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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 146

Updated on April 25, 2017

Did You Have a Chocolate Egg?

Hey, word association with this boy, you say Easter, I say chocolate! Simple mind, folks!

Of course, you could say just about any word and I’d say chocolate, so I’m not sure there is any significance to this rambling at all.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend whether you believe (in chocolate) or not. A new week is upon us and that means THE MAIL has arrived.

If you’re ready then so am I!

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

Dumbing Down?

From Mel: “This might not have much to do with writing, but on the subject of formality in language, lately I have noticed the tendency of radio news broadcasts to use the word "guy," instead of "individual," "suspect," or "perpetrator." For instance - the police caught the "guy" on the second floor with a loaded gun. It is not being used in isolated instances, but regularly and I think deliberately. Is this part of the dumbing down process of American Culture? I am prone to use slang and idiom in my informal writing but it rankles me to hear it in professional news broadcasts. I guess I am just an old fart.”

Mel, I’m going to say this in all seriousness: I’m not sure if it is the “dumbing down” of America or the weakened requirements expected of journalists and broadcasters. I don’t think the training of these broadcast people is as stringent as it once was, and I’m being very serious about that. But I also think broadcast stations must report to the constituents they are stuck with, and I do think there has been a general dumbing down in this country. I doubt it was by design but I do believe it has happened. We have lowered our standards and, as an old teacher, that pisses me off.

Let me give you a personal example. I took my “Urban Farming Coloring Book” to a local nursery and asked the owner if she would like to carry my product. Now mind you I know this woman, have known her for three years, and have done some freelance writing work for her. You know what she said to me? She said her biggest fear was that the text in the coloring book was too advanced for kids.

Stupid is as stupid does!

There was no dumbing down in the classrooms I taught
There was no dumbing down in the classrooms I taught | Source

Inspiration Overload

From Rasma: “When you have an overload of inspiration how can you keep looking at what you have written positively and be your own critic to decide what you will finally post? Hope your week is inspirational Bill.”

Shoot, Rasma, I don’t have much choice, and neither do most writers I know. It costs money to hire an editor, and I don’t have that kind of money . . . so I pretty much have to be my own critic.

All is not lost, though: I know my writing better than anyone alive, and I’m hard on myself on the best of days. If my writing does not “pass muster” I will not publish it, and believe me, “passing my muster” is tough. I expect perfection from myself, so if I publish something I must be feeling pretty good about it.

Hell, my friend, I’m always feeling an overload of inspiration. That’s nothing new for most of us. We do what we can and then move on to the next project.

FREELANCE ADVICE

From Venkatachari M: “Regarding freelancing, most of them want daily submissions which I could not meet at all with my other daily routine of responsibilities. Whenever I quote that I can submit only 3 articles in a whole week, they keep silent. Do you have any advice?”

The sad truth about content sites is this, Venkatachari M: the playing field isn’t level and most freelancers will get the short end of the proverbial straw. There is a glut of freelance writers out there, and that means if you won’t do as the companies want, it is no problem to find two-hundred other writers who will provide.

My suggestion is to skip the middle man, and that middle man is the content mill. Go find freelance jobs on your own and don’t use sites like Textbroker. It might be harder to secure a job, but you’ll make more money doing it that way, and you’ll work as often as you want to work.

Good luck!

Two for the Price of One

From Zulma: “With regard to being an actor, I do the same thing, Bill. Which got me to thinking: How accurate can we be when we are not our characters? For example, if you're acting as a serial killer, how can we manage this when we didn't have the same upbringing or possess the same brain chemistry as a killer. Also, how much of ourselves are bringing to the character?”

Only a writer could ask those two questions, and great questions they are, Zulma!

Well, my friend, I know a little something about serial killers, so I’ll use them as examples in my answer.

No, I’m not a serial killer (big sigh of relief), but I have done extensive research on them. I’ve been fascinated by them since I learned that our paperboy when I was growing up was Ted Bundy. I’ve read books on him, read countless articles, and watched films about him, and the one overriding impression I came away with is that serial killers do not feel emotions like the rest of us do. They are totally detached from their actions and their victims. Dismembering a body is no different to them than stepping on an ant. The other thing I took from all that research is that many of them appear to be normal. They are consummate actors, playing the part of a normal citizen. Their lives are scripted. They watch normal people and parrot what they see, which makes them very, very hard to detect.

So I’ve tried to use that knowledge when writing.

As for your second question, I think it is unavoidable that a part of us will appear in our characters . . . at least it seems to me to be unavoidable, and I don’t feel that is a bad thing. It is our own personal stamp on our books, part of our “voice,” part of our uniqueness. It’s all a jumbled mess when trying to dissect it all, and I’m not real good at that kind of introspection, but my feeling is that yes, we bring at least a portion of who we are into the creation of our characters.

This guy is not a serial killer, but he does think like one....scary stuff!
This guy is not a serial killer, but he does think like one....scary stuff! | Source

Sweating the Small Stuff

Also from Zulma: “Since you mention it, just how do you do your revisions? Do you take it one chapter and a time and keep notes? How do you keep track of minutiae such as weather, dates, and minor characters who cross paths with the major players? Yes, I'm the sort of geek who sweats the small stuff. :)”

Congratulations, Zulma, you just hit my weak spot! Bullseye, my friend!

I’m horrible at this and it is all my fault. All I would have to do is make a timeline as I write the first draft, but I get into the writing so deeply that I invariably forget about the timeline. Since I am currently working on my sixth novel, I think it’s safe to assume I’m a slow-learner. Thank the gods I’m smart enough to do three or four drafts of every novel, so by the end of the whole process, I’ve pretty much cleaned up the minutiae. The hard part is jumping back and forth trying to find out what the weather was like that morning, or who said what earlier on, or where did they visit when they found the clue. I’m constantly jumping around trying to find a particular piece of dialogue so I can confirm something else. It is about the worst possible way to organize a novel and I’ve now done it five times and working on six.

I never claimed to be smart!

SUPER QUESTIONS THIS WEEK

But that’s no surprise . . . I find my followers to be insightful and scary smart!

I hope you found something in the Mailbag that made your visit worthwhile. Have a great week of writing, and living, and I’ll see you all next Monday.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 12 days ago from New York, New York

      Aw, another wonderful Monday mailbag from you, Bill. Like you I think chocolate for Easter and pretty much more often than not. So, on that note couldn't agree with you more. Happy Monday now and have a great week ahead :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      True, Janine! Chocolate should be celebrated daily, and it comes as no surprise that you are wise enough to realize that.

      Happy Monday and, as always, thank you!

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 12 days ago from Europe

      Interesting questions in the mailbag this week, Bill. I enjoyed reading it very much. Thanks, and wish you a great week.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 12 days ago from USA

      Hey, Bill, why not answer your potential client's objection about the difficulty of the words you use with numbers -- readability statistics? That could settle it for you (or show you that unfortunately you need to dumb down the language).

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Great idea, Flourish, and I will do that as soon as I have enough data to show them...in the meantime, I'm enjoying the sales. LOL Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      And I appreciate you always being here, Buildreps. Thank you very much!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 12 days ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag of insightful information from you Bill. Sorry I've missed last week. I might have a question to ask you next week, my friend. I highly recommend Upwork to anyone who wants to look for freelance work, like to Venkatachari. I've been there for almost a year this July and have made a lot of money (more than I do here) every week and every month I land a job.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 12 days ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Happy Easter Billy! I saw your The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 146 on the homepage, I liked the way you started this post...Did You Have a Chocolate Egg?. Not yet. I have been hidden chocolate eggs around the house for a little visitor, and tonight I will leave a surprise on four dinner plates.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 12 days ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill, happy day-after, and I hope you still have some chocolate left for today. The question about the dumbing down of news broadcasts (or the talking heads who read the news) really got my attention. I cannot imagine Walter Cronkite saying "guy". AND...last week the co-anchor on Q13 Fox news read a story about the card-reader slots at ATM's being bugged so that your personal information (account number of PIN) could be recorded. All was going well until she went off-script. She ad libbed, warning us to protect our "PIN numbers at the ATM machine." ...I couldn't contain myself!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Linda! I usually watch KOMO local news, and I see the same thing. Once they go off-script they are in a world of hurt. It's like they can't think for themselves. I really do find it sad, in a hilarious sort of way. LOL

      Happy Monday my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 days ago from Southern Illinois

      I always enjoy reading all the questions and your answers. Chocolate is my weakness. I've just started making chocolate icing for gluten-free cakes by using bulk Splenda, it's not as thick, more like a pour over the cake, but it's delicious. Thanks again for all you do to help us to be better writers..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the suggestion, Kristen. I've never heard of Upwork, so hopefully Venkatachari M will see your suggestion.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 12 days ago from Fresno CA

      Good morning Bill,

      In one of my son's books he made the main character's twins; one bold and heroic, the other rather wimpy and fearful. When I asked him which one he patterned after himself, he said both of them. That tells me a lot about writers. I guess we can't help not only creating dialog in the way we speak but also putting our personality into each character too. It sounds very therapeutic to me. My mother was a stickler for good grammar. She HATED slang with an unchristian hatred. We all knew we could receive a decent backhand across the lips for uttering "ain't" along with a lecture assuring that was not a word if it wasn't in the dictionary.

      Then the dictionary went and double-crossed her by including it in the next printing. She still hates hearing us use "ain't." She formed the way I think and edit my own work by her insistence on proper grammar. Great mailbag, my friend. See ya next week.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Great reflection about your mother, Denise! How dare Websters do that to her. LOL I wonder what she would think of LOL? Drive her crazy for sure.

      Thank you as always, my friend, and blessings today and always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a lot, Ruby! Now you have me drooling! How very cruel of you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Very nice, Nadine! You have more willpower than I have. I'm afraid I would have eaten one by now.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 days ago from Queensland Australia

      I hope you got your fill of chocolate this Easter, Bill. A good mailbag as ever. I think the dumbing down is occurring in most western societies at least. Whether it is the fault of the Internet, smart phones etc and text speak becoming the norm, or that journalism is becoming less professional or catering to a certain demographic I am not sure.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 12 days ago from Brazil

      Regarding the use of informal language now, I cringed when I hear certain words. Using 'hey' instead of 'hi' or 'hello' drives me crazy! My mother used to follow up with, "hay is for horses".

      I've noticed at banks when they want to use my first name to address me. Another bee in my bonnet, especially if the person is younger than I am.

      The ultimate had to be when I was at the American Embassy and on an official email, the used a happy face :).

      Have a wonderful week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm laughing at all your example, Mary, and I've heard all of them in real life. You and I are of the same ilk....all those things drive me bonkers.

      Happy Monday to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know either, John, but I fear for western civilization as the decline continues. It makes me value, all the more, the work of good writers like yourself.

      Yes indeed, I did get my fill of chocolate.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 12 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Bill, for your reply to my problem. As you say, the middlemen are content mills and they do not need quality and other things. They are mostly after the volume and their own earnings.

      All the questions asked and your replies also are very informative. Looking forward to next mailbag.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 12 days ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Bill. I look forward on reading more of your hubs.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 12 days ago from India

      A heavy mailbag with lots of intelligent questions and outstanding, brilliant information. . Enjoyed reading it . Have a good day!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 12 days ago from Oklahoma

      I've been on both sidesaddle the spectrum with inspiration overload and where I can't think of a thing.

      When things are going great guns, I keep simple notes for the lean times.

      Great read as always:-)

    • profile image

      Greg Boudonck 12 days ago

      Thanks for this excellent article Bill. I had to take a couple of moments and read your expert advice. Thanks birdman!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 days ago

      I certainly found valuable information in your mailbag this week, Bill. I can just picture the chocolate bunny sans ears in your hand. Mel's question is interesting. Our news professionals are certainly losing their professionalism. Something that really irritates this southern gal is for a remote announcer sending it back to the studio with "back to you guys." A simple "back to you" is sufficient.

      Another irritant, and I'm sure the interviewee is trying to be respectful, is when the reporter pokes the mike in his face and he says "the gentleman pulled out his gun and started shooting, Pow, pow, pow, pow." No gentleman would instigate a mass shooting and we don't need the mimicry of the gun. Geesh, I need some chocolate! Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 12 days ago

      As to the dumbing down of America and the English language, I hate when I hear someone say, "It was so fun."

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 12 days ago from Nibiru

      no billy....i did not have a chocolate egg, but i did have chocolate! happy easter

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 12 days ago from london

      Nice! Another piece of excellent work. Not much to say today but I'm happy to hear that Rasma seems to have so much inspirations. No bad thing.

      Take care, Bro. Have a nice Easter dinner with the family and indulge in the chocolates. I'll say I told you to in the heavenly dentistry chair. Lol. Not yet, Bro, not yet.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Damn, Clive, I would have saved you an egg had I known. LOL Happy Easter, buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Yep, Pop, another of my pet peeves. I had quite a list of them when I was teaching.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, don't even get me started. There are two new reporters on the local station I watch, and I swear, they butcher the language every single time. Drives me crazy. The other day I was yelling at the television, like that would solve the problem. :) Happy Easter my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Greg! That's a nickname I can get used to, with pride. Thanks buddy!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 12 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - It is scary for me to think that those pesky words in the coloring book were too tough. If the adults think that, what hope is there for the kids?

      Good questions this week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Damn, Larry, I wish I was that smart. LOL I mean to keep notes, but half the time I forget to have the notepad with me. I know, inexcusable, but just wait until you're 68!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Kristen!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 12 days ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! So glad I was able to take a break and read your mailbag. It always makes my day a little brighter!

      Hope you had a great Easter weekend, we had the most beautiful sunny weather! Definitely has me thinking spring!

      Take care and have a fantastic rest of the week!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Melissa! What would Monday be without the Mailbag, right? LOL Just another Monday! Glad you are having nice weather...we actually had sun and 65 yesterday. I thought I died and went to Florida.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know, Mike, and I'll be damned if I'm going to dumb down that coloring book. It's just not in me to do that, so thanks for the reinforcement.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, my dentist will not be happy but really, why should he complain? It's more money for him. LOL

      Peace be with you, brother!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Debangee. You are appreciated.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 12 days ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Bill, my bugbear is passive verbs. The over-use of these has reached chronic proportions. I keep them to a minimum because they slow down the narrative. Which is better: 1. "I am thinking of going down to the shops/stores to buy some paint for decorating...", or, 2. "I think I'll go down to the shops/stores to buy some paint to decorate..."?

      I'd choose 2 for the flow. One part of this dumbing-down business is lazy scriptwriters and journalists/hacks who can't be bothered to think what it does for the readership. It drags the English language down.

      In the case of (Hollywood) scriptwriters I think it's partly that they think in a foreign language and use English words to set down their 'take' on the 'lingua franca'. We have hacks here who are lazy, or they think their readers are lazy and can't be bothered to do their own thinking. (That's where passive verbs come into their own, to describe a mental process).

      I find I re-write articles in my head as I read them. Maybe that's negative of me, but it keeps me on my toes and keeps my own narrative 'alive'.

      You can use this verbatim if you like. It's food for thought: lazy writing encourages lazy thinking and I'm not here to dumb down English. It's a rich language with an extensive vocabulary, don't humble it with 'mental cobwebs!'

      Here endeth the lesson.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 12 days ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Easter (a.k.a. Chocolate Bunny Binge) Monday!

      Re: Dumb. Well, I just say it's a sign of the "Idiocracy" apocalypse. If you don't mind crude humor, this Mike Judge comedy is a frightening glimpse of the far, dumb future. When you see the news reports in the movie, you'll see what I mean.

      Re: Inspiration Overload. Indeed, I also have about a half dozen half-finished blog posts on my iPad right now. One will bubble to the surface as the one that needs to be next. I just need to be patient with myself and the process.

      Hope you'll recover from your Easter chocolate stupor enough to have a busy and successful week!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 12 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I agree, Bill. The questions are super this week! It's great to read the questions and the answers.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 11 days ago from Hereford, AZ

      Bill, please do not dumb down your coloring book. My daughter was sounding out words like 'transmission' and 'transformer' when she was in pre-school. If she can do that with just a little encouragement, what could we do with a lot of encouragement. I have never spoken down to my children and they have amazing vocabularies. My daughter has won spelling bees and was reading 12th grade level books when she was in 4th grade. Expect more from them and they will come through for you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Becky, but thank you for that confirmation and support. I never dumbed down when teaching and I don't plan on doing it now. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'll be over to your site shortly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as always, Heidi! I refuse to be a part of the dumbing down of this country. There seems to already be more than enough people willing to continue it.

      Happy late Easter and the chocolate keeps flowing through my veins, thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      And a great lesson it was, Alan, and I thank you. I'm guilty of passive verbs, but it's something I'm aware of and keep fighting because you are absolutely correct.

      English is a beautiful language my friend. It's nice to hear it so richly appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you for the question and I'm happy you found the answer satisfactory. Have a superb week!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 11 days ago from United Kingdom

      I see, Bill. Actually, I do the same thing when I revise. I am forever backtracking to see if the details match up. It tends to lead to more revision though. Sometimes, entire rewrites. Tell me again, why do we do this to ourselves? lol

      I can relate to Rasma's question. This is probably why it's important to put the story aside for awhile so you can see it with fresh eyes. It's surprising how much better you can make it when you take a break.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, Zulma. I know when I stopped to create the coloring books, my writing was much better when I returned. Maybe there's a lesson there.

      As for why do we do this to ourselves, I have no clue! :)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 11 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You never let me down, my friend! More good stuff to think about, learn, and grow from. Some great questions with some great answers. Thank you, Mr. Holland. If it's not too late, could you send some chocolate?

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 11 days ago from California

      Excellent advice as always Bill--freelancing is so difficult to balance with my creative writing--my freelancing is always legal blogs--and after that I just have no fun stuff left in my tank--how you do switch hats between the two?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't switch hats on the same day, Audrey, for the exact reason you mentioned. Each day of the week is designated for a particular type of writing. Otherwise I'd be a crazy person. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, you are very welcome and sorry, but it is too late. Chocolate does not last long around this office.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 11 days ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Let's test your chococate word association theory:

      "Holy ...!"

      "I don't give...!"

      "Go to...!"

      2 anecdotes about what children can read:

      In the fall of 1966, I was a substitute teacher for months of a 7th grade class in a school in Chicago near the Cabrini-Green housing project. Every kid in the class had a 4th grade reading level. They could read their readers, written at a 4th grade level, passably but could not read their other textbooks, such as history and social studies, written at a 7th grade level. But when I brought books relevant to the kids' lives and interests, including history, fiction, poetry, and more--most written for adults--and gave the class free time to browse the books, suddenly the students (enthused, helping each other) could read--until the teacher in the next classroom came over and told me to shut them up.

      In his Introduction to his THE ACTS OF KING AUTHOR AND HIS NOBLE NIGHTS, John Steinbeck says that when he was a boy he loved reading Thomas Malory's LE MORTE D'ARTHUR, first published in 1485, though there were many obsolete words.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 10 days ago from SW England

      I so agree on the standard of media presenters - the BBC hasn't yet got to the stage of 'guys' but the delivery (lots of 'um's & 'er's) and the grammar is becoming more and more shoddy. It's one of my pet hates but then it would be wouldn't it?!

      Great mailbag as always. Getting slowly back to 'normal' - whatever that is - but writing is on the back burner still, unfortunately.

      Ann

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 10 days ago from SW England

      Oh I nearly forgot! Have a whine-less whizz of a Wednesday, with no woe but full of wit (yes, I said 'W'it!).

      Ann :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 10 days ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you Bill. Now I know I am on the right track. Just recently when faced with the poetry challenge went over my poetry to see what I could rewrite and you know what? I realized that much of the poetry I first posted online only one or two pieces were raved about and when I looked at them as a whole I realized that before I posted at that time I had a long way to go to achieve what I have now. Hope you and Bev has a sunny and relaxing Easter.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for that reflection, Rasma! We can always learn as writers, and always improve.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Ann, now I just have to throw up my hands. How do I beat that ending? LOL

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It is an odd occurrence, Ann, one I didn't think I would see in my lifetime. It frightens me when the BBC goes the way of sloppy grammar. Is there no hope for this civilization?

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I failed the word association theory you presented, Brian! LOL

      Great stories about teaching. I totally agree. Kids will rise to the level you present. I have always believed that and always will.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 10 days ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Easter definitely means chocolate in this house my friend! Always good to receive mail on your latest hub, post or blog and these mailbag hubs certainly taken off and rightly so a marvelous idea so keep them coming!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Irish, and a belated Happy Easter! Sadly I'm out of chocolate. I need to rectify that soon, don't you think? :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 10 days ago from SW England

      The Good Old BBC, eh? Trouble is, we have to pay for it still! They say the licence is for receiving but it all goes to the BBC, contributing to their fantastic dramas etc. I still don't think we should pay such huge amounts for it though. Having said that, I don't pay now anyway because my poor old man is old enough to get a free licence! There are some compensations!

      Ann :D

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 10 days ago from England

      Great advice Bill, I did think about that myself i.e. being a killer in the book or story, I have only done a couple of stories like that in the past but I just put myself into the position of being in front of some I hate! LOL! funny how that works!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Funny how that works for sure, Nell. LOL People would be surprised how many real life people I've killed in my stories. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Really, Ann, you pay for the BBC? I had no idea....sheez, what is this world coming to? They do have superb dramas, for sure, better than anything we have in the States.

      Alrighty, it is time for this boy to go feed some critters. Take care, my friend.

      bill

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 10 days ago from San Diego California

      Thanks for including me in this mailbag, Bill. On the subject of Ted Bundy, I once sent a letter to Ann Rule, a great crime writer who was a co-worker of Ted's at one time. I asked her a few questions and pointed out a few inaccuracies in a book she wrote about the Green River killer, another of your Pac Northwest hall of fame. She graciously responded to me with a very detailed email, accepting my criticisms and giving honest explanations for perceived flaws in her book, and I have been an even bigger fan of hers since.

      Great mailbag, as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's fascinating, Mel! I know of her, of course, but didn't know what she was like as a person. That response of hers shows class.

      Ridgeway was unique, by the way, because he just stopped killing for over a decade....that is remarkable for a serial killer.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 days ago from South Africa

      The word "guy" definitely doesn't belong in a professional news broadcasts, is also my humble opinion.

      By the time I have done the fourth of at least five drafts of a novel, I am totally fed up with the characters and the events, and that is why I have a couple of unpublished novels in my archives.

      Thanks, Bill, for another pleasant and inspiring post!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, Martie, I understand that. I'm on the fourth novel in a series, same characters, and there are times I feel that way. For whatever reason, though, that feeling goes away and I like them again. :)

      Thank you my friend!

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 5 days ago from Tennessee

      Another informative article. I count on your Monday morning mailbags even if I'm a week late reading them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's the beauty of them, Jo! They are timeless! Thank you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 days ago from The Caribbean

      Late, but the mailbag is a fixture on my reading list. Thanks again for your continuing inspiration to the rest of us. Continue reading, editing, and writing is what I gather from this one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora. I love that is a fixture on your reading list. Blessings to you always.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 2 days ago from India

      Another lovely mailbag..with chocolates! Wonderful writing..a very informative hub. Keep sharing and have a good day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 41 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Debangee! I appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend!

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