The Senator is right! I DO have confidence to approach people in high places, but most of all, to defend myself with my writing, etc. In my bone to pick with the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico (where I live) is how the Senator got involved in the first place. In this matter, the VA Medical Center has wrong and wrongdoing on their side, and I have right on my side, and that’s another reason why it’s easy to be confident. The other Senator from New Mexico, Senator Bingaman and U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (District 1) have been involved in this matter.
During this long ordeal, which has been going on for three years now, I have communicated with other people in high places such as: Secretary of Veterans Affairs; the Inspector General of the VA; the Governor of New Mexico; The Director of the VA Medical Center; a local judge, etc.
And, it all starts out with self-confidence in your writing skills and your attitude/abilities, etc. But, you’re going to have to pay the price in time and/or money or both, etc. And, as time goes by…we all tend to forget what we learned in school. For me, it all started with an invitation in the early 1990’s!
I was invited to join the Southwest Writers, by the then president of the organization, Eileen Stanton who has sold over 5,000 of her articles, to some of the top newspapers and magazines in the country, and she has also penned a book, etc. With over 700 members nation-wide, S.W. Writers has some of the most talented and accomplished writers in the country! Needless to say…I was flattered by the invitation!
I had been interested in writing for my later years, so I decided to take a few writing courses, to improve on my writing skills. So, in my 40’s, I completed the following; Writers Digest course; the National Writers Club course; a creative writing course at the University of New Mexico, taught by Eileen Stanton. To complete all of this, took about 18 months and cost about two hundred dollars at the time. So, if the reader wants to get better at anything…(including writing) you’re going to have to pay your dues!
I remember when I used to do my homework at work, during lunch time. One day, a fellow employee came to me and looked over my shoulder to see what I was doing, and he asked, “Didn’t you learn all that stuff in high school?” I told him yes, but I wanted to learn it all over again, because I was interested in writing for the future. He just laughed and walked away. (guess who’s getting the last laugh?) Completing these writing courses is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
I don’t think a year has gone by of the last 10-12 years, that I have not had to fight somebody for what is right…and to defend myself…the telephone company; the cable company; the medical center; the auto club; the bank and so forth! And defending yourself starts out with a nicely crafted one or two page letter. But, the nicely crafted letter didn’t come easily, either.
When I was completing the writing courses, one of my instructors told me that I was too “conversational” with my writing…too “wordy” and I had to cut words from my writing pieces. Well…exc-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-se me…for being a blabbermouth! I’m so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o sorry for being a blabbermouth!
What happened, is my writing instructor, took one of my paragraphs and re-wrote it with her own words…said the same thing…and cut about a third of the words off the piece, etc. WOW! She called it, “tight-writing.” I could now see what she was talking about!
This is so important, because if you approach people in high places…you cannot and should not waste their time! You have to be brief…get to the point…and say what you’re going to say in the least amount of words, etc. You must eliminate all gibberish! Because I’ve written so much over the past two years, I’m getting better at “tight-writing” and I can usually cut several hundred words off my articles, and still make them understood, etc. But, it takes a lot of practice.
When I bought my first computer in 2001, it came bundled with MSN (Microsoft Network) for free for a year. I didn’t like MSN, so it expired and that was it…or so I thought! Get this…18 months later after it expired, I got a letter from Microsoft, telling me that I didn’t follow the guidelines of the TOS (terms of service) and I was being billed for $48.00! WHAT?
Well…well…well…I was now going to have to do, what I had done so many times in the past, and that was to craft a letter to the Attorney General’s office (Consumer Protection Divsion) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We’re going to find out if Microsoft is going to get anything out of me! I sent a copy of the letter to Microsoft in Arizona, where it originated. Two weeks later, I got a response from Microsoft, and it was a nice letter informing me, that I had been given a credit on the $48.00 and that I didn’t have to pay it, etc Isn’t that nice of Microsoft? That’s probably how they all become billionaires in the first place…$48.00 here…and $48.00 there from all the suckers in the country…and PRESTO…you’re an instant billionaire!
In another matter.concerning the local cable company, I paid the cable company and the telephone automatically with my checking account. Everything went fine for about a year, and then everything came apart. I got a nasty letter from the cable company, telling me that I owed them $75.00 and that the cable was going to be dis-connected…and it was! WHAT? How could this happen? The bills were being paid automatically.
It was time to write another letter to the Attorney General’s office, and all my writing starts out with five or six pages…a real mess…and all has to be edited down into one or two pages that look civilized, etc. I sent a copy to the cable company, and two weeks after the cable was dis-connected, there was a knock on the front door.
It was the cable guy, and he told me that he had a letter from his manager, giving me a credit for the $75.00 that I didn’t have to pay. He was also there to turn the cable back on, free of charge. The letter was an apology for the mix-up, and credit given. The cable company had been so rude to me in previous weeks, but I let the cable guy turn the cable tv back on, and during the next week, I returned the black box to the cable company and closed the account!
And finally…the worst letter I’ve ever seen, is one that one of my sisters sent me, when I was in boot camp in the Air Force. This letter was ugly…filled with miss-spelled words and grammar problems! I really don’t know how she graduated from high school, etc. If I wrote that poorly, I could never defend myself, and write to people in high places such as people in Congress, etc. I would be too ashamed of my writing!