Category Archives: writing ideas
This is an excerpt from my book THE UNEXPECTED that I read today and was moved by it. I hope you feel the same way.
A man dressed in a nicely fitted suite walked through the door seconds after Carl. This gentleman, looking rather frank and serious, walked up the main corridor as the speaker stopped, and the rest of the room turned to look at this man. He carried nothing (as nothing was permitted in this room) but he strolled casually, yet with an important stride toward the president. He was proud to be the one to be able to approach the president, so he did not show the fear knowing there were laser sights attacking his back; ready to fire if he were to make a false move.
“Mr. President,” he began cordially. Andrew waved this aside.
“What!?” he asked, worried of the news.
“There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” the man stated, looking at the president sternly. “Mr. Beggins has requested your presence.”
Andrew stood. The president of the United States for only three hours leaned into the microphone that protruded from the wooden desk in front of him.
“If you will excuse me I must attend to a matter.” He remained calm, keeping his composure and charisma more than any one. “There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale and the Golden Gate Bridge.”
The attending advisers looked down in disbelief. It was their new version of the September eleven happenings of 2001. Some had been there for this; others had only been in high school at the time. They had never thought an event like this would ever take place in their life again. Andrew himself thought of this time being only fifteen years old and sitting in his middle school class. He had immediately begun praying. He remembered crying as he watched the footage; he remembered his mother’s stories of her friends that were there. He remembered hearing of his father’s death as he ran up the stories to try and save a few hundred people only seconds before the towers collapsed.
Andrew, in his surge of emotion, repressed this and walked sternly from his desk with Mr. Riggel closely by his side. Now as they walked, Andrew remembered sitting in front of the television and quickly writing each of the names they named on a pad of paper until his hand had tired. He still continued to write as the names came, wanting to make it a point to pray for the families that lost loved ones. He had remembered thinking the pain in his hand was nothing to what the families were experiencing.
It was just then, as his hand was too tired to write any more names, when he heard his father’s name. He remembered sitting there watching his mother in tears in their trailer at 511 Spruce street. She couldn’t even keep up with the names that came rapidly from the reporter’s mouth. She prayed. Oh, she prayed. She prayed until her lips were blue for those poor people. She sat praying with the tears flooding down her face at the sight of this happening. She prayed as usual, and she prayed in tongues, all while having a heart for those people. He just got done writing a name that sounded like one of his friends when they said, “Ray Rakford”.
He wrote the first letter before he finished hearing the name. He snapped his head around to look at his mother. She had a Disney glass in her hand filled with some orange juice, but she didn’t care about that. She never looked so strange there on the couch, struck as if by some evil force. It reminded him of the look of a fearful child, as they would be soon possessed by some awful demon. Sick in the face, sunken eyes though wide, rattled hair and, of course, a jaw that hung low. Hung to the extent that it could naturally go and then some. She didn’t care about the praying any more, she just stared at the television. There on the side of the screen only for a few seconds did it say, “Ray Rakford: Firefighter NYFD.” The image was replaced by a name that Andrew still wrote down. He had to pray. He couldn’t stop just because his father’s name appeared. Now. NOW! The pain rippled through his body and tore at his brain.
Andrew’s pace slowed somewhat as he walked with Mr. Riggel.
“Are you all right?” Mr. Riggel asked.
“Fine,” Andrew responded, still intelligent and serious as ever.
NOW! He KNEW! He wrote faster, as his mother stared at the television and a surge of emotion made its way from the pit of his stomach and lingered now in his throat. He could literally see her color changing. He could see her start to faint. Now was the time to pray, he had to be strong. How could he feel like this after not seeing his father for years? Now he could say goodbye and his dad would hear him. This thought pulsed harder against his brain and pushed on the backs of his eyes. His lungs constricted as he fought this urge, he struggled to hear the other names. Now he knew what those other people felt. NOW! He couldn’t let those feelings overtake him. He had to write the names faster. He had to get all of them.
She cried, she wailed, he could hear her struggle for breath as she screamed! He STRAINED to hear the names. He HAD to hear the names. Fred Azar, he wrote. James Smith, he wrote. She cried. Henry Longafeller, he wrote, as his own tears now came. He couldn’t be selfish. There were more people in the world. He continued to get the names as she crawled to him and pulled him into a hug. He couldn’t get any more names. He could still feel the pencil in his hand, and felt the beating of his heart. It thumped hard and long. It seemed slow, yet full of strength and adrenaline.
“R” was all he wrote for his father. He never said a prayer for “R.” He looked at the letter and said, “I love you.” That’s all. Never anything more, this was one thing that he could not deal with. One pain that was too much for Andrew to feel. He remembered that “R” and always kept it with him.
This is my first post using the app on my blackberry. Probably not the best idea ever, but I’ll never know if I never try. As it turns out the starbucks I sit outside of is currently outletless as some business men talk quietly in the corner, cords stretched across the door. A hindu family sits near the front door scolding their children softly that are trying to eat the fake display artisan food. The overly handsome barista just had an awkward conversation with me in my attempts not to appear socially awkward. I’m sure I sounded like a stalker.
“How is your day going?” He kindly asks over the frothing noise the espresso machine makes to pump out my quad caramel machiatto .
“Great…” I begin, as would be the usual response, but leave it to me to take it further. I mean he is handsome right? “Golly,” I might well have started with a glint in my eye, southern accent drawling, eyes shifting to the back door then the employee schedule. “What time do you usually have to come in?” I slightly lean forward, hunching my back, closing one eye and scrunching my face; furthering my cause.
He looks up at me, when I realize how much I adore his eyes. Really? Maybe I titled this post wrong. Maybe it should be: Caleb’s likliness to that of a creeper, or fantastical fascination with the frappuccino guy, either way there’s a story here. So his eyes are the kind that have an aura of their own, almost golden circles envelop the hazel eyes, and the darkness of the pupil that peers into my homosexuality (aka gaydar!) His hair, short, tidy, and black knows about me too. The stubble on his face gives him just enough scruff to holler ‘I’m a man!’ Though scant enough to show the young features that shape the face and lil dimple chin.
He fills me in on his in-time rather un-altered by the completely off the wall question. Well it wasn’t really. I am not usually up this early, today I am because the apartment complex where I currently, well, usually reside is being fumigated for bedbugs! Ick!
Needless to say, I go on to further humiliate myself with admitting to my usual laziness, “I don’t know how you can do it. I’m not usually up anything before ten!” I should have added a bunch of likes for a valley girl tone, then blinked my eyes a few hundred times in a matter of a few seconds.
“Ah, you get into a routine of it,” he says. No duh! Ugh! I’m so stupid. Though he smiles, I think it was a smile that revealed a scar on his right cheek; hmm…mystery and intrigue. Ugh! Love him already! Oh, yeah. What am I doing now? Sitting out front, where I know he can see me laughing to myself picturing what I must have sounded like.
So on with the real reason for this post: killing pests and spawning new creative efforts. My apartment is being fumigated for the next three days. Oh yeah! Bed bugs! How delicious! The exterminator asks,”have you noticed any rashes, bumps, or even blood on the sheets?” Ew! Blood on the sheets? What kind of bugs are these? Ravenous creatures waiting for the warmth of my body to hit the mattress to crawl out by the thousands out of every crevice in attempts to devour my flesh in one evening? A type of evolved scarab beetle? I imagine waking up in a pool of blood, covered by pumpkin seed looking little pricks with heads like ticks, and pincers like a spider’s…ew!
So with the news that I actually don’t have them but five of the other units do, I can sleep at night without the aid of alcohol or nyquil. They’re still tenting the place to kill the little suckers, after two failed heat treatment attempts. For three days I will be staying at a place in old town with nothing to do except work and read, and what’s that? Write? Wahoo! Oh wait, it’s a cheap hotel…without wireless! What! What hotel doesn’t have wireless! Oh wait, they do, however, I’m too far from the “G” router they have in the office! What a jip, McDonalds here I come; especially since I can’t seem to find a good outlet at the starbucks where the handsome, halo-eyed, cappuccino foam-maker works. Then again, I could drive twenty minutes out of my way, again…wait, Jesus! Here goes that creeper thing again. (it’s all in good fun, by the way)
Anyway, I have finished John Irving’s depressing novel The Hotel New Hampshire and feel like working on refining my voice and sentence structure. I also just signed with examiner.com to be an affiliate and sourced writer for cbs.com. It’d involve real topics, real deadlines, and most of all real, tangible money!
Alright. Well this has been fun. I’m out of my macchiatto, and have to pee, and would love to strike up another embarrassing conversation with mr. Halo-eyes, without caffeinating myself to anxiety, so maybe a chai tea? Ugh! It’s so gay, but soo good!
Thanks for reading! Muah!
Caleb A. Mertz
With every day that passes called off from work; I simply do nothing. I’ll watch youtube and type away at my book from seven years ago, and groan over my unsuccessful writing. I realize that while I write to write and tell a story or five twisted into a way it only makes sense to me; I could really avoid some of this agony by following ten different things.
1. Stop Reading “10 best ways to…”
Being subscribed to multiple news letters there’s always a ten best, ten things, or ten miracle secrets, I always wind up reading. What’s terrible about this is there are many commentaries which make me feel inadequate. For example one I read recently on e-book marketing talks of the “Dead” model of books; “This is an example of a dead book. The author only receives five downloads a day, only one paid download every other day. This merely results in a negative profit. More likely causes could be the writing isn’t captivating…” I wish I had sales like that! While these spawn good ideas that I painstakingly try to copy it only ever leads to more agony.
2. Stop spending my entire day off, writing.
So my muse, Hemingway, said a true writer writes everyday. Well I certainly do, but on my days off I seem to do nothing but leave my chair to smoke a cigarette or grab another beer. While sometimes my imagination is flowing and captivating, I only re-write what I wrote the next day resulting in a horrendous cycle of not-getting-anything-accomplished.
3. Stop staring at Statistics
While statistics are a good way to help formulate a snap shot of my writing performance, staring doesn’t make a difference. Punching numbers into a calculator doesn’t increase my odds, or ever make me feel any better. I sometimes literally stare at the bar graph or line chart and wonder why it continues to dip back to ZERO!
4. Stop trying to find a good place to write, and just write!
Searching for a good place to write only seems to take up more of my time that I could be spending writing. While location is important to inspiration, searching for a location along the beach is nearly impossible. I could stop in at Hillcrest sit at a cafe and write, but then my eyes are drawn to the men around me which inevitably leads to my discovery of the bar. Then, well, it’s all over from there. Thanks Hemingway.
5. Stop thinking of things I can buy when I don’t have the resources to buy
In a day I will get bored with writing or just demand a break from it. Then I begin to play with gadgets on my computer, all leading to things I could buy to “help” me out a bit. I need business cards, a good website, a nook, and more books on the topic of writing. I don’t have money for those sorts of things. I promise myself I will invest the money I make from my writing into those items when I begin making money. Is that wrong? Well, not going to happen for a little at least.
6. Spread out my time
Don’t worry about just my book. I have other platforms I need to continue to use. I hate getting emails from Examiner.com stating I’ve lost my status of “premier article presenter” if that even exists. While I have a big project in front of me, rewriting my old works for the release of my latest book, I can’t forget about those little side projects.
7. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!
While appearing as a modern day Bo Radley might seem fun and twisted; there is nothing exciting about it. A hermit I can call myself. Approaching three months that I have been in San Diego and I barely know the names of anything around here, only the streets and highways I take to work. While worried about spending too much money, which I always seem to do, there are plenty of free things to do.
8. Pick up another lesson in Grammar
Folks, I believe I have said it since day one, but Grammar KILLS ME! I love to use comma’s and apostrophe’s where they aren’t really supposed to, go. (<-HAHA, get it!) Maybe if I took a small break from writing a thousand hours of my day away I could pick up a few valuable lessons in Grammar.
9. Stop stressing about my Query Letter
I literally have a thousand versions that all sound good to me. Randomly, while writing The Unexpected, I ‘ll get yet another idea for it. I then open up my choice of fifteen different word documents all containing hooks and bodies of query letters. Practice makes perfect, but right now. I don’t need to be worrying about the Query letter when I have all of these other things gathering.
10. Drink more beer
Actually that’s a bit of a lie, I should be drinking less. Though in moments of writers block or severe writer’s agony the icy cold refreshment usually represents a way to relax and just write. While I will spend the entire next day editing what I wrote while drinking beer at least I wrote. This is no way to go about writing though, as I should learn again from Mr. Hemingway and his friend Fitzgerald.
To sum things up. I need to let my craft be my craft while honing in on some of the not-so-fun aspects such as grammar. I will get there but maybe in the mean time I could take some of my own advice as listed above.
The memorial day parade is about to begin! Looking out of my bedroom window I see there are no firetrucks lining up in front of my house. I’m used to watching them polish the bells on the front, and I think of myself crying, tied to the front of one; as my dad always says that’s where I should be when I cry. Buttoning the last button to the jean jacket my mom bought me at the thrift store, with patches from the navy, I smile because I’m going to look just like the army men that fire their rifles. I could almost pass as a real army man! Minus the navy patches. Looking to the right I see the balloon carts coming around; which means the parade is almost here! I’m missing a hat, but I know I have my camouflage hat hanging in the closet. Looking in the mirror, I know I don’t quite look like the army men that fire their rifles, but I put the hat on. They wear their camouflage and their boots. Boots! and gloves! My dad’s army boots are just in the attic, I’ll get them, and I have my black winter gloves; they will pass as Army issued!
Though the boots let my feet slide around in them, I proudly lace them up. Now I have everything that I need to stand at the side and collect as many shells as I can, before my brother gets them all. Whenever we play army he always wins because he has more shells than I do, so he kills me before I even have a chance! I’m going to get him in the next round! I can hear the bands playing so I grab the plastic American flag I got for free two days ago and walk out the front door to join my family. The band walks by with thuds from the drum that course through my chest, then the fire trucks! All so awesome and loud! Next I hope to see what I have been waiting for. I hear them. Their boots make a sound much like my boots made clambering down the stairs. I can’t wait! I hope it’s them! Here they come! It is them! The army guys!
“lept…lept…lept, rye lept” I hear the first man demand. They all follow his every word! So serious they walk by, but I get the most excited! I wave my flag. I know I’m going to be them one day. I want to hug them all! Their little kids, my age, have to stay home while they fight the war in the gulf. The gulf war is big, and I try to follow everything that’s going on, but that’s tough work for me. I smile, no I grin, no, I stretch my lips as far as they will go across the width of my face because, well; these guys are awesome! (Seriously this part brings tears to my eyes…ugh!)
They walk past, but I follow. “lept…lept…lept, rye lept.” my leader demands so I follow him. The parade goes right with the road, but these totally cool guys go straight into the circle, headed towards the American flag. Dodging baton twirlers I too head to the center, though a bit off cadence. I think it was cadence my dad said, I’m such a cadet, I think that’s the word I learned at West point last summer. My mom follows me as my dad is talking to a few guys outside of the post office. She’s talking to a lady with a camera hanging off of her shoulder and a notepad in hand. I don’t care though, the volleys are about to happen! The men line up as the lead man orders them to follow him.
“Ready,” he instructs. There is a distinct slapping of wood and metal as the totally awesome, I’m going to be them someday, men grab the rifles and bring them to their shoulders.
“Aim,” the commander instructs. People everywhere are covering their ears! What! I can’t wait to hear that sound of gunfire. The men change their stance, spread their legs and bring the butt of the rifle to their shoulders. Not quite sure what they are aiming for I simply just watch them.
“Fire!” The guns go off at different times but so close together it creates a sound I often try to duplicate. I stare. They know how awesome they are, right? I can’t wait to be just like them. It’s going to be so awesome fighting all of the bad guys, and having a gun! Following them to each stop, I have clearly collected more shells then Josh, my brother.
The very next day my mom wakes me with a newspaper in hand. “Look,” she says, “you made the front page.”
I look at the paper and see how awesome I looked standing there, waving my flag just as my role-models came into sight. But then again I’m sad.
“Where are the army guys mom?” I ask. I wanted a picture of them, not me.
“You are the little army guy.” She re-assured me. I smile and look at the picture again. I am an army man, I think.
[Okay, seriously don’t ask me why, but this friggin memory just brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was the innocence in my thinking, maybe it’s because I never attained that dream. Either way this shit is sad! lol God Bless our Troops!]
Exercise: using the present tense, write an early memory in the first person, before you were ten. Don’t interpret or analyze. – The fiction writer should be able to present a narrative without nudging the reader or in any way explaining what she has written
Could it be that the physical location of the author, writer, artist has a strong impact on their work? Is it the state of mind, frame of mind, or mental stability that produce works worth talking about? I’m not sure but I am more than willing to find that out for myself.
There are a million songs out there that have to do with break ups. A few thousand that refer to one being in love and the other not so, and a few more where the other is cheating. Regardless a situation as such is never good for one’s soul, heart, or drive/motivation. Could it be that this state of mind could create some of the most heartfelt poem, song, or soliloquy? Or would a refined and renewed sense of life create a piece that encourages thousands of others through the same situation? This was only a simple example of how the argument of location versus mind comes into play. Is it possible that a new location, surroundings, view on life could stimulate a writer to create works of literature that could be read for years and generations? Much like our greats from the past (#Ernest Hemmingway)?
Hemmingway was a man of great emotional troubles. He was also a man that traveled often. Found himself in situations he wasn’t sure how to handle and later found a perfectly reasonable answer in his writing. One of his favorite things to do was talk about his travels. These travels inspired locations, landscapes, physical descriptions that allow the reader to piece together their own landscape roughly similar to what he had experienced. Were these places so special that he decided to write about them? Of course they were! Little towns, small cities, ports, all very important and of significance to Mr. Hemmingway. But then you have to ask yourself, especially if you are familiar with his works; What was his state of mind?
While Hemmingway was often apparently in feud with himself over a gal, he also was fond of absinthe. He loved himself a drink or two at any given point in the day. Each time he did this he made it seem as if it were a grandeur ceremony. Both examples show how the possibility stands that location and state of mind inspire writing. So while my writing feels stale and pungent, a good change of location may be all that I need to switch things up. Liven things a bit, add that extra spark. Even if it were to only be a mental thing, ultimately reverting back to a “state of mind.” Could a location as different from what we know as normal change the way we feel?
Every time that I used to visit Florida a flood of experiences waved over me. Though I was inspired to write, I was too enthralled with everything going on around me that I could not focus. I would type out a word or two and go and chase a lizard. A new world invited a threshold of new experiences, new views, no matter how miniscule. This is one of the reasons why I am packing up and moving to San Diego, California. I have a perfectly fine life here where I live in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. However, standing strong to my muse (Hemmingway) I am willing to try a change of scenery. A different view on life, new friends, new situations, and new surroundings. I have never been one to be okay with my life without trying to get to the Bigger Better Deal (BBD). I will obviously keep my blog, but I am anxious to see how much truth lies behind a location that inspires you to write. I mean, I am already writing. Only thinking of my future destination! Please check back to see where I stand with this philosophy, as mine change regularly based on my life situations.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you found some inspiration of your own.
Caleb A. Mertz
The tables against the wall were only occupied by a single man playing on his laptop. The distance of the search was several miles, though the city was only a few blocks long. I had peered into every sidewalk window that I could. I made myself uncomfortable as I frantically searched for a place to sit with an outlet near by. The laptop doesn’t hold a charge anymore, so being completely wireless is impossible. The people watchers watched as I passed time and time again, going down different roads in my hunt.
I had a complex. I don’t spend much time in a city, so I wanted to experience it the best I could. I wanted to be able to hunch over my story while people passed, greeted, conversed, or glanced at me. I wanted people to see me sitting in a cafe, with the bold font across my screen “CHAPTER ONE.” I finally wound up where I had initially parked in a relatively busy part of Arlington Virginia’s Business District. Starbucks. They’re everywhere, yet I found my home here.
After ordering my venti iced quad caramel macchiato, I began to review my book THE UNEXPECTED. I decided to revamp my writing, after recently having the partial request denied and seeking feedback from a community of writers on webook.com. Something I noticed immediately was my over use of adjectives, sentence structure, and the constant start and stop of irregular sentences. I began breaking them apart. Since the man next to me was on a conference call, and speaking loudly I decided I could actually read the sentences out loud. Oh My Goodness! I rewrote the first sentence three times, the second twice. Then I read the third, and decided I could combine the third with the first. I HAD A BLAST! Next thing I knew I had a completely transformed initial paragraph. Something that portrayed emotion and feeling. What a rush when you can read something written three years ago in a different light. A different tone. A different sense of the beginning of the story. A renewed sense of joy for rewriting.
Sentence flow. Why haven’t I picked up on this before? I have been taking an on-line course of sorts through M.I.T.
(this is the link here) which is helping me read and write a little better. The course is entirely free, and the book cost me maybe five dollars through Amazon.com. Pretty much it’s amazing. Definitely check it out! And here’s to happy (re)writing!!!!
As always comment, critique, but with construction in mind.
Caleb A. Mertz
Be on the lookout! Not only is green grass in short supply here in the north, but so is creativity! Strike that… the creative spark is lacking. Over the past several weeks there has been a burden of snow upon us. As we prepare for these monstrous storms (all of which still prove to be serious to me) I have been found to be breaking my back over the new work load. Others have been spreading needless amounts of salt on their sidewalks, or piling snow into my boyfriends parking spot! In all of this there is little time for my mind to relax, but now I stress even more wondering where all of the creativity has gone.
I had a great month in August. I wrote in my blog more than once, and I had found my new best writing buddy, let alone a great new friend. The weather was hot, my tan was superb, and my body was finally bulking into what I had wanted since I was twelve. Now, apparently, I am preparing for hibernation (explains the added pounds, plus the unquenchable hunger), sleeping later, and missing the gym due to a “changing work environment”. So how do I go about enticing the creativity? The creativity to write in my blog, or to finish my long awaited book, or to write a damned query letter that attracts a bit more than flies!
Today was a great day, because I was able to entice a bit of that lazy creativity to seep through some invisible source and slowly drip into my subconscious which then slowly fed my alcohol infused conscious thought.
-Today is the day I thought about the ridiculousness of my mild excuses to myself.
-Today I thought about the amount of things I could be achieving by waking up two hours earlier than the past three years.
-Today I realized that I have just been lazy for a serious amount of time. Now the laziness hasn’t always been so. It started as enthusiasm over a new relationship. This enthusiasm slipped into comfort, which then eased into the laziness of not ensuring everything necessary to keep life in order was being completed on a regular schedule.
I sit here on the eve of the day I will get up at 9am and testify that this will help to establish a balance in my life which will allow my professional obligations to be fulfilled, while satisfying the personal obligations that I have set. If I don’t post something new on here within a week, either I have failed, or I have been over run with restaurant obligations.
Till the final determination…
Caleb A. Mertz
What an inspiration blog I posted last night! I then got to thinking, The new year is upon us Caleb! So true!
I realize then, as I am about to shut down my computer that I have yet again something that someone might find of value. Three years ago on new years I was playing with the thought of a hot new boyfriend after breaking up with the last. While toying with this thought I decided to begin a new novel. I was living with my mother (for about the third time!) and I spoke with her on a regular basis. She always had to say “You’re a mighty man of God” at the end of every conversation.
I took it and reverberated something back to her, but ultimately the wheels in my mind were turning. I wanted to take those words and warp them into a twisted version of what they could possibly mean. That’s exactly what I’ve done three years later with my book, “The Unexpected”. However, it took me THREE years to write!
Why can’t we just write a book in a year? Well you can! Writing can be an easy process to follow as long as you have a dedicated time to set apart for that special event. And I mean SPECIAL EVENT. You never know when someone in the future might hold your work and say, “this is GOLD!”
This is one tidbit that I have always taken to heart. Write as often as you can, or at any given scheduled time. There were times that I couldn’t sleep and I would email myself at Sprint speed through my blackberry to ensure I wouldn’t forget the ideas that were teaming inside of my head.
Try to write everyday. One lady I spoke with just the other day informed me that she wakes up and has her coffee, then grabs a pen at the last dregs and begins writing out her stories. I agreed that this was a great idea because, “in R.E.M sleep your mind is the most imaginative. Therefore, the closer you are to that stage, the more creative your writing can be.” – Though I realize this isn’t always going to be a true, it sure does make a great statement of encouragement to find time to write.
Either way, be sure to map out your novel so that you can revert back to it at any given time. Be sure to plot out your characters as if they were real people. ( I did astrology on my guys and gave them all birthdays just to get a good ploy on personality. I then decided how they would react in certain situations and translated that into my writing.)
So if your new years resolution is to finish, or begin that novel, DO IT! I believe in you, and so does anyone else that reads this blog. (I’d love to hear about your progress! my email is on my about me page!) So best of luck to you and may your goals be realized.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Caleb A. Mertz