Hazy Shades

On October 22, 1966, Simon and Garfunkel released the song, A Hazy Shade of Winter. It was first released as a single and later added to the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends. The song lamented the passage of time. Paul Simon writes,

Time, time time, see what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities

I was so hard to please

There can be no doubt, time moves on turning minutes into hours and hours into untold years, never minding what we say or do. You can mourn the loss of time, or you can capitalize on the present. I vote for the latter.

We’ve each been given a certain amount of days to accomplish all that we were created to accomplish. The new year is upon us. Rather than dwell on the failures of the past (and we all have them), focus on what’s ahead. What lies before you in the coming year? You may not know, but take one step at a time and fulfill your calling.

The wisest of wise men, King Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven , , ,” Everything in living has its time and place. Organize it and make it all count. You have only one shot at this thing called Life. Do it right in the coming year.

Don’t come to the end (and no one knows when that will be) with the attitude,

Time where have you gone to?
You left me far behind
And though it seems I’ve missed you,
You never crossed my mind.

That’s it for this week. Again with the holiday looming over us, I didn’t add an excerpt or question for this week. We’ll get back to it next week. Have a happy and healthy 2020, and I’ll see you next Monday.



Who is the Real Hero of Christmas?

There are no updates this week because . . . It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or so they say. Christmas should be everyday, don’t you think? The prophets foretold it. The rabbis taught it. The angels declared it. The shepherds witnessed it. Today, we celebrate it. But how? And why?

Satan has no originality. He can only imitate and copy what’s already taken place, what’s already been done. Still, he would like to destroy the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. So along came Santa Claus. Has he replaced Jesus as the reason for the season? Think of the likenesses and consider the following list. You may want to check it twice.

1. Both have hair like wool (Revelation 1:14; Daniel 7:9)

2. Both have beards (Isaiah 50:6; Revelation 1:14)

3. Both come from the north (Ezekiel 1:4; Psalm 48:2)

4. Both are omniscient–all knowing (Revelation 19:6)

5. Both are ageless and eternal (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; Hebrews 13:8)

6. Both make a list of judgments (Revelation 14:7; 20:12; II Corinthians 5:10)

7. Both check their list (Matthew 10:26; II Corinthians 5:10)

8. Both give gifts on the basis of the list (Matthew 25:21; Revelation 21:27; 22:14)

9. Both involve rewards once yearly–Day of Atonement

10. Both receive our confession of sins (I John 2:1; I Timothy 2:5)

11. Both ask children to obey parents (Proverbs 6:20; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20)

12. Both deal with Christ’s “supposed” birthday

13. The hour of their coming is a mystery (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:33; Luke 12:40)

14. Both use a light for guidance–Rudolph’s nose (Matthew 2:2, 7, 9, 10; Numbers 24:17)

15. Both call all children to their knee (Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16)

16. Both have a twinkle in their eye (Revelation 1:14; 2:18)

17. Both will make a swift visit to the whole world in one day (Isaiah 47:9; Revelation 18:8)

18. Both are omnispresent–Santa is found in every mall at the same time (Psalm 139:7-10)

19. If I may use just one verse out of context–both say “ho, ho”. (Zecheriah 2:6).

Merry Christmas to all and to all a very blessed holiday season!

On Perfectionism

This week’s updates are complete. I chose an excerpt from Lori Colbo’s piece, Mary’s Song: The First Christmas Carol, for this week’s excerpt. It’s a very powerful write. Be sure to check it out in its entirity by following the link on the Excerpt page.

The new question has also been posted as well.

Just thought some of you might find this amusing. Yep! That’s a double shot of me in a different lifetime – lol

Now on to something to think about – perfection. Years ago, I was a guitarist in a rock-n-roll band. I loved music (and still do), but as a musician, every note had to be right on. If I made one mistake during a show, it would haunt me over and over again. Let me tell you, I made many more than one mistake during a night’s performance. Perfection drove me crazy. I was never satisfied, and I lived as if there was an egg shell under each foot.

We, in the creative arts, of which writing is, have a natural tendency toward perfectionism. You may think that’s a good thing, but it is not good for creativity. It may have a constructive use when it comes to the final edit, but it crushes creativity.

Perfectionism will not help you:
– come up with ideas
– bring the story to life
– develop your imagination

These things may help when dealing with perfection. Although we long for it, realize we’ll never achieve it. Try setting a regular writing schedule for yourself. Consistency goes a long way. Just write. Be sloppy. You can always go back later and fix it. But don’t go back too soon. I have heard it said that even six months later may not be too long to wait.

But the most imporatant thing is to have fun. One of the things I learned from my band days is, I’ll never get it right all the time, and neither will you. Just write and savor the moment. Another thing I learned was, I may not do it perfectly, but satisfaction comes from doing the best job I possibly can. To sum it up, don’t strive for perfection. Stirve to be the best you can be.

Well, that’s it for another Monday. See you next week!


I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know some of you don’t like snow, but on a gloomy, rainy, Pennsylvania Monday, I’m looking forward to the mountains turning a shimmering white on December 25. As little J. P. would say in Angels in the Outfield, “It could happen!” Even if you don’t care for snow, you have to admit, there’s a certain beauty about it that you don’t find in spring, summer, or fall. Anyway . . .

Be sure to check out the updated Featured Excerpt. This week it’s from Lawrence Hebb’s series, Spaceship Earth. He has some good thoughts, and as always, good writing. The new question is up, and I’m witing for answers, too.

How about some thoughts on overused words. These ideas were expressed on ProWritingAid.com, and I found them very useful. There are so many bad habits we can fall into. Or maybe, at times, we don’t even realize they’re bad. So here’s my two cents for this week –

#1: Words with indefinite meanings can be overused with no real purpose.

Words like “could”, “might” and “maybe” are indefinite in their meaning. If your writing contains a lot of these indecisive words, it will feel flimsy.

#2: If you’ve been writing for more than six months, then you know to show, not tell, but often we overuse words that only tell, not show.

Words like “knew”, “felt” and “saw” are examples of “telling” rather than “showing.” Writing should be evocative, so if you’re using too many “telling” words your work will be less strong.

#3: Depending On Intensifiers can cause an overuse of words. And they add little to your writing.

Intensifiers like “very”, “so” and “really” add little to your reader’s understanding. Instead, replace your weak words with a word strong enough that you don’t need an intensifier.

#4: Nonspecific Words

If someone tells you a book is “interesting”, that tells you almost nothing about the content of the book. When possible, choose words that have precise meanings and talk about specifics.

I think your writing will be cleaner and more consise. The problem is being aware of what makes good writing good when you’re writing – try that three times fast. As we grow, eventually these things will become habit and you can move on to another step to improve your writing – just some things to think about.

Well, here’s hoping you all get a ton of snow for Christmas! See you next week.


Finally – Cadeyrn’s Tale is Published! – And Adverbs

Well, Cadeyrn’s Tale is finally complete. For a shorter book, it seemed as if it would never be finished. You can get it here on the website or from Amazon. Of course, by ordering it here, you get free shipping.

That being said, Central PA is once again coated with white. The storm that hit the nation left us pretty much alone, but there is a sprinkling of snow over the countryside – very pretty!

Now, for something practical. Let’s talk about those nasty adverbs that we tend to overuse. We certainly want our writing to be descriptive. We want it to be expressive. Adverbs are most often used to strengthen or prop up weak verbs. If we choose to use strong, descriptive verbs, the need for adverbs will be lessened.

All things considered, there will be times when an adverb will be your best choice of words. But adverbs can cause us to be lazy writers. To be honest, I’m an adverb abuser, but we live and learn.

Take the above sentence from the third paragraph, We certainly want our writing to be descriptive. The adverb certainly adds strength to the sentence. It emphasizes our desire for good writing. But could the sentence be stronger if we used a little thought and creativity? What if we chose a stronger word for the verb want? What if we eliminated the adverb and replaced the weak verb with the word crave? We crave for our writing to be descriptive. Is there a difference?

Take the next sentence – We want it to be expressive. We have removed the the adverb, but a weak verb (want) still exists. We don’t care to repeat the verb crave, especially in back-to-back sentences. Maybe we could substitute desire or long for. We desire it to be expressive. We long for it to be expressive.

Okay. So I think you get the idea, and that’s my two cents for another Monday. See you next week!