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A monthly diary of current postings and quick train of thought entries


May 2017

May 22nd

Light day today. Basically… just an announcement…

Life Won’t Pass Me By


There will be more updates coming for both pages, but I am pleased to be adding places here at the 'ville for both of the upcoming publications.

Going to be a sketchy few days to finish out the month, with some posts here and there, but I will have at least one new essay before May wraps up.

May 14th

Got a new essay today… a few other things first…

Local Friends for Local Business

We are in the middle of a complete month celebration of Special Events.

Just about every month, in any community, you’ll find different things going on. It might be a fundraiser at a church or fire station. Maybe there is something of historical significance being recognized with concerts or festivals. You get the idea… some are formal… some are smaller and perhaps a bit more intimate… some may just be excuses to party.

In May, the usual ideas are Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and May breakfasts. Some places have events for Memorial Day… some are just enjoying the weather after a rough winter.

From May 1st all the way to May 31st, Local Friends is directing your attention to some of the special things going on around you. Whether for a small and limited community or guest list, or a larger get together, take a few moments to support a good cause, learn a bit about your region, or enjoy something that doesn’t come around every day.

Over the next couple of months, I have plans to release two books – Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations. Already mentioned them this month, and will have more to share around the web site soon. For now, I want to direct your attention to the Writing & Books area of the ‘ville. To date I’ve released seven books, including the April publication of Title Town. If you’re looking for some reading, there just might be an option or two around here that I’d be grateful you considered.

And finally for now… “Crockpot philosophy

May 9th

New essay today… link at the end.

Our focus for this entry is going to be a brand new project, which I am referring to as…

A Writer’s Workshop

Every so often I get questions — at events, in e-mails, from messages, etc. — and many of them deal with the publishing process, or slightly more specifically, the hurdles involved and lessons learned.

I had been talking with someone about this recently, and she asked me if I could design a presentation for writers based on some of these ideas. After a bit of investigation and consideration… we decided to give it a try.

The basic idea… the foundation of it… is the concept of things I wish I knew when I got started. And that breaks down to three areas:

(1) Lessons learned over time – Experience is a great teacher. And there are a few things that I do now… don’t do now… wish I had started doing much, much earlier.

(2) Stuff that didn’t work – These are the things I mostly learned the hard way. They aren’t simply mistakes that needed to be corrected or replaced, but also include efforts where I invested too much time and work into something that roughly equated to spinning my tires rather than anything resembling being productive.

(3) Stuff that did work – Ok… yes… blind squirrel and finding an acorn, sometimes you stumble across things without knowing any better. That’s a part of it. But there are some things I did from day one — actually, even before day one — that turned out to be pretty wise decisions.

This is not going to be a sales pitch of a seminar. I’ve attended presentations like that… some of them have been very well done and quite useful… but many are primarily money grabs. (“Here are a couple of ideas, and if you like those you can learn more by buying my workbook for just…” – “If you like what we’ve discussed here today, imagine what you’ll discover by listening to my recorded lessons, which I have with me and available today for just…” – you get the idea)

These events will not fall into that category… all will be free and open to the public. Might bring some of my books along for the ride, have them if they’re wanted, but the session will not come with a sales pitch and optional extras for a fee.

What they will be is a presentation of information. Stuff for a writer… stuff for you… to consider and think about. Hopefully writers will find the material helpful, but if nothing else it will give them details to build on. And it should be interesting and fun.

The to be announced stuff will begin getting announced as this month moves along. Two dates are just about ready to confirm… more should be coming.

And… for those that may be interested… I am hoping to make some arrangements for additional events (possibly signings and readings) that will take place as I move around.

Here’s the new piece… “Now where did I put…

May 7th

Brief entry today… just a couple of updates on plans for this week…

I’m going to have some details on a program I’m currently calling A Writer’s Workshop. It’s a pretty exciting project for me, and one that will be hitting the road this fall.

I think… stress think… new pages for the web site will be ready for Like Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations.

Should be adding some things to Calendar of Events pages, for both me and ComplemenTerry Designs.

Even have two essays nearing completion.

So… yeah… lots on the way.

To wrap things up today, let me direct your attention toward Amazon…

Bob’s author page at Amazon

Are you looking for a book to add to your Kindle? Maybe you’re thinking about getting a couple of books for some relaxing moments of reading in the good weather. (Perhaps you just want to offer your support to a hard-working writer.)

There are a few places to find my writing. I would love to send everyone out for paperback editions of my books from CreateSpace. I also know that things like free shipping… purchases of other items along with a book or two… electronic editions for your tablet, smartphone and so on… and more combine for different shopping conveniences and preferences.

What I can tell you is that I am incredibly grateful for your time and support. I really appreciate the comments, suggestions, feedback and more. Thank you.

May 6th

A few days ago, it was Life Won’t Pass Me By. Today…


Time Just Drifts Away was a combination of efforts. Overall (and most simply stated), it was a single collection of material from the In My Backpack web site. March 2003 to March 2012… highlighting nine years… one publication. Simple. But…

It also visited multiple neighborhoods of the ‘ville, so to speak. One was focused on essays, and the other interviews. While in many ways the walk between the two worked, in talking to several people over the years since I have come to understand how the two areas are in some approaches stronger for being celebrated apart. That is a division leading to the separate efforts found this time with Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations.

Conversations will be a work that focuses primarily on the interviews from Backpackville. I do expect that there will be more. Much more. And while I’m not ready to lift curtain yet on exactly what will be included, I can say there will be some surprises:

  • A couple of participants have agreed to answer some new questions, which will be exclusively shared in Conversations.
  • I’m working on the possibility of including one or more completely new interviews in the book. Not just new material, but new participants.
  • Some interviews previously conducted for other purposes are being reviewed and may be included on these pages.
  • While primarily the past five years of the web site, I can confirm that we will be wading into the older days as well.
  • Conversations, like Life Won’t Pass Me By, is heading toward a July 2017 release. There are some special things that need to be set up, and I haven’t decided if the two books will be released on the same date or with a brief separation. It is possible I will hold it back into early August. That decision will be made before the end of May.
May 4th

Today I’m going to kick off a run of updates on some projects. And we start it all with a look at a new book…

Life Won’t Pass Me By

Before I can introduce the book, I’d like to tell a story…

From the days of efforts that went into starting the In My Backpack web site, I had hopes that one day I might have enough material to publish a collection. At first, it was just a fairly unformed thought. “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I had enough to produce a book?” Simple… basic… pretty straightforward. Nothing amazing there.

Over time though, it began to take on some definition and shape. The early days around Backpackville, as things were shifting and developing, included daily entry segments I referred to as “Are you chewing gum?” and “A Momentary Lapse…” before settling into the Now Playing area it has been for quite some time. Essays were divided by sections, and I cannot remember the reasons I had for separating them. I even had movie reviews. A lot has changed.

In 2007, I began considering the first collection. Because the web site was supposed to represent a work in progress… efforts put together and released in order to be writing and expressing thoughts, while not always being able to produce rust-free perfection… I kicked around some possibilities about what the collection would be…

One option was taking all of the essays on the site, narrowing them down to some of the favorite ideas, and then taking on massive overhauls and re-writes for all of them.

Another option was designing introductions for each essay. These opening words might offer the date it was written, explanations and thoughts about what motivated writing the piece, and describe any changes made during the editing process.

For a wide variety of reasons, all such considerations and options were trashed and discarded.

Now… check out that date… 2007. The ‘ville kicked off in March of 2003. I was targeting March of 2008. I wanted to release a fifth anniversary collection. Keep options open by considering anything posted by March of 2008… a full five years of writing… and then a few months later release the In My Backpack five-year celebratory collection.

That’s when a lot of funny stuff begins.

The main source of entertainment was a fried hard drive. It didn’t take down the web site. It didn’t wipe out most of my files, since I had most backed up. But it did bring about a need to consider new software, which in turn led to ripping apart and reassembling the site. Everything reviewed… everything more or less recreated. That was a blast.

I also happen to be a great procrastinator. I’m not good at it. I am, literally, great at it. So when 2012 arrived… and just after the ninth anniversary of the web site that year, I released Time Just Drifts Away… I enjoyed telling people that I just had too much material to hold off for the tenth anniversary. The reality is, and a punchline to the joke I have shared before: I wasn’t early for the tenth anniversary. I was really late for the fifth.

Which brings us to 2017. Often people celebrate anniversaries annually, while placing special emphasis on specific years. First… fifth… tenth… and then every five, ten or twenty-five years gets some sort of special consideration. Since I celebrated the ninth, to me it made sense to maintain that off-beat pacing and target the fourteenth anniversary with the next In My Backpack collection. And so we shall…

Life Won’t Pass Me By is a batch of essays taken from the In My Backpack web site, between the dates of March 2003 and March 2017. While most of them will be taken from the past five years, I am finding a good amount of earlier material that likely will make the final cut. And as was the case with Time Just Drifts Away, a couple of essays may end up making a comeback… as they may be pieces that are no longer posted on the web site.

Well over two hundred essays made it to the first round of consideration. The final manuscript is still being reviewed, so I can’t give a true count of what is coming just yet. What I can say is…

  • There are some changes being made, mainly for any errors found during the proofreading or to clean some stuff up. But, they are for the most part remaining in their original form. (As critical as I can be about my own work, stepping back to read things again years later does help show me that every so often my writing isn’t too bad.)
  • I will have the page active in the Writing & Books area of the site later this month.
  • The target release date is July. (I might just be ahead of that… but given how things normally develop on my projects, I’d rather stay with the safety of saying July.)

This weekend, I’ll share some background and information on Conversations.

Melissa McCarthy is part of the process that may finally bring The Happytime Murders to the screen.

Some creative people out there. Beatles and Star Wars, a classic combination.

May 1st

Welcome to what is shaping up as an absolutely crazy month…

Let’s start with Title Town

In April, I released my latest effort… Title Town (and other tangents).

A collection of more than three dozen essays with a sports theme, Title Town is my seventh published book. Almost fifteen years of material was considered for its pages, with more than thirty of the essays being pulled from the archives of In My Backpack.

To date, it has been receiving some positive feedback and attention, for which I am incredibly grateful. I hope you’ll take some time to check it and (and thank you for doing so). If you want to learn more about Title Town and my other books, head over to the Writing & Books area of the ‘ville. And, if you’d like to purchase them (HUGE thank you for that)…

Bob Hocking author page at Amazon

Next stop… Local Friends for Local Business.

This month, the challenge is reflecting all of the great happenings and activities taking place. It could be a gathering… could be an annual event… could be a moving celebration headed to your town. May is packed with such possibilities…

Mother’s Day… Cinco de Mayo… May breakfasts… Memorial Day…

Flowers and parties and pancakes and barbecues. And those are just a starting point. (Awesome!)

Heading out to celebrate Star Wars? Well… May the Fourth be with you. (And find a spot in your neighborhood to enjoy it.)

This month, Local Friends is using the theme of Special Events to hold a month-long challenge.

Special Events
May 1st to 31st

As the month continues, I’ll also be posting some information about a few new projects. Here are some quick details…

Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations

It’s time for the In My Backpack fourteenth anniversary collections. Life Won’t Pass Me By will feature essays taken from the web site. Conversations will cover several interviews. (And I’m working on surprises for both.)

A Writer’s Workshop

Later this summer and into the fall, I’m going to be hitting the road. Working on setting up activities right now, which hopefully will include book signings and readings.

In the past, I’ve been asked many times about writing, with some specifics relating to the process of bringing an idea to a published effort. This program takes a simple premise – “Things I wish I knew at the start” – and attempts to offer some information and advice at an introductory level for writers.

(That whooshing sound you hear is an avalanche of excitement and work swirling around. Back soon.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com