Thank you Bob Newhart

One of the great comics of the 20th century. Bob Newhart’s conversations with unseen and unheard folk were part of my life from the late 1950s onwards. So, I wrote this back in 2018 but wouldn’t have managed it without the inspirations of this great comic.

Preamble ….

Names uh?

We don’t ask for them. And maybe we don’t like them, but somehow we get stuck with them, because up until a certain age it’s an adult who is recording the name or names officially on so many records. And for a lot of us it’s just too much trouble to try and convince everyone who could possibly have your name that it has changed. Even worse these days because if you forget to tell just one organisation then computer systems get confused and are liable to wipe you out. So we carry on with the name given us. Though for some people this can be a trial and they really get upset about it.

Bearing this thought in mind. Last summer this advert popped up on one of my sites and like most adverts I didn’t ask for it, even so I had some explaining to do to my wife!

Flirty Singles

But as you will see the title ‘Flirty Singles’ has a peculiar ring to it, I mean you have the picture of this forward young lady and an encouragement to meet ‘Flirty Singles’, which if you read it one way can mean a  direct invitation to a young lady of this name. This set me thinking, just suppose there is a young woman out there whose family name is ‘Singles’ and by some chance she’d ended up with the first name ‘Flirty’. Now she has a real problem and as you know such burdens can give folks a certain attitude and outlook in life. So I offer to you Miss Singles going for a job interview at a construction site, and the owner and site manager’s conversation might go something like this….

“Ah Good Morning Miss Singles. Welcome to the job interview. Can I get you a glass of water? Tea? Coffee? Sure coffee! And, black, yea. No sugar, sure….With a spoonful of salt? (nervous laugh)..well that’s different…Eh keeps you focused does it? I’ll have to…err…look into that.

Now with construction site work many folk don’t realise that in addition to being quite labour intensive, a lot of skill is needed so I hope you don’t mind if some of my questions seems a measure intrusive…Err would you like a tissue Miss Singles….looks like you got something in your eye…Ah I see, that just a twitch…Yeh! Quite twitch…Anyway. Now I have to ask (laughs). Your first name there, it’s…… I see….uhh-huh…Yeh rich grandparents sometimes make some freaky requests of their children…uh…their weak-assed Godforsaken children? Yeah, I see…. Oh they made their money in the 1960s on the West Coast, yeh…kinda makes sense now….Have you ever discussed this condition of the…ahh…name…. with them? Oh, both died. Suddenly….At home…falling downstairs together…Gee…that’s tragic…..I’ll just get you some paper towelling, you spilled some of your coffee when you were giggling. And your parents?….Those creeps are still alive y’say….Well I guess that ties up that line of enquiry.

I see you went through twenty schools. Did you parents move much? No. Hmm, some places can be picky can’t they? Did the kids call you silly-nick names….Yeh I guess it would have gone better for them if they had….. Sports? Gridiron, I didn’t know some schools had girls’ teams…..Not the girls’ team… Offensive tackle? No kidding, they are usually kinda taller….You say it an’t needed when you jump at the face….Yeh that would be different…Hmm…Now my opinion is those guys were being a bit whinny, it is a contact sport after all, just as long as you didn’t try and wrench the helmet off….Only the once…I suppose he kept laughing when he used your first name did he?…. Oh y’know,  just a lucky guess.

I see you’ve had quite a few jobs…Hmm…finding the right one can be a bit difficult. This is different though, most of the recommendations coming from your employers’ wives… Hmm…quite a bit of colourful language but the phrase ‘He had it coming’ crops up quite a lot, guess that explains the lack of police enquiries….Oh the police liked you…Muggings dropped off wherever you lived.

Ah I see here you signed up for the Marines…..And were dropped out of basic training because your drill sergeant and the rest of the squad were getting nightmares. Special Forces said they needed stealth not banshee screaming. Geez, I hate to come across as old and cranky, but they don’t breed them as tough as they did in my day…Nah…I was in cooks and that’s no walk in the park I can tell you! Now this rejection from the Chicago Police Department. To my mind just isn’t helpful, I mean what does ‘Hah! Not until Hell Freezes Over’ offer to the applicant, it’s just not helpful.

OK, before we go out and try out on site there, if you don’t mind me asking, who took the photo? It’s only just first impressions y ‘understand but…..ahhh…doesn’t seem your style. Oh….right.……That…ah… thrice-dammed witch, your mother. Well she is good at photoshop and all that…stuff…Annd she put it on FaceBook and Instagram did she?……Gee that’s tough. But I guess that mothers for you. Trying to get you married….My, that is some twitch!

Well anyway, here we are. Office being on site. As you can see a lot of construction going on here….HEY guys! You might wanna tone down the sexist remarks….YEH? Well JOE it’s my opinion you’re damn lucky you are up there and not down here! Don’t worry I’ll have a word with them at lunch break….Sure…ha-ha….for their own sakes.

OK, so this is Harry our site foreman. No, Harry I wouldn’t make too much of that twitch if I were you. I’d be careful there Harry…Yeh I kinda guessed she’d have that sorta tough grip in her handshake, put it in cold water after, swelling will go down. So this is Miss Singles…No Harry, her first name isn’t important, truly Harry you want to trust me on that one. Remember how I was right about that gas leak?…Well it’s the same kind of situation Harry. Yeh, glad you agree.

So Miss Singles, we’ll just go for a quick walk for you get a feel of the place…Oh sure, if you want to…ahhh….try a swing with the hammer at that rubble, sure be our guest…..JOE!….Tone it down will you? Trying to help you here fellow!

Yeah I know Harry that’s one hellva swing she’s got there and…..Wow!!…Did you see that Harry?…..Harry ?…Harry, what are you doing hiding behind the truck there Harry? I mean they were only rock splinters Harry. No, Harry I’m sure you saw worse shrapnel in Iraq. Well I give you that Harry, that expression when she swung the hammer, yep it’s kinda imposing…those bared teeth.. Yeh Harry she’s got great impact there? I dunno Harry, something on the rock, looks like a piece of paper…Oh yeah, it’s a photo Harry….Probably of her parents Harry. How do I know?.. Hmmm….just a feeling. Y’know how it is when you interview folk. Aww now come on JOE! Sayin’ she can swing your hammer anytime, those sort of remarks just an’t funny anymore fellah.

Now y’see JOE, you provoked that. Quit whining. It was only a little piece of stone. Betcha didn’t think Miss Singles could get you at that range uh?… I know Jeff, that was a great pitch wasn’t it?…..I dunno Jeff. You’d best ask Miss Singles herself if she does any Little League coaching, yeah I think your daughter’s team would love her… Hey would someone get JOE down from there and off to Emergency, there seems to be a lot of blood there….Wassat Dave?…You can’t prize his fingers from the girder?….Oh boy, what a cry-baby, ok just wrap something about it, for the time being.

Well Miss Singles, I think you proved you can contribute to the team….Yeah… That’s ok, if you’re not done with the rock…Not done with the picture?….OK…What’s that…. Sure you can borrow the hammer, take it home and show your folks… Err we call it a tool Miss Singles, not a weapon…. Fine, if that’s what you like to call it…. Yeah Harry, kissing it, I dunno, but some folk get attached to equipment, remember Ken and that chainsaw..(Laughs)…Crazy way to trim your toenails…Yeah Harry, she does remind me of Ken too, is he still in?…Uh-uh…Well, they tend to keep folk in that place quite a while….public safety y’know.

So Miss Singles if you would care to come back into the office to sign some paperwork… I think some of the guys want to come down off of the scaffolding and rush Joe off to Emergency, no I don’t think it’s the wound , I think it’s the hysteria they’re kind of worried about. They’ll sort it out.

….. Oh no don’t be so formal, not Mr. Nightly, no we use first names…Ah I’m Jay…. Well to be truthful it’s kinda of shortening from Jerkov…..Yeah (laughs) my parents had a thing for East European names…Uh?…..No, they’re not alive. Died in a freak car accident, engine exploded. Yeah (laughs)…Still Life must go on….And if I may say so I think we’re gonna get on just fine……..”

Once again….thank you Bob Newhart.

 

The Smidge of Arrogance (A post revisited….and revised, a smidge)

If I was a very popular blogger beloved by millionsvghkRUl7_400x400

…… No, that’s freaky……I’ll start again….

Idiot man 2As you know, WP and Akismet once decided I was Spam (You guys up there in Cyber-City…… I am never, ever gonna let that go) and I decided my whole blog had to be consigned to cleansing flame 250px-Fire_whirl_(FWS)_crop That might be a tad dramatic, but I love the image…..

Anyway now I am back I thought I would rummage through a few of the old posts (tip: Keep your stuff on a Word Doc….you never know when…..) and, y’know Copy & Paste them….I mean like…who is gonna remember ?fed_up_woman-620x412

 

 

 

I do...…. (Oooh, there’s always one, isn’t there?)

Anyway… This was a post from 2018 which was all about the need to have that Smidge of Arrognace to get you started or keep on going…..I’ll let it explain itself (with editorial alterations)

“Average Body Weight 60,000 grms

Average zinc content in body 2 grms

Percentage of zinc therein = 0.00333% per body (one three-thousandth).

Yeh, that’s an estimate of how much zinc your body needs, scientifically the figures might be slightly off, but you get the idea……Not a great amount, but it’s vital, otherwise, things go wrong. Also, too much and things go wrong. You need a smidge…a very, very, very small smidge, but you need it.

Bit like something you add to a meal, if it’s not there, it’s bland maybe, if you put too much it…..Hello waste bin…..

‘So prithee dear blogger’, you ask me

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“Hey!!…..You do not normally post up tips on health or cooking. What the frib goes on here?”

Bear with me here, hear me out.

 

A scene at the ‘desk’ (allegorical) of a writer……

sturm_drang2

“Oh what is the point of it all?”

You know how it goes don’t you? Consider the following:

You put down the latest well-selling book…..OR…..Sitting there reading someone else’s erudite or inspiring or funny or informative blog post and even worse when they combine them some or all together, and you wonder….’Oh what have I got to offer? I’m like ….blaahh-city!’

OR……

A part way through your book or short story and you start to slow down or notice on a re-read that the continuity is all skewed OR the main character is as fascinating as a small piece of cardboard, in fact you reckon the cardboard is more interesting. You are there thinking ‘why am I bothering, I just don’t have it! I am just less than the dust beneath the chariot wheels of other writers….Oh (you say once more) WOE (or any other word you care to use).

OR…..

you get up OR sit down and think ‘Aww. Why bother! There was no great response to my last effort and I followed all the marketing tips…Let’s face it, I’m a nothing-writer. Who cares! (At this point you may well stick your tongue out at the latest best seller by someone you normally like, but today…..Hufffffffff!!! And foreswear never to read a book again because they only remind you of your own let-downs. You’ll buy boxed DVD sets series 1-15 of something and binge watch)

It happens folks. Doesn’t it?

And we all wonder just what can be done about it. Because we do so love to write, we do so want to be read. We have something to offer.

The Arrogance of such a thought…..Really?

This is where in comes the smidge. The very, very small pinch of Arrogance. That little piece of flint which sets off the spark for the writer to try one more time, and the time after that, and after that and just never give up.

Because you can! Because YOU have something to offer.

Let me just elaborate on this notion and bear in mind this is to illustrate just where the smidge comes in.

I write fantasy, I read fantasy.

Joe Abercrombie is gritty, this is the world big warts and all. His continuity is superb, a minor character is one book is central to another, the background from one book to another align. The action scenes are gory but so well choreographed! His characters are alive.

Q: The Smidge….

‘Haven’t they got their own swear words in this world Joe? I mean like what’s with this old goat having everything as part of his cunning plan, like not new & squaresville man. Where’s the chaos? Where’s the variety in the language. Uhh I got my own views. I’m gonna give that genre my own shot.’

Annnnddddd……

Brandon Sanderson creates whole worlds with their own science in the Mistborn, and an encyclopaedia of characters who flit in and out, have their own vital parts in the plot, no one is wasted. How could I complete?….But soft, who is that knocking on my door of creativity

Q; Smidge

‘Yeh that was fine Brandon. But Stormlight and the Way of Kings, I’m there saying ‘Get on with the plot, the guy is down a big hole and trying to inspire a bunch of other guys, I get it….What about the pacing!..I can wrap up a tale quicker than that..note to self- when writing vol III of  my series, don’t do a Way of Kings on the readers.’

Frib!(shameless plug…read about this and other fascinating words used by characters in The Precipice Dominion series….. available on Amazon Kindle…. terms and conditions apply) ) You say, that sounds like sour grapes and suchwhich. I reply…..No, that is the Smidge speaking, it is that which drives me on. The danger would be to lambast everything Abercrombie and Sanderson do just because I targeted on a few little facets which jarred with my style for I reckon I can write without those….

I…. reckon…..I can write……

And there you have the explanation dear readers/writers, the smidge is enough, just enough to get the words flowing. Any more and you will be sour, bitter and getting nowhere apart from joining the breed who scratch out 1 & 2 star reviews on Amazon because they can’t write and have a pathetic deluded ‘Kritik’ kick going in their own sad dusty little world.

There is one other smidge you should add to Arrogance and that is the Wry Smile.

Jeremy Corbyn How does that work……Oh wierd one?

Glad you asked Jeremy….

You can enjoy those works by succesful authors and still pick holes in them. Do not be angry,  and let jelousy seep in. Just be at one with the belief- no writer is 100% perfect. Therefore you can offer your own take in your own work and you are going to show the world. Never mind who says what……. It does not matter….. You…. ARE…..

Yes…You ARE A WRITER and let no one take this away from you. You have your own style, your own drive, your own images.

Repeat to yourself, without any doubt…

I AM

I WILL WRITE.

BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO.

Just that smidge folks.

Then get to work.

Good luck, and fortune to you all. You are worth it.”

The Return of A Writer (Still woebegone BUT Still Hopeful)

An up-date.

Once upon a time there was a handsome prince……williamterriss7-2

Oooops, sorry wrong story. I get the two confused.

Anyway…..

Once upon a time there was a blog of an Heroically Bad Writer (ie his writing wasn’t bad, it was his approach to getting into print, it is a comi-tragic tale.) and over a few years he did pronounce on this and that, usually about writing, but sometimes politics…. the latter become its own blog Raging From the Lectern and all was well. He made many good friends and wrote back and forth between them and all was well.

Then sadly one day for no accountable reason which any person involved in the real world could figure out, the WP Spam filter decided to turn this writer into a Spambot and try as he might he could get no messages to his friends. When he spoke to those who were wise, learned and did oversee this world of WP they suggested he was doing something wrong and it was all his fault and told him to go away. When he didn’t go away they told him to speak with the Spam Filter. The Spam Filter spoke a language no normal person could understand but the gist was it did not see how the problem was theirs, and also told him to go away. The writer being Heroic, Stubborn and Opinionated said

 

Which was quite restrained considering the circumstances.

And resolved to wipe out everything he had done so the silly old Spam Filter would forget about him, and he, (being Heroic) would start again.

And thus now do I return…..

Undeterred with my trusty laptop, and latest spam-filter.

In the meantime I continued with my writing project available on Kindle Amazon

Set up its own little site….(not trusting WP since the first fiasco….)….…… https://5d1b3a122bbf3.site123.me/

And found on returning I am stuck with WP’s new format, which is not to my liking and seems to have been designed with ‘business’ in mind so I will have to preserve there, once I can work out what language masquerading as English is being used.

Mission Statement

Since it is now fashionable in the Western World to not use one’s Nature gifted senses, there will be no politics on this blog, since there are actually no politics worth discussing only populist claptrap, and one may as well talk to a big pile of ……. as try and get sense out of anyone embracing those creeds.

There will be posts about writing, writing and more writing. Such as motivations, approaches, styles, problems, ups and down and so forths…….

I will also be trying to catch up with all my good friends, but will have to do this slowly just in case Spam Filter decides all my activity is Spam.

It’s good to be back