Thursday, November 7, 2019

More for Boomers

An interesting story I read this week compared the generation label "boomer" to the "N" word. 

According to news reports, Rochester, N.Y., radio host Bob Lonsberry tweeted that boomer was the "... n-word for ageism." Lonsberry is 60.

USA Today reported the phrase "'OK, boomer,' has been used on the video-sharing app TikTok by Generation Z and millennials (also known as Generation Y) to show their resentment toward baby boomers."

The Independent's story  noted that Lonsberry criticized the phrase because it was "typically used to jab older folks for espousing seemingly outdated views."

I've heard boomer all my life and never considered it a derogatory term. I'm a boomer and proud to wear the badge. I've seen and experienced a lot of things in my boomer life. And perhaps I'm too old to care. That's another thing that comes with growing older.

Lonsberry, who has since deleted the tweet, apparently faced an avalanche of criticism for making the word comparison, according to the USA Today story. 

From the "The Mo'Kelly Show" host: "Just because something is insulting, it doesn't make the N-word sporto. Nobody died connected with it. Nobody was enslaved or segregated in conjunction with it. Just stop."

Actor John Mulaney, quoted by a Twitter user, said, "If you're comparing the badness of two words and you won't even say one of them, that's the worse word."

I'm not going to castigate Mr. Lonsberry. Maybe he was feeling down since reaching the big six-oh. Since he deleted the tweet, my guess is that he probably wishes he had used a different word, such as old, elderly, or senior. And there are plenty of other words that have been used to describe my generation.

Yep, words do matter, so choose wisely. 

Your thoughts?


If you're looking for information on the Internet about boomers, check out the "Top 100 Baby Boomer Blogs & Websites to Follow in 2019."

The blogs and websites cover a wide array of topics such as health, finances, careers, relationships, travel, grandparenting, and more. You can also subscribe to those that pique your interest. 

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

On the Second "(Re)Write" Track

It's back to work on the work in progress, this time on the second rewrite. 

The first rewrite was quite a chore since I hadn't looked at the manuscript in six months or so. It took much longer than I expected to go through the 60k-plus words, about 10 arduous weeks. 

This time should go more quickly, perhaps even 10 days, if I don't encounter too many distractions along the way. That's another reason I spend most of my time in the early hours working on a manuscript. 

I generally go through 10 or 11 rewrites before I'm satisfied enough to submit it to my editor at Wings ePress. That's not to say she receives a perfect manuscript; far from it. But I do hope it creates less work for her in the long run in that she can focus more on story than on other elements.

As noted in previous posts, this novel will be the fourth in the John Ross Boomer Lit series. In the last novel, New Horizons, the story focused on John and Sally Ross's trip to Budapest. Now they're back home in Kentucky and dealing with domestic adventures of various and sundry sorts, to put it lightly. Retirement isn't what John expected when he left the newspaper business. 

What I try to do in a second rewrite (and probably every rewrite to clean and fine-tune) is to add/delete descriptions, tighten dialogue, make grammatical and spelling corrections, and delve more into characters to show their motivations and what makes them tick. 

And I'll add or expand scenes to enhance the story and delete others that bog down the flow or don't add to the overall development of the plot/subplots.  

Until the next time . . .   

Friday, October 18, 2019

Boomer Websites

As an author of novels for baby boomers, also known as boomer lit, there are websites I read regularly to keep up-to-date on what is happening with the generation born from 1946-64. 

I have a keen interest in baby boomers. It's important for me to know the issues and concerns of those I'm writing about in this genre. And as a boomer, I'd be reading visiting these to see what is going on with those in my age group. 

I recently wrote about my hearing loss and getting hearing aids. It helped me understand this health issue from the viewpoint of others about this problem, both professional and personal.    

I also like to be informed about issues that I may encounter before my brief time on Earth is over. And it's not only health matters. There are financial and social matters that concern me. 

By keeping up with the various issues, it informs my writing and makes it relatable to my readers. I also gather information in other ways, such as chats with family and friends and other media (TV, books, movies, etc.)

Here's a shortlist of websites I frequent:

AARP —  The website is targeted for those 50 and over so it also brings in those who hit that magic number this year (Generation X). It's an all-encompassing site that provides useful information on health (such as Medicare, prescription, drugs, etc.), leisure, travel, and finance. 

Baby Boomers — This useful destination provides information on topics such as travel, healthy living, relationships, nutrition and more.  

Boomer Cafe — This site offers wide-ranging topics such as retirement, health, fitness, politics, and an active lifestyle. I receive a first-person story in my email each morning from boomers sharing their life experiences.

Growing Bolder — As part of the Growing Bolder Broadcasting that is seen nationally, the site focuses on active and inspirational lifestyles for older folks.  Not surprisingly,  the site contains quite a few interesting videos.  

Next Avenue — Like AARP, this site is aimed toward those 50 and over. It includes topics such as caregiving, health, work, and technology. It is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting System and produced by Twins Cities PBS.

I also read articles about boomers in MSN, HuffPost, WebMD, and other sites. 

Do you have any recommendations?

Until the next time . . .  


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

More to Do on WIP

I finished the first rewrite of my work in progress and discovered there's a lot more to do on the second rewrite. It took longer than I expected, about 10 weeks, and there's a good reason for the extra time on the manuscript.

As mentioned in a long-ago post, when working on "New Horizons," I decided to break up the manuscript because it was running too long and going off in another direction.
What I've learned after working on the second half of the manuscript is that the story hasn't ended. I have nearly 61,000 words saved and will probably need to write another 20k—so I'm about three-fourths of the way to "The End."

I recalled, when it abruptly ended today, that it was at that point about a year ago when I decided to turn it into the fourth book in the "John Ross Boomer Lit" series. For some reason I thought I had finished it. It must have been a senior moment!  

I'll delve back into the manuscript, knowing what's been written and where it's likely to go. My goal is to have the manuscript ready to send to my editor at Wings ePress by the end of the year, if not sooner.  I'm hopeful that this novel will be published in 2020. Good vibes sent my way will be appreciated. 

One thing I've learned from this experience is that I won't be breaking up a manuscript again. Once started on a book, I'll stick with it until the very end. 

Until the next time . . .

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Timely Update on WIP

I don't know if it's age-related, manuscript-related, or retired-related, but work on my latest novel seems to be moving at a snail's pace. 

Truth be told, it's probably a bit of each: I don't have the energy I once had, the manuscript is resulting in a more detailed rewrite, and I may have too much on the platter in my twilight years.

My energy level is definitely not what it was, even five years ago. For example, I recently went to the doctor for two vaccinations. My body ached for several days and it affected my sleep. I felt physically drained. I have two more vaccinations coming up this week and I dread it because of what may happen again.

I spend each day on the manuscript, the fourth book in the John Ross Boomer Lit series. As mentioned in a previous post, I put the first draft in hibernation for about six months before getting back to it. Now, for various reasons, the manuscript almost seems like reading a new book. I wanted to put fresh eyes on it, but sometimes wonder if this is almost to the extreme. 

I do try to stay busy each day. I'm up before the crack of dawn, usually working on my novel. I also read each day. I do some book promotion and marketing. I'm involved in the Bluegrass Writers Coalition. I meet friends several times a month for coffee or breakfast. And I have family matters as well to attend to most every day; just ask my wife and dogs. I also have hobbies that include photography and travel. 

I've read that it's important for folks around my age to stay mentally sharp and physically fit (that probably includes any age from what I've observed). I wonder, though, if a person can overdo it? I certainly don't want to spend my days sitting in a rocking chair in front of the TV, wasting away in mind and body.  I guess balance is the keyword.

So that's where I am on my novel—in a roundabout way. I've contacted my editor at Wings ePress and the novel should be published in 2020. Now to avoid going around in circles and get back to the manuscript!

Until the next time . . . 

Friday, September 13, 2019

I Hear You . . .

For several years I've denied a problem I knew was creeping up on me. 

My wife would try to discuss it with me but it wasn't something I wanted to accept. I knew it could happen as I got older, but it still wasn't easy for me to acknowledge. Even though I wasn't having sleepless nights,  I wasn't being the man I wanted to be by not dealing with it head-on. Could I be so foolish in my old age? Could I be so vain? So selfish?

After making excuses for several months, I decided to get an examination and find out if it was a problem I needed to address. And I did it for my wife, to satisfy her concerns about my health. I certainly didn't want to disappoint her and leave her with doubts about our future. I didn't want us to go to bed every night with it hanging over our heads. 

I took the required tests and the results came back positive. Yes, I was disappointed, but there was no more denying my problem. It was something I had to take care of or risk the chance of missing the clarion call for corrective action in the future.

Can you see my hearing aids?
My problem? Sad but true, I've experienced permanent hearing loss in my life. And I now wearing hearing aids. I have trouble distinguishing or hearing high-pitched sounds. I'm okay with low and mid-range frequencies so two out of three isn't too bad. 

According to the National Institute on Aging, one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. It's half of those who are 75 or older (my Dad got hearing aids in his 80s). And the NIH notes, "...some people may not want to admit they have trouble hearing."

That was me before I heeded the call to do something about it.

No doubt, my hearing problem developed through the years, from attending high-octane rock concerts, work-related assignments in the news media, failing to protect my ears when mowing the lawn and performing other noisy jobs, and listening to music too loud on headphones and earphones. I've had tinnitus, that annoying ringing in the ears, for 40 years but over time I've learned to ignore it for the most part.

So I'm letting you know, as advised from the NIH, that I have a hearing problem. But you shouldn't have to speak louder unless, of course, you don't want me to hear what you're saying. Now you wouldn't want to do that, would you? 

Fits snugly behind my ears
I wear mini behind-the-ear hearing aids. They're lightweight and fit so nicely that it's difficult to see them. That's a vanity thing for some people—including me to a certain extent—but being able to hear overrides those concerns, especially being able to listen to the sweet sounds from my four adorable granddaughters and even the welcomed barks from my four-legged friends. 

And, at my age, vanity isn't a major concern. Preserving what I have, healthwise, is a priority. Baby boomers understand. You can use it and still lose it. In addition to hearing, that includes sight, smell, touch, mobility, and other things we take for granted in our lives.

My wife is satisfied I have taken the proper steps to protect my hearing. My problem now is finding an excuse when I want to tune her out!

Until the next time . . . 


Monday, August 26, 2019

Plodding Along on WIP

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on the fourth book in my "John Ross Boomer Lit" series.

So let me give you a quick update: It hasn't been easy.

I sat on the first draft for about six months before going back to it on Aug. 1. I wanted to view it with fresh eyes. That has happened, for the most part. It's also made for some tired eyes during the rewrite.

I've rediscovered forgotten words, like reading something for the first time by another author, except that the author is me. I'm having to relearn some of the plotlines and new characters. 

It's been an adventure as each page seems to contain something new to me. There are thoughts and words that were locked in the recesses of my brain several months ago. And now they're beginning to re-emerge on the computer screen.

One thing I've had to do is provide more backstory so readers have an idea what John and Sally Ross, as well as other characters such as Brody and Geraldine, have been through in the previous three novels. It also reopens my memory bank.  

A reason for that is because this yet unnamed novel was part of the third novel, "New Horizons," but I decided to divide the draft when it began to spiral in different directions. I like coherence in my books; I certainly didn't want to write a sprawling novel of 250,000 words or more.

So that's where I am at this point in time. I'm still cautiously optimistic that I will be able to hand it over to my editor at Wings ePress by the end of September. 

Until the next time . . .