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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #399

Only One Question as We Draw to a Close

And I thank my dear friend, Ann, a veteran of this site, for that question.

Perhaps it truly is a good time to end this series, with questions barely trickling in. End it before it becomes a parody of itself, or in today’s terms, end it before it becomes a meme for others to joke about.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

A Writing Challenge

From Ann: “ I challenge you to write a short piece which sums up your writing career so far.”

Ann, I haven’t answered the bell to a challenge in a long, long time, so it’s probably fitting that we end this series with one more response to a gauntlet. Thank you for such an in-depth and thought-provoking prompt.

Here it is . . .

A lonely boy sits, the walls of his bedroom his prison, willing himself to rise from the bed, to go outside, to join with other children, to interact as they do . . .

But it is so difficult to do so. He is different. Shockingly so. He knows it, and is always amazed when others do not cringe at the sight of him, run from him in fear, and avoid him at all costs. And so he sits and looks, with longing, at his bookshelf. There is his escape. It has always been true. There he can travel the world, interact with people, be brave and strong and be a man others admire.

He lifts one of his favorites from the shelf and escapes within its cover.

When the reading is done he grabs his notebook, a pen, and continues to write a story he has worked on for weeks, a story of great adventures, a story of swashbuckling and heroes and damsels in distress, finding order and comfort in the way the words come together, so many words to choose from, forming structure from randomness, and when he is done he smiles, puts the notebook away, grabs his jacket, and steps out the front door to face his greatest nemesis . . . himself!

The old man sits in his room, weary after a full day of earning a living, eats a quick meal, and sits down at the computer. He opens a file, reviews what has already been written, smiles, and begins anew. He is aware that he is expected at a gathering. He is aware of the chores piling up, the errands demanding his attention, but there are priorities in life, for all of us, and his is the story he works on now.

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When that story is finished, he will hit “publish” and send it out into cyberspace, to join thousands of others he has written, to be read by a handful of loyal followers, and then he will begin the next in his to-do file, for that is what he does, he writes, and that is who he is, a writer. He knows he will never be famous. He knows the grand dreams have been scaled back, trimmed down, and suffocated by the reality of it all, but still he writes, and in that writing he rediscovers the comfort and safety he first found as a little boy, sitting in his bedroom, his safe place then, his safe place now.

And he smiles once more!

The young boy

The young boy

A Sampling From an Unfinished Novel

From A Child Named Hope:

And this is where that excerpt would be, but HP has called it duplicate and not allowed it, so what you will see now is blank space.

One more week and then we will relax at the end of the Mailbag.

One more week and then we will relax at the end of the Mailbag.

One More Week to Go

Thanks so much for stopping by. To those of you who have been so loyal to me over the years, words cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for all of you. It’s been one hell of a ride, hasn’t it? I will always cherish the friendships made.

Please, do all things with love.

2022 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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