Writing on Saturdays

As my octogenarianism goes progresses halfway into its fifth year, my mind continues to wander as I wonder.
Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?
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I don’t usually write on Saturdays unless I have an un-met deadline.
Wait! I don’t have deadlines except self-imposed.

Neither do I write on Sundays – most of the time anyway. However, when an idea pops into my head I violate the unwritten philosophy. I’m not sure about others in the state of octogenarianism, but sometimes an idea is just a flash and memory of an idea goes by quicker than a racing projectile. What was I thinking when I started this?

I’m not compelled to write everyday either. However, everything above the preceding statement applies.

Author copies of my latest book, Game Time: A Week in October, should be here any day now.

Now it’s on to finishing my historical novel about a character involved in the settlement of Fort Ross, CA.

Like Game Time, Adventure to Ross1working title was started many years ago. I absolutely admit that I have a problem with endings. I should give more attention to advice given by John Grisham. In a TV interview he said something like, “As soon as I start, I write an ending first, so I know where I’m going.”

So, you might ask, “When did you write this, then?”
Well, I started it on a Saturday, OK!



Reading about Writing

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As my octogenarianism halfway into its fifth year, my mind continues to wander as I wonder.
Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?

She said, “To be a successful writer, you must write every day.” I’m using she because I don’t want to make a specific identification. But that she, wasn’t’ the only one whose blog about writing said that.

Tim Grahl, from whom don’t necessarily heed advice, said in a recent e-mail to followers, “In my opinion, “you must write every day” is horrible advice. I’m calling B.S. on it.”

On that I agree!

However, all those who write about writing don’t give the same advice. One blogger, in fact, advised against using contractions.

I remember Mrs. Kellogg, my junior high school English teacher, advising the same. But she did tell us contractions were OK in casual writing or when quoting. “Quoting,” she said, “must be exactly what was said and how it was said.”

When I was doing technical writing, for the best clarity, I did not use contractions.

Another blogger advised writers to reduce their word count by using contractions!
In clarity of context, I try to consider audience.

There are the don’t end in a preposition diehards. Some would insist that those about whom we talk about isn’t how people talk. Right!

I can not find my Shrunk and White, but I still have my Chicago Manual of Style, or I can go on line (or is it online) for The Purdue University Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Shrunk and White didn’t know if it was e-mail, email, electronic mail, or … My copy of ‘Chicago’ was printed in 1993, so… The Purdue help is focused on academic writing, and…

It goes without saying – I know why say it then – the highly debatable comma in a series issue. Those of you who have seen the debate will know, so I won’t give an opinion which may be differed with.

On and on I go as my mind continues to wander as I wonder about writing rules and writing process expounded upon by…



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The sun was bearing down making the deck surface temperature in the low or middle 80s, and I was dressed in jeans, sweatshirt, wool socks, and a wide-brim hat. One would more likely expect to see someone catching the ebbing rainy season rays bear-chested in swimming shorts on such a day. Who in their right mind 1Left mind?wears layers of clothing on the deck when it’s one of the first sunny, over 70°, days of the year?
As my octogenarianism halfway into its fifth year, my mind continues to wander as I wonder. Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?

That was four years ago this week. I was sitting on a lawn chair reading Mark Vonnegut’s Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So. Mark Vonnegut is a highly educated and accomplished man who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 2BA, Swarthmore College – MD Harvard Medical School Sometime during the reading, I had a sense of observing of myself from afar. I recorded that someone peering over the fence could think I was mentally ill.

Well, I was in my 8th day of recovery from very invasive intestinal surgery to remove a tangerine-size malignant growth. I purposely and progressively reduced my 30 day supply of Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) intake from 2 tablets every 4 hours to one tablet every five hours. I was tired of being house bound and wanted to have some outside experience. Sitting on the deck seemed to be a good idea, but I didn’t want to fall asleep and get overexposed to the sun. Can you imagine sunburn on and around a row of ten staples on your abdomen? Thus, the overdressing.

Did I really read Vonnegut’s book? As I try to remember my thoughts (or at least some of them) from that time, I consider that perhaps even the reduced dose of Norco had control at the time. So, were my thoughts just one of its side effects mixed with another set of residual drug delusions paired with drowsiness.

I wonder!
PS: I am blessed by God and am continually grateful for the medical people who acted so quickly on my behalf.



Just Wandering

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As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?

In case you are wondering why I’ve done several posts about vehicle wrecks, and even if you’re not wondering, I’m answering. Each of them is a slightly modified version of short stories in Grandpa was a Teenager. Most of the grandkids have heard most or some of the stories before they were mediumized 1If this isn’t a real word, I’ll just claim my coining it, or giving it a second meaning for my purpose here. as print. They have a home-printed preliminary copy, but I’m tuning it up a little. No auto-pun intended.
Speaking of books, I just got my review copy for the print version of my latest one. The Kindle version of Game Time: A week in October has been on Amazon for about two weeks and a sale is booming. I’ve posted a description of the story on I, JMB Say. The paperback will be available on Amazon after I review pagination, etc.
Indecision plagues me as I wonder about which started project should be finished next. Most logical seems to be the collection of teenage stories, or perhaps it should be a collection of my Army time stories, some of which have also been told to grandkids.
Then there is the historical novel about coming of age of a protagonist involved in the settlement of Ft. Ross, CA. Should I finish Erin Finn’s parallel story to Jason’s in Nescient Decoy. Or how about the started historical fiction about Jason’s grandfather’s OSS involvement during WWII?
My mind must be wandering as I wonder, or…
So, having said all of the above, and not having a clear and present path for my writing, thoughts, muses, … I might just take a vacation from this blog also.

I couldn’t not work on something – I pulled out the old (1998) files for Adventure to Ross, did some reading and editing and discovered I could finish the historical fiction novella with one more chapter. So, I’m on it!



Other Car Crashes

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As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?

II said earlier that I didn’t have a collision with another car until I was an experienced driver.

The 1939 Chevy coupe’ we bought in Petaluma, CA, was hit once, and I hit another car with it. But neither caused its final change of ownership. It’s departure from my possession is a story for another time.
The ‘hit-us’ was at controlled intersection in Novato, CA, a little south of Petaluma. The light changed to green and as we moved forward, A driver in the other lane, but behind us changed lanes and accelerated. It was a direct hit on the Chevy’s springy bumper. Jon was only a few months old, and the time was before car seats for infants and children. He was asleep on a crib mattress that fit the space behind the passenger bench seat. He was bounced into the air and came down unhurt. With no vehicle damage, we and the other driver went our separate ways.

My first ‘hit someone’ was in Petaluma a few blocks from home. I stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways. There was one car at least 3/4th of a block to my left. At the 25mph speed limit, I assumed plenty of time to make my left turn ahead of the other car. I did a double check to my right and moved into the intersection.


I hit the other car in the right rear fender. After skidding along the street, she drove back to near my car. No cellphones, but someone in the neighborhood called it in. The police took statements, we exchanged insurance info, and ironically had the same insurance agent. I was given a ticket for failure to yield. Based on over 100 ft. of skid marks after the impact point, she got a ticket for speeding. My day in court is another story.

Well – OK, then – the court story.

I’m not sure how I got the time off from my Army duties, but I wore my Class-A khaki uniform to court. At my turn in front of the bench, the judge said, “Army huh.”

“Yes, sir.”

He read the charges and asked me to explain. In those days, I usually had my Cannon 35mm wherever I went, so I had several photos to show in court.

He asked the patrolman to explain the charge and situation he’d responded to. His report duplicated my explanation.

The judge repeated his, “Army huh.” Then added, “Where?”

I said, “I work at Two Rock Ranch, sir.”1The facility is now a US Coast Guard station.

To which he said, “Work! I go to the officers’ club out there. No one out there works. Charge of failure to yield, causing an accident is dismissed, but you are assessed $7.00 in court costs.”

I wanted to ask if he had an association with the Army Security Agency other than going to the officers’ club. Perhaps he retired from the Agency, or…



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