Well! That was an adventure. It’s not every day that we’re the #1 trending topic on Facebook. Or written about by the Daily News, the Associated Press, three British newspapers (the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Mail), New York Newsday, Metro New York, and countless websites (among others, Huffington Post, Salon, and Jezebel). Oh, and did we mention NBC News? What caused that storm […]
I’ve decided that in three years, I’m not retiring, I’m not quitting my job, but I am CHANGING JOBS. The term “retirement” has never set well with me. I also don’t like to say “quitting my job.” Either way, I will continue to stay active in my new job as a FULL-TIME WRITER. Monika and I are already looking for a new home in Bulgaria, a place with few people and a lot of nature, the near perfect place to write in my opinion.
Yes, changing jobs. I like that.
LESSON LEARNED: BACK UP AND SAVE OFTEN
Good news. I was able to restore my lost file of random notes (read my previous post). After trying everything, including a couple of file recovery programs, I was unable to recover the file. It had been corrupted in some way (with Windows, you never know for sure what that means). Then I had an idea. I went to my temp files and located one dated approximately the time I lost my original file. I opened it in Word and—you guessed it—there was my original file. I had lost a couple of hours of work that I was able to recreate, but I had my complete file back.
I do save often when I’m working, but I don’t back up my files as often as I should. I learned my lesson. Whether you back up in the cloud, on an external or thumb drive, memory card, disk, whatever, do it. BACK UP at least once a week. Daily would be better. How often you back up files depends on how much work you have to back up.
I know how Hemingway felt when Hadley (his first wife) lost a suitcase filled with his manuscripts at the Gare de Lyon as she was traveling to Geneva to meet him on that day in December 1922. The suitcase contained original and carbon copies of the early Nick Adams stories about Michigan and short stories he had been working on for months.
In “A Moveable Feast,” Hemingway describes the encounter:
“I had never seen anyone hurt by a thing other than death or unbearable suffering except Hadley when she told me about the things being gone. She had cried and cried and could not tell me. I told her that no matter what the dreadful thing was that had happened nothing could be that bad, and whatever it was, it was all right and not to worry. We could work it out. Then, finally, she told me. I was sure she could not have brought the carbons too and I hired someone to cover for me on my newspaper job. I was making good money then at journalism, and took the train for Paris. It was true alright and I remember what I did in the night after I let myself into the flat and found it was true.”
The suitcase and manuscripts were never found.
Yes, I know how Ernest must have felt. This morning at 4 a.m., I lost a Word file of “Random Notes,” which I’ve kept for many years. I tried everything possible to retrieve the file, but it’s gone.
So I did what any self-respecting author would do: I had a beer and cried. Then I wrote this post.
American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967) wrote in 1953:
“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute the inventions of the human intellect for a private imaginative conception.
“The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design.
“The term life used in art is something not to be held in contempt, for it implies all of existence and the province of art is to react to it and not to shun it.
Painting will have to deal more fully and less obliquely with life and nature’s phenomena before it can again become great.”
Hopper’s work inspires me. Here are two of his paintings with my commentary attached.
When I was growing up, the front porch was a meeting place of all that was good, a safe haven, a place for family and friends and the cats and dogs, and real conversations and big plans. Then, we didn’t need therapists and psychologists, we had the front porch and each other and the stars in the sky and summer nights and summer rain and an occasional storm that would remind us there is a reason we’re here.
in an empty all-night cafe
a woman is thinking
about the man
who is thinking of her.
(from my book “Things I Remember”)
Some of you might remember Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse pounding on the typewriter keys as he begins his novel, but how many people have actually read this piece of literary genius? If you haven’t, then here is a real treat:
“It Was A Dark And Stormy Night,” Snoopy’s novel from July 12, 1965.
It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
A light snow was falling, and the little girl with the tattered shawl had not sold a violet all day. At that very moment, a young intern at City Hospital was making an important discovery. The mysterious patient in Room 213 had finally awakened. She moaned softly.
Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates? The intern frowned.
“Stampede!” the foreman shouted, and forty thousand head of cattle thundered down on the tiny camp. The two men rolled on the ground grappling beneath the murderous hooves. A left and a right. A left. Another left and right. An uppercut to the jaw. The fight was over. And so the ranch was saved.
The young intern sat by himself in one corner of the coffee shop. He had learned about medicine, but more importantly, he had learned something about life.
I wanted to share a recent review of my novel “Finding What’s Lost.” It’s available on Amazon at
As soon as I began reading “Desperation Row” this story had me captivated. I enjoyed the set up of short yet flowing chapters as each one left me wanting more. Adrian’s journeys were heartfelt and culturally adventurous as he searched for his mysterious past while simultaneously finding his future. I savored this character watching him grow from his unexpected losses gaining wisdom, gratitude, and new love. A story so alluring made it hard to put down. Gail is a marvelous storyteller.
I found The Reality of Being Lovers [my recent novel] such a kaleidoscope of characters and persona’s. Reality enter-twining with sweet reverie.
First rate read!
To learn more and to order my books, visit my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/Gail-L.-Winfree/e/B0030CSR5A/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0.
Okay, I’m going to open the door to all my followers on this page and reveal just who I am (or am not). Here’s a potpourri of things about me you’ll never read on the pages of “The New York Times.”
I’m a writer and I drink my coffee black.
I prefer nature to neighbors, country to city, and animals to people.
I love food and will eat most anything put in front of me. However, I do have three rules about eating. They are (1) I don’t eat anything that looks back at me when I’m eating it. (2) I don’t eat anything that moves on my plate. (3) I don’t eat anything that is slimy.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church. However, I don’t go along with organized religion. I consider myself a spiritual person more than a religious person. In other words, you find God in your heart, not in a building with a bunch of other people.
I don’t align myself with any political parties. I’m politically conservative. I believe in the Constitution and the principles our founding fathers gave us. Give me small government and personal freedom. I’ve never taken or asked for a handout from Uncle Sam. I can take care of myself if left alone to do so. I don’t like politics: I don’t believe or trust politicians; and I am not a politically correct person.
I dress for comfort, not to impress. Jeans and khakis, cargos preferred. I don’t wear anything that needs ironing or dry cleaning, and most of my clothes come from the thrift store. The last time I remember wearing a suit and tie was around 1988. I don’t like boxers and not fond of pajamas. There was a time when underwear was optional.
I love just about any music that was produced before 1975. After that, I’m a little more selective. I like “roots” music, old blues, country, folk, etc. I like rock music that has a dominating lyrical presence and I sometimes like to listen to classical music.
I love good movies. I prefer independent productions over big Hollywood films. I also like short films, and I’m a fan of zombie movies. My taste in films is somewhat eccentric. For example, one of my favorite movies is “The Corndog Man.” Don’t let the title fool you. This is a movie with a lot of social importance. I haven’t watched TV in almost three years.
I love photography and video. I like playing with cameras and I own around 25 different cameras and camcorders, both old and new. Mostly old, though.
I have a passion for books. Currently, I have approximately 20,000 books of fiction. That does not include poetry, my collection of classics, nonfiction, and Kindle books. More than 20,000 novels; that’s a lot of books. When hearing this, the first thing people ask is, have I read all of them? No, I haven’t. But I’m familiar with each one. My collection represents some of the finest writing (and some bad stuff thrown in for good measure) in the world from hundreds of brilliant authors from A-Z, Walter Abish to Markus Zusak to be exact. When I’m looking for inspiration, I just go to my library, and I just have to be there and do nothing and inspiration finds me. I have no favorite book and no favorite author. I have many. I am not a book collector. I am a book lover. Books are a part of me. That’s just how it is.
You won’t hear me complain. I have the companionship of a beautiful wife and plenty of cats and dogs. I have a house full of books and music, and a garden for solitude. I’ve found my call in life and it is a worthy one. I have memories and experiences that have made me wise and strong in character and I have a craziness that keeps me sane. So you won’t hear me complain. Unless, of course, I have to go shopping. I hate shopping.
That’s it for now. I will save the rest for my memoir, if I ever write it.
We live in a small German village on a dead end road with only a few houses. The road is barely big enough for two cars—that’s cars, not trucks or tractors—to pass. It’s an old asphalt road that’s been patched up here and there over the years. As a road, it does what it’s suppose to do. It serves its function. It’s a road.
I never thought about that until we were recently informed that the road will be replaced with a new cobblestone road. During a community meeting to discuss the new road, it appeared to me that the 20 or so in attendance didn’t particularly like this plan, especially when we found out we would have to pay for it. Each resident will pay based on the size of their property. I found out that we will have to pay at least 6000 euro (that’s about $9000) for a road we don’t want. As I said, the old road serves its function.
To further show how ridiculous this is, one fellow who doesn’t even live on our road has to pay around 22,000 euro. His property includes some farm fields and about 20 feet or so of one of his fields borders the road. I’m wagering his fields are not even worth that much given that they are farmland not for developing.
Okay, this is Germany so it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. But it got me to thinking about something. I will probably retire in a few years, so Monika and I have started looking for a smaller retirement home somewhere in the world. Right now, we’re looking at Bulgaria. We want a place that is secluded, surrounded by nature instead of neighbors. A place located on a dirt road, or even a mountain or forest trail, where we will be the only traffic and the sole decision makers on what happens on that road.
Yes, I want to live on a dirt road and marvel at its simplicity and beauty every time I drive on it.
What we need today are more consultants and therapists, more politicians, more experts and know-it-alls…and another blog.
So here it is. Another blog. Why? I’ve asked myself that. Here’s my answer.
As a writer, I want people to read what I write. I do post some of my writing on my Facebook Author Page—http://www.facebook.com/GailLWinfree—and on my website—www.winfree-online.com. I get hits on both, though I have issues. The problem I’m running into on Facebook is the site’s policy on not showing all posts. I really never know who or how many people see what I post. With the website, the problem is with time. The website is static and takes time to update.
A blog allows me to post anything I want at anytime and from anywhere. Blogging is the new medium, and it’s time I start taking advantage of it. I plan to post on random topics and to share information I think is interesting, entertaining,, informative, inspirational, and engaging—the same kind of things I post on my Facebook page.
I will continue to use Facebook and my website and I hope this blog will complement the things I post there. So if you land on this page, please like, follow, and share, and I will do my best not to let you down.