The Senator is right! I DO have confidence to approach people in high places, but above 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 wrong on their side, and I have right on my side, and that’s another reason it’s easy to trust. The other Senator from New Mexico, Senator Bingaman and US Representative Heather Wilson (District 1) have been involved in this matter.
During this long ordeal, which has now lasted three years, I have communicated with other people in high positions such as: Secretary of Veterans Affairs; the VA Inspector General; the governor of New Mexico; The Director of the VA Medical Center; a local judge, etc.
And it all starts with your self-confidence in your writing skills and your attitude/skills etc. But you’re going to have to pay the price in time and/or money or both, etc. And, with the passage of time… we all tend to forget what we learned in school. For me, it all started with an invitation in the early 90’s!
The then president of the organization, Eileen Stanton, invited me to join Southwest Writers, who has sold over 5,000 of her articles to some of the top newspapers and magazines in the country, and has also written a book, etc. With over 700 members nationwide, SW Writers has some of the most talented and successful writers in the country! Needless to say… I was flattered by the invitation!
I had been interested in writing during my last years, so I decided to take some writing courses to improve my writing skills. So in my 40’s I completed the following; Writers Digest run; the National Writers Club course; a creative writing course at the University of New Mexico, taught by Eileen Stanton. All of this took about 18 months to complete and cost about two hundred dollars at the time. So, if the reader wants to get better at something… (including writing), he will have to pay his fair share!
I remember when I did homework at work, at lunch time. One day a coworker came up to me and looked over my shoulder to see what he was doing and asked, “Didn’t you learn all that in high school?” I told him yes, but that 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 has the last laugh?) Completing these writing courses is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
I don’t think there’s been a year in the last 10-12 years that I haven’t had to fight someone for what’s right…and to defend myself…the phone company; the cable company; the medical center; the automobile club; the bank and others! And standing up for yourself starts with a well-written one- or two-page letter. But the well-written letter was not easy either.
When I was completing writing courses, one of my instructors told me that I was too “conversational” with my writing…too “wordy” and that I had to cut words out of my writing. Well…exc-uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu… I’m so sorry for being a loudmouth!
What happened is that my writing instructor took one of my paragraphs and re-wrote it in her own words…said the same thing…and cut about a third of the words out of the text, etc. WOW! She called it “strict writing”. She could now see what she was talking about!
This is very important, because if you approach people in high places… you cannot and should not waste their time! You have to be brief… to the point… and say what you are going to say in the least number of words, etc. You must eliminate all gibberish! Because I’ve written so much in the last two years, I’m getting better at “strict writing” and can usually cut several hundred words out of my articles and still get them across, etc. But, it takes a lot of practice.
When I bought my first computer in 2001, it came with free MSN (Microsoft Network) for a year. I didn’t like MSN so it expired and that was it…or so I thought! Get this… 18 months after it expired, I got a letter from Microsoft, telling me that I didn’t follow the TOS (terms of service) guidelines and that I was being billed $48.00. WHAT?
Well… well… well… now she was going to have to do, what she had done so many times in the past, and that was write a letter to the Attorney General’s office (Consumer Protection Division) in Santa Faith, New Mexico. Let’s find out if Microsoft is going to get something out of me! I sent a copy of the letter to Microsoft in Arizona, where it originated. Two weeks later, I got a reply from Microsoft, and it was a nice letter letting me know that they gave me a credit for the $48.00 and that I didn’t have to pay it back, etc. Isn’t that kind of Microsoft? ? That’s probably how everyone becomes a billionaire 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. Regarding the local cable company, I paid for the cable company and the phone automatically with my checking account. Everything went well for about a year, and then everything fell apart. I received a nasty letter from the cable company, telling me that I owed them $75.00 and that they were going to disconnect the cable…and they did! WHAT? How could this happen? Bills were paid automatically.
It was time to write another letter to the Attorney General’s office, and everything I’ve written starts at five or six pages…a real mess…and everything has to be edited down to a page or two to look civilized etc. . . I sent a copy to the cable company, and two weeks after I pulled the cable, there was a knock on the front door.
It was the cable guy, and he told me he had a letter from his manager, giving me a credit for the $75.00 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 he was given credit. The cable company had been very rude to me in the previous weeks, but I let the cable guy turn the cable back on, and for 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…full of misspelled words and grammar problems! I really don’t know how she graduated from high school etc. If she wrote that badly, I would never be able to stand up for myself and write to people in high places like people in Congress etc. I would be too ashamed to write!