Book Review – Go Set a Watchman

 

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Last year I set myself a goal to read 52 books. Well – I must admit that I didn’t quite make it. I was pleased with the 32 I had read and reassured myself that it was a reasonable effort for this Baby Boomer, given all that was going on with my health in 2015. My goal is the same this year. 52 books here I come. I am determined to do it this time!

So to my review of Book 32…..

With all the hype surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchman, I had mixed emotions on opening my Christmas present hardback with the deep red cover. Never being one to shy away from a literary challenge, the anticipation got the better of me and I dived right in! But I made one mistake….

I realised that it was many years since I had immersed myself in one of my fave books ever – To Kill a Mockingbird. To complete the experience, I decided to refresh my mind with the original, much lauded tome and yes, yet again it affected me. With a vague mix of excitement and anticipation (read trepidation) I launched into the ‘sequel’.

Things started well and though I did not feel that the follow up book based on Harper Lee’s notes, rang as true as Lee’s original voice, I was soon further disillusioned when a large paragraph, equivalent to almost a page, was pretty much lifted word for word from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Yes, I know that there needed to be some backtracking for those who did not read the original. Yes, I know that some critics claimed that it was acceptable as a new work in its own right. But, for me – the repetition was grating, the voice too thin and some important characters were only alluded to throughout its pages. I was disappointed!

However….the further I got into the book, the more I was appeased. For Scout fans, the precocious child is now a precocious woman, who hasn’t quite found her place in the world. When she revisits the town of her youth, things have changed. Is the South that she knew gone forever? And what does Atticus Finch do to cause her to consider leaving them behind for ever?

The only thing is to pick up a volume and find out.

I rate it 3 out of 5. Worth a look.

PS I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

 

 

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Happy Boomer New Year or Na, No Novel Finished Yet!

Boomers round the world, Happy New Year. Don’t you just love it! Another chance to rebirth, recharge, renew… and cut and paste last year’s resolutions onto this year’s diary front page.

Have you noticed that the Boomer bashing has gone quiet of late? Very few, new excerpts or theories on what we’ve been up to, have emerged from the media in recent months. Well no news is good news, I guess, but I think it’s time we upped the ante a bit, don’t you? So here’s the challenge. If you find something interesting about, or for BBs, comment or send it on and I will research and publish it. And to start us off for the year, here’s an update on what this Boomer has been doing….NOTHING!

You may remember that in 2013, I began writing my novel, The Last Baby Boomer?  I intended to finish it during Na No Wri Mo in November year before last, but it was not to be. November 1 2014, the charge was sounded again via Na No Wri Mo, with the intention of delivering said novel. Alas, a repetition of 2013. Hence copied and pasted New Year’s Resolution No. 13 – FINISH THE LAST BABY BOOMER. Feel free to ask me when the publication date is later this year!

Whilst the world tut -tuts about those pesky, cashed up with superannuation, old fogies having the time of their lives, we alone know the reality. IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN OR BEING A BABY BOOMER!

Let’s share our collective knowledge and lighten the load this 2015!

NaNoWri what??????

The second day of the Na No Wri Mo 50000 word novel project. Word count : 7400

Beginnings are easy. With the 50th birthday out of the way, NaNoWriMo came all too soon.

Nursing a stomach ache from lashing out and eating non-gluten free birthdy fare, yesterday was a ‘write off’ (in a good way). Neglected my household chores, didn’t attend my daughter’s school function and no blog post was forthcoming. Instead I wrote. Who knew that gluten intolerance could be so inspiring?

Today-not so. Super softball Saturday, lunch and a movie or two later and I’m frantically typing this pathetic excuse for a blog post…so typical of me.

No excuses. I’m happy with my progress, but…the burning question dances wildy through my gray matter-will I get to write tonight? Methinks not.

The natives are restless. Time to cook.

*Groan*

How to Find the Right Editor – A Boomer Perspective

Editers Edeterz Edditters

I’ve done it, I’ve finally done it! After weeks of dutifully filling in my Submissions Log, scrutinizing Writer’s Market from cover to cover and surfing Writer’s web pages from dawn until dusk, I’ve cracked it. The formula for success as a Freelance Writer!

And being a generous soul, I’ll share it with you. No, please don’t send money. Your success will be thanks enough for me.

It all started a couple of weeks back when my partner, eyeing yet enough rejection letter on my desk, quietly asked when the income was going to start rolling in?

EXCUSE ME?

At first I was angry. I mean I’d only just begun my heady journey to fame and fortune as a Writer. I forced myself to calm down – after all, what does HE know about a Writer’s life? About what it takes – the agony, the frustration, the loneliness?

Slowly I raised my eyes and looked into his face. I reassured him that actually I’d been doing very well. I’d sent pieces to about twenty publishers over the past month and had three articles published. Yes I’d received 11 rejection letters. Yes my income thus far amounted to the princely sum of $94.

OK, I wasn’t earning my keep and tended to neglect household chores for the hallowed grounds of cyberspace, endlessly searching for inspiration, but BY GOD, I’M A WRITER! And that’s what we do.

I felt vindicated as I explained to him that things take time. That I’m trying to find my voice, that my rejection letters have been very encouraging’. Blah, blah, blah!

I was uneasy nonetheless. There must be some way to prove to him that I’m going to make it. That the frozen meals and dusty house, will all be a thing of the past when I earn enough to employ a housekeeper to attend to our every need. But it was no use. He was right.

Not being able to sleep, I pulled an ‘all nighter’, analyzing every aspect of the articles that had been accepted for publication AND the ones that had been rejected. Was it timing? Were they new publications? Or was it my brilliant insight into the issues that I was tackling?

Then it dawned on me. Blindingly clear, a revelation so obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized it before. It was the Editors – those gatekeepers of the written word.  Bless their little hearts.

After searching my Submissions Log once more, I realized that I was indeed right. All the Editors that had accepted my articles had names that started with a ‘T’.  Terry, Tracy and Tina!

I hear what you’re saying. Yes it could be a coincidence. There had only been three articles accepted for publication and granted, three out of twenty isn’t the best odds. It could be a random twist of fate. Or was it? I decided to test my theory!

Gathering up all of the pieces that I considered to be publication-worthy, I immediately sent out another 40 submissions. I divided these submissions into two groups and sent one half to Editors with a T’ name and the identical article to Editors with a non-T’ name. A couple of weeks passed and I started to get a few replies. Rejection letter after rejection letter appeared, until, I had an acceptance email from another Tina. Bingo!

Waiting patiently for the mail each day, I discovered, to my amazement, that three ore articles were accepted for publication. One by an Editor, called Thomas, one by a Trudie and the other a Travis.

If you don’t believe me, please feel free to try this method for yourself. Look up your Submissions Log and write down the initial of the first name of all the Editor’s who’ve been kind enough to publish your work. You may well be surprised.

One request though. Whilst there remain Editors on earth whose names begin with T’, please don’t submit to them. They’re mine!

Good luck and good Editor hunting.

Boomer Logic #7 – Do not under any circumstances listen to your partner’s, mother’s, daughter’s, best friend’s or cat’s opinions on your writing. These people are like the ‘devil’, the willing accomplice of an idle mind.”

 

Blogging For Idiots

Repost from an earlier blog of mine – Writus Interruptus

Fortuitously, my daughter has absented herself on a school camp. Two whole days to myself….what to do?

Blog….of course, what else.

Happily returning to my Writus Interruptus Blog, I realise, with not a small amount of trepidation, that my previous twelve posts have NOT been published.

Not intending any slur on WordPress, I have to admit that the fault clearly lies with me. My inexperience has caused me, in my stolen writing moments, to neglect to press the Publish button. Not once, not twice, but 12 times!  Der…..!

My neglected posts stare accusingly at me from the Drafts page.  Unwittingly unpublished, unviewed and uncommented  on.

Further to this humiliation, I look back through my Pages, New Posts, My Dashboard etc. and am forced to face the reality that I did not place any tags, links or ping backs on my site. I meant to.  In fact, I could swear that I did this in May.  As a result , I have VERY FEW Views and ONLY ONE Comment on the posts I did manage to publish.

Alright, I concur that the Views are all from me and I hastily posted the Comment under an assumed name this morning.  There – laugh all you like.  My blog is a Claytons blog, a non-blog and I am a failed blogger!

Which leads me to the title of this Post.  Is there a  ’Blogging for Idiots’ book out that I can borrow from the library?  Or a concise website that explains how to bring traffic to a blog.  Before I add insult to injury and ruin any chance of ever having an audience for my blogs, please advise me what I’m doing wrong!

I’m now too deflated to post all of my Saved Drafts today.  So I’ll start with one – written some time ago and try to pick up the pieces and redeem myself to my non-existent blogees.

“BEFORE you get blogged down by the technicalities of creating your new blog, visit the help pages on WordPress, several other writer’s posts or try to locate a copy of Blogging for Idiots.  I’m told that it actually exists!

Writus Interruptus wins again!  AAARRRRRR!

Turning 50 – Big Deal…..Not!

Don’t you love old photos? Photos from a time when you just felt good. You had a happy life and knew where you belonged. And most of all you felt safe and loved.

When I look at this photo of me with my Mother and Father and try to recapture how I felt, I somehow know that life is not the same anymore. Do you know what I mean?

In under two weeks I turn 50. A big deal?

Not really, though there IS pressure from friends and family to celebrate the day as though it is. “What have your family planned for the big 50?” they ask expectantly. Their disappointment is palpable when I confess that I don’t think they’ve planned anything. The 31 October, 2013 will come and go without a blip on the world radar. In my world at least.

I’m not really feeling sorry for myself, just pondering. Apart from my daughter, hubby, Mum and Dad and a couple of close friends…(and a few relatives who may briefly mark the occasion with an “Oh, it’s Vikki’s 50th today”), people will get up, go to work and school, get cranky, be bored and sit looking up at the clouds with only the faintest knowledge of what is happening in the lives of those around them. They will judge, despise and store away information about those they come across in the heartless, cynical way that people can adopt in a vain attempt to elevate themselves to a higher level by putting others down.

It’s a different world now…..and it will never again be like that Saturday in September, 1967 at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s not just that life is now lived at a whirlwind pace. It’s not that parents are missing in action in order to chase the lifestyle they aspire to. It is that values have changed. Even the most centred teenagers I know have a sense that there is something wrong with this world, even when they have never known a different time.

So, what’s the answer? Is there one?

In the 1950s, those clean cut guys and gals creating rock and roll we’re told their music was ‘of the devil’. In the 60s and 70s, all that free love and sex was frowned upon and then AIDS came along in the 80s as the ‘punishment’. Each generation has its positives and negatives, it’s fans and detractors.

As Baby Boomers are criticised for their hedonistic selfishness, I can’t help but laugh. Ours we’re the easy times. We knew we’d get jobs, travel, have enough money to buy a house and keep loads of good food and wine on the table. We weren’t greedily grabbing it all, it just came to us.

But they were also the generous times, when people would talk to each other in the street, invite others into their homes without being suspicious, be open and honest and admit when they’re wrong. Yes there we’re bullies. Yes there were crazies and criminals and drugs. But generally there was fun and warmth and the enjoyment of making the most of the moment. Hence the big line from the song in the Big Chill, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”.

Is that such a bad philosophy?

Ireland’s Northernmost Point: Treasure At Malin Head

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

When I travel, I don’t buy a lot of souvenirs. Every now and then I’ll find something unique and delightful, but I’m not one to shell out for junk and knickknacks. Still, when I travel to exotic places like Ireland, I like to bring something back for my friends and family. Hiking out to Malin Head, Ireland’s northernmost point, way out on the Inishowen Peninsula, I found enough treasures to fill all my pockets. When I get home, everybody I know will get a little piece of Ireland!

My week in Ireland has flown by! On to Dublin and then Scotland!

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50 Ways to Put the Boom Back in Boomer #4 Find a Doctor That’s Right For You

If you are like me and have not found a good Doctor for years, or if you are unhappy with your current Doctor, it may be time to look for a new one. This is  particularly relevant  if you are a Baby Boomer facing an increasing risk of developing health issues in your 50s-70s.

Today, I’m happy to report that I have found such a Health Professional. But it hasn’t been easy!

So I thought it may to be pertinent to share a few tips that I employed in my quest:

1.  Solicit information from family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances. Often, they or someone they know may have found exactly the sort of Doctor you need and can refer you personally.

2. If you have a particular health issue, research will allow you to make sure you and your doctor are on the same page as far as treating your condition is concerned. However, when researching your health issue make sure to only use reputable websites.

3. Look for reviews or testimonials of Health Professionals on independent web sites. The Doctor that I found was the only one on myDr.com.au that had been reviewed by several women as being a competent practitioner and good listener. Fortuitously, she was located literally down the road from me.

If you have too many options to choose from,  sort out the best to try by asking yourself,

*Where would you be willing to go in order to see your doctor?

*If you are driving, then is parking an issue?

*How much does parking cost?

*Does your doctor’s age matter? An older doctor will probably have more experience than a younger doctor. But an older doctor is probably closer to retirement than a younger doctor, which means you will end up repeating the doctor search sooner.

*Do you prefer a male or female, a GP, Physician Nurse Practitioner or Alternative Health Professional?

*Can you afford to pay or do you need one that Bulk Bills (for Australians only)?

Questions to Ask the Doctor’s Office Personnel

Call the doctor’s office and ask the questions below. If they are unable to answer the questions and/or if they take a long time to get back to you, then you may want to take this into consideration when making your decision on your new doctor.

*One of the first questions you need to ask is whether or not the doctor is taking new patients.

*Which hospitals does the doctor use? You want to be sure that he/she uses one that you are comfortable going to in case you need to be hospitalized.

*Does the doctor see patients with urgent issues on the same day you call?

*Will their office process Medicare or insurance claims or do you have to do the paperwork?

*Does the doctor/staff accept questions via email?

*What is the policy on cancellations?

Questions to Ask the Doctor

When you go in for your first office visit there are things you should note:

*Whether or not the office staff is professional and friendly. This is important since you will frequently interact with them.

*Does the doctor manage his/her patient care most of the time or does he/she prefer to send patients to specialists?

*IS the doctor’s health management style collaborative or a “take charge” style. You will want your doctor’s style to be one you are comfortable with so that planning for your health care needs will be much easier to deal with.

Take the time NOW to find the right Doctor and you will be prepared for when you really need it. Good luck !

You know you’re a Baby Boomer when….

You may no longer be able to see your toes, but you definitely know how it goes -don’t put up with health professionals that are on the nose!