Satisfaction of Spring’s color
I decide to give the topic Friend another go. It is too good a theme to miss. Here is a picture I took of human and their dogs. It is reassuring to watch how friendly interactions can take place between: human and human, dog and dog, human and dog, nature and creatures. All basking in the backdrop of a beautiful day, a beautiful lake and its beautiful mountain, beautiful sunset, sky and cool breeze that touches the beautiful water before it touches those who stand at the shore. Such a lot of beauty manifests when we are in unthreatening friendship with each other.
Friendship draws thankfulness. Thankful for life. Thankful that we are alive.
A beautiful verse for us to ponder today:
John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. (A love note from Jesus to His friends)
This picture was taken in a tropical garden where there is ample sunshine and rainfall. It is a private park open to the public in a residential estate. The developers have maintained the park well and given the residents and nearby visitors a place where they daily recreate, exercise, and meet for community and social connection. It is quite a refreshing change from the Western scenario. The people are less mobile-phone-bound. A morning means bright sunshine and green trees. There are joggers and even families with small pre-school children. The seniors practice their daily folk dances or other forms of cultural exercises. There are cafes all around the park. There are private schools nearby too. The park is right in the centre of activities and living. I was told by someone that this little park has won an official landscaping prize and the property value rises consistently. The efforts of consistent up-keeping maintenance by the developers are being recognized and rewarded. A large park nearby has gone to ruins and become a den of thieves and drug addicts because of the negligence of maintenance by the developers after some years. The value of their properties drop drastically. The contrast between the two parks is so obvious. So are the fortunes of the two developers.
I am reminded this morning of this little verse which describes a prosperous and successful king* in the ancient times:
“And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:21
Have a good day!
*For those who are interested to know a bit about history, here are some notes from Wikipedia on King Hezekiah:
Hezekiah purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood. In an effort to abolish what he considered idolatry from his kingdom, he destroyed the high places (or bamot) and “bronze serpent” (or “Nehushtan”), recorded as being made by Moses, which became objects of idolatrous worship. In place of this, he centralized the worship of God at the Jerusalem Temple. Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. He sent messengers to Ephraim and Manasseh inviting them to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. The messengers, however, were not only not listened to, but were even laughed at; only a few men of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Passover was celebrated with great solemnity and such rejoicing as had not been in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon. Hezekiah is portrayed by the Hebrew Bible as a great and good king. Knowing that Jerusalem would eventually be subject to siege, Hezekiah had been preparing for war for some time by fortifying the walls of Jerusalem, building towers, and constructing a tunnel to bring fresh water to the city from a spring outside its walls. He made at least two major preparations that would help Jerusalem to resist conquest: the construction of the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall.
It is interesting that King Hezekiah built two great constructions: the famous Jerusalem underground water tunnel and the famous Jerusalem Broad Wall. Points for pondering today. Key words: Wall and Tunnel.
Writing without an aim is like taking this winter picture of bare branches at random while strolling by. Is it essential to have an aim? I believe so. HERE ARE SOME DEFINITIONS of AIM:
Objective, object, goal, end, target, design, desire, desired result, intention, intent, plan, purpose, object of the exercise; ambition, aspiration, wish, dream, hope, raison d’être.
I ask myself, “Why do I write this little note daily? What is my aim?” My answer is, “I need the practice.” Blogging is an effective way to practice writing and keeping your brain working a bit. Reading and writing are still the more tested way of keeping a person’s brain cells exercising a bit and not falling into stupor for too long to the point of eventual incapacity. A point of no return. The more reluctance one feels the more one should try to write and read. One way of learning to write is to copy. Take your favorite book and start copying chapters. Make it a daily habit. Another way is to write a letter to a loved one. You may not get to post the letter but it does keep you going and building a habit. I just read of someone who actually hand writes to many people. Over the years many have received and even collected his handwritten letter and notes. Some frame them up. (You know who the person is as he is in the news right now.) I have not posted a physical letter for years. Even my email has been replaced by short social text or multimedia messages. But I find that the short messages do not take brainwork to compose. It is more like clicking at random and giving automatic pre-programmed short replies.
When I interview some persons I find that they have nothing to say. They are not even capable to think. They have nothing to say about themselves or others. Their minds do not store words. I note that they spend the bulk of the interview time messaging or reading messages on their mobile handheld phone including iPads, iPhones and other smart phones. I find it sad to look at them or think about their lives. Can a man or woman happily leave out a big part of what God has perfectly created and designed for them to have and enjoy? I often wonder. Please do not get me wrong. I am not judging the rightness or wrongness of a lifestyle. I am just lamenting the loss of quality of life that God has given so richly to each of us as human.
Writers ad poets like to dream that one day the whole earth will be filled with readers of books. I am one of such dreamers.
“Some people standby you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“We all make mistakes but one has to move on.”
“If you make a deal with a fool, don’t be surprised when they act foolishly.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“I find I don’t learn a lot while I’m talking”
“While there may not be a book in every one of us, there is so often a damned good short story.”
“Are parents always more ambitious for their children than they are for themselves?”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“There are defining moments in one’s life when you learn about yourself, and you deposit that knowledge in the experience account, so you can draw on it at some later date.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“Making a million legally has always been difficult. Making a million illegally has always been a little easier. Keeping a million when you have made it is perhaps the most difficult of all.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
“It’s one of the ironies of mountaineering,’ said Young, ‘that grown men are happy to spend months preparing for a climb, weeks rehearsing and honing their skills, and at least a day attempting to reach the summit. And then, having achieved their goal, they spend just a few moments enjoying the experience, along with one or two equally certifiable companions who have little in common other than wanting to do it all again, but a little higher.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Paths of Glory
“The sign of a great man is how you handle defeat. – Old Jack”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“No, Mr Redmayne, not my tears. Although I’ve read that letter every day for the past eight months, those tears were not shed by me, but by the man who wrote them. He knew how much I loved him. We would have made a life together even if we could only spend one day a month with each other. I’d have been happy to wait twenty years, more, in the hope that I would eventually be allowed to spend the rest of my life with the only man I’ll ever love. I adored Danny from the day I met him, and no one will ever take his place.”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“If you have talent and energy, you’re king. If you have only energy and no talent, you’re still a prince. But if you have talent and no energy, you’re a pauper.”
“You can often judge the character of a person by the way he treats his fellow men.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“only a fool blames the messenger.”
Mary Archer: ‘Jeffrey asked from jail if I wanted a divorce, but I’m not a quitter’
‘Hang on, hang on.” Dame Mary Archer is determined to interrupt her husband Lord Archer in mid-flow as he tells a story about the deal he did with her father to let her carry on with a career as a chemist after their marriage. “If I might be allowed…” she tells him in school-mistressy tones, fixing him with a look from across the drawing room of the Old Vicarage at Grantchester. But the bestselling novelist, entrepreneur, former politician, charity fundraiser and ex-prisoner is taking no notice. “You’ve said enough already,” he barks back, and the couple simultaneously burst out laughing.
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.
He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married to Mary Archer, a scientist specialising in solar power. Outside politics, he is a novelist, playwright and short story writer.
It is difficult to select what to post and what not to post in terms of links and introduction of other writers. We know that the fictions, poems or even essays may not represent the true lives of the one who pens/posts them. As many writers have uttered, their writings are mere imaginations and compilations of stuff they read and research of the works of many others. They do not necessarily live that way. But somehow I still know deep down a part of me comes out no matter how good and deliberate I have been hiding it from my writing or compilations. On this matter, I speak for myself and not others. There is no such thing as being completely neutral in writing/posting. For example, I do not agree with certain traditionally immoral and amoral values and I have thus avoided ‘publicizing’ them. I have also made my lifelong goal as: to protect my little ones from being exposed to them, so that perhaps I can save them from harm and hurt later in their adult lives.
Admittedly, I have read some good writings by some talented and creative writers. I find that the way they present their thoughts, hurts, struggles in their personal lives appeal to my compassion as human being. I can empathize with their struggles and the yearning for freedom to love and be loved, and freedom from hurt and pain. Yet I find that I cannot be honest to my heart and post their writings. Why? I am still a person with my own subjectivity based on my moral and religious belief and priorities. Someone may not understand this adamant adherence on my part to values which some may have discarded as being archaic and not conducive to developing a more creative and perhaps wider zone of liberal experimental and experiential learning through writing like in other forms of art expressions. I can see their points and their motivations and motives in their perspective of the writing paradigm. I do not dispute their perspective. On the other hand, I remain firmly established in my perspective of my world. I believe this peaceful co-existence between two patches of green turfs remains undisturbed as long as both of us are willing to give mutual respect to each other’s world view regardless of the vast and somewhat irreconcilable dichotomies in this world.
Personally as a traditional responsible elder, I shall continue to avoid exposing my own young ones from what I consider as contrary to the moral values I have adhered to with my extended family. Why? I still believe the moral values since creation have sustained our continuing survival as a human race on earth thus far. A further reason beyond physical survival is my belief in spiritual survival in eternity as well. My adherence is not to mere dead letters. My conviction is to a living reality in my spirit. But I am not going to have a long discourse in this blog on spiritual survival and the reality of another realm. So I would just say I cannot post or publish some thoughts, behavior and lifestyle even though they are good creative presentations and writings from really talented writers.
At times, I do sigh as I look at the rich fertile field for sowing of good seeds in spring time . The field is well cleared and plowed. Such a vast land. Such hope for a good harvest. All we need is the sower of good seeds. The same applies to the writing field in life.
Bible verses:2 Corinthians 9:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now may[b] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
2 Corinthians 9:9 Psalm 112:9
2 Corinthians 9:10 NU-Text reads Now He who supplies . . . will supply . . . .
When we read blogs from other nations we understand how much the writers around the globe are really alike and yet different. I find richness in varieties. Today I post a random link called “WORDNERD” from UK (my former and nostagic abode).
Here is a sample of what this article shares: How much do copywriters charge?
Let’s start with competition.
Competition is only one element of how I charge. If I really wanted to be price competitive I’d have to charge $5/hour to compete with non-English speakers who live in countries where the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in the UK.
I can’t compete with them on price and they can’t compete with me on quality so I’m not $5 an hour!
If you compete on price it’s a race to the bottom
– said someone insightful
Like lots of freelancers, I don’t see myself as having direct competition not because I’m an arrogant twit but because I’m the person my clients have met and like, I might be local which appeals to them, or they particularly like my work or what I offer, and they choose to work with me rather than anyone else.
Copywriting isn’t competitive in the same way as, say, children’s books. Last week I bought my Godson some books for his 3rd birthday and while I knew they had to be by Julia Donaldson (she wrote ‘The Gruffalo’ – my Godson’s got very good taste) I could shop around to save myself money. Wherever I ordered them from the books would be exactly the same.
Not so with copywriting…If you do work with freelance copywriters who charge by the hour, £35 to £100/hour is the going rate (or £250–£800/day) depending on their experience, location (you’ll pay more in London than elsewhere), specific skills or specialism…– ROI (Return on Investment): this is a funny one. Copywriters at the top of their game can charge £20,000 to write a sales letter, which would translate into a pretty hefty hourly rate. They’re using their competitive advantage – their experience, skills, masses of hard work and understanding of how to convert readers into paying customers to put that letter together – to justify that rate.
They’re also taking the client’s ROI into account.
If the letter is sent out to 500,000 homes and results in an increase in sales of £2m, it’s well worth the £20,000 spent on it.(read on in their website)
HOW LONG SHALL A BLOG BE? Here is another blog from them on 2016 trend:
https://www.wordnerd.co.uk/seo/writing-long-blog-posts/In 2009, the average blog was 250 words, now it’s 900 words and the average length of the results on page one of Google is over 2000 words. The first result has an average 2416 words, the tenth is a bit shorter at 2032…Why are blogs getting longer?1.
As I’ve mentioned, to get onto page one of Google for popular search terms you need to write longer posts (75% of people searching never go beyond page one and 60% of web traffic goes to the top three results).
Long-tail keywords (which account for 85-90% of searches) have far less competition so you’ve got a good chance of getting onto page one if you focus on them.
2. To rise above the noise
Google has to index billions of pages competing for readers’ attention, there are 4.87 billion pages (Source: World Wide Web Size) on the internet as of this moment and that number increases every day.
3. To build relationships & become a thought leader
But long posts are a lot more work. So how should you approach blogging for your business in 2016?
Think about what’s right for you
Don’t write long posts for the sake of it
be consistent…(read on in above link)
You can read more from the same author here: https://www.wordnerd.co.uk/author/directora/
I include below excerpts from a recent casual social conversation between a reader-R (in her forties), a child-C (around thirteen) and me-M. The goal is to encourage thoughts outside the box about starting a (money-making?) venture like writing reviews or doing something interesting and useful for their own specialty lifelong hobbies.
C: we never have enough money. Mom’s earning is like below the market rate for her qualification and experience. We are classified as living below the poverty line.
M: ok. tell me what you like to do and what you are best at? (addressing R)
R: i like reading. my only talent is reading.
C: but reading cannot generate any money!
M: yes, you can. tell me, can you write something?
C: mom cannot write one word. her mind is full of numbers and horror fiction stories (she is a graduate in economics, with professional qualification in accountancy).
M: can you write something, anything, just jotting down your thoughts as you read?
R: i cannot. i don’t know how to express myself in words.
C: she has never done it!
R: i can write good english. i scored high in english language. i have never tried writing reviews. i don’t know how to do it.
C: (started yelling in the background that her mom cannot write, will not write, and is not interested in writing words at all as she does not even want to communicate with her in words except shouting repeatedly a few short commands-all negative, for her to carry out).
M: (addressing the mother) ok. i suggest you start by reading others’ reviews. just do it. read and learn how others write reviews. since you have read so many (perhaps thousands) books, read good reviews on those books you like. start writing something about why you like or dislike in a book. write something from a different angle. your angle. read others’ reviews gives you the perspectives, structure, and essential contents of a review. send your reviews to me. i shall help you along the process. ok?
M: (addressing the child) ok. what can you use your best talent or interest for (in terms of making money)?
C: well, shall i start a blog? i am right now interested in stuff that cannot generate any money. i am not in the main stream. i like stuff others rarely like in my environment.
M: such as?
C: Well, i like football clubs that are way out here and i don’t quite like the local club. i have nothing to say about them.
R: the local sports writer is lousy. he writes poorly.
C: NO, MOM! he is good! he writes good sports writing! he is a good reporter!
M: ok. why don’t you start writing too? anything about what you know?
C: i can’t. what i know is noway compared with so many good football reporters/writers know. there are many many who know so much more than me. i cannot start a blog when there are people out there who know more.
M: there you are wrong. you don’t need to compare or compete or measure yourself with others. you measure yourself with yourself yesterday, one day at a time, always progressing in steps. today you are doing better than yesterday. at thirteen you know more than at twelve.
C: ha? i can do that!
M: from what you have been writing (poetry and short commentaries on football matches), you are pretty good at them. you have natural talent in the use of language and creativity in thoughts and perspectives. your imagery is rich and vibrant. i have always enjoyed your hidden sense of humor behind your sharp and accurate observation. you will make a good teenage sports commentator. send me your reviews and reports and i shall work through them with you. ok?
P/s While I was sending my visitors off at the train station, the avid reader suddenly remarked that she would write mathematics examination assessment books! What an insight! On the other hand, the kid thought of her own social media blogs with a more focused goal-targeting her own niche of one particular language speaking group of teen girls like her. The hurdle is she needs to further improve her communication skills in that language. On return from the station, I found a newly arrived email advising me of a job vacancy Associate/digital media/football in a global group in sports and entertainment. Certainly this is interesting and not a small coincidence. Of course I am not applying. But it does give relevant information and the kind of job opportunities for young people in the world of digital media.
I do not choose to write. I just do it. It’s like breathing. Or crying. Or laughing. Or eating. Or loving someone. Not really a matter of choice. I can discipline myself not to do something which is normally done autonomously at a specific time or space. But It cannot be halted beyond a certain appointed limit. If anyone holds one’s breath beyond the limit she or he is conditioned to, she or he will expire. If writing is natural like a breath, it should be easy and relaxing. The body is preprogrammed and pre-conditioned to do a lot of activities which preserve its survival. On the other hand persisting abuse too conditions the body to do harm to itself. For example, subjecting your body to alcoholic or drug or other obsessive addictions. Easy to do but it does not mean good to you. What about writing? Is it good to a writer? The reward seems good, including monetary reward, recognition and esteem from others, a sense of self-achievement, a fulfillment of dreams, cultivating a good habit of using words and languages to communicate, self-therapy as an emotional outlet, counseling those who matter to you, positively speaking through writing to build up yourself and others, and many more (including telling someone how you really love them). For me? I started writing as a child as a venue to continue my story-telling habit (which started around the age of of four). I had lots of stories inside which demanded to burst out or I would explode. The newspaper got hold of them and paid me for writing serialized stories. I received fan mails from readers who did not know my real age (around 13-15 year old). Those who knew wanted to be my friends. A few classmates of the opposite sex volunteered to copy my handwritten stories so they looked presentable before I posted them to the editor. My family members treated me like a special guest in the house and exempted me from housework. I had the extra money to buy books to read and keep. I got to travel to another bigger town to sight-see. I can recall many benefits for a young person as a writer. Was it ever a deliberate choice? How did I know I could write? I do not remember choosing writing as a career. I wanted to be an architect. Later I chose two entirely different consecutive professional careers ad made a success out of them. In my real profession I write too, usually work and industry related factual scientific analytical papers, reports and even manuals . I did not know that I could write until grade four. One day I read an article written by my sister who is six years my senior and in grade 12. She wrote well. I thought to myself I too wanted to write like that. So I did. Thus I started my lifelong habit, hobby and lifestyle as a writer. My peers, teachers, and editors affirmed and liked what I wrote as a young person. Their recognition and positive encouragement gave me the motivation and momentum on this narrow path. I started by writing stories and later poetry. As a young adult I reverted to fiction-stories again. I have been an avid reader all my life. That helps too. Come to think of it, I cannot remember spending any day without reading and writing. That is why I equate writing with breathing. You do not choose. You just do it. Likewise, a flower does not need to be told to bloom. It just blooms.
p/s: I had a few editor friends who willingly published my work without question. Later a new acquaintance read something I wrote and asked to read my whole published portfolio of newspapers clippings. She then took the initiative to show them to the chief editor of a big publishing firm. The editor immediately called me for an interview and this introducer accompanied me to see the editor. The rest is history.
clear calm alone rest
end of last season’s conquest
waiting dreaming best
Dark place not known
until morning star rises
when brilliance prospers
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 2:19-21)