Death Is Highly Overrated

36x camera july 2013 108Death Is Highly Overrated

tjb logoby
John Taylor Jones

Death is highly overrated.
I’ll tell you that right now.
Especially now in the wintertime
With ice and snow and all.

I know this is not poetic stuff.
I know it’s much too blunt.
No true poet would do it,
Perform such a silly stunt.

When I pass the cemetery
Down the road from here,
I put my ear against the frozen earth
And rattling bones I hear.

I heard a voice just yesterday,
“What happened to the sun?
Buried in this frozen earth
Is certainly is not much fun.”

Another voice said something else,
Something I didn’t want to hear.
“Freezing my arse is one bad thing,
But the skin worm died in my ears.”

I had enough of those voices,
Squealing from the grave.
Rattling, rattling those freezing bones,
Why can’t the dead behave?

When old Bill Jinks called up to me,
“John, send down a kerosene heater!
But if you have a whiskey flask
That would be even neater.”

So I poured whiskey on his grave,
That cold spot in the earth.
I listen carefully for a while.
I’m sure I heard him burp.

I climbed back into my old truck,truck
My heart was filled with fear.
I turned the key, stepped on the gas.
“I’m getting out of here!”

The End

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On a Freezing Winter Morning

Robert Lewis Stevenson

Robert Lewis Stevenson

On a Freezing Winter Morning
by
John Taylor Jones
December 31, 2014

This freezing winter morning
I wanted not to get out of bed.
There was no reason to do any work this day,
That was only in my head.

After all, I have not worked at all
For over 20 years.
Not true work, not needed work
To chase away my my fears
Of Demon Debt snatching me
And putting me in arrears.

No, there was no needed work
To be done.
I could surely wait
For a friendlier Mr. Sun.

Then I thought,
What kind of example would that be
If I simply stayed in my stead?
Wouldn’t that break
Ben Franklin rule
To wake up and get out of bed?

Robert Louis Stevenson said,
Not a day went by
That he felt well enough to work,
But he chose to work every day
And not be a shirking jerk.

I keep his picture on the wall
To remind me of his will.
He wrote away on stories great
That thrill our children still.

Where would Jim Hawkins be
Without a treasure to find?
No, “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest-
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!”
No dangerous pirates
To worry about,
No Billy Bones,
No Ben Gunn.

Was I really going to lay in bed
And waste away my day?
Was I not going to write
One single word,
No poem, story or play?

I said, Why should I work
On such a terrible day?
Then I got a swift kick
In the rear.
My wife sent me swiftly
On my way.

The End

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Writing Tip of the Week: The Writer’s Market

Painting by Author

Painting by Author

The Writer’s Market

Where does a writer sell her or his stuff? That is what I’m referring to when I say, “the market,” in this article. I am not specifically aiming at the target of a particular article, however that does play a role.

Most writers use a book called Writer’s Market. The addition you want now is Writer’s Market 2015. You’ll find many publishers listed there along with literary agents. Be careful when you selected literary agent. This sum are just organizations set up to scam you.

Denali: Painting by author.

Denali: Painting by author.

When you are starting out as an article writer, you might look at smaller publications that can not pay you as much as the larger ones but who can give you a reputation as a writer. In fact a good editor will show you how to improve your writing. Your chances of getting published will increase in smaller markets, especially if you have some special expertise for which editors are looking.

Painting by author.

Painting by author.

There are some pretty good books on how to find a literary agent. If the agent asked for pavements from you, it is usually a good idea to run.

John

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Writing Tip of the Week: Novel Writing Software

Novel WriterNovel Writing Software

Over the years I have used novel writing software. Here is what it can do for you:

1. Find names to use in your novel.

2. Help you define characters for your novel.

3. Help you to develop places and things and time frame.

4. Help you define your plot.

5. Help you setup chapters.

Some programs are more expensive than others. All are of some value.

John

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Last Chance to Save $165 on Wealthy Affiliate


Kyle and Carson extended the Black Friday Sale on the annual membership in Wealthy Affiliate until midnight today (December 4, 2014). That is midnight Pacific Standard. Rather than paying $47 for a monthly membership, you can buy one year for only $299.00.

If you do this, you will be making a commitment for the long-term to marketing on the Internet. You will have everything you need to build a website, host the site, and to drive targeted traffic to your site.

This is a great opportunity don’t miss it?

John

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Writing Tip of the Week: Check Your Facts

Durango, Colorado

Durango, Colorado

We all make mistakes in our writing, expressly this 82-year-old man.

I’m writing another Western novel just for the heck of it and I mentioned action that had taken place in Durango, Colorado.

That was a big mistake which I have to go in and correct.

The reason is that the action in my story takes place about 1860. A quick look at the history of Durango shows that Durango, Colorado was not there until the late 1880s after Geronimo and the other Indians had been neutralized.

durango Mexico 2Now if I had said Durango, Mexico, I would’ve been okay because it was there in 1563.Durango Mexico

I have published hundreds of scientific papers. There, you’re always dealing with facts. But in fiction writing, your mind goes off here and there and sometimes you make a boo-boo like I did.

When I was a magazine editor, we occasionally made an error in our reporting. It was always very embarrassing to have to make corrections.

You might think that fiction readers don’t check facts. They do and that they don’t have to go to an encyclopedia to do it either. They probably wouldn’t be reading what you are writing if they didn’t know something about it.

So you can have your characters do anything you want anywhere you want but if you are writing in a historical format that you had better have your facts right.

Well, just check on your facts.

John

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Writing Tip of the Week November 20, 2014: Humor

tjb logoHumor finds a place in poetry, article writing and in novels. You can pour it on like gravy over potatoes at Thanksgiving or you can sprinkle it on like salt or pepper or cayenne pepper.

Humor always has a place. The it was not used by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg address because that was a somber occasion. But he sprinkle them here and there in his speeches and then his writings.

Mark Twain was known as a humorous. But there is a seriousness in some of his writing too. It’s just knowing when and where to use it.

Comedians and their riders have an objective. That is to make people laugh. It’s up to the comedian to interpret the writing and to act the part.

Many of us will miss Letterman when he leaves the networks because, like Red Skelton, he is a clown.

Red Skelton always performed in exactly the same way night after night when he worked the Las Vegas clubs. He said that if you change things you may not get a laugh the second time. He was very strict on that point with his supporting actors.

detectiveWe don’t always know the funny from the unfunny. That is why comedians go to small clubs to test their writings. Jay Leno has done this for many years. One Peculiarity of Leno is that he laughs at his own jokes. Sometimes that causes his audience to laugh with him.

A priest, a rabbi and the judge walked into a bar. The bartender said,”What is this, a joke?”

Well, I had to get some humor in here somewhere.

John

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Writing Tip of the Week: Fiction Versus Actual

tjb logowhale 2kids book 2Let’s take a look at four (4) paragraphs from my old, dilapidated textbook on literature. The subject is Whaling starting with scientific fact and ending with fiction. Economics and history are in between. Try to notice the difference in content and style. Can you see a difference in the restrictions on the writers. Once you decide your format, you are harpooned like a whale.

 

The first is from Science:

“Whales may be divided into three suborders: the Archeocetes of the early Tertiary; and two living groups —Ordontocete, or toothed whales, and the Mysteceti or Whalebone Whales.” Alfred S. Romer

The second is from Economics:

“The physical losses in whaling resulting from the destruction of vessels, cargoes, and equipment are indeed formidable when considered in the absolute; when compared with the size of the entire fleet fleet at sea during any given year, they constituted a smaller percentage of the whole than might reasonably have been expected as a result of the nature of the industry.” Elmo Paul Hohman

The third is from History:

“Those were the full, gala days of the industry (1830 – 1860) when rugged New Bedford, in particular, was at the peak of a picturesque, salt-sprayed renown which took her name into the seven seas. This new England town which became the greatest whaling port in the world despite population figures which were unimpressive even in an era of villages, learned to blend the strange and exotic with the native and homely in a manner both alluring and ludicrous.” Elmo Paul Hohman

The last is from Fiction:

whale“And thus with orders and yells the keel cut the sea. Meanwhile, Stubb retaining his place in the van, still encouraged his men to the onset, all the while puffing the smoke from his mouth. Like desperados they tugged and they strained, till the welcome cry was heard-“Stand up, Tashtego! – Give it to him!” The harpoon was hurled. “Stern all!” The oarsman backed water; the same moment something went hot and hissing along every one of their wrist. It was the magical line. An instant before, Stubb had simply caught two additional terms with it round the loggerhead, whence, by reason of his increased rapid circlings, a hempen blue smoke now jetted up and mingled with the steady fumes from his pipe. As the line passed round and round the loggerhead, so also, just before reaching that point, it blisteringly passed through and through both of Stubb’s hands, in which the hand-clothes, or squares of quilted canvas sometimes word at those times, had accidentally dropped. It was like holding an enemy’s sharp two-edged sword by the blade and that enemy all the time striving to rest it out of your clutch.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

“‘Wet the line! wet the line!’ cried Stubb to the tub oarsmen (him seated by the tub) who, snatching off his hat, dashed the seawater into it. More terms were taken so ling began holding its place. The boat flew through the boiling water like a shark all fins. Stubb and Tashtego here changed places-stem for stern-a staggering business truly in that rocking commotion.” Herman Melville ((August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) in Moby Dick.

That last one was very exciting!

Whale 1The writing from history was picturesque, but that is often not in history writing. The first two, science and economics, were factual with perhaps more interpretation in the economic writing.

So, what other differences do you see? Your essay on the subject is due next Friday. LOL

Books on Whales and Whaling

Moby Dick Classics

John

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Tip of the Week November 6, 2014: Your Journal

tjb logoYou have two journals, the one that you write down and the one in your head. A written journal is usually more accurate than a mental one. So don’t completely rely on your memory. Each day jot down things that occurred and things that are of interest to you and possibly others.

I have always regretted that I never kept a journal, which means that I have to rely on my memory. That is not good.

Earnest Hemingway, Sun Valley Idaho, 1939 (A few miles from my home.)

Earnest Hemingway, Sun Valley Idaho, 1939 (A few miles from my home.)

You can keep a journal on your computer. You’re probably there every day anyway and may as well jot down what you did, what you thought, and what you plan to do. If you are a writer, and you may well be sometime in your life, at least to write your memoirs, you will be glad you did.

Earnest Hemingway was a journalist which showed up in his fiction.

But I still think that a written journal in your own handwriting is best.

There is a difference between writing with a pen or pencil on paper than typing into a typewriter or a computer keyboard.  Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason novels (as I remember) wrote his novels with a pen on a yellow legal pad. That is what he sent to the publisher. He did this while sitting on his porch in Florida.

One last thing. Even if you never use your journal, if you leave it behind, it will be your history in you own words.

How to Keep A Journal Books At Amazon

John

One of my earliest paintings. Wisconsin Dells with Mountains Not really there. I pasted parts of 9 postcards into the painting. Can you find them?

One of my earliest paintings. Wisconsin Dells with Mountains Not really there. I pasted parts of 9 postcards into the painting. Can you find them?

 

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Writing Tip of the Week: Transforming History to Fiction

Eldorado

Eldorado

How to Write Fiction Books at Amazon
Your fiction can be greatly improved if you are a student of history. If you are writing a period novel, say 1679-1723, then you need to study about life and times during those years. They will help you lay the backdrop for your novel.

You also can cite historical events in your novel. You can do this in several ways, the easiest is to have one of your characters bring up the subject.

You can also take actual historical events and transform them into historical events. That is, your characters act at the event on their own.

How to Write Fiction Books at Amazon
John

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