100,000 and Growing!

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Six years ago, when I began blogging, I never dreamed that my writing would have been seen and read over a hundred thousand times. This morning I passed the 100,000 views milestone. Thank you WordPress for allowing me this terrific venue for exposing the contents of my mind. By the way, over 90% of what goes on in my mind is X-rated so don’t look for it at any time. They say the mind is the last organ to go.

I learned too late, even though WordPress recommended following other bloggers, to build up my own followers, and I now have 440 followers. I have posted over 1260 articles, essays, cartoons, jokes, garden lies, and personal tidbits, so there is a variety of subject matter to amuse anyone who wants to know what goes on in the mind of a seventy-something old man.

THANK YOU followers and readers.

Another Job I Cannot Do

It has been a week since I posted an original piece and I can’t say that I care too much. I seem to be passing through a period of laziness, and writer’s block. I had fun in the past bashing Obama at every chance, but my effort to get rid of him as president failed.  Now that I am stuck with him I have sunk into despair. I don’t care what he does, nor do I want to know. I can’t do anything about it except to vote for someone different when that time comes. So, my desire to write has waned.

Writing is a hard job, and I don’t like to work hard anymore. My writing skills were never very good, and it showed throughout my education. There were so many obstacles along the way, like grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns, modifiers, subjects, and logical thought. There were a few instances along the way when I wrote something good and a teacher recognized me for it. Like the piece I wrote in college for Professor Will McCarthy titled the “Green Beauty.” That story related a date when I took my Irish girlfriend to her Senior prom at the Del Prado Hotel in Chicago.  The Green Beauty referred to the car I used, my dad’s 1939 four door, dark green Buick Special. The name Green Beauty came to me from a radio show I listened to called “The Green Hornet.” The Green Hornet called his car the Black Beauty. My final grade for this course was “C”.

Dad’s Buick was already sixteen years old when I used it for this date. The door hinges were worn and when a door opened it dropped a couple of inches. If one was not aware of this phenomenon when opening the door it came as a surprise. I wrote about the reaction the Del Prado doorman had when he rushed up to open the door for my date. The look on his face is something that I still chuckle about when I think about it. In fact I’m chuckling as I write this. Professor McCarthy gave me an “A’ for that story. He even read it out loud to the class as an example of good writing.

The next year another prof named Holub gave us an assignment to find a picture of a piece of equipment and to write a short paragraph describing what it was. I don’t remember what piece of equipment I selected but I described it accurately. Again, Professor Holub read the piece in class as an example of good writing. My final grade for this course was “C”.

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It came time to transfer from Saint Joseph’s College to the University of Illinois and they required transferees to take a test to decide if someone doing into the school had proper English writing skill to be worthy of the University of Illinois.  I sweat that one because the idea of taking remedial english courses gave me the willies. The day of reckoning came and I showed up at the auditorium on the south end of the quad for the test. They told us to take a seat, but to leave a space between. We were handed a little blue examination tablet with lined paper, and a list of topics. The test was to write an essay on one of the twenty topics listed. Thankfully, I remember Professor Holub’s advice to turn any topic into what it is you want to write about. I don’t remember anymore which subject line I spotted, but it triggered me to write about the morality of abortion. The words flowed, and I filled the blue tablet with what I believed to be logical and moral arguments against abortion. In today’s world I would have been thrown out of the auditorium for picking such a topic.

Several days went by before I got the news that my essay was good enough to keep me from having to take remedial english, what a relief.

Since those few times when I got lucky with my writing the need to write seriously never occurred. There were many times when I had to write reports for experiments,  but I don’t count that as serious writing. For one thing report writing almost always uses passive voice because it refers to something that was done. In writing today, when I run the grammar check, it nearly always bongs me for using past tense. It seems that using phrases like “was done” are verboten because the reader finds them hard to decipher.

One of the things I realized this week as I struggled with my writer’s block, is that I would never have been able to make a living as a writer. The idea of having to produce essay’s of value on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis scares me to death. I guess it boils down to when it is fun, the words flow, but when it is required your brain goes into lockdown.

Note:  Grammar check found seven instances of passive voice within this essay. I did not rewrite those sentences. My lab report skill is still at work today.

Jun-e-or

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerFinally, I printed volume three of my memoirs titled “Jun-e-or.” I began writing them seven years ago. I thought it would be great to document my earliest childhood memories for my grand children. I scibbled every memory I could into a tablet by hand, recalling FDR declare war on Japan, riding home with Dad in his new -used car(1929 Buick Special). I stood on the front seat next to him and looked out the back window over the top of the seat. As I wrote each vignette, more memories surfaced until I had recorded over three hundred. The next step was to have them converted to the word processor. I talked my good friend Judy into doing this for me. What an angel, she did it without changing a thing. The final step was the hardest. I had to clean up the grammar, and make the stories sound interesting. 

I published Volume One and presented it to my children and grandchildren for Christmas 2006, Volume Two came in 2007, now Volume Three. It is not completed yet, because I still want to insert art and family photos to enhance the text, and to make it more meaningful to them. Finally, I will bind the book with a nice cover and it will be finished. The three volumes complete my story up til hIgh school.

 My next work will be called “My Love Story.” I want to leave the kids with the narrative of how Barbara and I met, fell in love, and began our life together. This story will end with the birth of our last child. I figure the kids can begin their own stories from that point on.

Here is a sample vignette from Volume Three of “Jun-e-or, Recollections of Life in the Ninteen Forties and Fifties.” 

POOPER SCOOPER
There were many street vendors such as the ice man, the milk man, and others. They used horse drawn wagons to carry their wares. The horse often dropped a load in the middle of the street. If Mom spotted a pile within a couple of houses to either side of ours, she’d shag me out to pick it up. I shoveled the pile into a bucket. It was lousy duty, but I did it. Mom used the manure for fertilizer. Before she did, she aged it for a long time. Fresh manure is too acidic to use. It will burn the vegetation that it’s used on. Aging it cuts the potency. Aged manure is excellent in the garden.
  
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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