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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #360

Unbelievably Blessed I Am

We are back from our mini-vacation, and my message for this week is that I am unbelievably blessed.

Seriously blessed!

Just before we left on our little getaway, I went to see the doctor about some pain in my left hip. It was annoying to the point where I couldn’t make any more excuses about it, nor could I entertain any alternate reality theories. I needed to find out what was wrong.

Turns out I have arthritis in my hip, and it was at that point, the point of that diagnosis, that I came to the realization of just how blessed I am. I mean think about it. I played high school and college sports. I played competitive adult sports into my forties. I’ve climbed five mountains. I’ve hiked hundreds of miles, and jogged hundreds more. I’ve worked physical labor jobs for many years, and not once, during all of that physical activity, have I so much as sprained an ankle. I’ve never had a broken bone.

So, to receive that diagnosis, at seventy-two, that I finally have something wrong with my body, well, I would say it’s about damned time. LOL My body just received the memo about my age, evidently, and I’m fine with it.

It’s just life, my friends. It’s just life!

Time for the mail!

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Audio Books

From Mary: “Interesting question from Linda. I do wonder if the rise in self-publishing will also lead to more authors doing their own audio books. What are your thoughts on that?”

I think it already has, Mary! I don’t have the statistics in front of me; I’m sure Heidi does; but I would bet the farm that audio books have risen in popularity and sales since self-publishing began.

The wave of the future, my friend, and I suspect it is here to stay.

Challenge Response

I offered a photo last week and challenged all of you to write a brief description of it. This is what I received.

From Vicki: Thick brush along the still river made the bank unnavigable. It was as wild and untamed as a feral horse, yet it called to me. A perfect mirror image of the earth lay before me on the water’s face like a freshly painted Monet. I moved not but I was moved.

From Ann: 'Pale willow behind verdant blades, mirrored in cool ripples of a sleepy stream, refreshes the disturbed soul, mops the brow, lulls the breaking heart. Grey shale on blue, a dappled dog loping towards its destination, describes images of what's to come, destination's reward or the ruin of the perfect plan.'

From Brenda: I remember feeling so alive and energized as walked the trail in the wee hours of the morning. The time my dad thought was prime for baiting a hook. The smell of damp moss lingering in the air watching as Dad untangled the fishing line I feed to the tree.

The last challenge

The last challenge

More on Emotions in Writing

From Ann: “Emotions are difficult to do but you're so right that you have to draw upon your own experience. So does that mean that many people, younger ones, have difficulty doing that? I guess so, unless you've had the misfortune to have had a terrible childhood in one way or another.”

Ann, that would be my guess, and I hope I’m not selling the young short with that statement.

Still, I would think that a sixteen-year old, if they think hard enough about it, could remember times they suffered some kind of loss i.e. the death of a pet. And I definitely remember being sixteen with a crush on a girl, and how much that hurt when I realized she didn’t even know I existed or, worse, she didn’t care that I existed. So, the events are there, me thinks. It’s just a matter of learning how to channel them into emotional writing. The truly gifted writers will be able to do that; the not-so-gifted will have to work a bit harder.

Scroll to Continue

Word Choice

From Ally: “I find myself stuck with the same old vocabulary, which I know is stupid since I have thousands of words to choose from. Any tips for finding different ways to say the same old thing?”

Ally, I always have tips. Whether they are any good or not, that is the question. LOL

You can’t beat a good simile. You can’t beat a good metaphor. The trick is to think of them when you need them.

Take colors for example. The sky was light blue . . . or . . . the sky reminded of a robin’s egg, the color so nuanced, so gentle, so peaceful.

Or emotions . . . her leaving me broke my heart . . . or . . . when she left it was like an anvil dropping on my heart, the pain unlike anything I had ever experienced.

Or a scene . . . the families, playing on the lakeshore, brought a smile to my face . . . or . . . the lakeshore scene, so full of life, reminded me of my own childhood and the magical times had with my mother and father, and a flood of emotions poured over me.

Good writing takes work, Ally! I think, all too often, short story writers, here on HP and on other sites, rush their writing just to get something new out into the web. My advice: cut down on the volume and concentrate more on the quality.

The new challenge

The new challenge

Another Mini-Challenge

Here’s a pic for you to play with. Give me one paragraph describing emotions based on the pic. Come on, you can do it! Dig deep!


The diagnosis from the doctor reminded me of the opening scene in the movie “Office Space,” this guy, driving to work, stuck in rush-time traffic, barely making any progress in his car, and an old man with a walker, on the sidewalk, actually moving faster than the guy in the car. Hilarious scene!

That will be me ten years, that old guy with the walker, out-pacing the cars. LOL

It’s a small Mailbag this week and it’s all your fault. The Mailbag only works if questions are submitted, so I’m counting on you. Put your questions in the comment section below, or email them to me at

Have a fantastic week, and thank you, all, for being my peers and friends. You mean the world to me. And to you mothers out there, a belated Happy Mother’s Day!

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 24, 2021:

Heidi, thanks for the encouragement. You make an audio book sound simple. The only reason I believe you, lol, is because I have learned to trust you. I am feeling more confident because of you.

Have a great week, my friend.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 23, 2021:

I am so sorry for being late to the Mailbag. Not just my usual Tuesday/Wednesday check-in. More like 2 weeks ago. Mea culpa!

Re: Audiobooks. You're right. Self published authors do need to consider audiobooks. They are experiencing double-digit growth year over year. Self-produced audiobooks are becoming more and more of a thing, too. Even a few years ago, the requirements were just insurmountable on the likes of ACX. Now, I was able to get 9 of my audiobooks on Audible through Amazon's ACX (like KDP for audiobooks). I did it all myself without setting up a studio or buying a ton of fancy equipment. I have a Udemy course on how to do it (How to Self Publish and Audio Book).

Ouch! I know it's hell getting old with arthritis. Hope you're doing okay!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 13, 2021:

Thank you, Devika! We all deal with pain of one sort or another. It is all good in my life. I am happy and loved.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 12, 2021:

Hello Bill another Mailbag filled with advice and quality content. Arthritis causes a lot of pain. i wish you good health and thank you for sharing your experience.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2021:

Thank you again, Gyanendra! I will investigate your suggestion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2021:

Oh, Val, thank you, but don't disappear on me. I like hearing from you. I hope this finds you well and healthy, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2021:

Kindle Vella, MizB? Never heard of it, but now I'm curious. I never read the HP emails. They only upset me. lol

Sorry about your Larry and his hip problems. It's a new experience for me. I'm learning humility as I hobble along, so that's a good thing, right?

Spring has arrived here. The temps are a perfect seventy and I'm getting lots done outside before the summer heat arrives.

Anyway, you take care, my friend, and thank you.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 11, 2021:

I am sure recovery is possible thtough herbs. Thank you.

ValKaras on May 11, 2021:

Hi Bill -- There must be a trace of a masochist in my nature, because whenever I want to torment my writer's ego a bit, I secretly visit your Mailbag. That does it, I bite my lip in envy and disappear Can you see me disappearing now? Look better.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 11, 2021:

Hey, Bill, I got busy last week and didn't even pull up HP at all. Shame on me! You have some interesting questions this week, and more interesting answers. I remember my freshman year in college when I was 18. There was no such thing as CLEP back then, so I was allowed to take a junior class in advanced composition. One writing assignment was a short story. In the class was a man in his late 20s. He and his wife had divorced when they discovered he was gay. He wrote a very compelling story about an interracial romance. I remember being ashamed of my tacky story and thinking, what does this little sheltered teenager have to contribute to writing when this man has lived so much in the 10 years more than I have?

I got an email from Kindle Direct Publishing this week. It was advertising their new program for publishing series, or as we used to call them "serials" called Kindle Vella. I've been thinking about turning one of my unpublished short stories into a series because it needs more than an ordinary short story but I didn't want to write a novella. I haven't checked into it yet. Have you, and if so, what do you think about it?

So sorry about your hip. My Larry has the same problem and it is making life harder for both of us. He is in a lot of pain when he walks, but his heart is too delicate for hip surgery. I hope you fare better than he does.

Have a good rest of the cold week, my friend. It's wet here, too, like monsoons.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thank you kindly, Gyanendra! I'm afraid recovery is out of the question, but I can find measures of comfort along this new path. I'll be fine, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thanks for your thoughts on audio books, Flourish. I do believe in what you are saying. Personally, I would never attempt to make one using my voice.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thanks again, Brenda!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

My goodness, Rodric, you have me blushing. I don't know if I deserve that kind of praise; it's hard for me to read; but thank you nonetheless.

I travel this lifetime with one guiding principle: do all things with love. I believe all people deserve an answer to their question. I believe all people deserve respect. And I believe all people deserve help if they need it and ask for it. All of those things come from love, and that's how I choose to live my life.

Thanks again, my friend. You made my day. I hope your health is improving. One day you and I will have to sit down over coffee and have a real conversation.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

EK, thank you! I hope one day you find a way to make that dream come true.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thank you, Marlene! I hope I live up to your prediction about the walker. But that day hasn't arrived yet, and I have projects I need to finish.

Thanks for the information about audio book narrators. If I didn't have a natural lisp I would consider it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thank you very much, Miebakagh! I do my best with what I've been given.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

A wonderful response to the challenge, Brenda, but I expect that from you. Thank you for taking part.

I don't know how amazing I am. I like to think we are all extraordinary, ordinary people. :) But thank you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Yes you do, Mary Norton, and you need to take advantage of my offer to help you. Drop me an email and let's get back to working on your writing talents.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thanks, Alyssa! You do the same, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thank you, Mary! I hope this finds you well. I'm sure Heidi will check in today or tomorrow. She always does!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

Thank you, Ann! Your response to the challenge did not disappoint, not that I expected it to. You always deliver the goods with excellent writing.

The arthritis is what it is, my friend. I wasn't going to make it through this life unscathed. We all have to pay our dues at some point.

We had a brilliant three days of vacation, thank you. I'll try to write about it in the next few weeks.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 11, 2021:

It does depend on your audience, Denise, and thank you for making that point.

As for the hips, I doubt I'll go the replacement route. At my age I have no desire to go through that operation and rehab. However, if the pain gets bad enough, I might be singing a different tune in a few years. lol

Blessings always


gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 10, 2021:


I wish I were Hunuman (monkey god) then I would be able to fly in the sky to deliver you sanjiwani found in the Himalaya. Those herbs would remove arthritis from your left hip in no time.

Wish you for early recovery.

Thank you.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 10, 2021:

Not everyone is cut out to be an audiobook performer, but I guess people will learn that from reviews. Accents, breathing techniques, and other habits you don’t recognize may unnerve the listener. I’ve returned books purely because I couldn’t stand to listen to the speaker anymore. Glad you got that vacation you deserved.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 10, 2021:


Enjoyed your story on bill's pic

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on May 10, 2021:

You ARE so blessed, Bill. There is no telling the trade-offs in life you made to get such a splendid run of it unless you tell it! I believe there is a wonderfully horrible and horribly wonderful set of stories there to tell of the other things you had to endure in life. Some you have shared.

My spouse has had arthritis since she was a young woman, in her back! It can be a harrowing experience, she admits. You have good healthy genes. I hope you continue to have an exceptionally graceful aging process. You are the same age as my father, God rest him. He always looked younger than he was, as do I. If only look could translate into health...

I am still pretty young and don't have arthritis to worry about yet, but I hope to have some more years without it.

I went almost blind again after my last article I wrote, this being the first time I posted on an article in a month. My vision is returning.

I hope you don't stop writing if it is possible. My prayers for you and yours go up--prayers for your eyes that you can see, your ears so you can hear, your fingers so you can type, your voice so you can speak, and your brain so you can continue to author and teach.

You have been inspirational to me the last several years I have read your words. God, I pray, bless you.

Guilty as charged, I ask a question. Comments matter to me in general, but constructive or hurtfully critical comments provide feedback for change. I've asked knowledge about comments of you in the past, which is why I am aware you attempt to leave a comment on each thing you read, even if just to say, "Hi!"

I have written a few books. My writing style changed and improved since those projects to the point I want to rework the old. Here is the question: When is it appropriate to go back and revampt old work? Is it ever? Have you done it? Assuming you have, has it helped?

Those question should make up for old times a bit. I know you support ALL writers in our attempts, whether those attempts are good or improvement-worthy.

Thanks for being the example of that teaching effort. Thanks for setting the example of putting us all on equal levels of craftmanship without behaving condescendingly as you could.

No, you are not Steven King, in popularity. You are Bill Holland, whom I think is better for the craft of writing in general. Also, you get read because you entertain and train. Sorry, this turned into a Praise-Bill comment, but I will not change it. Feelings on the sleeve moment...

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on May 10, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I enjoyed reading this mailbag. Mountain climbing is my dream. Unfortunately, I can't make it to come true. I pray for your good health.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on May 10, 2021:

Arthritis, "Welcome to the club!" It's a challenge, but I do not believe arthritis will get the best of you. I do believe you will be kicking it up like the guy with the walker.

And, I hope it is okay to add my two cents to the question about audiobooks. As an audiobook narrator for Audible, I can vouch for the popularity of audiobooks. The number of books that have yet to be narrated is astounding. Narrators are being paid more simply because people are anxious to get their books on the market and producing income for them. Yes, audiobooks are becoming the preferred form of "reading" books.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 10, 2021:

Bill, I enjoy the read and I'm glad that you're a physically fit person in your youth.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 10, 2021:


You are an amazing person.

I can't believe you have climbed 5 mountains.

You are truly blessed if this is the first moment your age has sent you a memo.

I have a dear friend who is 95 and uses Audio books everyday..including the Bible.

Writing with emotions is something that makes writing talk to others.

I often have to remind myself that people can't feel what i do with just simple words. I often forget, but I am trying to do better.

I think you have a point that we rush to put out an article, thus we forget to be more descriptive.

I love your examples...the descriptive words just seem to flow for you.

Pic challenge

Her eyebrows pinch together with a worried frown, exhausted from the arrows of light heating up the day, hoping to hear that last nail pounded in the roof board giving them safe shelter for the night.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 10, 2021:

I enjoy what you say and share even if there are no questions. I am happy you had a wonderful break but sad that somehow age seeps through that hip. Even on a walker, you will still have a fine time. I enjoyed reading the take of some of the HP writers here on the picture you posted. Such talent for putting words together. I need to build up my confidence to engage in it.

Alyssa from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Glad to hear you got your answer and got away for a bit. :) Have a wonderful week!

Mary Wickison from USA on May 10, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I don't see Heidi's comment yet so will check back regarding her take on authors making their own audio books.

I'm pleased you and Bev had an enjoyable break.

I had to smile at Brenda's description. I too am one who casts into trees, both on the bank and submerged.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 10, 2021:

'The baby sleeps, sheltered in her mother's embrace, blissfully unaware of the hardship on that face. Little boy gives all the comfort he knows, resting his cheek on her shoulder, "I'm here Mum, I love you." She looks into the future's possibilities, some hope just out of reach, though determined courage will see them through. Then maybe she will afford a smile.'

The best things come in small packages, they say don't they. Such is this week's mailbag, bill. Sorry to hear about your arthritis - it's all about attitude though and you have that optimistic outlook that will see you through anything, methinks.

Hope you enjoyed your break. Like Peggy, I'm hoping to hear a little about it.

Have a great week, bill!


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 10, 2021:

I feel your pain, my friend. I had arthritis in both hips so bad that I had them both replaced. The $6 million dollar woman! If you should go that route, don't let them fool you. They kept telling me I will be "just like new". There's no way you will ever be just like new. There's a difference but there is no more pain so... at least there's that. Good luck.

As for smilies and metaphors, I can't get past just writing the way I think and talk myself. Many times I'm not using proper grammar and sometimes I think in run-on sentences. But I still write the way I think and talk. This is why I will never be a popular author. Also, for children's books I can't use some of the $50 words I love so much because kids wouldn't get it. I have to stay simple. It all depends on who your audience is, doesn't it?



Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

There we go, Linda! Thanks! I was pretty sure that's what it was, but I was too lazy to look it up. lol

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 10, 2021:

Bill, to answer the question from Mr. Happy, that photo is from the Great Depression era. Dorothea Lange "Migrant agricultural workers, Nipomo, California."

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Thanks for the question, Bill. I actually plan on writing an article about the history of Leavenworth when I get a chance. I find it fascinating and hopefully others will as well. I'll add a little more about our vacation in next week's Mailbag.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Thanks, John! We just keep trucking on here in the Mail Room, arthritis or no arthritis. We had a great time on vacation and I'm refreshed and ready to get busy again. Outdoor chores are calling to me.

Have a great week, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan. I'll be making an appointment with an orthopedic doctor soon and then will get started on the flexibility exercises.

Take care and have a wonderful week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

I agree with you, Umesh, and I'm ready for the fight. Thanks for your input and have a great week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Linda, dear friend, thank you! Arthritis is what it is. It's about time I paid my dues for the rough handling of my body over the years. I will reach out to you for tips as soon as I need them and the Tylenol stops working. lol

Have a great week and enjoy that sunshine and the warm temps.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Thank you Dora! That was very kind of you to say. Blessings to you always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Pamela, thank you! You are absolutely correct about me abusing my body. I was wondering when it would come back to haunt me. It now has! lol

Thanks for the question. It helps when I get questions from a bunch of different people. I'll have an answer for you next Monday.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Peggy, if I carve out some time, I'll write more about our vacation. I might do an article about the history of Leavenworth. It really is fascinating how it came to be.

Thanks as always! The hip isn't going to stop me, that's for damned sure. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Mr. Happy, you make me laugh, and that's a good thing. The photo is one from The Great Depression archives, I believe. I had a similar one from the Oregon Trail, but I think that one is the Depression. It's a powerful photo, yes?

Bear salve? Why not? I'll check it out. Thank you!

Robin's egg....great point, one I hadn't thought about, and I should have since I have given similar advice in this Mailbag series. Thanks for the reminder.

Okay, my friend, time for me to hobble off and get busy. You have a wonderful week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

MIsbah, you are a gem. Thank you for your positive attitude and warm thoughts. I'm very happy you joined us here at HP. You are a valued member of our community, and I deeply appreciate you.

Blessings this week and beyond, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Thank you, Liz! I appreciate the questions for next week's Mailbag. It's always nice to get fresh questions from a variety of people. I appreciate it.

The online thesaurus and dictionary is a great resource. Thank you for mentioning that option.

I hope your week is filled with wonder and happiness, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2021:

Mel, thanks for sharing about your arthritis. It's good to hear how others are dealing with it and getting on with life. I appreciate it, buddy! Have a great week!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 10, 2021:

Glad you enjoyed the mini-vacation and sorry to hear about your hip, although you can sign me up for that if that’s my only ailment when I get to seventy-two. Here’s a question for you, any plans to write a hub about your visit to Leavenworth? If not, any thoughts on Leavenworth and your long-weekend there? I’m curious as I’m sure others are.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 10, 2021:

The lack of questions doesn’t mean that the mailbag lacks anything. You always manage to make them interesting and worthwhile, Bill. I am glad the vacation went well, and you got a diagnosis on the hip pain. Even though it it is arthritis it is better to know what you are dealing with than not. I have arthritis in my fingers/knuckles that plays up if the weather is cold. Fortunately it doesn’t stop me writing.

Loved the responses to your challenge, and the new photo. Your examples of better word choices were inspiring too.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 10, 2021:

Hello Bill!

Happy Monday and wishing you a great week. I enjoyed reading the creative responses to the pictures, and also the question-answer session.

I am sorry to know that you have been diagnosed with arthritis. But, this is an age related issue and completely manageable, through the correct flexibility exercises, as suggested by the doctors or Physiothetapist. You are an active person, with a healthy lifestyle. So, there shouldn’t be any problem. My good wishes are always there for you and your family.

Thank you for sharing.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 10, 2021:

Arthritis is very common at this age and I think those who have a fighting spree can very well manage it.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 10, 2021:

Bill, arthritis stinks, but leave it to you to find a blessing in even this. My dear friend, you are such a positive example to us all. I hope you are able to find some relief. If you want you can always email me for advice. I've been dealing with Uncle Arthur for 10 years.

I hope Ally is reading this--you have been an invaluable mentor over the years, but my closest writing buddy is my Roget's Thesaurus. (It sits on my desk next to my Bible).

Thanks for my Monday morning bit of sunshine. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 10, 2021:

"Good writing takes work." You model that for us. Thank you and welcome back from your vacation.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 10, 2021:

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your vacation, and arthritis in your hip isn't a horrid diagnosis. Obviously, we don't want to have anything wrong, but you have abused your body a bit.

The mailbag may be a bit short but it is still interesting. I like your advice on making word choices and also about writing short stories. When you are writing a short story should you ease into the basis of the story or jump right in? I hope this question makes sense. I am never sure how to begin a story. Thank you, Bill.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2021:

So sorry to hear about your arthritic hip problem. You are lucky that you have lived without pain all these many years. Hopefully, you will be getting some help from your doctor. While this mailbag may have been short, it is always filled with good information! I was hoping to hear more about your recent vacation. Any chance you will be sharing that with us?

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on May 10, 2021:

Try a bear salve for your hip. I am not going to promote any particular company as I do not do that but look for one that actually has bear fat in it. There are many available on the web from Canada. I suppose they have it in the States too since You also didn't succeed in killing all the Natives there and they have used the bear salve for arthritis for as long as they can remember.

"I would think that a sixteen-year old, if they think hard enough about it, could remember times they suffered some kind of loss i.e. the death of a pet." - I don;t know about a sixteen year old, but I took creative writing in my later years in high-school and there were some incredibly talented kids there. I was just amazed and also inspired by them since I was still struggling with my English as a third language thing.

"It’s just a matter of learning how to channel them into emotional writing." - Totally. And if a kid has talent and also reads a lot then, expressing those emotions wouldn't be so difficult.

"the sky reminded of a robin’s egg" - Careful with those as we talked about in some of your other articles: if one does not know anything about a Robin's egg (me!!) then, that metaphor is not effective. What I am trying to say is: don't get too particularly weird with the metaphors. Unless You know that You have a specific audience. Like if your audience was bird-watchers, that Robin's egg thing would work well. Otherwise, how many people know the colour of a Robin's egg? Do a poll LOL

That photo You used with the lady and the kids is famous! I just can't remember where I saw it. It's about American History ... fill me in here please lol

"That will be me ten years, that old guy with the walker, out-pacing the cars." - You mean, "out-pacing the robo-taxis"? Haha!!

Alrighty, You have a fantastic week as well. Cheers!

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on May 10, 2021:

I always enjoy reading your mailbag, Mr. Bill. I don't care whether it's small or big. All I care about is that you are here and you are talking to us. These Monday mailbags are now a part of my life. I enjoy them always. I am sad to hear about arthritis. I hope you will recover soon or the meds will help you in dealing with it. But I am glad you have enjoyed life to its fullest. I loved your answer to Ann regarding emotions.

Thanks for giving us time from your busy schedule.

Blessings always

Liz Westwood from UK on May 10, 2021:

Sorry to hear about your hip diagnosis. But I am very impressed by your positive and thankful attitude. I hope that you can get suitable pain relief.

I wonder whether lockdowns have contributed to the rise in popularity of audio books. Do you think the pandemic and all the lifestyle changes it has caused might contribute to a change in how readers access the written word and how frequently?

Your photo challenge definitely encourages creative writing as your examples demonstrate.

I agree that experience counts for a lot in writing. How much importance would you also attach to the ability to empathise with others and also the value of reading widely to gather experiences from others?

I appreciate that non-fiction writing is a whole different scene from fiction. But I sometimes check an online thesaurus or dictionary when I am editing or writing if I think a word is being overused and my mind goes blank for an alternative. I think of them as tools of the trade.

I hope you have a good week, Bill.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on May 10, 2021:

It was a concise but powerful mailbag today, if you ask me, dynamite in a small package. (How's that for a metaphor?) I loved all of those responses to your photo prompt.

As an arthritic 57 year old, who has suffered from it for the last ten years, I would say you are fortunate to have lasted until 72 without this burden. But if this mailman can still hobble along with arthritis every day, I'm thinking it won't be too much of a speed bump for you.

Great work. Obviously your brain is not arthritic, and that's the important thing.

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