• Writing for iPinion Syndicate

    I have been asked to join a group of highly educated and successful professionals called the “iPinion Syndicate.” They have a web site at, iPinion.me. At first I thought, “Man, these guys must be really rich to own their own website.”

    The creators of the “iPinion Syndicate” are, the soon to be, Dr. David Lacy and our own, Debra (Lo Guercio) DeAngelo. Besides being webmasters, Dr. Lacy is an award-winning columnist that teaches English and Writing for the University of California. Debra, as we all know, is the editor of the Winters Express and a writer of columns published in several weekly newspapers. She is the award-winning maestro of columnist, my mentor, and as her name implies, possibly an angel.

    I don’t have room to name them all but among the award winning professionals in the iPinion Syndicate is a photographer named Tracy J. Thomas. Her photographs, some of which can be viewed on the iPinion Syndicate website, simply take my breath away.

    So, why should they ask me to join them? At first I thought it was because if you want to look smart, have at least one dumb guy around. You know, keep one bad writer around to make your writing look better.

    One time I emailed a column in to the Winters Express about my childhood in an orphanage. I thought it was really sad. Then I went over to the Express office to see what they thought about it.

    I found them all in the back room laughing hysterically. When they saw me enter, they all covered their mouths and tried to act normally. Debra was laughing so hard that she had tears in her eyes.

    Talking through her hand, she said, “You need something Don?” Then she lost it and through a huge belly-laugh, blew snot all over me.

    At this, they all lost it and started rolling on the floor.

    It made me wonder, what is good writing and what is bad writing?

    Take for example, the paragraphs below, all of which were written by me at one time or another.

    Hey Mate, yer brother-at-arms died yestadee, can I have his boots?

    Gentlemen, owing to sudden and very severe indisposition, I regret to say that I shall not be able to attend the battle today. I hope, however, that I shall be able to resume my duties tomorrow.

    Dionysus was raised by the nymphs of Nyssa. His schooling on the finer arts of war must have begun at an early age for there is a painting on which his father, Zeus himself carries his infant son to a nymph.

    Concerning combat signals, an arm extended with the hand held palm down in a waving action, means there’s an enemy squad ahead. Two arms in flying motion means, run like hell.

    For years, I thought and thought but I could never figure it out. I was thinking sooo hard. I know this because I wanted a cup of coffee but I didn’t want to stop thinking long enough to go and get one. After five minutes or so, I knew what I had to do. I was dreading

    the moment because I was going to have to “man-up” in order to do it. I’m sure you know what I mean because everyone has those moments where you’re thinking, “Aw geeze, I don’t want to do this!” Yes, you guessed it, I was going to have to ask my wife, Therese, for her opinion.

    Sometimes she makes me really, really mad. She’s so smug in her, “rightness.” There I was, in the middle of the living room floor, kneeling with my arms outstretched, waiting for a commercial so I could beg her attention.

    When she finally became aware of me, she said, “Yyyeeesss, you wish something of me? I said, “Yes, bog-wan-esse;” “I need to know the secret of successful writing?” How do I know if it’s good or not?

    I watched her in awe, as she scribbled something on a small yellow post-it pad that she keeps near her at all times. She ripped off the top piece of paper and offered it to me. She said, “Donald, you are such a twit” as she flipped her hand in a dismissal action.

    I quickly backed away and scurried to the kitchen like a big fat rat trying to get a morsel of cheese without the other rats seeing it. I opened and then read the note.

    I thought, “What the heck?” I quickly peeked around the door jam to see if she had heard me. She is sensitive to things like that.

    I crumpled up the little yellow piece of paper and threw it on the floor thinking, “Aw, she doesn’t know squat about the secret of successful writing!” I don’t even think there is a secret to successful writing! I’ve never seen one, have you?

    Here is what she wrote on the yellow Post-It:

    “The answer to successful writing is in the reader. To keep it simple for you, here is a quote: ‘Listening: you can convey no greater honor than actually hearing what someone has to say.’ — Philip Crosby.

    At the bottom of the note she had drawn a little heart and next to that, in small writing, “luv u!”

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