Updated date:

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #375

New Mandates

Just when you thought it was safe to go out and enjoy life, along comes the Delta Variant of COVID. Now the hospitals in this area are filled with the unvaccinated, the numbers are rising rapidly, and it appears there will be new restrictions for us all.

I’ve pretty much stayed out of this controversy, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. My whole family is vaccinated. We all still wear our masks in public. I figure that keeps us reasonably safe from those who want to talk about their personal liberties, so there you go. I am reminded of my school lessons on Darwinism. I hope this finds you all well and healthy. I wouldn’t wish COVID on my worst enemy.

Let’s tackle the mail and then we can all get on with our Monday.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Seasonal Writing Woes

From Manatita: “Why don't I ask something? The heat has been bothering you recently, does it make a difference to how the inspiration flows? I mean, is it seasonal?”

Mantita, thanks for the question. No, I don’t think inspiration is seasonal but, seriously, I’m not Einstein. I could easily be wrong.

I have ideas popping into my head on hot days, cold days, wet days, and dry days. The heat, though, zaps me of my desire to sit and write. We don’t have air-conditioning, and I have a hard time sitting in my own sweat for too long, you know? So yes, I think my writing suffers from the heat, but no, my inspiration remains high.

Inspiration and not seasonal writing blahs

Inspiration and not seasonal writing blahs

Making Characters Believable

From Denise: “I have never tackled a novel and can see the pitfalls of trying to make the characters well-rounded. My cousin needs to give Lizzy some dark sides and Charles some good sides or the characters won't be believable. I'm sure you agree with that. But how is it done based on the facts we know? I'd love to help my cousin but don't know what to say.”

If I remember this question correctly, and I apologize for only copying part of what Denise asked, her cousin is writing a novel based on real people in her life, so the dilemma is how to write fiction about real people, based on facts when only some of the facts are known? Can you make up certain aspects of the story even though it is about events that actually happened?

The answer is yes, she can. I again will mention the Civil War trilogy written by Bruce Catton. Mr. Catton tells his story in a fictional way, making up much of the dialogues, interspersing the real stories of real battles with made-up things. For instance, he will have Ulysses S. Grant talking to a subordinate on the day of a battle. Now, there is no way for anyone to know exactly what Grant said to any of his subordinates before any battle, but Catton has drawn from the facts he does know to make an educated guess how those conversations might have sounded like. Fiction? Yes! Historical fiction? You bet!

Make sense? Your cousin really has no other choice but to do the same. With limited information, inferences must be made in order for the story to be told.

And there’s nothing wrong with doing that, as long as the readers are told ahead of time that the novel is “based on facts” but sprinkled with fiction.

Writing exercise....write a paragraph about one of these people, making them a character for a future book.

Writing exercise....write a paragraph about one of these people, making them a character for a future book.

Novel Plotting

From Greg: “Here's a question for next time (or time after, I can be patient): do you put your novel-length plots together as a skeleton and then fill it in? I read somewhere once that Vonnegut sketched out the entire plot/structure for "Sirens of Titan" at some Friday night party in New England, then worked to put flesh on the bones after that. Do you work that way, or do you sit down and start writing, trusting the muse to take you somewhere meaningful?”

Greg, there are times I wish I was more like Vonnegut, but alas, I put all of my hopes and dreams into the arms of my muse. I’ve written nine novels and six novellas, and on only two of them did I know how they would end when I started them. The rest of them all started as writing exercises, literally me writing some sort of introduction and then waiting for the story to form in my head. It is not a method I would recommend for the feint-of-heart.

Sometimes the ending and story outline will come to me quickly; sometimes it takes nearly three-fourths of the book for me to know how it will end. My muse does not follow a schedule and she sure doesn’t seem to care about my apprehension.

A word to the wise: do not follow my approach to novel-writing. It will drive you crazy!

Teaching Days Fondly Remembered

From Gloria: “I know you quit teaching ten years ago, or something like that. Do you miss it? I’m wondering how you would have liked all this remote teaching we have experienced during COVID.”

Oh my goodness, Gloria, this old dinosaur got out just in the nick of time. I would have floundered horribly during this COVID year. My strength, as a teacher, was my interaction with the kids in the classroom. I did not rely very much at all on technology when I taught. I’m afraid these Zoom classes would have cancelled whatever super powers I had and rendered me useless.

Truth be told, I was ready to quit when I did. The teaching game had changed considerably by the time I quit twelve years ago. There was far too much emphasis on testing, in my opinion, and I was not a happy camper at that time. I left at a perfect time for me, and that’s a good feeling.

A Personal Note About the Power of Writing

I recently received an email from someone asking my advice about alcoholism. A loved one of theirs was struggling mightily with addiction, and this person who emailed me had read one of my articles about my alcoholism, written ten years ago, and asked me for advice.

We just never know the effect an article we write will have. I have now been in constant contact with this person, helping them, providing what comfort and advice I can give, and it has helped her immensely. That is very gratifying for me, as a writer and as a human being.

Please remember that as you sit down to write your next article or story. What you do matters. I hate to think of a society where writing and storytelling no longer matter. We need storytellers. We need writers of articles. We need crafters of the written word. We need you! A society without the Arts is not a society I wish to think about or live in.

Write on!

Nothing Profound to Add About the Mandates

I really don’t choose to get wrapped up in the debates about vaccination or no vaccination. Me debating with others about it will do no good at all. I hope everyone reading this is safe and healthy. I would hate to lose any of you to COVID.

Have a fantastic week. If you have questions for the Mailbag, include them in the comments below, or email them to me at holland1145@yahoo.com. The Mailbag exists because of questions from the followers of this series. No questions, no Mailbag, it’s as simple as that. So far, for over seven years, there have been questions, and that’s pretty cool.

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 28, 2021:

Thanks again, Lora!

Lora Hollings on August 27, 2021:

Can’t wait to see your answer. You hit the nail on the head about staying clear of those wacky people who listen to conspiracy theories 24/7 and unscrupulous politicians. Have a great weekend too!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

Great question, Lora, and I've answered it and you will see that answer this Monday. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend, and steer clear of the non-vaccinated, selfish people out there.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

Thank you Peg! I think I got out of teaching at exactly the right time. I knew it was time and I wasted no time dragging it out, and for that I'm grateful, because I would never want to cheat the students and not give my best effort.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

Great question, Mel, and hopefully I'll have a great answer for you on Monday. Have a great weekend, buddy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

No worries, Rosina!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2021:

Thank you, Rosina! Stay tuned. I might give the ending a try in the next week or so.

Lora Hollings on August 26, 2021:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for another great mailbag and hopefully, many more people will get vaccinated and take this new variant seriously. It seems that protecting our fellow human beings should also be a priority!

I have a question for you. I’ve read many books which the author did a good job in creating believable characters and an interesting story but then when I get to the end of the story, I’m very disappointed by the ending. I feel almost cheated by the way that the story ends and wish that I had never read the book. Do you have suggestions as to what a writer should do to write a satisfactory ending so that the reader doesn’t feel as if he has wasted his time in reading their story?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 26, 2021:

MizB, that is a lovely thing for you to say. Thank you for your support over these years. I'm here for the same reasons, as you know. I love this community of writers. I love our interaction and how we support each other. And I would love it if you wrote again soon.

Thank you dear friend!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 26, 2021:

Several interesting questions and answers today, Bill. I enjoyed reading your take on character development with dialogue, even in historically based works. Imagination plays a serious role in making the story seem real.

And about the changes in teaching and school, I'm with you. I taught at a business school where the student ages ranged from 18 to 81, back when word processing was a new thing and Excel was known as Lotus123. The interaction with students in the classroom was key to inspiring independent thought and in learning how to reach students with different learning styles.

Thanks for a great read.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on August 26, 2021:

I know what you mean about staying out of debates. I've learned to steer clear of them myself. However, I am reminded of Steinbeck's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, where he said:

"I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man, has no dedication nor any membership in literature."

So, in your highly respected opinion, does a serious writer have a responsibility to get involved in the issues of his or her day, or does the label of fiction automatically preclude one from any moral responsibility?

Great mailbag, as always.

Rosina S Khan on August 25, 2021:

Sorry, Bill, I commented in the wrong place.

Rosina S Khan on August 25, 2021:

This is a very interesting and engaging story. I would end the story with the main character who faked his death coming out of the church alive and triumphant. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 25, 2021:

Something went wrong because I read your mailbag early enough on Monday morning to write a comment on the actual article itself. Then the comment went into the Wild Blue Yonder and it said it had to be approved by the author. Since I knew that to not be your policy, I figured it wouldn't show up. I think their computer flagged it and deleted it because I made the statement that I'd made a friend who lives less than 25 miles from me after she read one of my articles. I didn't put in a link, but I did use a keyword, the name of a flower we have in common. Anyway, let's see if you get this one.

By the way, I was notified that I'd reached my 10th Anniversary on HP. I must tell you that it is because of you that I reached 10 years. I'd become so discouraged that I had decided to leave HP and just give up. About that time I discovered you and your group of friends, y'all became my friends, and the rest is history. I love all you wonderful writers, and I miss the others who have moved on or passed away. I'll blame this on my stroke, but I haven't published in a couple of years. I've recovered enough now that I'm starting to think of publishing something again. In the meantime, I've enjoyed reading my friends' articles and commenting on them and joining discussions in the forums. Thank you and everyone who has helped me in these last 10 years. Love you all, Miz B.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2021:

Mr. Happy, I'm so glad to hear you like Catton. I was afraid, after bragging about him, that you would hate his style of writing. Whew! Big sigh of relief.

Okay, my friend, let us both get busy doing something other than typing on these keys. Have a great day.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2021:

Thank you Vidya! I was raised to help others. It seems, to me, natural to do so. As for the vaccine, I will never understand the logic of not taking it.

Be well and be happy!

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

Stay safe, Linda, and we will both cross our fingers for our countrymen.

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

Heidi, thanks for the reference to that article. I'll give it a read.

Happy Tuesday my friend. It is currently 45 degrees and it feels magnificent.

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

Thank you Brenda. I just give back what was freely given to me. I believe that's how it's supposed to work in a community, right? :)

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

Alyssa, that had me laughing. Your poor husband. I hope he's sharp and able to handle himself under your onslaught. LOL Thanks for the laugh, my friend, and Happy Tuesday to you!

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

Thank you Bill! I have no words for the anti-maskers. I don't understand them and never will, and really I don't want them in my life.

Yes, it is a great feeling to know my words helped someone. Very cool!

Happy Tuesday to you, my friend.

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

No problem, Manatita. We are like libraries, loaning out ideas and returning them when we are done with them.

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

Misbah, thank you so very much. My goodness yes, I've made mistakes, and I've been wrong many, many times. I am human. We all are. I don't want to be friends with a person who thinks they are never wrong. That's just not realistic. I like to hang out with people who are imperfect and honest about it. I would love to spend time with you, my friend.

Blessings always!

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

Dora, stay safe. Take all the precautions. We don't want to lose you to this virus.

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

Sorry, Denise, for misunderstanding your question. I'll give it another try on Monday. As for your sister and her husband, I have no words. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink, I guess.

Blessings always

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 24, 2021:

"Civil War by Bruce Catton" - I just started reading it this past week-end while up-north. It is really good! (The bit I managed to begin reading.) So, thank You very much once again for the mention.

"There was far too much emphasis on testing" - There really is and not enough emphasis on critical thinking. That is not going to change on its own though. We have to make the changes.

Alrighty, I just got back to the city so, I gotta finish unpacking and all. You have yourself a good week ahead - cheers!

VIDYA D SAGAR on August 24, 2021:

You give us valuable advise on making characters believable in a novel, on seasonal woes, novel plotting and influence of writing on people in this mailbag Bill. It is wonderful of you to help your friend deal with alcoholism. Writing does have a great influence on people. I don't understand the logic of people who do not take the covid vaccine. Here also unvaccinated people were the reason for spreading the virus causing a huge toll during the second wave. At least to safeguard other people's lives they need to follow the protocol. Have a great week, and stay safe my friend.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 23, 2021:

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is worrying because it’s so infectious. I’m hoping for the best in my part of the world. I hope you have a good week, Bill.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 23, 2021:

Happy Monday, yes, Monday! Glad to be here.

Re: Mandates. Speaking of glad to be here, we're vaccinated, too. I just don't understand this anti-vaccine/mask/reality nonsense. But I was reading an article on Behavioral Scientist today that discusses why countries like ours have such difficulty with these issues. It's titled, A Failure of Fear: Why Certain Nations Flunked the Covid-19 Threat Test. It's worth a read.

Re: Weather. I dislike summer weather. I feel miserable and it is a drag on my productivity and creativity. How many days 'til fall?

Anyway, stay safe and have a great week!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on August 23, 2021:

Bill

Once again a heartfelt article which I really enjoy.

It helps give me a glimpse into you as a person.

I am touched by the way you have taken your time to reach out to this person who needs help dealing with alcoholism.

One never knows whennan article we write might touch someone's heart.

You are one of the good guy's. Not too many of them left.

I feel for you in this heat. We are having the Dog Days of Summer with each day in the 90's.

Luckily my air conditioners are working.

Have a great week & try to stay cool.

Alyssa from Ohio on August 23, 2021:

I love this edition of the mailbag, Bill! You are always filled with nuggets of wisdom and I'm so grateful. I will admit, my writing process is much like yours...(I've never been a big fan of outlines) but I'm glad I'm not the only one, haha! This is why it takes me forever to finish a creative writing piece. I have one particular idea that is two or three sentences and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what the story is. It's an intriguing (at least to me) beginning, but I have too many questions and not enough answers.

As for current events, I approach it like politics. Although, let's be honest, it's all connected. I've shared before that growing up, I spent many weekend evenings sitting around my grandfather's dining room table listening to debate. It was lively, exciting, and educational. As a young adult, I loved sharing my opinion, but as I've gotten older, I've realized the value of simply listening to others without interjecting or sharing my own opinions. Most of the time, I've found that nothing I can say or do will change anyone's mind... and for a good portion of people, they don't want to change their minds. Now at home with my husband, that's a different story. :)

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 23, 2021:

Hi Bill. Mandate or no mandate our process has not changed, we are vaccinated and we wear a mask everywhere we go. This past weekend we attended a wedding for my niece, out of about 100 people there were maybe 8 of us wearing a mask, all immediate members of my family. I fear what is coming this fall and winter.

To think that an article you wrote 10 years ago is helping someone today must make you feel very good. It's amazing the power of the written word. Great job, have a wonderful week, Bill.

manatita44 from london on August 23, 2021:

Feel free to use the story Bill. I used yours. Chuckle. I think I forgot to say 'Thank you,' for answering my question. Much love.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on August 23, 2021:

Happy Monday, Mr. Bill. I enjoyed each and every question and your responses to them as well. I loved Two things you said in this mailbag.

In response to Mantita's question, you said, "No, I don't think inspiration is seasonal, but, seriously, I'm not Einstein. I could easily be wrong.“

It's never easy to say that "I could be wrong," and not everyone has the ability to say these words, especially when everyone thinks you're full of wisdom. I've never seen or smelled pride in your work. That, I believe, is a major reason why I enjoy your writings and advice.

I also loved Your Personal Note About the Power of Writing. Your words are always true. You are an inspiration to many of us. Thanks a lot for all your love, help and support. God bless you. Keep smiling and stay healthy.

Many blessings to you and your love ones

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 23, 2021:

Interesting mailbag! Bill, I appreciate your story-telling both for content and style. I admire fiction writers like you whose work makes a difference by the way it impacts readers. The Delta strain arrived here two weeks ago. Can't hide from it anywhere.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

John, thanks for remembering my coloring books. It's an interesting question. I was just thinking of those myself and what I can do with them once Bev retires and we start traveling. Thanks for the question; answer coming next week. Stay safe, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

You have set the opening scene for a short story very well, Manatita. Excellent job of describing that photo. I could take that and run with it, a short story or a novella, and because of your description the reader would feel like they were there, in that scene. Bravo!

Safe trip to Germany, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

It is unbelievable, Rosina. I don't know what it's going to take to end this pandemic when so many people are ignoring the obvious solution.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Same with me, Flourish. I can't interact with people who think the vaccine is an effort to control us. It is beyond my comprehension. Good point about needing normal medical care. There are no beds here.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Thanks for the question, Greg. I'll include it next week. As for the vaccine, I just can't wrap my brain around that kind of thinking. My God, why would the government want to inject me with poison? It makes no sense. And why would I ignore that advice of the entire scientific and medical community? Madness I say!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 23, 2021:

Thanks for tackling my question. I think I must have put in too many questions. But what I really wanted to know was how to give the characters a more well-rounded personality. The heroine can't be all good and the bad guy can't be all bad, can he? How can you give a bad guy good overtones? Is it sympathy? Make him come from a broken home or abuse or something? How would you do it?

As for COVID, I'm with you. My husband and I have been fully vaccinated but my sister (living about 100 miles from me) and her husband refused to be vaccinated. She just told me yesterday she and her hubby tested positive for the virus and they are pretty sick. Her husband has all sorts of extra health issues and I know she will feel horrible if something really tragic happens. So why wouldn't she just get vaccinated? I can't explain it. I'm praying for them. What else can we do?

Blessings,

Denise

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Thank you MG. I'm happy to hear you have read Catton and no, historical fiction is not easy. I have tried it and I've struggled with it.

Anyway, thank you, sir! Have a great week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

That is so sad to hear, Peggy, about the refrigerator trucks. My God, it's deja vu all over again, isn't it?

Cooler days have arrived here. The weather is outstanding in our corner of the world. It feels like fall all of a sudden, and I love that feeling of crispness in the air.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Bravo to you, Pamela, for being an RN and for helping so many people with your knowledge and articles. Keep on with what you are doing. It makes a difference.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Thank you Liz! Like everyone else, I am sick and tired of talking about COVID, and it is maddening to think we could end it all if we all would follow the suggestions and get vaccinated. Sigh!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I shared that because I think it's important for all of us to realize that our words matter, and what we do is important. I even need that reminder from time to time.

Have a superb week, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 23, 2021:

Hooray for your son, Sha! I couldn't do it. I'm sure of that. I need the physical presence of a teacher. Simple as that. But that's great for your son. An HVAC certification will serve him well for his entire life.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 23, 2021:

Another interesting Mailbag, Bill. This Delta variant of the virus has certainly upped the stakes and is spreading much faster than the original virus. It even has Australian authorities starting to get concerned so they are trying to speed up the vaccination program.

I remember that you published a couple of adult coloring books, so I am just wondering how successful they were as compared to your novels, and if you are intending to do more? Have a great week.

manatita44 from london on August 23, 2021:

Embellishments, that's what we used to call them when we did devotional plays, and Guru ji used to encourage them. He even had us watching John Cleese in Fawlty Towers! So our plays were both emotive and light-hearted. Yes, I mean I can do a piece on you, Bill, but I'll add embellishments -- as if it's nor already exhilarating enough! Chuckle.

Yes, we still need to be worried about the Covid. Things are much better in London, but some are still catching it and to all of them, it feels like the worst illness they ever had.

I go to Germany on Thursday, God's Grace. I need three tests. One before, one in Germany and one when I return. I was going to come to NY, but it's even stricter there.

Your first picture is like an off-white grey, silvery mountain, against a translucent background of white clouds in repose, on the lap of a royal blue sky, beautifully reflected in tranquility, like the Taj Mahal, on a serene lake. The second is like this:

"I guess they must have all been looking at someone or something, judging from the stares, including mines, as I look directly at the alluring woman, sitting on one of the hay-stacked seats. Seems a magnificent day, with the translucent light of heaven, glistening though the verdant foliage, the green, white and royal blue canopies, not so unobtrusive in the background.

"Some people are wearing shades and hats, including my charismatic beauty, confident enough in her body image, to display gorgeous thighs beneath a light blue dress, designed for Spring or summer.

Perhaps it’s a market day, the expectant faces seem to be viewing … still awaiting something more fabulous. Meanwhile, the pink cone on concrete, seems to keep my charmer company, sensing her wanting to be alone, perhaps waiting for a catch, like a human fish, on this beautiful sunny morning." - Manatita

Rosina S Khan on August 23, 2021:

An interesting mailbag, as always. It's sad that there are spikes in Covid again in your area. Even here we just finished lockdown and don't know how soon the next lockdown will be. The situation seems to be aggravating everywhere.

Happy Monday, Bill. Wish you a great start to the week.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 23, 2021:

Darwinism yes, sadly. I know people who entertain wild conspiracy theories about the virus. Head shaking and I cannot mix with them until this is over. I just hope my vaccinated loved ones don’t have an urgent medical need like a stroke. Everyone please be well.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on August 23, 2021:

Bill - as always, wonderful edition of the mailbag. I suspect your answer to my particular question is similar to lots of other writers...sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. I’ll ask another question of you, too, for future reference: ever used an idea you had from 20, 30, 100 years ago, turned it into a novel? I ask for two reasons: 1) I read Bradbury had formulated the ideas for “Something Wicked” for many, many years and didn’t know he’d been building up to that eventuality, and 2) I have some ideas that date all the way back to the mid-80s before I had time to write because my real job was so demanding of my time.

Masks and jabs are the standard in my household. I hate seeing the numbers of cases climb, hate also to hear all the associated back-and-forth over it all. When I was in the Service, I got anthrax shots because they told me to. I didn’t know what anthrax was, had no idea what the shot was, but I underwent a large series of shots in order to be qualified to deploy to forward locations and do my duty. I never once feared that they were shooting something in me that some someone else knew would do me harm. Indeed, I felt quite the opposite: I thought the powers that be must think a lot of little old me to want to protect me from all these different possibilities. I still feel that way today. Hope we get through all this sooner rather than later.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 23, 2021:

As usual, you have a great new wonderful article and you have covered so much that it is difficult to comment on everything. Your comment on the delta virus is very valid unfortunately there are so many who don't realize that they are being silly. I liked your reference to the writing of Bruce Catton. Yes, he's a wonderful writer and I read one of his books. I think historical fiction is not easy because it means creating the exact atmosphere as well as sticking to facts. Thanks a lot for a wonderful article

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 23, 2021:

We are doing the exact same thing as you with regard to Covid-19. We are vaccinated and once again wearing masks in public. The variants are indeed scary!

Refrigerator trucks are once again coming to Texas to store bodies of the people dying. Our hospitals are full of the unvaccinated and in many cases elective surgeries are having to be postponed. This is not a time to have a stroke or heart attack. There may not be an available hospital bed!

Until people worldwide get vaccinated, I am afraid that this pandemic will keep making people ill and keep killing people. We have a choice where we live with plenty of vaccines available. That is sadly not the case everywhere.

Take care, Bill. Wishing you safety and cooler days ahead. Good mailbag, as always.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 23, 2021:

This is another good mailbag, Bill. I like the variety of questions, and you always have good answers.

I like to think articles we write help others. Since I was an RN, I stick to medical articles most of the time. That is comfortable to me.

I think you have a very good muse, Bill. Your article are always very good.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 23, 2021:

I am sorry to hear about the COVID situation near you. In the UK many in hospital are young and not vaccinated. As ever I have read your comments with great interest. I really appreciate the variety of writing subjects that you cover in a single article. I also think the writing exercise is a great idea.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 23, 2021:

Hello Bill!

Your concerns about the new variants of the virus is right. There is a need to be careful, and follow the precautions and the guidelines, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Good questions and your answers are always helpful.

So satisfying to know, that your articles helped someone, in need. Writers have a greater responsibility, and they do serve the society, in their own way.

Thank you for sharing another wonderful mailbag.

Have a great weekend!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 23, 2021:

I love Gloria's question to you regarding remote teaching/learning. My son recently received his HVAC certification and is now going for his associates degree. This entire year is all done online - no classroom interaction. I don't think I'd have the discipline to do it. Too many distractions would give me excuses to not do the work. So far he's doing well with it tho. Straight A's.

Have a great week, Bill!

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