Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Friday, November 30, 2012

When You Have a lot you want to say, you think of more stuff to say

Woody, Cliff and Norm on The Simpsons
Woody, Cliff and Norm on The Simpsons (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (This image has virtually nothing to do with ths blog post.
My Blog Runneth Over

          There are so many ideas lined up for discussion on my post planner that I sometimes wonder whether I'll get around to all of the topics I'd like to cover.   And wouldn't you know it, the more I plan on saying here on this blog, the more new stuff that pops into my head that makes me feel like I want to cover here.  The ideas never seem to stop.   I just don't get it when people say they don't know what to blog about.

        If you need any help coming up with blog ideas maybe you should come to me.   Perhaps I should start a new blog that each week provides a list of things to blog about.  I'd shorten my list and give someone else the chance to talk about the items on the list.  On the other hand, strike that idea.  I don't need another blog to worry about and you probably don't want to be writing about some of my crazy ideas.

         In any case,  I still have plans on continuing with my tirades about jobs, workers, and management.  Coming soon I also will be giving my side of the profanity issue that Bridget Straub started stirring the pot with on Wednesday.   If you didn't see her post check it out and definitely read through the comments.  The readers really pulled through with some good opining on that topic.  You all are the best!

          However, in this present post I'd like to take a breather to make a few mentions and pave the way for some things coming up....


Wherefore Art Thou, Yvonne?       

        Someone I might have included in the "Miss You" blogfest if I had done it is Yvonne Lewis.   Now Yvonne is back with a new poetry blog.   She's starting from scratch so she'll need you to sign up as a follower again.  Please show our sweet lady of verse--our English Rose--your support.  I know she'll appreciate it.  You can find her blog at Yvonne's World of Poetry.



Baby Faces Blogfest

       Trisha at Word + Stuff is hosting her first ever blogfest--the Baby Faces Blogfest on Dec. 2 and 3.  All you have to do is post a picture of yourself as a baby and/or tell a story from when you were a baby.   I couldn't resist this one so I'm joined in for the fun.  It just so happens that a few years ago my mother sent me a mini photo album of my baby pictures and I keep it next to my writing desk.  You'll have to check out my entries.  Hope you'll join us.


       Also on December 2nd when Trisha puts up her blogiversary celebration post (hence the blogfest), she will be giving away a little prize (your choice of a book she's selected, or some other book, from the Book Depository). More details about that on the day of her post.

Let's Embarrass Alex Day

           And let us not forget the "Cheers, Cavanaugh Blog Fest" coming up between December 10th and 12th.   I'm signed up for that one as well and if you aren't then you might be among  few who aren't.  Over one hundred of us signed up so far so don't be left out.  Besides, Alex will be obligated to go through every one of these posts himself so let's keep him busy.  I hear he has nothing else to do and is really bored.

          Then of course there's the Insecure Writer's Support Group coming up next Wednesday.  Yeah, I'm doing that again along with a zillion other people.

        Hey--I really need a blog fest break.  I keep saying I'm going to stop for a while and then something really cool sounding comes up and I'm there.  I've got to rest up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

          Which speaking of Blogging from A to Z, the A to Z Blog is looking for guest posts again.  Do you have something interesting to say about last year's challenge or tips about the upcoming challenge.   Let us know if you are interested.  It's a great way for you to get some exposure and call attention to your blog.

Watch This Space!

          Baby pictures, insecurities, Alex adulation, and more controversy (or as I prefer--thought-provoking topics) are coming your way right here at Tossing It Out.  Busy blog times as we all head into a busy holiday season.  Maybe I should take the holiday weeks off.  But I have all these darn topics piling up.

          Which blog fests are you participating in?   Do you ever have more ideas than you know what to do with?    Are you ready for some more debate topics?  What has been your favorite topic so far on this blog?


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Profanity: Where Do You Draw the Line? (A Guest Post from Author Bridget Straub)

swearing in cartoon Suomi: Kiroileva sarjakuva...
swearing in cartoon Suomi: Kiroileva sarjakuvahahmo Nederlands: Schelden en vloeken in strips  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        In this installment of Tossing It Out I welcome the return of  Bridget Straub who blogs at  bridgetstraub: Author, Artist, Mom .  Some of you may recall Bridget's Hijack! post "Life Is a Maze".  Bridget's third novel in a year's time is now out.  In this post she discusses a dilemma you may have faced in your own writing.  The topic of profanity in writing is one that I've been planning to address and will probably do so in the future.  In her most recent release, The Salacious Marny Ottwiler, Bridget had to deal with this issue and now tells her reasoning concerning using profanity in ones writing.

Where Do You Draw the Line?

Is it just me, or do people swear now more than ever? It feels as though, particularly in the past several years, the sensor button has been turned off and pretty much anything goes. I have to admit I am as guilty as anyone. I don’t allow my kids to swear and yet I catch myself doing it more often than I should.

Well, “should” is an odd choice of word. Should we ever swear? Probably not, but I find even my church attending Christian friends swear, and to be honest it always makes me laugh. As someone who went through Catholic school, this is so daring and wrong that it almost delights me. Not appropriate, I know.

Here is where I draw the line (and sometimes it is literally in a line): it is when I am around young children or anyone older than me. In both of those situations it feels disrespectful. Those of us in the middle, however, have been raised on cable television, nudity in movies and that whole sexual revolution. This is not to say I would swear with a relative stranger or walk up to someone and ask how the bleep they are. That would be crass.

This has come up in my writing as well. I don’t ever want to scare away readers, and at the same time, I pride myself on creating characters that are real and relatable. I would never throw in profanity just for the sake of being edgy. At the same time, there are some situations where a person and/or character would not respond with a “Golly gee”, and right or wrong, certain words have much more force. When I write, I rarely know what is going to happen next, let alone what is liable to come out of a character’s mouth. It is one of the things I enjoy most about writing. Even now, I am totally winging this post. Still, at the finish of a novel I read through the manuscript and worry that an entire body of work will be judged by a few words. It’s a conundrum.

Bridget Straub is the author of three novels: “Searching for My Wand”, “On a Hot August Afternoon” and “The Salacious Marny Ottwiler”. All are available on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Bridget-Straub/e/B006KEG0KE

                How do you think is the best way to deal with profanity in writing when it  seems appropriate to your characters?    Does an author's use of profanity in a work bother you?     What do you think is the best way to avoid profanity in writing or do you think doing so lessens the integrity of the credibility of the writing?




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Monday, November 26, 2012

It's All Because of My Hangover!

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of ...
English: Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditional US Thanksgiving day dinner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
            No, I wasn't drinking over the week-end, but four days of Thanksgiving dinner and resulting leftovers can be near coma inducing.  I did imbibe in one small brandy-spiked glass of eggnog each evening, but those were nowhere near as overpowering as the turkey-centric meals in which my wife and I indulged.

         Those meals included two casserole dishes of the different types of dressing that satisfy each of our preferences.   I always fix her a dressing with sausage and fruit because she refuses to touch my preferred dressing.   Since I grew up with oyster dressing it's a tradition that makes Thanksgiving feel incomplete without it.  I love my oyster dressing and had it for breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday and then polished off the rest for my Sunday dinner.

           What is it about oysters anyway?  It's one of those foods people love or cringe at the mere thought of.   Have you ever tried oyster dressing?    Are you anti-oyster or pro-oyster?  Come on let's get into some real controversy!

          Seriously, though, I thought I had my Monday blog post covered.  I smugly believed that Bridget Straub's guest post was all set to go this morning.   Then when I checked this morning to make sure it had gone up, I went into a frenzy to find out why it had not. --Because it's actually scheduled for Wednesday, that's why.

          Bridget has gone along with my theme of offering topics to generate discussion with the topic of profanity.  This is a topic some of you have written about in the past and one that I will undoubtedly discuss in the future--it's been on my topic list ever since it appeared on The Alliterative Allomorph quite a while back.  It's a topic always worth discussing.  Besides, who gives a chitterling if a topic is repeated.

          Be sure to be here on Wednesday to offer your own thoughts about what Bridget Straub has to say about the subject of using profanity in ones writing.

          By the way, if you missed my post about Walmart on Friday, you might enjoy going back to read through the comments.  There was some epic discussion going on that covered both sides of the argument and the comments were outstanding.  This topic will be expanded upon in future posts.

          Hope you had as good of a Thanksgiving weekend as we did.   It's creamed turkey and biscuits for us tonight.  This is a leftover tradition from my childhood and I've been craving it.   I don't know how much my wife will like it because she doesn't like gravy or anything resembling gravy.  Still, I'm making it anyway.

          Did you have a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers?   What are some of your traditional leftover meals?   Are you revived from your Thanksgiving coma yet?

         
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Does Walmart Deserve a Whipping?

Walmart exteriorcropped
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Stirrings of Protest 

         One day in early October when I was out for one of my morning walks, I noticed some unusual activity going on at my neighborhood Walmart.  Several people in matching green t-shirts were preparing signs for what was obviously going to be some sort of demonstration.

          An hour or so later when I returned to Walmart to pick up some groceries, I was taken aback by what I found there.  A picket line of perhaps 30 or so green t-shirted people marched orderly in front of the store. In the center of their path blared a very loud and exuberant mariachi band.  More "strikers" wandered the parking lot with more professional types watching on.  I could tell that the business attired latter group were the organizers of the event.   This was obviously union organized.

         After I got home that day I began exploring the website referred to by literature that was being distributed at the protest event.  The site confirmed the union connections as did several other sites that a Google search led me to.

         In the succeeding weeks I began to read and hear more about the Walmart attack.  It was a nationwide tour organized by union activists.  I had already been annoyed to learn that possibly none of the protesters worked at my neighborhood store and the ones I spoke with said that they either knew someone that worked at Walmart, worked at a Walmart store elsewhere, or were hired to walk the picket line.  To me this was all a union instigated sham that apparently didn't interest many employees at my neighborhood store.

A Black Friday Threat

         With the coming of Black Friday, threats of walk-outs and sale day disruptions have been talked about nationwide.  By the time you are reading this, the whole situation will be seen in better perspective.  For now I can report on my observations of my local store in Pico Rivera, California.  

          At about 2 PM my wife and I walked over to the store--Walmart is in a shopping center across the street from where I live.   Business was brisk at Walmart and we were surprised at the number of smaller stores that were also open.  The Walmart customers were busily shopping and the employees appeared to be contentedly at work preparing for the Black Friday sales that would commence at 8 PM and then run periodically through the actual Friday.  No sign of any problems.

         Later at about 7:30 I returned to the store by myself to see the chaos that I expected to erupt at 8 PM and see how many employees would walk out to join the picket lines in front of the store.  Except there was no picket line and there were no demonstrators.   A local TV news truck was on site in case anything exciting happened, but they looked pretty bored.

          As 8 PM approached I wandered the store.  Customers patiently were queuing up for the sales items they were interested in.   Perhaps as many as 400 or more store employees stood waiting to unwrap the pallets for Phase 1 of the sale.   All of the employees seemed happy and enthusiastic.  Several asked me or others if we needed any help.

           When 8 PM hit, the employees opened the first pallets and calmly guided customers to pick up the items they were waiting for.  No screaming and shouting or any anger that I could see and no pushing or stampedes.  It was one of the most professional and well-organized events I have ever witnessed.

A Change of Perception

            I was all ready to write a post about stupid Walmart employees, but I was impressed by my first Black Friday experience.  These sales are something I have always avoided and will probably continue to avoid.  However, these employees were top notch with no signs of disgruntlement.

            As I strolled about the store before the first phase began, I conversed with several employees.  They were all very friendly and seemed happy to be there.  I asked each of them if they thought anyone would be walking out on the job.  They all indicated that they did not think so and that there was apparently not much interest in doing so at this store.  I can say nothing bad about the employees I encountered on this visit to Walmart.

          My observations may be hasty since Friday hasn't even arrived as I write this.  Things may have entirely changed at the store since I left and the sales will be going on for several more hours.  A lot could still happen or may have already happen as you are reading this.   And this is only one store that may not exemplify other stores across the nation.  It all remains to be seen at this writing.

         There are many videos about Walmart protests that can be found on the internet and a Google search will reveal a great deal of information about the issues between Walmart and labor and the unions.   The Care2 site has a petition to "Avoid Walmart when workers walk out on Black Friday".  It's been signed by a whopping 17 people. Not 17,000 or 1700, but 17 people.  Pretty sorry participation there.

           The sign-up for the Worker's Manifesto at the OUR Walmart site (not affiliated with Walmart) managed to fare a bit better passing the 1700 mark.  Not a big deal if you consider the two million workers employed by Walmart.   And most likely many of these signers are not employees of Walmart at all, but most likely just rabble-rousers who would sign anything to disrupt society.

Stay Tuned for More

           I will be having a lot more to say about things like Walmart, unions, and job market in future posts.  Black Friday seemed the most appropriate thing to focus on today.   There are many problems in the workplace, but sometimes those problems are exploited and even generated by forces outside the workplace.  There are also problems concerning wage disparity and workers' rights, but what are the arguments in these cases?  Stay tuned.  This won't be going away soon so I'm sure I'll be bringing it up again.

           Did you go or are you going to go to Walmart for the Black Friday sales?   If so, what was your experience at Walmart?   Do you think there are pervasive problems among Walmart employees concerning their jobs or do you think this is a ruse stirred up by union organizers?     Would it be a good thing for unhappy Walmart employees to walk out at an important time like Black Friday?   Does Walmart deserve a whipping?




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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Thankfulness to Bloggers Post

          The other day when a bunch of bloggers had this "Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest" I started going through the entries and got really depressed because I saw hardly a mention of poor me.  I got so depressed I decided to cry in my beer.  Then I got really depressed when I discovered I didn't have any beer to cry into.  So instead I had to settle for crying in my chocolate milk.

           Actually that's not true.  I did feel a little left out, but there was no way I was going ruin a good glass of chocolate milk by diluting it with salty tears.  I wasn't all that sad because I did get a couple mentions.  However I did get kind of misty eyed the other night at the end of this soppy old romantic movie with a sweet happy ending.  Those old movies get me every time.  They just don't make them like that anymore.

           Anyway, I missed out on doing my own "Miss You" post because I kind of missed that blogfest.  I've been very distracted lately as some of you may be aware.   But as I was reading through the "Miss You" posts it brought to mind the special Thanksgiving post I had in the works.  As is customary for many of us, I have decided to present a list of things I am thankful for.          

          There are many things for which I am thankful.  Blogging has become one of the things for which I am most thankful.   Most of my attitude of gratitude about blogging is because of you--each and every one of you reading this now and those who have read one or more of my posts in the past.

          And you readers who have commented at some time or other deserve my biggest thanks.   Like a performer cheered on by an unseen audience, I am heartened by your acknowledgement of what I have presented to you.  Your comments tell me that someone stopped by to pay attention to me if only for a moment.

           There is always the fear that singling out special bloggers might make others who are not mentioned feel unappreciated.  Please understand that this is not the case.  I appreciate each of you and love all of you dearly--even when you disagree with me.  And I don't want this to be a monster post that goes on far too long nor a list of names without specific reasons for being named.  This post is my list of a few of the most faithful and some of the bloggers who leave me the most exemplary kinds of comments.

Tossing It Out Commenter Hall of Fame

         I begin with the young man who almost always comments without fail and is often the first commenter of the day.  With the unique tag of YeamieWaffles, Matthew of Matthew's Blog consistently leaves encouraging comments of substance.  Matthew, I have to offer my deepest apologies for not having been by your blog in so long to leave a comment, but I think you understand some of the things I've been dealing with since you read nearly all of my posts.  If you readers don't know Matthew, he's a bright young guy who is worth knowing--his posts might remind you of some of your own college days.  I hope one day I can shake your hand in person, Matthew, but for now please accept this virtual pat on the back as a commenter I can always count on.

          Andrew Leon from Strange Pegs is a blogging pro who understands not only the essence of good commenting, but also how to use a comment as a springboard for dialog.  This can be a time consuming process that might mean not being able to visit as many blogs as one would like, but to leave these types of comments is to be a notable presence on the blogs that are visited.  Andrew obviously subscribes to the follow-up comments since he often will respond to the replies he receives to the comments he leaves.  Some of the conversations we have at my blog and that he has at his blog and other blogs where he leaves comments is a good argument for staying on top of the commenting process.   His example epitomizes the term "Social Networking".   Bloggers like Andrew are why I try to leave comment replies that are more than just brief acknowledgements.

           Since I've given Stephen T. McCarthy a lot of time in past blog posts I'll just add him to the list of bloggers who actually have a discussion in the comment section.  To see what I mean just check out some of the comment sections on his posts at his blog Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.  Sure, you might not agree with Stephen and you might even be offended, but you have to admit that this guy knows how to carry on a conversation in his comments.  That's my blogging dream.  Thank you, Stephen, for showing the way to establishing good blog dialog.

           Through Stephen I came into contact with Larry at Disconnected and Back in the USSR.   He doesn't comment on my blog as much as I'd like, but when he does, it's worth the wait.   Larry has a sly sense of humor while also having good sense.  He also is not for everybody, but he'll give everybody a chance to join in the conversation.  Thanks Larry.

            Then there are two very fine ladies, Em-musing and Faraway Eyes, who not only seem to show up with regularity on this blog, but also on my other blogs.  Thank you for supporting my more neglected blogs--and with gusto.   Great comments both of you!    Also, I must include Eve Prokop as another fine lady who visits more than just this blog and leaves some notable comments.  She's a bit wacky too as you will see when you visit her blog.  Thanks Eve!

              Honorable mention goes to Nicole Ayers at Madlab Post.  She comments sporadically at my sites, but when she does her comment is like a blog post.  And my blog is not an exception.  When she comments on your blog, she leaves you with something to read and think about.  This is why Nicole has been one of my favorite guest posters.  When you leave comments like that you only have so many blogs that you have time to comment on.  When I get a comment from Nicole I really appreciate it.

             A big thanks to Hilary at Positive Letters...Inspirational Stories for epic comments that are almost like mini-versions of her epic blog posts.   And (blush) she has always been so supportive of me--thank you dear for your recent blog post that mentioned me.   I guess I'd even have to say that was a bit more than just a mention.  I don't feel so forgotten after that post.  All the fine words from the commenters gave me such a lift.  Thank you, Hilary.  In our blogging community, you are a shining star who is always more than willing to share the love and give a boost to others.   The thanks I give you is almost as big as one of your blog posts, though nowhere near as interesting and filled with detail.

            Then finally there's Alex Cavanaugh who sometimes seems to be competing with YeamieWaffles to be the first comment on my blog.  In fact, his comment seems to be at the top of most blog comment sections.  I don't know how he does it, but I guess that's why he'd be the most missed blogger for most of us.  And not only did Alex get the most mentions in the "Miss You" blogfest, now he's got his own personal blogfest coming.  Hey, this is getting ridiculous!

           If you want to join in on all the ridiculous fun you can go to the host sites at  Mark Koopman,  Morgan Shamy, Stephen Tremp, and David Powers King for the details and the sign-up list.  I'm doing this.  How about you?

           Now while we're at it, why don't we just give Alex his own TV show.  That'll be different, eh?  A show where we never get to see the star.

             In closing I want to thank all of you out there.   Even if I didn't mention you here today I was thinking of you.   I could list so many, but then again I could create a blog post that would go on and on and on.  And I think I've already exceeded the recommended blog post length.   If you feel left out, you can always cry into your beer, your chocolate milk, or even your egg nog.   Or you can let me know in the comment section so I can include you in a future post.   You know I love you.  Yes, I'm talking to you.

             Have a Happy Thanksgiving!                  

       

     




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Monday, November 19, 2012

Hear Me Roar! --Nancy S. Thompson Guest Post

             Some of the most visited posts on my blog and some of your blogs have been those dealing with blogging.  Can you imagine that!   We love blogging so much that we even love to read about it.  Today we get some more thoughts about blogging from Nancy S. Thompson.   Nancy recently released her book The Mistaken which has been getting very favorable reviews.   You can visit Nancy at her own blog


Hear Me Roar!


Thanks for having me back, Arlee.  While trying to come up with a topic we’re all interested in, I was made to consider what we all have in common.  Many of us are writers.  And we blog.  We do this for many reasons, but we all probably started for the same one, because, as writers seeking publication, we were told we needed to build a platform.

But what’s the point of that platform?  Is it simply a means to have your voice heard and hopefully get noticed?  Well, sure, that’s part of it, of course—a large part, no doubt.  But more than that, blogging is about sharing information.  Yeah, we can all Google just about anything imaginable and come up with some article or website, but blogging is more about sharing our personal experiences.  It’s really just an online diary, but one meant for public consumption.

We all use various forms of social networking—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, whatever—and they’re each good for their own brand of information.  But blogs are better suited to our purpose of making our voices heard in that it puts more than just a face to who we are as writers and, more importantly, as human beings.  It gives us heart, creates a fabric woven with threads of our accomplishments and failures, our dreams and expectations, our needs and losses, and, more than anything, our desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, something that needs us just as much as we need it.  A community. 


Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest, they just give our audience a tiny glimpse of who we are, single frames in a two-hour movie.  Our blogs are more of a bridge that leads to the very essence of who we are and what we value most.  It’s a place to employ creativity, exhibit perseverance, and build trust through consistent, honest content that both educates and entertains.

While relevance is always important, I think, as far as our blogs are concerned, it’s less about cosmic relevance and more about how we’re relevant to each other, one on one.  I read other blogs to learn what worked for that writer, where he got hung up on his journey, how she found the best way to write a query, if traditional publishing is the only legitimate path, and all sorts of other things.  Yet for each person, the answer is completely unique, and I am made to consider how their choice might, or might not, work for me.

Through it all, blogging has led me to—and made me a part of—a community like no other.  Though wholly virtual, the relationships are authentic and absolute, and that is the very heart of blogging, to be able to touch and affect those you cannot see, yet still hold in the highest regard.   

        How has community been valuable to you from a blogging standpoint?   Why do you blog?    What unexpected rewards have you received from blogging?    Do you feel that you have built that all important "platform" that is recommended for writers or those in a specialized field?




Praise for The Mistaken:

The Mistaken“A deliciously slow burn that builds to a ferocious crescendo, Nancy S. Thompson's THE MISTAKEN kept me riveted until the very last page. Tyler Karras is a complex and flawed protagonist, and his redemptive journey makes him the perfect anti-hero. This psychological suspense is a standout, and I can't wait for Thompson's next book.”
~ Jennifer Hillier, author of  CREEP and FREAK

“Nancy S. Thompson's debut novel, The Mistaken, is a first-rate thriller full of hair-raising twists and turns.  Pursued by the police and the Russian mafia in San Francisco, brothers Tyler and Nick Karras are fascinating, fully-drawn, desperate characters.  The action is non-stop.  Thompson's taut, intriguing tale of revenge, mistaken identity, kidnapping and murder will keep you enthralled and entertained.” 
~Kevin O’BrienNew York Times Bestselling Author of DISTURBED and TERRIFIED

“Fast-paced and emotionally gripping - once the ride begins, you won't stop reading until it ends."  ~Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of CASSAFIRE and CASSASTAR

http://nancysthompson.blogspot.com/


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Just for the Record, Should I Keep My Vinyl?

Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS st...
Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS station at the University of Waterloo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         The recent passing of my step-father has put me in a reflective state of mind.   I look at my life--the experiences I've had, the material possessions I've accumulated, the people I've known--and I consider the concept of value.  I think about all the stuff in my closets and my garage.  Maybe it's time to get rid of some of it.  That's what I've been thinking.

          It could start with my vinyl record collection.  My turntable has been disconnected for a few years and  now is piled up with CD's and DVD's.   I don't listen to vinyl records anymore.  I don't even listen to CD's that often.   Maybe an hour or two per day--sometimes even as much as three hours--I might spend playing CD's in the background of my life.   If I'm on a road trip I might listen to as many as twelve CD's on a long driving day, but those trips don't happen that often.

         I don't plan to get rid of my CD collection anytime soon, but I am thinking about those vinyl records.  Don't get me wrong.  I truly appreciate my record collection.  I've been collecting those albums since my junior high school days--1964 is when I bought my first record album and I still have it.  I got rid of all of my 45's at the end of high school, but I kept the albums.  I've always treasured those albums.  But if I'm not listening to them then what's the point of keeping them?  I not curating a museum.

        Craig's List is tempting me.  I'm thinking that I could try to list the whole batch for maybe a thousand dollars firm and see if I get any bites.  I don't recall how many albums I have.  There might be as few as 300 or as many as 900.   It's no gigantic collection by any means, but it's reasonably respectable considering some of the albums included in the bunch.

           On the other hand I could try selling them off piecemeal.  Seems like a hassle, but the profit potential could be much better than getting rid of them all at once.   I'm not sure that I want to deal with the extended process of moving these out the door one by one, but when I look at some of the prices on the web of some of these gems I could potentially be getting as much as one or two hundred dollars or more for some of them.  That is if I am to believe that anyone is really paying these prices.

            These records.   They've been a part of me and my history.  There are memories in the music that accompanied times, places, and people in my past.  I have many of these records on CD now so the music wouldn't be totally lost to me.  The fact that I haven't been listening to them makes these records less a part of my life now.  They take up space.  They collect dust.  They kind of annoy my wife for whom these records have no meaning.  

           If I get rid of my records, I'm not getting rid of the memories.   I'm getting rid of stuff.   This is stuff that may be a boon or a burden to whomever is left with them when I leave this Earth.   I hope that departure is a long way off, but we never know when our time is up do we.  Maybe it's better to clean up our messes before we head out.  Kind of like helping clean up at the end of a party before we go home.

            Anyone want to buy a record collection?

            What do you own that you think it might be time to get rid of?   Has anyone had an experience selling things on places like E-Bay that they'd like to share?   When liquidating your life, would you rather avoid the prolonged hassle by just taking care of everything all at one shot?



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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Birth of a Novel: Paula Martin Guest Post


      Paula Martin has a new novel out and she's here today to tell you about it.   Wishing you success with it, Paula! 

The Birth of a Novel

When I went to Egypt in the fall of 2010, I had no idea the trip would result in a novel. I was more interested in seeing all the places I’d always dreamt of visiting, especially the Valley of the Kings and the Abu Simbel temples, which exceeded all my expectations.
Cruise ships on the Nile

It wasn’t until the penultimate day of our Nile cruise that the first seed was planted in my mind. I was relaxing on the sundeck of our cruise ship which was moored at Aswan. There are so many ships that they have to be moored four abreast, and the sundecks of neighbouring ships are more or less level with each other. I started to wonder if it would be possible to vault across the short gap (about 3 or 4 feet) from one sundeck to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand. My days of vaulting anywhere are well and truly over!

That evening, I put the question to one of the friends we had made during the cruise. He walked across to the rail, studied the gap for a moment, and then said, “Well, I wouldn’t try it now, but I could have done it easily when I was in my twenties or thirties.”

First piece of research completed – it was possible. And I could envision my hero doing his death defying leap (slight exaggeration) to be with the heroine.

So what now? Are the hero and heroine guests on different cruise ships? But the cruises only last 5 or 7 days, so what would happen when they returned home? No, I needed to have them both living in Egypt. So maybe my heroine could be a tour guide on a cruise ship.

What about the hero? On a flight from Aswan to Cairo, I read an article in the flight magazine about an archaeologist who had explored a hidden tunnel leading from the burial chamber of one of the pharaohs’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Hmm, maybe my hero could be an archaeologist in the famous Valley.
With the setting and the two main characters in place, it was time to start thinking of the complications and conflicts that would prevent the course of love running smoothly. What if the heroine had an Egyptian boyfriend who was pressurizing her to marry him? And what if the hero had lost the funding for his project after breaking his engagement to his sponsor’s daughter?
Temples at Abu Simbel

I wrote the first two chapters at the hotel in Luxor where we spent a week after the end of our cruise. The very nice Egyptian in the hotel bookshop acquired a notebook for me – I even managed to get him to understand what I meant by ‘spiral bound’! Writing in longhand reminded me of my early (pre-computer) writing days.

As well as writing, I also devoured the three books I bought at the bookshop, all about Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. This was only the beginning of my research. Once I got home, I transferred my scribble to the computer, and got on with the rest of the story, which ended up with far more twists and turns than I'd first envisaged. I wished I could go back to Luxor and explore the city more thoroughly, but by this time the revolution had started and Egypt became a no-go area for tourists for several months. Instead, I had to rely on websites - especially maps and photographs of modern Luxor and the west bank, cruise itineraries and ships, train and plane schedules, and even shisha bars. I also learnt so much about Ancient Egypt as I checked and re-checked my facts.

However, I never did manage to bring in the scene where the hero vaults the rails between the two cruise ships! But I did call my hero Ross, after the cruise-ship friend who told me it could be done.


Blurb:
Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.
Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist. She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her. This is the man who sets her soul on fire.
After breaking up with her boyfriend, she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which seems to be her only option.
Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?


Short Bio:
Paula Martin had some early publishing success in her twenties with short stories and four contemporary romance novels, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching. and has had four romance novels published since June 2011.
She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her favourite places are the English Lake District and Ireland. She’s also interested in musical theatre and tracing her family history.


Links

Find all her books on Amazon



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