What’s now has been and gone.

17 Mar

I spent most of the weekend playing with a neat little gizmo that converts photographic slides and negatives to digital, for easier storage on the computer. Consequently, I spent hours looking at my life from the summer of 1979 when I acquired my first SLR 35 mm. camera. It was a mostly automatic Pentax ME, and I loved it so much I promptly went out and bought another one – but this one was manual from the get-go – a Pentax MX. To go a step farther, I acquired several additional and interchangeable lenses and a motor winder for it. I was almost never without this camera, which took absolutely beautiful photographs.

Having no projector I was seldom able to partake of the fruits of my new toy on a large screen. But, I dutifully put them in plastic pages in a notebook which was always at the ready for any adventure. It would be very easy for anyone who only knows me now to extrapolate what I was most interested in back then, as my trusty digital camera photo collection mirrors that older one almost exactly.

Water, water, everywhere! Living in the Great Lakes area, and surrounded by water, that’s not a big surprise, although the variety of those scenes is endless. Lake Superior is really huge! However, it was a pussycat that day in the summer of 1979 when my then-husband and I accompanied my Dad and step-mother to the upper peninsula to see Tahquamenon Falls. The water tumbling over this cliff is intermittently gold in color because of the copper content in the ground upstream of the falls. Twenty-six years later, I used one of the photos on the cover of my novel Windsong. https://www.createspace.com/4468771   (And then I re-did it in 2013, using the same photo, although somewhat differently.)

When we came back towards home again, we stopped for the afternoon at Mackinac Island, during the filming of the fabulous movie ‘Somewhere in Time’. We didn’t see any of that activity – as I recall, they were taking a day off – but we did take a horse-and-buggy trip around the Island. Although I visited again twelve years later, I used the former trip as initial background information for Secret Shores, https://www.createspace.com/3462382  the companion book to Windsong, which was first published in 1991.  (The original Windsong was published in 1993.)

Back to the photos: Lots and lots of flowers, from teeny little mini-things to great blowsy roses or dahlias and other such gaudy blooms. Trees, of every kind and nearly every position possible for a tree to be in, as well as every location and season. Sometimes trees are swings or an anchor for a hammock. And living creatures: by far the largest category was butterflies, toads, spiders and turtles. Next was birds and ducks, and a dog or two. (Sorry, no cats. I’m allergic.) Hey! At that time, we lived out in the country. What can I say?  Now I live in the city, but I still take pictures of visiting deer and other wild creatures.

And mechanical things – one of my great loves. Bridges, boats (big and small) cannons, engines, trucks, heavy equipment, race cars  – all sort of things that make lots of noise. That’s me in a nutshell.

Yes, I had great fun doing this, and finding all the memories I’d forgotten, or thought were lost. But the biggest surprise of all is the number of new ideas – for books or stories – that sprang out of this hidden cache – (they’d been living in boxes on the shelf in my bedroom closet.) Honestly, though, ideas are everywhere! They don’t have to be inspired by a trip to your past, or your future. Just open your mind, and let them in.

Questions?  Comments?  Please write to me at bookmechanicATgmail.com

More about getting started –

4 Mar

It’s amazing to me how many questions people have about wanting to write a book. I love getting these questions, though, so if you have one, please do send it along!

How much time should I write each day?

How will I know when the book is finished?

When is the best time of the day to write?

How many pages will my book have?

Do I have to write it like it’ll look when it’s published?

I have a favorite answer (sort of snarky, but not necessarily) to those questions for which there is no particular right answer. I shrug my shoulders and say ‘How long is a piece of string?’  There is no right or wrong answer to these, they’re very personal questions, and what’s right for one may be totally wrong for another.

How much time should I write each day?

How soon do you want to finish your book? Or maybe a better answer is: How much time can you devote to it each day. There are probably as many answers to this question as there are  already published authors, and those who aspire to that category.  It is best if you can set aside a certain amount of time for each day, at a time when your mind is free of other details, and you can relax and concentrate on the task at hand.  That is your best time to be writing.

For instance: I am NOT a morning person. I tell people that no matter what time I get out of bed, I wake up at 10 am. I might be able to find the keyboard before then, and actually even write something, but will it make any sense? Most likely – not. So, I would not be a person who would write twenty pages before breakfast. Or at least my morning coffee!

On the other hand, I’ve discovered that my best and most creative time of day is after dinner, before bedtime. There’s a good solid chunk of 3-4 hours in which I can (if motivated and have a viable idea on which to expound) produce between three and four thousand words! Yes, I said 4000 words! At that rate, if I did that every night, I could end up with a 70,000 word book within a month. I know this is possible for me to do, as I’ve done it twice. Actually, they were both 70,000 word books, but they were both done in three weeks’ time!  Yes, you read that right. Three weeks!  Granted, I was not a very nice person to be around at the end of that time, but I couldn’t help it. I was driven.

I’ve also done two 110,000 word books in about three months’ time — each. I didn’t necessarily plan for those word counts, but that is the answer to question number two at the top of this post. I wrote until the story ended. I had little pre-conceived idea about book length, but for whatever reasons, they came out exactly as they were supposed to!  Also, I was working at the time of writing these books. But they just tumbled out of the computer. It was an amazing experience for me.

But there were times when it didn’t work that way for me, and there will, no doubt, be times like that for you. If you’ve planned your book so you know where it’s going, just hop back in the chair in front of your desk and get back to it. Write something. Write anything. Sooner or later, it’ll start to make sense, and you can continue with the writing. Always write forward – aim toward the end of the story.

How many pages will your book have?

Believe it or not, before computers, books were almost always of a particular number of pages.

Specifically, these were 184, 224, 256, 312. All of these numbers are divisible by 4, which is the number of pages in a folio. Several folios would be bound together and then comprise a ‘signature’. This is not necessarily a standard number, but the number of pages in any book would be divisible by 4. Slight tweaks could be made by changing the style or size of the font.  It wasn’t long before word counts were standardized according to the accustomed page size and style from a given publisher.

You’ll be happy to know that with the advent of Print On Demand, these numbers are no longer the main factor when determining the length of a book. It can be whatever size it needs to be in order to be complete.

If you are going to publish your book on your own, it can look however you want it to look, but a clean easy-to-read font will be a major help for any first time author. You do want to make it easy for people to read your book! Always remember that. Just because you can use twelve fonts on a page doesn’t mean you should! And in fact, you definitely should not! You might be better advised to hire a book designer for your first attempt. The designer will (or should) listen to what you want and produce something at least close to your wishes. If not, it’s just back to the drawing board again. Make your wishes known as clearly as possible, and eventually, it’ll all come together just the way it should.

But still – the most important thing to remember is – nothing happens until somebody writes something! So, what are you waiting for. Go sit down at the computer and start writing! Thank you.

Comments?  Questions? Please send them along to me at BookmechanicATgmail.com

Dream Big!!

18 Feb

I do love sports – well, most of them, at any rate. I look at ESPN almost as often as I check my e-mail. Even though I don’t read everything, just looking at the headlines will give me all the info I might need to be able to talk somewhat intelligently about this or that game or a totally different part of the story.

It’s pretty hard not to like J. J. Watt and Jimmy Graham, both of whom caused all sorts of havoc on football fields during the recent NFL season.  And, of course, even though I know nothing whatever about pop music, and consequently not Katy Perry, either, you can hardly ignore her super Saturday, when she correctly picked the winner of all eight of the biggest games of the weekend. That’s amazing by anybody’s standards.

So in mid-January, there was a preview of ESPN the Magazine, which was – surprise! – devoted to the Super Bowl.  Great eye-catching cover, too, in my opinion.

ESPN 2-15

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/page/music15020221/katy-perry-jj-watt-talk-success

ESPN said ‘Katy Perry put on a clinic as a “GameDay” guest picker.’ In one day, she picked: Mississippi State over the Aggies, Ole Miss over the Tide, Auburn over LSU, Ohio State over Maryland, Michigan State over Nebraska, and Rutgers over Michigan, not all of which were sure things.

But that’s not the thrust of the article, after all. No, it’s J. J.’s motto since he was a youngster. We could all take it to heart, and make it ours as well.

 ‘Dream Big, Work Hard’    J. J. Watt

 Dreaming of a goal is not at all a bad thing to do. Especially if it works to give you a nudge in the right direction. Even if life sends you on a detour, and you end up in the totally opposite direction from where you really want to be, hang on to that dream. It may work even better in your new location than it would have in your original place.

Exactly 50 years after I was disabused of my first dream, it came true. I was a junior in high school, and wanted to be a sports writer. I loved sports then, too, as well as writing, so it seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ to me. Except I neglected to consider the time in which I was living.  Our class went on a field trip to the daily paper (Detroit had three of them at that time, and I can’t recall which one we went to – sorry!) and I chose to visit the hockey writer.

He had hysterics laughing at my naïvéte. “Don’t be silly, girl,” he ordered me. “They’ll never let women in the locker rooms and that’s where all the good stories come from, so give it up. Go write about cooking or babies, or something. That’s what girls write about.” I can still hear the derision in his voice as he spit out the word ‘girls’.  I was in tears as I walked out his office.

But then, 20 years later came Title IX. Girls and women everywhere  have definitely benefited from this legislation, which was long overdue, in my opinion.  (And as America goes, so [mostly] goes the rest of the world, it seems. My life proceeded to go in all kinds of different directions, but then, I found myself in Cleveland in 2002, a published author and busy free-lance writer.  Still in love with sports, especially those that welcomed women’s participation. I had joyously become a season-ticket holder of the Cleveland Rockers since the inception of the WNBA five years earlier, in 1997. Those women were fabulous! And then, there appeared a different women’s team – the Cleveland Fusion, who played forceful, jaw-dropping tackle football!

I called to find out more about this new phenomenon, and was invited to ‘try-out’ for the vacant post of Staff Writer.  That position entailed going to all the games – home and away; traveling on the bus with the team, and then writing a game summary and distributing it to the various media outlets. I went to a try-out for potential players, took pictures and wrote it up. And – they chose me!  So when the Fusion’s season came to an end in June, 2003, I was invited to write about the last half of the Rockers season (be still my heart!) for a local jock web-site.  At that time it was known as  SportsTalkCleveland.com but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be under that name anymore.

The point of all this is – Dream Big, Work Hard – and who knows? Your dream might come true, too. For sure it won’t if you don’t dream it to begin with! Dreams can sometimes come true, if you’re persistent—and you live long enough!

Happy Dreams to you all! And happy writing, as well.

Questions or comments?  Please send them to me at bookmechanicATgmail.com

 

Part Two — How to Write a Book

4 Feb

Where to start?

To anyone who has ever written a book, the topic of ‘how to write a book’ might seem very simplistic. But consider – what if you don’t even have a typewriter? Much less a computer or tablet of any other electronic device?

I recently had an illuminating conversation with a young woman who is really serious about writing her life story. She didn’t graduate from high school, and has not had a particularly easy life. In fact, it has been relatively tempestuous. Some folks, when hearing scattered bits and pieces of her tale, suggest it would make a great soap opera. True. Still, she has emerged, slightly bloodied but not bowed or bent, with her sanity and native sweetness intact, and is determined to put her life on paper.

She was full of questions, and I am delighted that she asked me, because she made me stop and think before I responded. I would never put down anyone for wanting to achieve something, but sometimes, the notion is a tad presumptuous, and you really wonder if it is indeed possible to achieve a particular goal. In this instance, I believe it is. She has more grit and gumption in her little finger than many of us do in our entire self.

She does read a lot, which is helpful. But her innocent questions really made me think before I opened my mouth to answer them. If she has these questions, then certainly others do as well.

Do I have to have a title for my book before I can start to write it? The simple answer is ‘no.’  You do have to know what you want to write. But you don’t need a title to begin. At some point in the writing, the title may magically appear, and you’ll clap your hands in joy when that happens. As this woman will write in longhand on a legal pad, no doubt, I began to consider her next questions.

Sure enough – Does it have to begin when I was born and go straight through to now? Again, no. To begin writing is easier if you write whatever is most insistent in your mind. It might be something that happened last week. Or last year. Or it might have been twenty years ago because of the importance of the event. What IS important is to date that episode as accurately as possible. Perhaps not the exact date but a year or a month or perhaps by an event that reminds you of it. The only exact dates you might wish to include are birthdays, weddings, graduations, deaths, and similar milestones in your life.

Once you have a good bit of your tale written, it might be time to find a way to get it typed – preferably into a computer or word processor of some sort, so that you have a editable copy of it to work with. In case you can’t afford a computer of your own, nearly all libraries have computer rooms these days, as do other community organizations. Many of these have no fees involved for the user, but they might limit your time to an hour or so, per session. Ask before you begin. Also, you will need to have a jump drive of some sort on which to store your project. Be sure you clearly understand how this works before closing out your computer after each use.

Once into the writing will also be a good time to think of the organization of your book. Certainly you can start with your birth, or the beginning of the tale, but you don’t need to. The fact that you’re alive and writing proves your existence, although I’d be willing to bet your memory of that exact date wouldn’t be as good as that of an older person. Just in case you needed the verification.

An outline might be of help – for non-fiction, while generally a synopsis is required for fiction if you plan to seek an agent or traditional publisher. But, you might find either tactic of great help during the writing process. In case you get stuck, you’ll have something to serve as a guide and get you back on track.

If you are writing a non-fiction book, such as the above-mentioned auto-biography, don’t forget the photos! They add immeasurably to such a story, and it helps to have them sorted out and handy to insert into the text when appropriate. Be sure you do not use any professional photos, unless you secure permission from the copyright holder. If you have such a photo and can’t find the photographer, it is probably best to abandon that particular photo. Better to be safe than sorry in that regard.

How will I know when it’s done?  Obviously, again there are differences between fiction and non-fiction in this regard, as well. If it’s fiction, you should know when you’ve tied up all the loose ends, and have conformed to the ‘rules’ of the fiction genre in which your book falls. For non-fiction, you can end it any old time – whatever suits your fancy. Try to end on a happy note if you can. This will be especially helpful should you decide to write a ‘part two’.

What if I’m not a very good writer? I’m not sure I really understand punctuation or spelling and all those rules for writers. Not to worry. There are editors everywhere, literally, and you should have no trouble when it comes to finding one. The very fact that you know you need additional help is a major plus for you. I say – Go for it!  Don’t wait around. Get started as soon as possible, and happy writing!

If you have questions or comments, please write to me at: bookmechanicATgmail.com

 

Instruments of Torture –

21 Jan

Instruments of torture –  (Inspired by a note from a multi-published author in the UK. )

“It’s strange, but after reading so many historical novels when I was younger, and then suddenly having my attention riveted by Richard III, I (quite literally) sat down and wrote a book. I had just found my vocation. Looking back, it seems like a split second, and in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t much more than that. My father gave me the little portable typewriter, a pile of paper and carbons, and said, “If you can do better, get on and do it.” And that was it. My fingers have rippled over numerous keyboards since then.

“I remember my worst moment was my first full-sized office typewriter, an Olympia, and I battered the poor thing so much that the head of the ‘r’ key flew off. I tried sticking it back on with everything I could think of, to no avail. So I had to go back to my old portable typewriter. Talk about hard work! I eventually managed to get the ‘r’ repaired, but then came my beautiful electric typewriter, another Olympia. After a few years, the time was getting on toward electronic typewriters, then the early computerised one where you could see two lines on a little screen. Sheesh. Instruments of torture. Thank gawd for computers and Word!

“Hey, did you ever do a blog about this? From the old sit-up-and-beg ten-ton manuals that gave you a hernia to move, to the dainty laptops and tablets etc. of today?”

Okay, pal. Thanks for the suggestion and here it is.

It’s amazing to think that one Will Shakespeare wrote (at least) 37 plays, hundreds of poems and sonnets, and who knows what all else – with a feather. Think about that for a moment, then be grateful for your current writing instrument.

Believe it or not, the first typewriter was just invented in the 1860s, so it’s now some 150 years old. They were a rarity then, as now, although in some areas of the world, their popularity has never diminished, and they’re even making a come-back!  The noted QWERTY keyboard layout followed in 1874. There have been other attempts at a keyboard layout, but none of them have lasted.

Typewriters intended for use with languages other than English may use different keyboard layouts, mostly in order to accommodate the use of accent marks, symbols or dipthongs.

Of course, moveable type printing presses date back to even before Shakespeare, and aren’t we happy about that?

There are those of us who remember learning to type in school —  on a machine with no letters on the keys! Eeegads! Indeed, first off we had to learn the placement of the keys in order to be able to type anything other than gibberish. And at speed! How many words one could type in one minute became the standard measurement for a secretarial candidate. Without errors, too! It was a dreadful experience. Heaven forfend one would accidentally start out on the wrong key, and end up with something like this: O vsm yu[r 8- eptfd [rt g,omiyr eoyjpiy s ,odyslr/ (Translation: I can type 80 words per minute without a mistake!) Hah. Not even on my best day!

As time marched along, the big old clunky office models were re-designed for home use, and some of them were really gorgeous. Consider the Olivetti  which earned a place in MOMA. (I’m not real sure of the name of this model, but I did have one in the late 70s. It had a type ball, and rounded off edges and was wonderfully quiet, as I recall.)

After the long lever type letter thingies, (I don’t know what they’re called but they had the letter or number on the end of a 3-4 inch long lever, activated by striking the keys) someone invented the typeballs, with changeable fonts! Oh, my word! Didn’t we all go nuts over that? And not long after that were the daisy wheels which accomplished the same thing. I had several of both kinds.

IBM’s Selectric, Selectric II and Correcting Selectric II changed the face of corporate America’s business letters and other papers. They were an incredible engine of change, doing things never before imagined for an ordinary small office.  Another new option was proportional spacing, so we’d never again have to suffer the boredom of Courier font.

Then came small electronic word processors, with funny type fonts embedded in them. These weren’t very useful for business-type correspondence. Or for serious writers, either with their goofy-looking fonts.

By the end of the 1980s, however, computers were gaining ground and along with them came the evolution in the printing industry. At last, writers were able to make corrections without having to retype umpteen pages in the process!

And thus, the Instruments of Torture, became easier to use, but still frustrating to those of us who don’t necessarily speak computer.

Next time (in two weeks) is another post about getting started on your book. You won’t want to miss it! In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please write to me at: bookmechanicATgmail.com

Happy New Year!

7 Jan

Er, did I hear you say you want to write a book?

Well, you’re in luck. I’m starting off this new year, with a once a month specific instruction for getting started and writing your own book. Originally, when I started this blog, back in 2010, it was to help me gather my thoughts together and publish a How to Write a Book Book.  I’m forever hearing the “I want to write a book” phrase from folks wherever I go. The next line is almost always, “But I don’t know how (or where) to begin.”

Listen, my children, and you shall hear, the basic rules governing what is a book, and how you, too, can write one of your own, if you’re persistent, and have at least a little bit of talent.

The first big question is: what kind of book do you want to write. Is it fiction or non-fiction?

The elements of writing a book of fiction are:  the plot (which should probably not be an actual event – although it might be a lightly disguised retelling of the event); the setting – which can be anywhere at any time, and the characters. Which comes first? Well, in my experience, they usually, all land on the poor author at the same time, with a resounding, “What if –?” Once these are established, comes the hard part: the actual writing, which includes knowing the language.

Being a good story-teller, while essential, is not sufficient by itself. A command of the language is also vital, but also not sufficient, by itself, either. If you can combine these two – ah, then you are a writer. A writer, after all, not only uses words, a writer loves words. A writer loves construing words together in a string, to form a thought, a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a book.

Something similar happens in non-fiction, only there is not usually a plot, and seldom any characters or setting. But there could be, depending on the type of non-fiction. A biography, obviously will have characters and setting; a how-to manual will not. Just as when baking, the recipe, or final product desired, determines the ingredients. No matter how hard you try, you cannot make a cake out of the ingredients for beef stew.

So, where does the book begin? The book begins when something happens, and someone else writes about that action. It is a common occurrence for first-time authors to include too much back­-story at the very beginning. Oh, all that information is important, no doubt about it. It just doesn’t need to be all lumped together in chapters one, two and three. Don’t discard that part, however. Keep it to scatter throughout the book. You might not use all of it, but it will be helpful to have it.  It’s all a part of getting to know your plot and your characters.

You do not need to possess your own computer to write a book, although it’s a major help! But these days, libraries and community centers have ‘computer rooms’ where you may use one of the resident machines. If this is your situation, you will need to have at least a CD-rom or a jump drive (portable media) of your own, on which you can keep your work in progress. I would also suggest that if you’re using one of these public computers while attending any sort of writing class, you should invest in a notepad (a small legal-pad type binder that measures 5” x 8” is a great size, and you can easily carry your portable media, a pen and a notepad all in one easy to carry folder. The pad will come in handy to make notes as you think of them when your computer isn’t nearby.

Should you need to write your book by hand, try to get to a ‘computer room’ at least once a week or every other week to key your work onto your portable media. Always carry your CD in a sleeve or case. One scratch on the back of it will quickly demonstrate the need for this precaution.

Now then. Don’t worry overmuch about starting your book in the beginning of the story. It’ll all make itself clear at some point. The main thing is to write. Write. WRITE!!! If you are determined, and persistent, you can have a rough draft of a book in about 13 weeks. Three months! It probably won’t be polished and ready for publication at that point, but still – you should have a workable nucleus, which is not to be sneezed at, believe me.

How does this work? It’s really very simple. A reasonable length for a book these days is 50,000 words. If you divide 50K by 13 (weeks), you get 3847. That’s the weekly goal toward your total wordcount. That’s actually only 550 words a day, or two pages of typewritten, double-spaced 8½ x 11” paper.  That’s really not all that much, if you think about it. It might take you two hours, but really it should take less. That doesn’t mean you should stop when you reach that number. If the book is really cooking, then keep with it. There’s no harm in doing two or three day’s worth of words at one time, if that’s the way your inspiration wants to work. Don’t argue with it!

To begin: Write a sentence (of 25 words or thereabouts) that describes your book. (I’m presuming you do know what constitutes a sentence. If not, it may take you a bit longer to produce a book, but it can still be done!) Once you’ve done that, expand that sentence to a paragraph. It can be more than one sentence at this point. The next step will be to write a page describing your story. If you plan to submit to a traditional/commercial publisher, you will be asked for these three things almost before anything else, so it’s a good exercise for you at the very beginning. A page is roughly 250-300 words.

(FYI — This post is 1090 words, and it took me a bit less than an hour to write it.)

Okay? Next month (Feb. 3) we’ll discuss the next step in the process as well as a brief primer on MS-Word. If you know anyone who wants to write a book, please feel free to forward this post. I can easily add new folks to the mailing list, as well.  If you have comments or questions or want more information about anything in this post, please do send me an e-mail: bookmechanicATgmail.com

 

Do you resolve . . . ?

24 Dec

One January 1 – too many years ago to remember comfortably, I looked at my image in the mirror, and was suddenly struck by an unhappy thought. Living by myself, I felt no hesitation whatever at speaking sharply to that image. “Wake up, woman!” I said. “In less than three months, you’re going to hit that big five-oh, and what do you have to show for yourself?”

Well, I did have two husbands (both deceased at that time) and two adult children, but that was about it. All of my youthful dreams were still just that – dreams. I’d been talked out of one dream – that of becoming a sports writer (“They’ll never let women in the locker rooms and that’s where all the good stories come from. Go write about food or babies. That’s what women write about.”) and a second one – playing French Horn in a symphony orchestra (“They’ll never let women in the brass section of an orchestra.”)  Well, it is true that those incidents had occurred some 35 years earlier than the year referred to above, but the situation still hadn’t changed much by then, either, although it has now, at least somewhat.

There was another dream, though, that I hadn’t yet quite delineated, even to myself. I’d always wanted to be a writer, and on that day, all those years ago, I made up my mind to get busy. It worked. Since then, I’ve written five books in their entirety, and all of them have been published commercially, with two of them later in print-on-demand or POD. There have also been four plays – one of which had a professional production, and two others have had staged readings. I’ve also done several Christmas Regency novellas – all of them published (by either a commercial publisher or myself in POD) and have started probably 40 other books. Not to mention, one co-authored non-fiction book, now published as well.

But, guess what? Some years after that talk to the mirror, I did become a sportswriter, as I was the staff writer for the local women’s tackle football team. For five years I went to all the games with the team and wrote game stories to send to the local media and the league’s web-site! At about the same time, it was pointed out to me that my early musical training could combine with my writing skills to allow me to be a pretty good reviewer. This led to a fellowship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Columbia School of Journalism, which took me to New York for nearly two weeks of musical events I’d only ever dreamed of actually being able to see or hear. Two years later, I had two weeks in Ireland to attend and review a chamber music festival for a British web-site – courtesy of the Irish government.

Additionally, in the ‘printed’ column are perhaps 100 or so articles or book reviews in magazines, and probably another thousand reviews of classical music concerts, operas and theater productions plus maybe fifty interviews of folks I’ve found interesting. I’ve even had short fiction published, and one short story won an award! It took a while – not for nothing have I been called a ‘late-bloomer’ – but I finally learned the all important difference between ‘wanting to have written’ and – actually having done it. I heartily recommend it to anyone.

This is not to bore you with a laundry list of my accomplishments, but rather to urge you to take a good hard look at the image you see in the mirror every day. Ask that person if he has a dream and what has he done to make it come true? Ask her if she’s really serious about that dream, or does she have deep-down doubts about it? There are very few dreams that cannot be accomplished in some way, providing of course that it’s not a totally “Impossible Dream” to begin with.

I love to watch ballet, or opera, but there is no way I could ever, EVER have been a dancer of any kind (I’m too tall and too much of a klutz for that) or even a singer of opera.  But I can – and did – write a sort of playscript that was the foundation for an operatic production, and it was produced by a professional opera company. Trust me – there’s NO difference in the feeling of pride one has by approaching the dream sideways if it results in having the dream come true.

Try it for yourself. You have absolutely nothing to lose by dreaming BIG!! Just remember to use your past along with your present in order to create your future!

My best wishes to all of you for a very successful and happy 2015! My 2014 exceeded every possible dream and/or wish I could have made! Or much less have even thought about! I could – and do – happily wish the same for each of you.

Questions or comments? Please write to me:  bookmechanicATgmail.com

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