Arthur says: “You should write a book!”

The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol

write a bookArthur, who is experiencing that brutal Kiwi winter right now, was the first person to both Tell AND Ask Roger Anything.

TELL: You should write a book!

ASK: What obstacles would you have to overcome, and/or what would you need in place to write a book?

Back around my birthday in March 2019, I thought what I might do in my retirement. Writing a book was not even a consideration. What would I write it about? Me? I wasn’t feeling it.

Then in May, I came around to maybe writing about the house in which my mother grew up. I’d actually floated this to one of my cousins a couple of years ago. She was doing some genealogy about our common ancestors. It was beyond the scope of what she was working on, but I spent a lot of time there myself.

Moreover, my sister Marcia has a LOT of photos that she’s scanned. the pictures are mostly of the exteriors, but also a lot of people over a roughly 60-year span.

There’s another book that I thought about, involving the year I turned 19. A momentous year in my life. The problem is that I’d have to reveal my own shortcomings publicly.

The good news, however, is that I had kept diaries as far back as March 1972, so I have detailed accounts of at least some of what I did. And I mean OVERLY precise. What I ate, and where, et al.

I think I got the idea from my college roommate in my freshman year, a grad student named Ron, who wrote down EVERYTHING he spent, a candy bar or going out to dinner. One day, he spent $1,000 on a car, which really skewed his daily averages.

My diaries, and there are about a dozen of them, continued to about 1986. It’s not the entire period, because several of the journals were destroyed in the flooded basement of the apartment building I was living in c 1997. I genuinely don’t know what I have and what was lost.

At the time, I was quite upset, but now I am somewhat relieved that at least part of my ever-present past has been obliterated. It means, though, that EVENTUALLY, I’m going to read those remaining chicken scratching. Thus, the advantage and the obstacle are the same.

Some of it will be great. Is THAT when I saw that concert! I’ll get to relieve some of the history of FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked in the 1980s.

Some of it will be awful. My, was I petulant? Or unkind! Or oblivious! I’ll probably get to relieve heartbreak that I caused, or received! Oh, boy.

And, ha! now I’ll probably have time to read the damn things. The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol.

From that mess of a life, I’ll have to figure out what the STORIES are. 1972, which I remember surprisingly well even without the prompts, has a certain dramatic arc. Other than that year, I’m not at all sure about a narrative. And how do I write about other people I’ve mentioned, many of whom are still around?

Once I DO start writing, if I start writing, I realize that I need to do it when I’m mostly alone, when my wife and daughter are asleep, or downstairs watching some dance show on TV, or off to work/school. I work best in the presence of semi-loud, generally familiar music.

Variations on the theme: tell Roger anything

Roger can haughtily ignore your ideas

questionUsually, at the this time of the year, I do this thing Ask Roger Anything. That still holds; more anon.

But THIS time only, gentle reader, you ALSO get to give me unsolicited advice about what I should do upon retirement from my job, which will be very soon.

Some of you braver folks have already offered me suggestions in this area. They contain the “You can take on…” statements, which I assiduously ignore. The “let’s think on that” category comprises things like travel, if we can figure out what to do with the cats.

Now the clearly clever people have come up with ideas such as taking naps – brilliant, I say!; reading that stack of magazines that have piled up; and watching those shows still clogging the DVR. I did mention naps, right?

Here’s the other thing. When you TELL Roger Anything, Roger can haughtily ignore your ideas. Whereas when you ASK Roger Anything, he HAS to respond to that, usually within the month, to the best of his ability. Obfuscation is allowed in ARA, but it’s not generally employed.

Of course, if you were extremely clever, I suppose you could get your “tell” to sound like an “ask”. And you can ask anything, no matter how mundane. I can do mundane especially well; wait for the next round of my ABC Wednesday responses.

As always, you can leave any of your questions and/or suggestions, in the comments section of this here blog or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s swell, but you need to SAY so specifically. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain mysterious; otherwise, I’ll assume you want your names to be up in lights like the Broadway star you want to be!

Oh, yeah, I still need to finish watching the Tonys…

If you can read this, Ask Roger Anything

I allow the reader to ARA, and R must respond, usually within the month, to the best of his/my ability. Obfuscation is allowed, but it’s not generally required.

questionAs you may know, I’ve had various technical difficulties with this blog over the past couple months. First, the site was down over six hours in January, a result of two plugins – Really Simple Cache and W3 Total Cache – clashing; I kept the latter.

Ever since then, however, I’ve had a different problem. It involves folks landing on the same page as they were on the LAST time they were there, even though I’ve updated the site daily. As a result, the number of visitors to the site has dropped by about 80%.

It probably would have shrunk to nothing had I not posted the specific link to my daily post on Facebook. This is disappointing, of course.

And time-consuming to boot, as I contacted various folks for advice. This back-of-the-blog stuff, which also involves emptying the spam folder, e.g., cuts into the time and joy for my front-of-the-blog thing, i.e., writing the posts. I only have about 75 to 90 minutes a day to work on the blog, usually half the first thing in the morning and the rest scattered throughout the day, such as the last 15 minutes of lunch.

I’ve decided to be sanguine about it. The posts exist. If/when I get the problem fixed, maybe people will find the pieces. And, as I keep telling myself, I started this thing almost 14 years ago for an audience of one.

For those of you who can read this, it’s time to Ask Roger ANYTHING. Masochist that I am, I allow the reader to ARA, and R must respond, usually within the month, to the best of his/my ability. Obfuscation is allowed, but it’s not generally required.

As always, you can leave any of your questions, no matter how obscure, in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

Ask Arthur Anything; then Ask Roger Anything

Arthur Schenck

Arthur the AmeriNZ does his Ask Arthur Anything every year in the autumn. Wait, November is SPRING in New Zealand. I’m so confused.

Arthur’s a smart and interesting guy, and another old political science major to boot. So you can AAA. Then you can Ask Roger Anything. Heck, it can be the same questions; I’m not proud. (Note to Michael Rivest: that was a proper use of a semicolon.)

You can ask us both about our late parents. I already asked him about his favorite Republicans, and that’d be a fair question to ask of me. Ditto favorite composers (classical), artists (painters, sculptors, et al).

You can’t ask me about being a preacher’s kid, because I wasn’t one, but I can ask Arthur. Request that he explain the New Zealand parliamentary procedure, but my knowledge is extremely limited. Don’t ask him what it was like to grow up as a black kid in America.

I was thinking about this a LOT actually because of something I saw on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah the first week in December. Trevor went to South Africa to host an event honoring Nelson Mandela. He went back to the United States and developed laryngitis. So the correspondents spoke, sometimes saying they were Trevor, while Trevor sat beside them. The disconnect was very funny.

In case you’re new to this, you can AsK Roger ANYTHING. For reasons unknown, I must respond, usually within the month, to the best of my ability. I allow for obfuscation, but it’s not generally required.

As always, you can leave any of your questions, no matter how weird, in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

Ask Roger Anything: Bernard Webb edition

Woman should not be confused with the much later John Lennon song with the same title,

questionAbout twice a month, I link to a bunch of articles. I’ve SAID that I would say more about them if I had enough time, but that’s not entirely true.

When I write anything, I need an angle, a POV that isn’t exactly the same as everyone else’s. I shan’t be posting, “I too think that murder is bad.” I mean, I DO think so, but it seems self-evident and not really adding to the conversation.

At some level, I think that’s why I gently follow Quora, in case I can answer a question, assuming the query isn’t so inane that it’s not worth the effort.

I’ve even corrected people on that platform. Someone asserted that the writing credits for A World Without Love, the #1 hit by Peter and Gordon, was attributed to the pseudonym Bernard Webb. No, it was Lennon–McCartney, though Paul was the writer.

On the other hand, Woman, not to be confused with the much later John Lennon song with the same title, WAS credited to Webb, “to see if the song would be a success without the Lennon–McCartney credit.” I did not need to look that up, BTW; the weird stuff that’s stuck in my brain…

Anyway, my Quora experience led me to the conclusion that y’all COULD ask me inane questions for Ask Roger Anything, such as… well, I won’t help you with that. Or you could have me explain what I was thinking when I included a particular link. Did I agree with it, or did I just think it was interesting?

By my self-imposed standard, I would be required to respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability. Obfuscation is allowed, though, truth to tell, not used very often.

Per usual, you can leave any of your questions, either inane or cogent, below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s OK, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.