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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #383

Online Communication and Nuance and Accountability

Welcome back to the Mailbag. I’m glad you found the time to join us for another lively discussion about writing and life.

The big news in U.S. sports this week happened in Las Vegas, where the head coach of that NFL team resigned following the revelation of some emails he had written ten years ago, emails which were evidently racial and homophobic in nature.

I say evidently because I have not seen the emails in question. What this story points out to me, once again, is the fact that whatever we write online is etched in stone. It does not disappear, and for that reason alone we really should be at least a little bit careful. In all honesty, I would hate to be judged by some of the emails I have written to friends over the years. If people did not know the context and the particular nuance of those emails, they might conclude that I am a much-worse human being than I really am.

How many politicians have we seen self-destruct because of emails written years earlier?

No, I am not defending Gruden, the football coach in question. I’m simply saying our words are out there, to be judged by many, and care is advised. Of course, if you are a saint, no care is needed.

It’s time for the mail. Let’s see what’s on your mind this week.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

More on Instant Gratification

From Mary: “It's interesting that you mention the ten second chunks of entertainment. I have seen at the top of some articles (not on Hubpages), a notation that indicates how long an article is. For example, it will say 'a 7 minute read'. I wonder if that will encourage readers to continue reading. What are your thoughts on that?”

Mary, I’ve seen the same thing. Isn’t that remarkable? It really is. We have become such a “fast food” type of society. Our need for instant gratification drives all marketing campaigns. We are surrounded by taglines, all designed to grab our psyches in the shortest time possible. We are literally bombarded by thousands of advertisements daily. It is not surprising, to me, that we see those notations. I think it’s a necessity if companies hope that the public will give them valuable moments of their time.

Can you imagine a notation at the top of an article claiming “60-minute read?” That article would receive no clicks at all. LOL

The Use of Regional Idioms and Colloquialisms

From Patricia: “I was thinking about this the other day. Every once in a while, I will catch myself using an idiom or colloquialism which is only used in our state or geographic region, and how that might not be a good idea when publishing online. People from other countries wouldn’t understand what I was trying to say. What do you think?”

I think you are absolutely correct, Patricia. Heck, the U.S. and England share the same language, but I can’t read a British article without coming across at least one idiom that I don’t understand.

It’s something to be aware of, for sure. I guess it depends on how genuine you want your story or article to be, and what your intentions are. If my novel takes place in rural Louisiana, it will be filled with dialogue which might seem totally foreign to someone trained in English but living in Portugal. Is it important? Well, if the reader is going to understand your dialogue yes, it is important. But maybe that’s not important to the author, in which case it’s a coin flip which way to go.

If I’m writing nonfiction, and I want my article to be read, and understood, by a broad base, it might be a good idea to not include idioms and colloquialisms which might confuse others. It most definitely is something to be aware of.

Conversations filled with idioms, and is that a good thing for a writer?

Conversations filled with idioms, and is that a good thing for a writer?

Responding to Comments on Hp

From Brad: “This may sound weird, but I don’t always know what is appropriate as far as commenting and responding to comments on HP. When is a comment too much? When is a comment too little? And how much should I write in responding to comments on my articles?”

This is an interesting question, Brad, one I’ve never had before.

I don’t know if a comment can be too long. I am grateful for comments, and longer comments really show a level of commitment from the reader. Sure, they take longer for me to read, but I’m so appreciative, I don’t mind at all. Even the short comments, like “nice article,” show some commitment, and I’m appreciative of those as well.

There is only one circumstance which bothers me with regards to commenting. If I’ve taken the time to write a long comment on someone’s article, and they respond with one word, “thanks,” that irks me for some reason, especially if they do it for every single comment on that article. To me, that seems a bit disingenuous, if you know what I mean.

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But, I’m not the comment police. I do believe if someone has taken the time to comment on one of my articles, I need to take the time to respond to their comment but again, that’s just me. There are no rules about commenting on HP other than to keep the comments decent.

While we are on this topic, let me say this: I am amazed by the number of people on HP who attack other writers in the comments, or attack the viewpoints of a writer. Disagreeing is fine; telling a writer they are a loser and an idiot and a misinformed imbecile is quite another thing and not fine at all.

Trolls have their place in society, and that place is the zoo.

More on James Patterson

From Mel: “My only point of contention with you is that it doesn't take James Patterson any time to write his rubbish, because he subcontracts it to his team of ghost writers. Wouldn't I love to be one of them.”

No, this is not a question, but it does remind me to make clear what my problem is with James Patterson.

I do not think Patterson is a particularly good writer, but that could be said for many, many published writers, and that would not be enough for me to continually comment on. No, my problem is the many novels Patterson sells which have, on the cover, A NOVEL BY JAMES PATTERSON with Bob Horton, or some other subcontractor who is actually doing the writing. People buy the novel thinking Patterson has written it when, in fact, the most he has done is outline the novel and checked it occasionally to make sure it appears genuine. That, to me, is fraud, and I think it’s unacceptable.

And no, it’s not just Patterson who does this. I first became aware of it reading Clive Cussler novels, and that was at least ten years ago. I suspect this is a fairly common practice and it annoys the hell out of me.

There, end of my rant for today.

No, that's not the end of my rant. It's like paying millions for a painting by Van Gogh, when it was actually a rip-off copy painted by some guy named Bob in a barn in Butte.

Now I'm done!

Upcoming Book

From Rodric: “Bill, God be thanked for your wife! Because of her, we have you! I feel like I should have a question. I do. What more can you reveal about your upcoming book?”

Truthfully, not much, Rodric. I’m actually “working” on two books, and that word “working” is in quotes because I’ve barely touched them in a couple months. I know where the two books are heading. The storylines are clear in my mind. I just haven’t made the time to write them because I wanted to take advantage of the summer weather. I knew I had an operation on the horizon, so I was motivated to get some projects done while I could still walk.

In the Shadow book, I can tell you that good will overcome evil, although the lines are blurred a bit with regards to who is good and who is evil. How’s that for a teaser?

In the other book, about growing up in the 60’s, I can tell you that evil will live on for two decades beyond the book timeline, and it is based on a true story.

Again, a great teaser!

Thank God there are no emails written by me in 1960.

Thank God there are no emails written by me in 1960.

Thank God There Were No Emails When I Was a Teen

I’m dead serious when I say that. We were sarcastic little shits back in the 60’s. Our bantering with each other, fifty years ago, could in no way be described as politically correct today. I would be humiliated if those conversations somehow saw the light of day today, and I doubt I’m alone in that observation. I’m a different person today. I’m more aware today. I realize the power of words today, and how they can hurt others. I was not nearly as enlightened back then as I am today, and the world is better for it.

Have a fantastic week, my friends, and remember to do all things with love. If you have a question for the Mailbag, include it in the comments below, or email the question to me at

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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

The times we live in, MG! For the life of me, I don't know why anyone would want to be a politician and be open to that kind of myopic scrutiny.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 24, 2021:

As usual, you sir, have encompassed quite a few interesting subjects. The point about emails is very valid but I wonder why should anybody take what you wrote years back seriously; I wonder if we can ignore ancient emails. Also, I do not see any reasons to blacklist a politician or a leader for something he would have written 20 or 30 years back. The same goes with the 'me too' movement which I feel is extremely silly to start talking about it after decades or maybe a long time back, after all, there is a law of limitation and why does it not apply in this case?

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

Genna, so good to hear from you. I hope you are well. Thanks so much for stopping by with an important message we all should consider before speaking. :)

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 23, 2021:

Hi Bill...

My grandmother once told me many years ago, "Never do or say anything you wouldn't want to appear on the front page of the local newspaper." Given the current social media fever of character judgment and/or evisceration, I think about her advice of so long ago. Just stopping by to say hello, my friend. Excellent article as always. And I look forward to reading your new book.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2021:

I laugh, Alyssa, thinking of social media when I was growing up. That was two kids yelling at each other from a block away. The whole neighborhood knew what was going on. LOL Happy weekend to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2021:

You summed it up perfectly, Farah! Thank you for this comment. Our naked faces standing in front of the mirror...powerful image and reflection, my friend.

Alyssa from Ohio on October 21, 2021:

You always crack me up Bill!

A good reminder for us all that our words live on the interwebs for all time. It's something I've instilled in my son. I, too, am thankful that we didn't have social media growing up. I wasn't allowed to use AOL and only got a MySpace once I turned 18 and ventured out on my own.

Thank you for another wonderful mailbag. Have a wonderful week!

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 21, 2021:

Yes, people do change over time and I think it is wrong to judge a person based on what he did 20 years back unless he is still doing it. The internet is surely a storage of evidence of who we are inside. Imagine if the messenger and social media gave out all our regular conversation in chat box, how many of us can say that we do not have a problem with it? You are right, we should be careful while writing. In fact we should be careful in every aspect of our life so that we don’t regret to see our naked faces when we are forced to stand in front of the mirror. Noted all your points. Thanks for teaching us to fly.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2021:

I will, my friend! Thanks again!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 20, 2021:

Bill, you're welcome. Keep going.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Good point, Miebakagh! I have better things to do than research the "mistakes" of people in past lives. I'm too busy trying to be the best me I can be.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Kalpana, I don't have the courage to call out people for their actions in the past. That would invite them to look at my past, and that is not a good thing at all. lol

Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to write such a nice comment. I appreciate you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

It is possible, Linda. I'm sure they were important to the recipients, and I know a lot of people who save things like that. Me? I don't remember the last time I wrote a letter....maybe 2000?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Well howdy, MizB! LOL

I hate to admit it, but even if they added a glossary, I wouldn't take the time to read it. :) I figure if they are a good writer, the context of the idiom will give me a pretty good idea of the word. Unless I'm African, of course, and then all bets are off.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you Denise! You and me both with regards to the recovery time. I can't imagine being laid up for more than a few days. It seems like torture to me. I sure hope there's something good on tv.

Blessings always, my friend

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

I really appreciate that, Devika. Thank you for always sharing part of your Monday with me.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

All great examples, John, and not a one of them impresses me. I find it to be dishonest advertising at best. I had forgotten about Ludlum...shame on his publishers!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Heidi, exactly, bait and switch, and I do consider it to be dishonest in every way. I can't believe an author would be satisfied knowing they are getting sales in that manner, but then humans always find inventive ways to be dishonest, don't they?

Thanks as always! The rain has arrived with a vengeance. I guess I'm happy to see it. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you PS! It's amazing to me just how dumb some very smart people can be. Thank God there was no email when I was a young man. lol Those angels are always appreciated, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thanks Bill! I wouldn't change the time I was a kid for anything. I had a great childhood, and learned many valuable lessons because of it. As for instant gratification, I figure 1200 words is good, and I doubt people actually read all 1200 words of it. lol

Happy Wednesday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you for sharing that about the recovery, Maria. That's good to hear for sure. I hope I can match your friend in recovery time, because sitting around immobile does not sound like very much fun to me.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you Maria! I'm happy to hear that at least one of Patterson's books was a good one. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you Peggy! A letter? I honestly can't remember the last letter I wrote. It's been many years. As for my recovery, I plan on speeding up the process so I don't go crazy. I sure hope I recover as fast as I plan on recovering. lol

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 20, 2021:

I think those who target others from past mistakes are doing so for political prize. But what has that got to gain you on a wider scale? According Karma, your action reacts back more than you envisage. Just take a look at the Trump v. Biden question. Who d'you think pay a higher prize later?

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 19, 2021:

Hi, Bill! An informative and engaging article. I cannot agree more about our words being etched in stone online. I feel it is very unfair to target someone based on what they said years ago. People can change. With more information available nowadays, it is easier to educate ourselves. I see such backlashes happening with old tweets from celebrities too. People should stop looking at mistakes from the past and check the present.

As per Google tech writing help, including idioms and cultural references in non-fiction is a complete no-no. They cite the same reasons - that it will be difficult for people in other countries to understand.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 19, 2021:

I enjoyed reading another edition of the mailbag. Email didn't exist when I was a child, but I wrote a lot of letters. I still have a few that were sent to me, so I wonder if any of the ones that I wrote still exist. I doubt it, but it's possible!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 19, 2021:

Hi, Bill. Nice article. Ha ha just kidding. I liked the question on colloquialisms. Personally, I like them and I don't think a regional book is authentic without using them, especially historic novels. Some authors are putting them in a glossary so the reader can translate. However, I wish that in ebooks they would put the glossaries in the front instead of the back of the book. Many readers, including myself, often don't realize that they are there. Gotta give you a laugh, the other day one of your other fans and I got to throwing our Southern idioms around in a forum, and we were chided by an African who had no idea of what we were saying. I recommended to him to watch some of our old American westerns to learn what "howdy" means.

I agree that I don't like the novelists who farm out their books. George R.R. Martin is another of them. His Game of Thrones books ended leaving me hanging in mid air. There was no excuse for that since he admits he farms them out. He could have had another writer working on a satisfactory ending. I haven't seen the TV series, so I can't speak for that.

Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 19, 2021:

I never gave the author much thought years ago. A book was a book. But these days I do pay attention much more. Not that I wouldn't read a book by someone unknown to me... because that's how I got some of your books! But I agree that the famous ones selling the book because of the name they have developed is fraudulent. I hope your surgery is easy and the the recovery time is short. You'll be back to writing again in no time!



Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 19, 2021:

Hi, Bill thank you for a great start to this week. Your mailbag has lots to encourage everyone here and including me to look forward to your mailbags. This is an important reminder about sharing on social media and about what we write as well.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 19, 2021:

Bill there have been lot of authors publishing books long after there death. Robert Ludlum for one wit the Jason Bourne books. I think he wrote the first two and they were so successful the series was kept going with Eric Von Lustbader as author but still including Ludlum’s name as creator. Similar with Steigg Larsson and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 19, 2021:

Mailbag Tardy Tuesday... again! My Mondays are just a mess. Often hubby is home and we have other plans. And yesterday, it was pups' semi-annual vet visits. I'm just glad I got to this by Tuesday. ;)

Re: The Past Never Dies on the Internet. While I abhor bad behavior and attitudes on the internet, I do understand that people grow and can become better humans over time. On the other hand, just because they may not express it on the internet, doesn't mean they don't still have negative behaviors and attitudes toward others. Okay, this could become a lengthy philosophical rant. I'll spare you.

Re: 7-minute reads (or videos). I truly appreciate the length of read or video notations. Especially video. It just drives me nuts when there isn't a time put on videos. I appreciate the Chapters feature on YouTube even more. I can click on the info I want without wading through several minutes of blather. I give my viewers the same courtesy by including chapters on my YT video descriptions, and headings in my HP articles.

Re: Idioms. Know your audience and use what they know.

Re: James Patterson-ing. I, too, am just annoyed at authors who plop their name on a book written by another author. Jay Conrad Levinson in the biz arena did a fair amount of that. Has a bait-and-switch feel for me.

Well, that's it for today. Have a great rest of the week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 19, 2021:

That, Mary, is a delicate question, one I have experience with. I'll tackle it on Monday, and thank you for it.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 19, 2021:

Just read this installment...I had read of the coach's chooaing to voice his thoughts in an email. So...bad enough to think it but never put it in writing.!! Thank you, Bill, for continuing your tips!! Angels once again headed your way.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 19, 2021:

Mr. Happy, you never disappoint. I think this is one of those instances when the comment was almost as long as the article. LOL Just kidding, but almost!

I didn't know that about Margaret Atwood. Thanks for the warning. It infuriates me that they get away with it. It infuriates me that the buying public is so gullible. There was an author a few years back who died and then published five books after his death. Good trick, don't you think?

I'm trying on that book, my friend. I have an operation coming up in ten days. Perhaps then I'll make the time to work on that novel.

Peace ahead, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 19, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I always appreciate you stopping by. You are as consistent as the Mailbag, and that is a huge compliment. :) Happy Tuesday, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 19, 2021:

Sorry you had all those problems, John! I swear, it is getting harder to comment here, not easier. I'm beginning to think HP is doing it on purpose. :(

I love idioms too, and I think they add a great deal to any dialogue.

Thanks for your thoughts and your extra effort, my friend.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 19, 2021:

Another winner, Bill. Yes, thank God we didn’t have all of this technology when I was growing up. We would have missed out on a lot of time spent outdoors enjoying life as a kid, and I’m sure I would have written something stupid that would come back to haunt me.

With today’s focus on instant gratification I worry that articles I write are too long so I try to keep them to a reasonable length. All the more reason to have an attention grabbing title and opening paragraph. Have a great week, Bill.

Maria Logan Montgomery from Coastal Alabama, UsA on October 18, 2021:

This may be one of the best mailbags yet -- of course, they're all good. I especially liked the segment on colloquialism. One of the things I frequently mention to writers whose books I review is that the voice of the narrator should use correct grammar, even when the characters do not. Colloquialisms and dialect should be authentic to the character's background, and often they are not. Thanks for always giving good advice. Don't be too worried about the hip surgery recovery time. My friend in Florida had this surgery a few years ago, and she was out walking in our neighborhood 2 or 3 days later -- slowly, but she was walking, and said she had very little pain. Best wishes to you on a speedy recovery.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on October 18, 2021:

Well, by the time I read this mailbag, it had been whisked away. So here I am in the feed. It was a great mailbag. I, too, prefer not to bother with those books that show the name of some famous author and someone else I've never heard of. I usually don't read those books. One of Patterson's books I loved was "Sam's Letters to Jennifer". It turned out Sam was Samantha, Jennifer's grandmother. it really was a good book. Many of his others, I didn't care for, though.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 18, 2021:

The questions people ask, and you answer, are always fun to read in your weekly mailbag. Yes, everyone should be aware that what we write lives on, and in some cases, may come back to haunt us if we have not been judicious in our writings.

Like you, I am glad that I grew up when I did with no emails, smart phones, etc. We had more time to play in the dirt, have more face to face interactions, etc. We had to wait to read responses to our written letters. I think that it taught patience, but also eager anticipation when a letter would arrive in the mail. How many people write letters these days?

Hip surgery, generally speaking, has a much easier recovery than knee surgery. May your recovery be speedy! Bev will have to walk the dogs for a while. Take it slow and easy! Knowing you, you will be up and around soon! That chair you bought looks so comfy!!!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 18, 2021:

You are so right about the time when politically correct was not at all a consideration. Sometimes, I wish we could go back there but part of me is certainly embarrassed about it. A question that comes to mind is how does one write about persons and events in one's life which involve others, and when they read about it, even with changes in names, they'll recognize who they are and will not be happy about it?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

Thank you Pamela. I'm not terribly concerned about the surgery itself. I'm more concerned with not causing a setback once I get home, moving the wrong way, that sort of thing. I hope to have smooth sailing for a month or six weeks.

Your suggestion about keeping paragraphs relatively short is a good one. I wish more people would follow your lead.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

Thanks for your thoughts, Linda. I hope you aren't exhausted from the move, and you are able to get out and walk around your new neighborhood. Walk through the park for me, won't you. I played some of my best baseball at Jefferson Park. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

Thank you Miebakagh, and Happy Monday to you. Yes, we often have repeated questions, but that's okay, because we always have new members to our group.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

Thank you Brenda! You said it all perfectly. Nice? My dog is nice. I want to know how my article helped you, or entertained you. Give me a bone, please!!!!

Happy Monday, and thanks for the well-wishes about the surgery. Ten days and counting.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

There you go again, Misbah, calling me wise. LOL I fall short quite often, my friend, but thank you! I hope your week is fantastic and your find happiness and blessings around every bend in the road.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

Thank you, Rosina, and Happy Monday to you. I hope your week is everything you hope for.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 18, 2021:

I'm glad to hear that, Dora! Thank you so very much, and Happy Monday to you!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 18, 2021:

"I would hate to be judged by some of the emails I have written to friends over the years." - Change "over the years" with "in the past ten years". Does your comment remain the same? If You take what I wrote when I was twenty then, I can say that is a bit unfair. If You take something I have written in the last five years, there is no excuse. I'm experienced enough, not to use the word "old" lolol

"I think it’s a necessity if companies hope that the public will give them valuable moments of their time." - I send videos to people and I tell them how long they are because of this exact reason. Like: "It's only a ten minute video", as in don't get discouraged lol

"Can you imagine a notation at the top of an article claiming “60-minute read?” - Haha!! That's my essay: My "Stairway to Heaven": 151 views in like 12 years, haha!! It's long but it has to be.

"When is a comment too much?" - Never, haha!! I think I have written comments almost as long as the piece of writing I was commenting on. I usually stop when I am done with what I have to say.

“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

"There are no rules about commenting on HP other than to keep the comments decent." - Yes, best rule ever!

"And no, it’s not just Patterson who does this." - Margaret Atwood does this.

"Since 1961, she has published 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 books of non-fiction, nine collections of short fiction, eight children's books, and two graphic novels, and a number of small press editions of both poetry and fiction." - She has a bloody team that goes out and does research while she sits her ass down twiddling her thumbs. Then, she gets all the credit as if she was Wonder-woman. So, I refuse to read her work, no matter how good it supposedly is.

"In the other book, about growing up in the 60’s" - Okay, get to work!! lol Just kidding but yes, I am interested in this as in a "primary source" from the 1960s. It will be interesting and priceless really. So, best of luck on that!

Have a lovely week ahead!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 18, 2021:

Happy Monday Bill!

I enjoyed reading another wonderful edition of the mailbag, with interesting questions and answers.

I agree with you that we should be careful about what we write or share on social media sites or online writing platforms.

Wish you a wonderful week and thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 18, 2021:

I am not meant to comment here it seems, Bill. When I posted my first comment the only other one here was from MsDora, but my comment disappeared. I tried again but when I tried to post my server went down. So this is the 3rd attempt.

I love local idioms and colloquialisms in articles and stories, especially in dialogue. It makes the characters more authentic and helps the unfamiliar get a feel of the people, the location, and the time.

Have a great week and all the best with the operation.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 18, 2021:

Happy Monday, Bill!

I'm glad to find your article before it goes to the great beyond. We are inundated with a vast amount of articles, commercials, etc. I try to think about not making my article too long. I also try to make paragraphs not too long as it is easier to read an article that way. In my case with medical articles the diaphragms also help.

I feel the same way you do about HP comments. If I make a good comment it would be nice to get more than a 'Thanks'.Most people do write a bit more than that. This is another interesting mail bag, Bill.

I know your surgery is coming up. I will pray it goes well. I have read mostly positive comments about this type of surgery, so think positive thoughts. I know Bev will be by your side as well.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 18, 2021:

Bill, I'm glad I found this before it was whisked away. I agree with you about the dumb things we said and did back in the good old days—thank goodness there was no internet and cameras in everyone's hands.

We're all busy, but I try to give back to those who take the time to post a comment on my articles. Unfortunately, having to scroll through the feed has made this nearly impossible. There are many people I no longer hear from, and for that I blame HP.

I do hope you'll find the time to write that 1960s true life novel. I know exactly what you will be delving into and I want to see what you do with that topic.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 18, 2021:

Hey Bill, this Mondays mailbag I catch it in time. The questions and likewise the answer are very enlightening. I though the last questim by Rodrics is being repeat? Thank you.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 18, 2021:


It is so true that words can come back to haunt us like it definitely did the coach.

I'm sure he didn't expect those ghosts to come out lurking but that's the way it is in life.

I don't think many people would read an article if it had 60 minutes tagged at the top. I've seen this recently and I'm not sure why...except to try to grab someone's attention to say hey...this won't take too long.

For me...I think the title and the first paragraph let me know if I'm going to continue reading it.

As for commenting...I too get tired of that one word left. I mean...what is nice..tell me.

I can understand that sometimes one word is better than none.

We all have busy moments & times when we just don't feel up to par.

Both of your books sound interesting.

Goodluck with that upcoming surgery. I can picture you kicking back in that new chair.

Have a great week.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on October 18, 2021:

Mr. Bill, have a wonderful Monday. As usual, the mailbag is lively and wonderful. Patricia's and Rodric's questions, in particular, piqued my interest. Your responses to all of the questions were amazing and wise. Thank you so much! I hope you are doing well.

Blessings and Peace to you and your loved ones!

Rosina S Khan on October 18, 2021:

Another interesting edition of the mailbag. Enjoyed the questions and relished the answers.

Happy Monday to you, Bill. Wish you a great week ahead.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 18, 2021:

I agree. This is a lively mailbag. I like it when readers ask questions which are on my mind, and your answers are relatable. Thank you so much.

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