2023: Another chance?

It’s another year, and another chance to do things better—or at least do them in the first place!

I have been attempting to prod myself into getting back to writing—finishing a complete draft that has been simmering in a Scrivener project for too many months—or merely having enough interest and discipline to carve out at least an hour each day to WRITE SOMETHING! It seems as though there’s always something more important to attend to, which usually isn’t true at all. Is it a mental “thing?” Without a doubt!

Lately, I always seem to get the feeling that there’s not enough time in a day to get things done, and, consequently, I procrastinate and really fail to accomplish anything. At night, when I’m lying in bed, ideas and topics cascade through my mind, and I think how wonderful they would be to write about when I’m next perched at my desk and laptop rarin’ to go. Of course, the next day dawns, and the verve of those nocturnal “gems” has flown off to wherever thoughts such as those fly off to. Ever try re-capturing bits and pieces of “night thoughts” the morning after? Next to impossible. Like dreams, which are so real and alive while they’re occurring, they leave little, if any, traces of their existence later on.

In self defense—or maybe it’s just rationalization on my part—these past couple of years have left me a bit overwhelmed with so many medical issues and strange happenings in my family. Unexpected deaths and critical diagnoses have so often taken the bloom off the carefree feeling of everyday life. Most days, my thoughts have spread themselves out in concerns for everything but my own happy pastime of writing. In other words, maybe it’s hard to truly be motivated to do things when my heart and mind just aren’t in it!

Perhaps now, having written this, I’ve unexpectedly answered my own question as to why I have not been an eager beaver to finish that piece of fiction when real life’s plot and characters are right there in front of me. For better or worse, I’m certain that everything will work out for all of us. (said warily…)

Blogging 101-Day 6

IMG_0140Today’s lesson involved creating an “Irresistible” ABOUT page, and though I had made one a few years ago, I felt a revision was called for. I’ve just finished doing so, and I think the thing reads much better, conveys the overall purpose of this blog, and cuts a lot of “deadwood” from the page. (At least I’m hoping that’s the case!)

This course has come at a very good time for me. The onset of the new year is a wonderful time to assess our priorities and make changes–subtle or otherwise–in all facets of our lives. And so some of those changes will be appearing in my blog over the next several days.

I appreciate any feedback. As always, I welcome all smiling folks to this journey. It’s cold here in northern Illinois, and I hope you’re keeping warm wherever you are! 🙂


2014 disappearing…Books to read on the road ahead

file7691266266638Happy New Year, one and all! This being my final post of 2014, I could go on and on about the wonderful things that happened to me in this year that is about to disappear into the past, but I’ll concentrate, instead, on one of my most favorite topics: Books.

My list of things to read in the coming new year has grown exponentially, thanks to some wonderful Christmas gifts left under our tree. And though I should probably get back to my writing and re-focusing my attention to finishing my current work in progress, a novel titled Sandbar’s Secret, I can’t wait to plunge headfirst into those nice-looking tomes that sit waiting on my “to be read” shelf of my bookcase. I’ll get to the writing, I’m confident!

Before I get into mentioning those upcoming reads, I want to say a word or two about the book I’m about to finish reading for a men’s bookclub this coming Saturday morning. Bill Bryson has been an author I’ve enjoyed, and his One Summer, America 1927 has been a very pleasurable experience. In typical Bryson fashion, he seems to bring out the unique “oddities” that often go unnoticed as history unwinds. At the heart of the book is the Lindbergh flight and the basic birth of aviation it brought about in 1927.

But that’s not all that made an impact on America and the world that summer. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig performed brilliantly as The New York Yankees fielded what is considered the greatest baseball team ever, and that was enjoyable to read about. The convicted anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, were executed for their deeds, and Al Capone was nearing the end of his “rule” in the underworld. Movies were swiftly moving away from silent ones into “talkies,” and TV was under development. And that’s merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg of all the neat stuff that Bryson has included in his terrific book! As such, I anticipate a wonderful discussion amongst the gentlemen this Saturday morning, while we enjoy hot coffee and nibble on delicious cranberry muffins.

Now, on to my upcoming reading itinerary:

  1. 41 A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
  2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  3. Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O’Connell
  4. Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

I realize that some of these books are not new, particularly the Kinsella book which is the one that the movie Field of Dreams was based on, but they’re “new” to me, and I am eager to get into them all! Of course, there’s another book club gathering approaching in a few weeks where we’re going to discuss Dan Brown’s Inferno. I finished that a couple of weeks ago and can take it or leave it. Enough of Dante’s works, already!

Now, as my new year is on the cusp and arriving sooner than later, and my books to read sit patiently for my attention, I wish you all the happiest of things to come in the year ahead. I had the pleasure to make several blogging friends during the course of 2014, and I look forward to continuing those relationships. As we all move forward, may our days be merry and bright as we travel on down those many roads!DSCN5476

Words and expressions in need of a “time out”…

In these very busy times leading into the holiday season, one has many opportunities to see and hear examples of language which tend to irritate, much as a popcorn kernel wedged between a couple of teeth does. And because misery loves company, I will share a few of them herewith.

I’m not sure if anyone else is as annoyed as I am with the word so, used to begin something, but it seems to be more and more in vogue—in both writing and speaking. (Example: “So my family and I are all packed and ready to go on vacation when the phone rings.”)

Like nails on a chalkboard, this prevents me from really enjoying what might be some pretty decent content of whatever it is the writer/speaker has to offer. I really can’t pinpoint exactly why this is so irritating, but perhaps it’s because the wording sounds like an anecdote or joke. I love a good anecdote and joke as much as the next person, but I don’t find beginning a piece of serious writing with so very enjoyable. And I’m hearing this, more and more, from professionals who should know better!

When so begins something, doesn’t it imply that there should be something known previous to it? Or, perhaps, this is another one of those examples of how our language gets shaped and used (often misused) for one’s own whims.

Right along with this use of so is the use of I mean… to start a sentence. For whatever reason, this seems to be a standard “reply starter” offered up by athletes who have been asked some hard-hitting, crucial question, as in the following example: (Interviewer)-“How did it feel to score the winning touchdown as time ran off the clock?” (Sports star)-“I mean, it was cool and surreal!” Does anyone else find this weird, or is it only I that does?

While one ponders an answer to that, another irritating term is surreal (see above example). Yep, it’s a perfectly wonderful word, but it’s overused and appears in so many places where another word might be better. Could it be that many folks use the term in order to sound smart and literary? Whatever the case, it needs a rest, as do gin up, teachable moment, throw someone under the bus, just sayin’, my bad, to die forit’s all good, and it is what it is. Nary a day passes, it seems, when I don’t hear at least one of these gems thrown out there in one form of media or another. Be they “hip” or “cool,” they’re still annoying!

Perhaps with the arrival of a new year in just a few weeks, all of these terms can take a much file0001562030891needed hiatus and cease their annoyance factors. Of course, it will be short-lived as there’s sure to be more to be ushered in right behind them and shoved down our throats by the “hip” and “cool” media and the “hip” and “cool” folks who pick up on it. Oh, well, resigned to that fate, the beat goes on…

Have a wonderful holiday season, all!

A new year: Time for some housecleaning!

a-z of banned words
a-z of banned words (Photo credit: DrJohnBullas)


The holidays scooted in and scooted out rather quickly it seems, and another sunshiny-cold morning has shown its face today. The decorations and lights have been dismantled–for the most part–and this second day of the new year is off and running on a course that is sure to be heavily laced with twists, turns, ups, downs, and everything in between! But perhaps it’s a good thing that 2012 finally reached its conclusion, if for no other reason than the whole world seems in need of a clean slate, a fresh start, and a chance to solve some of the many problems facing us all–if that’s even possible!


Like most folks I know, I’ve grown weary hearing about the “Fiscal Cliff” that we all are in danger of sliding over and that we’re all in dire peril of watching the world as we know it collapse before our very eyes at any given moment. I will be extremely happy when that repugnant term disappears from its constant state of overuse, taking a plunge over its own “cliff” forever! And I could make the typical comment right here about having Congress and the president follow suit, but I will refrain from that here as well–for the nonce. Suffice it to say, that we have a very long ways to go in righting the ship that is the economy. But, please, no more “Fiscal Cliffs.”


The new year is a perfect time to do away with all of those other annoying words and expressions that populate the current culture and social picture. I believe it’s time to put to rest the following terms, expressions, or behaviors:


  1.  at the end of the day-the sun should set on this trite piece of whimsy!
  2. super foods-not sure what these even are, but they sound way too cutesy-pie for my stodgy tastes!
  3. to die forused when describing some very good food, but why would one partake if they would die doing so?
  4. sabermetrics-taken all the fun out of good, old-fashioned baseball enjoyment!
  5. fantasy leagues-ditto to the above (add any other sport as well!)
  6. bucket list-time for this to finally “kick the bucket!”
  7. man cave-this one speaks for itself!
  8. Twitter-Don’t do it, don’t understand it, don’t care!


I’m sure there are many more that I will eventually add, but for now, let’s call it a day. I can hope that a new year will bring new and good things for all of us–even old dinosaurs as I! Happy New Year….CortlandWriter