, challenged, changed.  I know, I’m a writer, so of course I think the answer is books, but I think reading books is a good place to start thinking about and understanding people’s stories you aren’t familiar with, outside your comfort zone and experience.  A novel will ask you to walk in a character’s shoes, and this can build empathy.  Without empathy we are lost.  I tend to read mostly novels and have come to understand the world better through the lens of novels.  When someone else’s world is different from our own, we see how we are the same.  We not only become more empathetic to their experience but we see how we are equal.  We also see how much upper-middle-class white male writing has been the only thing taught in schools, the only experience for so long – most of the time anyway.  I think institutional change can come by teaching women, teaching writers of color.  We will all be better for it.  I like that novels ask us without seeming to ask us to think about other people, to understand the many-storied landscape of this country we live and die in – with or without truly knowing or understanding them.
  —  Tommy Orange
Excerpt from his editorial / opinion piece: “What Novels Can Teach Us
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: 5 November 2018
Online at:  https://time.com/5434396/tommy-orange-novels-conversations/
Online the article is titled: “How to Talk To Each Other When There’s Little Common Ground
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On This Day In:
2018 And Pay In Full
2017 If Only
2016 Equal Justice
2015 Not Enough
2014 Are You Even Listening?
2013 Namaste
2012 Looking Up
2011 Et Tu Brute?

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This post marks the first day of my second decade of blogging here on WordPress.  Below is an image of the various countries which have someone who has visited my site…  I’m guessing Cuba and North Korea will be the last two to eventually visit (but you never know).  Someone should advise them:  “Resistance Is Futile…

Image of a world map with visiting countries colored.

My first decade of viewers…

The Past:
I started this blog to experiment with writing and for an opportunity to stand on my soapbox and shout at the universe.  It turned out I am not that creative a writer and not angry enough to maintain a full throated shout / tirade.  Also, time became a factor.
Not knowing what I was doing, I was spending a whole day composing one long (or several short) posts about whatever bone I had to pick that day.  My daughter suggested I try scheduling so I would stop bombarding her with posts two or three times per month.  (She was my first follower, and, my only one for most of the first year.)
Sometime around year three, I reached my tenth follower.  By then, I had switched (added to) my blog by posting quotes from my early adulthood journal.  After another period, I added book and movie reviews.
I had already begun adding poems, speeches and the lyrics to favorite songs.  …Again, the same as my hand-written journal.
By then, I was following about 30-50 other sites, but I am not (and have rarely been) much of a joiner, and my own interests tend to be broad rather than deep, which I guess limits my appeal to others as much as it does others appeal to me.
The Present:
My blog has become a regular part of my daily life now that I’m retired.  (Yes, that does sound sad, doesn’t it?)  I still do book and movie reviews, but I’ve found keeping up with the several hundred bloggers I follow to be quite time consuming.  I probably spend about 60-90 minutes a day reading posts – which my wife considers a complete waste of time.  My better half thinks my time would be much better spent on her “Honey-Do” list or actually reading “real” books.  (Did I mention I have two walls lined with unread books I’ve acquired over the years?)
Although my site says I have over a thousand followers, I believe it’s closer to 15-20 on a good day.  I would say I consistently have 3-5 likes most days and these are my steady followers / visitors.  (You know who you are!)  To all of you, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks for your valuable time.  I honestly hope I bring you a smile (or a groan) every once in a while.  At the very least, I hope you occasionally wonder: “What’s that guy Kevin thinking about today?”
As mentioned above, I follow several hundred bloggers (almost 300).  That’s not a daunting as it may sound as a few are dead (at least three), many more have stopped blogging, and most rarely post anymore.  I get about 100 emails a day, but a few you (them) are newbies who post 5-15 times a day (you know who you are, too).  And, yes, I remember the excitement of posting multiple times a day and getting a handful of “likes” every month or so.  I don’t mind, because they’ll get tired eventually…
The Future:
Who knows what the future holds…  I sure don’t.  I’ve been posting every day since mid-January 2011.  Will I keep up the streak?  I don’t know.  I’ve come close to missing a day more than once in the last eight years, but now it’s kind of become a “thing”.  I trust this means the universe will offer up an interruption soon…  LoL!!  And that’s okay too.  As long as I’m enjoying it, I’ll just pick back up and start a new streak.  And, when blogging stops being fun…  Well, hopefully, that’ll be quite a while from now.  For now: “Excelsior!
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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Writers tend to fare badly under autocrats.  Dictators understand very well that the strength of thought and analysis that literature embodies is a threat to the mind control that is an essential feature of tyranny.  In countries like China, Russia, Turkey, Myanmar and Bangladesh, writers are routinely jailed or killed for creating work their governments find threatening.  For American writers, the reality of such scrutiny and peril can be hard to fathom.  We need to write now, write well — tell the truth in all its messy complexity.  It’s our best shot at helping to preserve a democracy in which facts still exist and all of us can speak freely.
  —  Jennifer Egan
From her opinion piece / editorial: “Facts Still Exist
Appearing in: Time Magazine
dtd: 24 Dec / 31 Dec, 2018  (Person of the Year, double issue)
It also appears online at:  http://time.com/5475490/writers-truth-democracy-jennifer-egan/
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On This Day In:
2018 Danger = Opportunity
2017 True And Great
Sand At The Beach
2016 There Is A Difference Between Dangerous And Frightening
2015 Always A Goal
2014 Standing Strong
2013 Shaken And Stirred
The Bird With The Broken Wing
2012 Friends In High Places
2011 Objective Independence

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How do you spell “radar” backwards?  …
When I first started this blog I hoped to be soooo insightful a writer I would set the world on fire with the brilliance of my posts.  After about three months I decided I was only blogging for myself and stopped the hourly tracking of visitors (0), views (0) and followers (0).  However, because I am still me, I do notice and mark certain milestones – even if I rarely post about them.  Mostly I notice because they (the milestones) somehow tickle the “nerd” nerve in my reptilian brain.  Today is one such milestone.  I have been waiting to hit “1234” subscribers ever since I reached “1001”.  Today I hit “1221” (see image below – click on the image to see a larger version).
Image of 1221 subscribers.
LOL!!  For those who as nerdy as me, the name of this type of thing is a “palindrome” (a word, number or sentence which reads the same backwards as forwards).
For anyone who cares:  No, I don’t believe I have anywhere near that many followers.  Based on the average number of daily visitors, I’d “generously” estimate my number of “real” followers at between 15 and 20.  Last year, for some reason entirely unknown to me, I averaged about 35 visitors per day.  Until proven otherwise, I believe this to be a one off and unlikely to be sustainable.  LOL.  But what do I know?
Anyway, 13 more followers to go until I reach the next “nerd” number…  Since it took me almost 3 years to get to 10 followers, I’m not holding my breath.
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On This Day In:
2018 Take Care Of Me…
2017 Make Some Difference
2016 Still 99%
2015 Adolescent Opinion
2014 In A Big World
2013 Vacancy For God
2012 Sweat Equity
Try It… You’ll Like It
2011 Still Incomplete
2010 Happy New Year – 2010

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It is no secret in my country, in the USA, democracy and freedom upon freedom is under attack.  It is dizzying and maddening to say the very least.  These are radical — sometimes, often even, inexplicably complicated and complex times — and one of the things that pains and concerns me the most is the attack on the truth.  The eroding of our ability to engage in intelligent, respectful and respectable discourse as a humane society.
As a nation, as a world, as a global network of artists, writers, creatives, connected ever faster and with more and more urgency, we are losing touch with the essentials for growth, nourishment, deep thought, deep commitment to our soul’s purpose of truth-telling, no matter how painful or uncomfortable that may be.
I call myself a writer.  Maybe you do, too, or maybe you don’t.  But either way, we are all contributors to language, we are all users and shapers of words and ideas, how we use them to build up or destroy, to honor our common dignity or to pick away at it.
  —  Allison Marie Conway
[This quote was found at: https://allisonmarieconway.com/
The specific link is: https://allisonmarieconway.com/2018/08/13/on-art-democracy-dangerous-play/
Please visit the original site if you have a spare minute (or two).  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Cowardly Defamation
2016 With No Allowance For Chance?
2015 Details
2014 Here’s One…
2013 Non-Fungible Commodities
2012 Hope And Tears
2011 Just Long Enough
Meaningful Thoughts

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One always has a better book in one’s mind than one can manage to get onto paper.
  ––  Michael Cunningham
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On This Day In:
2017 Just Doin’ It
2016 Definitely Not Bell Shaped
2015 Dreadful Pity
2014 Worse Than Useless
2013 Personal Prisons
2012 So, Not Yet Then
2011 Real Love

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We are writers, and we never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know we don’t know.
  —  Stephen King
From his book:  “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
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On This Day In:
2017 Forms Of Conservation
2016 Oh, So Lacking
2015 e pluribus unum
2014 Nothing So Far Removed
2013 Positions
2012 Two Errors
2011 Long Live The King!

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Having imagination it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that if you were unimaginative would take you only a minute.
  —  Franklin Pierce Adams
[Maybe procrastination has a little bit to do with it, too.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Explaining Working Class Support For Donald
2016 Not In My Experience
2015 Effort
2014 Honest Wants
2013 Faith, n.
2012 Surprise Me
2011 Confused With Truth

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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” (2000©)  —  book review
Who hasn’t day-dreamed of writing the “great American novel” and becoming wealthy and celebrated?  Okay, maybe not me in over 40 years, but still…
Today’s book review is for “On Writing“, by Stephen King.  Yes, that Stephen King.  The horror novelist / writer.  Well, actually, he does write in other genres, too, but that’s the one I know him for.  This book came recommended to me by various sources – some “best of” lists and also a couple of blogs / sites I follow.  I found it on sale for $3 at my local Half-Price Books store, so I snatched it up.
The book is basically a three-part tome: King’s life leading up to writing, how to write well, and finally, advice on life and how to get started getting your writing published.  Part one is extremely interesting and amusing.  I got several belly laughs out of it.  Part two is mundane, yet (probably) useful.  I have already begun applying some of King’s suggestions in my own writing here on this blog.  Part three will probably be useful if I ever (again) imagine myself sitting down to write the great American novel or autobiography.  One of King’s recommendations is to write about what you know.  I’m afraid the only thing I know the most about is me.  (Sad, but true.)
So, final recommendation: very highly recommended!  Is this the finest book I’ve ever read on being a writer.  Yes!  With the qualification it is also the only book I’ve ever read on being a writer.  Having said that, it is a fast read at less than 300 pages and I found it enjoyable and informative.  And, of course, multiple quotes will appear on this blog in the future…
One last mention: King recommends all wanna-be writers start off by reading Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style“.  (According to part 1 in the book, King is a former high school English teacher.  Go, figure.)  Fortunately, for cheapskates like me, the book (“Elements“) is out of copyright and you can find it in pdf format at multiple locations on the web.  At fewer than 30 pages, it should also be a quick read.  The book cover on Amazon looks very familiar, so maybe King’s book is the second book I’ve read on writing.  LOL…  I probably read “Elements” in high school and blotted the contents out of my memory.
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On This Day In:
2017 Summer Pale
2016 Ain’t It Funny
2015 At Both Ends
2014 Whiner(s)
2013 Just Passing Through
2012 Dog-gone Heaven
2011 Occasional, Sad Results

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Anyone who can think clearly can write clearly.  But neither is easy.
    —  William Feather
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On This Day In:
2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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Start Typing

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
   –  Toni Morrison
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On This Day In:
2016 Just Saying (Nothing)
Thought Of You
Saldaga (“As I’ve Lived”)
2015 A Terrifying Cycle
2014 Rights
2013 Do Bold Things
2012 Seven Causes
2011 I Feel A Tingle Coming On

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