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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Writer's Life 2/7 - Argumentiveness

Walt Whitman health guru? Apparently he was, according to an article by Mackensie Dawson in today's NY Post. Written on a freelance basis under the pen name Mose Velsor, the 13-part tips for eating, sleeping and exercise appeared in the New York Atlas in 1858. The columns were buried on microfilm in library archives and discovered in 2015 by a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Houston. Whitman’s advice now appears in a new book, Manly Health and Training, which was the title of the original series. Here’s a sampling of his ideas: “Let the main part of the diet be meat, to the exclusion of all else.” “Portions of heavy food, or large quantities of any kind, taken at evening, attract an undue amount of the nervous energy to the stomach, and give an overaction to the feelings and powers, which is sure to be followed the next day by more or less bad reactionary consequences.” “. . . with a plentiful supply of good air during the six, seven or eight hours that are spent in sleep.” “Habituate yourself to the brisk walk in the fresh air — to the exercise of pulling the oar — and to the loud declamation upon the hills, or along the shore.” “Excessive toil, whether of the body or the mind, is just as hurtful to health and longevity as the stagnant condition of the organs.” “The beard is a great sanitary protection to the throat. For purposes of health it should always be worn, just as much as the hair of the head should be.” Except for the parts about meat and beard, the rest of the advice is similar to what's offered today.

Leave it to politicians, especially those of New Jersey, to come up with something like this, as reported in the Post. In order to attract more cash to its lottery, residents will be allowed to buy tickets from home, delivered via a private courier that may charge a fee but will not be eligible for a cut of the earnings. Heaven forbid the hacks should ever reduce their outrageous spending.

A couple of years ago I moved my first novel, Close to the Edge, which I self-published at 1st Books/Authorhouse in 2000, to Create Space. I did it because it was difficult to make money on the books I bought, and because of a desire to make it available on Kindle. Everything proceeded as I'd hoped. I make about a buck profit from each street sale, and electronic sales have increased. There was only one glitch, minor in my eyes but likely large in other's, especially those who look down on self-publishing. On one page the print is smaller than that of all the others, and there is a line pointing to the word "argumentiveness," which is highlighted. I just right-clicked the word and see that "argumentativeness" is suggested. It wasn't previously. Anyway, I was surprised the system didn't ignore the intrusion. After all, dozens of words the MS Word program does not understand are underlined in red and none are highlighted in the print version. Since I was happy with all else, I decided to leave well enough alone. Now that I've sold all but one of the copies I purchased, I'm contemplating trying to eliminate that glitch. I've resurrected the file from Google Docs and loaded it into a template. The transfer caused many line breaks. I'm halfway through. An oddity has arisen. The print version is currently 300+ pages. The file, which should match up with it almost exactly, is now about 220 pages. None are missing, at least through the first half. The font size is the same, 12-pt.. If I resubmitted, would CS change the price structure, lowering it, increasing my profit margin? Dilemmas, dilemmas. One thing is certain I will be typing "argumentativeness" into the Google search box to see what comes up. Why in the world would the "ta" be added? I guess for the same reason there are two R's in embarrassed.

The floating book shop was rained out today. I filled a couple of hours executing that maddening annual ritual - taxes. Turbo Tax keeps getting more expensive. I had to upgrade twice in order to claim a deduction that eliminated the $94 I would have owed the Feds, and which increased the payback from the city and state to $240, which more than covers the $120 I was charged. Last year, when I logged the royalties I'd earned from Amazon, I was immediately prompted to fill out an author's form, without there being an increase in the fee. This country is in desperate need of tax reform. The maze is ridiculous. At least it's done, that is, if I haven't overlooked anything.
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