intrigued this week with a new type of library that has sprung up since 2009.
These are boxes mounted in front yards to hold books for people to help
themselves to and leave other books. They go by a variety of names including
Neighborhood Book Exchanges. Little Free Libraries. Community Libraries, book
trading posts, pop-up libraries, libraries in a box, and take a book return a
What I like is
the free spirit of these small libraries. I have visited several in my city and
they are colorful and offer an eclectic set of books.
Writing can be a
lonely avocation. Nearly every morning, I sit down at my laptop and delve into
a world I create in my own mind. There are adventures, pathos and humor
discovered there, but I do this with no human interaction. This inner world can
be fascinating, but it needs to be balanced with contact in the outer world.
take a break at midday to go outside. I play a sport called platform tennis two
to three times a week. This allows me to enjoy an interesting activity and spend
time with friends. Other days, I take walks. This gets me in touch with nature.
Since I live close to the mountains in Colorado, I can enjoy nature with all its
sights, sounds and aromas.
In the afternoon
I do promotional work, often engaging with other writers or doing events.
Afternoon and evening are also time for family activities.
I follow this
schedule unless we’re traveling to visit our grandkids. During these
excursions, I put my writing aside.
For a writer I
find it important to keep this balance. I enjoy the solitude of writing but
also the interaction with nature and other people.
While doing research for the non-fiction book I’m
writing, I came across an interesting story about Harry Truman and his response
to a critic’s review of a performance by Harry’s daughter, Margaret.
Music Critic Paul Hume's December 6, 1950, review of Margaret Truman's singing
performance at Constitution Hall, stated, "Miss Truman is a unique
American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality . . .
cannot sing very well . . . is flat a good deal of the time . . . more last
night than at any time we have heard her in past years . . . has not improved
in the years we have heard her . . . still cannot sing with anything
approaching professional finish."
responded, “I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come
to the conclusion that you are an ‘eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.’ It seems
to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been
successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the
paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least
four of your ulcers are at work. Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens
you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter
Okay, so we have email today, but during World War 2
there was V-mail. I had never heard of this until I started writing the
biography of a World War 2 veteran and came across an example of this form of
V-mail was short for Victory Mail. Here’s the way it
worked. A soldier wrote correspondence on a small sheet that
was photographed, sent in negative microfilm and printed upon receipt. The
infantry man I’m writing about sent this V-mail on December 20, 1944, from the
Vosges Mountains in France to his girlfriend back in the United States: “Hello,
Sugar. This is just to let you know that I am still kicking and will punch hell
out of the U.S.O. commando or 4F who’s making you forget me. They just brought
hot chow out to us and I am feeling pretty good. It’s very cold right now and
hard for me to hold the pen. How are you? How is school, and what are you doing
with yourself? Do you ever see my father, my loving brother? Write soon. Love,
Thirteen days later he was captured by the
Germans and spent three months in prisoner of war camps until liberated by the
Mike Befeler is the author of the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit mystery novels: Retirement Homes Are Murder, Living With Your Kids Is Murder, Senior Moments Are Murder, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, nominated for the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2012, Care Homes Are Murder and Nursing Homes Are Murder. The series features octogenarian Paul Jacobson who suffers from short-term memory loss. He's also author of two paranormal mysteries: The V V Agency, and The Back Wing. Recent publications include Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse and a biography, For Liberty: A World War II Soldier's Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience.