Making Time to Write

While I’m not certain where this comes from, I thought I’d share it anyway.

For me, making time to write has always be something of a struggle. It takes determination to make a writing schedule and stick to it.

My time is limited. While my writing time isn’t the most important thing in my life, it gives way only for the most important things in my life.

And while it’s not very exciting to stick to a schedule, but it does help. If you work full-time, it may actually be easier to establish a regular time each day in which to write.

I prefer to write between the hours of midnight and 3 in the morning.

Maybe you like to get up early — then establish your writing time then. Take time to write before you leave the house, take a notepad with you to lunch, or stop off at a coffee shop on your way home.

Stay-at-home moms and dads often rely on nap time. The schedule may evolve as your life changes, but most people get more done if they have a regular writing time.

Make that time golden, as you would any important appointment. You’ll feel better if you know you’re making time to write.

If you’re the kind of person who tends to throw yourself into a new project only to burn out after a week or two, consider giving yourself stop times for writing. Don’t let yourself become obsessed in the beginning.

I’ve fallen victim to this a number of times.

For me, I write for fifteen minutes to a couple of hours a day, then continue with my daily routine. I also try to schedule time for fun, even if it’s taking a walk or reading a book.

Remember that you’re in it for the long haul, and that your mind needs time to replenish itself.

Decide what you’re willing to sacrifice for a few minutes everyday to dedicate to writing time. Most of us have obligations we can’t avoid, but if you’re determined, you can manage both.

At the same time, be content with whatever you can realistically give to your writing. Even a few minutes a day adds up over time.

What you’re trying to do isn’t easy. So support yourself in as many ways as possible.

Books on writing can help, as does having space dedicated to writing.  Also live with a thesaurus and dictionary link on my computer.

The most important thing I can offer though, is this — jus’ pick up a pen, pencil or sit down at the computer and write!


Silver Tailings: Germany and the Comstock

Baron Ferdinand Richthofen (uncle of World War I German fighter ace, the ‘Red Baron’) visited  in 1866 to examine the Comstock Lode for himself. He wrote a report of his trip that claimed the lode was a ‘true fissure vein.’

This meant the silver went down into the earth for thousands of feet. The quantity of it was unknowable, but surely the mines were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The baron was one of Germany’s leading authorities on silver mining, so his report was well received.

In 1869, when the Comstock was in borrasca and miners were leaving for other places to find work, mine owners and superintendents used the baron’s report to remind themselves of why they were still spending money in the search for silver. They were rewarded with the ‘Big Bonanza.’

In 1872, Adolph Sutro preached the ‘true fissure vein’ gospel to the McCalmont Brothers in London, England. His reward was financing for the ‘Sutro Tunnel.’

Silver Tailings: Attention Ghost Hunters!

In my experience, there are many places some folks would consider as haunted. One of those places is the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah.

According to legend, Wyatt Earp kept the saloon, Jack Dempsey was a bouncer, and Howard Hughes married Jean Peters at the Mizpah. But Wyatt Earp left Tonopah before the Mizpah was built, Hughes was married in Tonopah — but not at the Mizpah, and Dempsey was never a bouncer.

The five-story Mizpah was the tallest building in the state until 1929 and is named after the Mizpah Mine. The hotel was financed by George Wingfield, George Nixon, Cal Brougher and Bob Govan and designed by George E. Holesworth — or maybe architect Morrill J. Curtis.

The hotel is faced with stone on the front and brick on the sides and rear. Steam heat was provided, which was first, along with the first elevator in Tonopah.

The neighboring three-story building with rooms on the upper floors, now known as the Brougher-Govan Block, served as the first Mizpah and remains connected to the new portion. The  buildings are joined by a wood stairway crowned with a skylight.

It’s also part of my experience that when an old building is refurbished, nails pounding and saws bracing wood, even stranger events take shape. And now would be a great time for those who like to chase the unknown, to visit the old hotel.

The Mizpah, after being shuttered since 1999, was purchased earlier this year, and the new owners are transforming the place. They’re renovating the old building with new carpet, plumbing and electrical fixtures.

If you ask nice, and promise not to open any portals to the underworld, I’m sure they’d would love to have you investigate. I say this tongue-in-cheek of course.

If not rent a room and enjoy your stay. I’m sure it’ll be well worth the price of admission.

And while you’re there, say hi to my friend Valeri Ferrari McEwen. She’s a member of the 2000 Nevada Broadcast Hall of Fame, but now manages the bar and restaurant.

She saved my life one early morning – but that’s a story for another time.

Caughlin Fire Victim Named

For the last couple of weeks, the media has simply identified him as the “74-year-old man who had a heart attack while evacuating from the Caughlin Fire.” Well, we now know his name and the events leading up to his death.

Born in 1937, Gordon Cupples, grew up in Red Bluff and joined the U.S. Marine Corps as an aviator after attending Oregon State. After his time in the service he became a commercial pilot, flying for United.

Cupples was also a member of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Air Squadron search and rescue team. It’s this background that lead Cupples to start helping his elderly neighbor get out of the path of the oncoming blaze.

It was a combination of the smoke-filled air and continually rushing up stairs to his neighbor’s home that caused him to suffer a massive heart attack. Obviously, he put others before himself and it cost him his life.

As it states in the Bible: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)

He’s survived by his wife, Roxana; and children, Jim Cupples of Carmel, Calif., Bill Cupples of Anchorage, Alaska, and Lyn Hudgens of Grass Valley; stepson’s, Marcus Carlson and Kris Carlson of Reno; and sister, Susy Martin.

A service for Gordon Cupples is planned for noon Wednesday following an 11 a.m. viewing at the Mountain View Mortuary. And while I didn’t know him personally — I think I’ll be in attendance to honor my now fallen fellow Marine.

A Recollective Kiss

It’s a memory I’ve kept to myself for years, fearful that the person it involves might not recall things as I do. But I’ve decided to share it anyway – since I ain’t getting any younger.

We were playing along the fence line, jus’ beyond the swings and the twirler bar before school started at Margaret Keating School. I can only remember one other person aside from myself, and that was Kathy Markel.

What game we might have been playing is also lost to my recollection. But what I do recall is she tackled me and then sat on top of me, refusing to let me up.

I was very distressed that a girl had me pinned like she did.

Before I knew it, she had my arms trapped to the ground over my head and we were face-to-face. That’s when she quickly kissed me on the lips – jumped off me and took off running.

The moment she was off me, I got up and started chasing her – intending to return the favor. However the recess bell rang about that time and we had to start lining up to go inside to our first grade classroom.

Kathy moved shortly after that. And I wouldn’t see her again until we were freshmen in at Del Norte High.

By this time though, we were running in different circles and hardly had contact with one another. I always wanted to ask if she remembered wrestling me to the ground and kissing me – but I never had the courage.

Silver Tailings: Crystal Peak

In 1864, the Crystal Peak Company founded a town in Washoe County near the mountain of that name, a couple of miles north of where the Truckee River exits Truckee Canyon. Part of the town was in Nevada, but part of it was in California.

Fortunately, Sierra County, California did not squabble over taxation and local authority, which is what Plumas County, California did to cause the Roop County War of 1863.

Crystal Peak was a mining and lumber town and reached a population of 1500 residents. However, it was not long-lived. The Crystal Peak Company found gold, but not any veins of profitable concentration. It also found coal, but none of commercial utility.

When the Central Pacific Railroad built-in 1867 the nearby labor camp that became Verdi, it offered competitive wages for lumbermen and perhaps more attractive living conditions. By 1872, when ice and lumber merchant Oliver Lonkey built the first mansion in Verdi, the town of Crystal Peak was dying.


For the last six months Kay has been working the Weight Watchers program. She’s have success with it too.

This new eating life-style has led to some odd recipes; some having tasted rather delicious – while others, not so much. Either way, I try to encourage her to stick to the plan and try different things as the program suggests.

When she first started, she was in to what I coined as “juicing,” using the Jack Lalanne’s Power Juicer to concoct some very strange beverages. One day she “juiced” a ripe avocado to see how it would taste.

Let me tell you – it tasted Gawd awful.

However the pulp the juicer left behind made a wonderful avocado sandwich with a little mayo and salt and pepper. So it wasn’t all for naught.

At present, Kay is into pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cakes and pumpkin lasagna – which none has been bad to the taste buds.

But one has to admit, it has been an adventure to see what the hell she’s going to come up with next. I don’t mind – jus’ as long as I get fed some how – which does include making way for me to use the stove from time to time.

Then we were watching the movies, “Julie and Julia,” when I was struck with a neat idea. I looked at Kay and asked, “Why don’t you write a blog about your experience with Weight Watchers?”

She looked at me with a frown.

I added, “You can call it “Weighting – w-e-i-g…”

Kay interrupted me by saying, “Are you kidding me?”

“No,” I shook my head.

She jus’ rolled her eyes at me. That’s the last I spoke of it.

I thought it was pretty good idea – and I jus’ love the title.