Last post by Gyppo - February 05, 2023, 05:45:19 AM
My elderly friend down the road, who is in her mid eighties, had a complete new central heating system installed a few months back. She's had the housing association repairmen out to check it and fix it three times since then.
The first time was because it was 'just too bloody hot'. She's a hardy old soul and they seemed to think the 'elderly and vulnerable' need the thermostat set for somewhere around 80F.
She asked if I could turn it down for her, but it's a different system from mine. (I've just about got the hang f mine, but hers was new level of supposedly 'simplified' bafflement. The neat little twist-dial thermostat in the hallway has been replaced with a chunky box with a one inch high digital readout, and small fiddly buttons for re-setting it. Another fine example of 'gadgets' which bombard you with useless information about what they're doing, but actively discourage you from 'tampering' with them.
They seem to have finally got it about right to suit her now. The good thing, which delighted her, was that the boiler unit hanging on the wall is much smaller, so there is now room in the 'boiler cupboard' for her clothes horse for drying clothes.
Never mind, Spring is on its way. It must be, the little birds have started courting in the trees at the bottom of my garden. I think they're incurably optimistic myself, but...
Last post by Spell Chick - February 04, 2023, 09:34:19 PM
The heating guy came out by 10 and the switch that turns the thing on and off is broken. It is some techy thing and they don't have one in stock, so it will have to be ordered. He could manually turn the heat on and the house warmed up. We could shower and eat and then leisurely pack and we will head off to a hotel for a couple days. The part can be ordered on Monday and I have no idea how long it will take to arrive and when they can actually replace the broken thing. But it is warming up next week and will be in the 70s by Tuesday. So, not as bad as it could be. But no reason to stay here and freeze overnight.
Since we had such problems last summer, it is a new unit and both parts and labor are still under warranty. So at least it isn't costing us that on top of the hotel room.
Last post by Gyppo - February 04, 2023, 07:02:19 PM
The freezer saga continues...
Is illiteracy, or perhaps attention deficit disorder, far more widespread than we realise?
For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to sell a small Freezer.
The advert has attracted quite a bit of interest, but half of the would-be buyers seem to think I'm selling a Fridge.
Today's caller and I have spent about three days worth of to and fro emails trying to arrange a suitable time for him to collect. His face fell when he realised it wasn't the fridge that he's been after.
I've checked my advert and yes, it definitely says Freezer.
Do these looking for a fridge just read the first letter and then wishful thinking kicks in?
If I had a shed full of second-hand fridges I could have sold them all by now. and be rolling in cash. ;-)
I'm beginning to feel as if it's cursed. Like the Ancient Mariner's Albatross hung around his neck
I'm also trying to sell a two drawer filing cabinet. So far no-one has misread this as a two door hatchback, or cabriolet, or caravan, or whatever.
Last post by Gyppo - February 04, 2023, 05:44:32 PM
Write Both.(Decision time.)
This is more for the novelists and short story writers than the people who write non-fiction articles or manuals.
One of the questions my writing students used to ask was a strange one. But then so were some of my students ;-)
Q: If your character is faced with two equally valid choices to move the story forward, how do you decide which one to use?
A: The answer is either very simple, or a bit more complicated.
If you like to agonise for hours over this kind of choice then you can simply do just that, let the choices bubble and swirl in your mind until one emerges as a clear victor. Sometimes letting your subconscious decide overnight whilst you're sleeping will produce a clear winner.
If you're more pragmatic and want to 'crack on', I see two choices.
1) Let your mind run forwards a bit until you can see the consequences of both choices. This may well tell you one of them is a dead end. In this case choose the survivor and write on.
2) But sometimes both of them will suit the general flow/thrust of your story. In this case there's only one real answer in my mind.
Write both. Do your thinking 'on the page' - even if it is technically a screen - until you have two tangible written examples to work with. At this point the way forward is usually clear, or at least a bit clearer.
This works because, by having it on the page, you are seeing it as a potential reader would see it. When it's just an image in your head you are filling in any gaps or woolly half-made decisions with a mental background a reader won't have access to.
Save the spare workings though, and stick it in your 'ideas folder' because it may well trigger something useful later. Especially if you're writing a series character, who will often have to face similar situations in more than one story. But putting it aside like this will 'turn it off' mentally, so it doesn't keep nagging you as a 'what if?'.
Casting out the spurious 'choices' can be surprisingly liberating if you've been feeling stuck.
This is the point where someone in the class usually raises the issue of productivity. "What's the point of writing something which you'll probably never sell? Wouldn't it be better to sift things through in your mind and only work with something which feels like a 'dead cert'."
These students tend to be the ones who either can't/won't make time in their lives for writing, or have a deep aversion to the physical effort of writing. Usually it's the former, and they have something else they'd rather be doing. You may be surprised how many prolific writers find it difficult to 'get started' when the 'real world' is calling.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't write anything which doesn't sell. But this world isn't perfect. You can write a piece which everyone except your targeted publisher declares is wonderful. Or you can write something you hate, where every word is hard won, clawed painfully from your mind but the publisher loves it.
You can learn something from every word you write. It's all part of that lifelong apprenticeship.
Thinking on the page helps to clarify things, and the more you write - over the years - the more easily your words will fall into that potentially saleable groove.
In summary. If you're really unable to decide the way forward, write both. What does a few extra hours here and there matter in the whole of your life?