royal caribbean oasis of the seas
Oasis of the Seas
If you’ve been wishing to study with me in person while drinking mojitos, this is it! Royal Caribbean is partnering with Florida-based Go Travel to introduce "Forensics at Sea: Mystery Writers Cruise" a 7-day western Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas, sailing March 31-April 7, 2019 from Port Canaveral, FL. I’ll be giving an expanded version of my Mystery-Thriller Workshop. And I’ll be joined by Kelly Gillis, coroner and forensic anthropologist, and Jeffry Mouer, crime scene specialist and advisor to TV’s "Forensic Files." Click HERE for more details.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Saving it for Good

Zestful Blog Post #277

Until I was about 11 years old, money was very tight at our house. When you got something new to wear, you wouldn’t dream of just putting it on any old time; you’d ‘save it for good.’ That is, you’d reserve it to wear when you had to go somewhere special. If the item fell under the new school clothes category you waited until school started, then only wore it to school, never out to play. I believe some children still go out to play these days. I can’t remember, however, the last time I drove down some residential street and saw, for instance, two young guys playing catch in the street with a baseball and their mitts. Digression, sorry.

The save-it-for-good habit has been hard to break. I still tend to do it even with new t-shirts, which is insane. Another digression, but I bet you can relate.

Moving along. When I was in my 20’s I hung out with a band that played basic pop and jazz/funk at festivals and weddings here and there in the Detroit area. We were just buddies in general, and it was fun to chill with them on rehearsal nights. Once they let me play the tenor saxophone solo in the Billy Joel version of “Just the Way You Are” with them at some local festival. For that occasion, I wore a skirt and a nice top. Man, am I digressing today. But via them I met a band promoter, a very young guy, who invited me to an after-hours club in Detroit for a special show. He had managed to get three record producers to agree to come see a lineup of half a dozen bands he repped. Each band would play a short set. As we sat with drinks while the first band was setting up and the producers were arriving, he explained to me his strategy: He would lead off with the weakest group, progressing until finishing with a bang with the very best one.

[We listened to vinyl before it was retro, didn’ we?]
“Their excitement’s just gonna keep building and building all night,” he told me confidently. He figured if he could sell even just the last and best group to one of the producers, the night would be a success.

Aaaaannnnd as I bet you’ve guessed, the plan backfired. By the time the third group took their bows, all the producers had left. I will draw a curtain over the desperate measures taken by my young, inexperienced friend to try to get the producers to stick around.

And you’ve already guessed the moral of my story today for writers: Though it’s tempting to save your best stuff for some future unleashing, it’s far better to lead off with a bang than hope to finish with one. I’m not saying we shouldn’t carefully husband our material. But sometimes saving becomes a reflexive habit. Spend it, enjoy the rush upfront, and feel secure that more good stuff will come!

What do you think? To post, click below where it says, 'No Comments,' or '2 Comments,' or whatever. If you'd like to receive this blog automatically as an email, look to the right, above my bio, and subscribe there. Thanks for looking in. [Photo by ES]


  1. More EZ gold. Corollary: Make it your best. Any question as to how? See the sidebar to the right. There's this awesome book called, YOU'VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU. If you write, read it!

  2. First. I agree about YGABIY. I had to buy still another copy to give away to a young writer.
    Second, I so remember the Sunday clothes and school clothes vs play clothes thing. Some of the Sunday dresses wound up later worn to school if they weren’t outgrown by then. And yes, I still do save some new things for special stuff. Thanks for the reminders. You always give us such great advice almost couched In parables.

    1. Kiss sounds to you to, BJ. I'd forgotten about Sunday dresses degrading to school-clothes level.

  3. Heyya. I got nothing profound to say. Just trying to get kiss sounds made at me, too. LOL. I'm staying at a hotel in Denver with a friend in town from NY state who has a brain injury and doesn't want to be driving around unaccompanied. Understood. It's just nice to get this blog on my phone in the middle of the night and feel connected to "my other life" for a moment, so that's in my own weird way! Okay, back to the other world...


    1. Ona, best wishes to you and your friend, speedy recovery. Kiss sounds for sure.

  4. Intriguing ideas! I remember getting sent home from elementary school for wearing pants! There was an inclement weather exception to the “no pants for girls rule,” but the principal told my mom she wasn’t a meteorologist and she’s misjudged the severity of the icy snow. She was mortified. My outfit was a fushia pantsuit, solid pants and a harlequin pattern top. Very chic!

    1. Sam, thanks for dropping in! Yep, I remember my school being very strict about pants for girls as well. We could wear them twice a week on 'gym days'. Insane rules, especially re: cold weather. I think your outfit sounds lovely.


Tell us your thoughts! You know you want to.