So you can read my books

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Perhaps I should have said -- writers' minds are wired weird.

(Say that 3 times fast.)

Yes, they are. I firmly believe there is a neurological glitch in our brains.


Take a year ago today when that man went beserk in the emergency room that I was passing through to deliver rare blood.

Knife in his hand, profanity in his mouth, he turned to me as I walked in. And what did I do?

Most of me freaked, yes.

But a small voice in the back of my mind said :

Don't waste this. Notice his eyes. Are the pupils constricted or wide? Is his face blank or twisted in rage?

How is his gait? How is he holding his knife? Grabbed to stab or turned about to slash?

Look at the faces of everyone else. Memorize their expressions. Memorize how they're holding their bodies. Hunched in on themselves, holding one another, or frozen in mid-step (me.)

Oh, and the door is a half-foot behind you. Run like hell!"

And I did.

He started after me, of course. Until I heard a heavy thunk. That tiny little women didn't look like she could swing that heavy fire extinquisher.

Never underestimate tiny little women -- especially if they are mothers defending their ill child.

Then, there is that strange phenomenon where what is in front of us writers is not what we see.

We get a form rejection, and this is on our computer screen :

Dear Author :

I have read your submission, and I am afraid I must say that I and my staff are just not enthusiastic enough about the material to be the best agent to reperesent your novel. I wish you luck in finding the agent that is right for you and your work.

Over-worked Agent.

But is that what we read on our computer screen?

Of course not. That nasty old neurological glitch switches tracks on us. And this is what we read :

Yo, Lousy Writer :

I will tell you what no one else obviously has had the heart to do. You have no talent and less chance of ever being published. Do yourself and the other agents out there a favor and stop punishing yourself and them with further queries. By the way, you have already queried me once already.

P.S. You're ugly, too. No, I take that back. You're pretty in two ways : pretty ugly and pretty apt to stay that way.

Drop-dead Serious,

The agent who will keyboard-slap you if ever submit to me again.

So why do we persist?

I can only say why I persist despite me re-writing my rejections through the filter of my doubts and fears.



Belief in myself and in my dream? More like it.

Also my fiancee and my mother both taught me by example that a hero is only a person who gets up one more time than they are knocked down.

And so, I have stumbled to my feet one more time, dusted off my bruised dream, and am gamely looking for a new agent to whom to submit.

So I call out to all of you who are hurting, doubting, and losing hope :

"The fight is not over until you quit. You feel alone. You are not.

You can win this. Query better. Write with heart.

Write another novel. But never give up. Never."


  1. I wish you the best of luck, Roland. I know you will get there. What a great fiancee and mum you have!

  2. I smiled all through this. I love to see your comical side.

    And I totally do the same thing. I'm always people watching, listening in on coversations, noticing how people move, how they treat each other. Writers are the observers of the world.

  3. Oh my gosh, that movie clip was hilarious! And spot on with what you were saying.

    The roads our lives take us on stain the lenses of our perceptions to the point that we take the blurred images we strain so hard to comprehend as reality. And, in truth, the reality is often miles from what we interpret.

    I know that I regularly have to remind myself that some innocent remark was not the demeaning or cutting stab I took it to be. And I agonize over things I've said because, in my brain, I just KNOW the person completely misunderstood what I was trying to say.

    Rejection is hard, whatever the form or situation. And it's equally difficult, or more so, to hold on to positive hopes and thoughts. Without support and positive feedback, I don't know if any of us would make it.

    Just know that, despite their 'professional' opinions, there are those of us, many of us, who KNOW, not just believe, that your writing is amazing and deserves to be on prominent shelves in bookstores all over the country.

    I'm glad you got out of the guy's way and didn't become a statistic!

    And I see things from a scrapbooker's point of view....yeah. Weird wiring....

  4. This whole post was hilarious! I love your interpretation of the rejection letter, and the video with the incessant invoking of vampires as necessity to sell a book.

  5. Niki : Thanks for the encouragement. It means a great deal coming from you. I'm glad that those NZ earthquakes didn't cause you serious damage, but I'm saddend by the losses so many suffered. Sadly, my fiancee and mother are both in that land that knows no shadows. But their spirits are still with me.

    Christi : Isn't it a hoot how are minds work? We observe to use in our prose, yet are cut by the world we study. I'm glad you laughed at my whimsical take on rejection here.

    Words Crafter : Creative minds are sensitive. And that is both good and bad. But I usually find your instincts are true. If you thought folks were stabbing with words, they probably were ... to a certain extent. From your lips about my work to the Great Mystery's ear!

  6. Kelly : Yes, isn't that video hilarious? And I think a little true as well. If we couldn't laugh at the stings of those rejections, life wouldn't be any fun.

  7. Definitely never under-estimate tiny women. I have a friend who's maybe 4'6 and she's training to become a cop!

    Your imaginary query letter was spot-on; us paranoid creatures otherwise known as writers do tend to look too far into things. But no one ever got anywhere worth mentioning without persistence.

  8. Roland you'd just made me laugh, like the video too.

  9. Great post, and excellent perspective. It will be nigh impossible for you NOT to succeed with an attitude like that. Keep up the good work!

  10. Lovely post, Roland! Never give up, I agree.


  11. I kinda love you right now (in a non-creepy and platonic way.) This was so relatable. I have been that crazy writer disecting the minutia around me (almost like an out of body experience) in the middle of heightened emotion and chaos. And I struggle with the rejection letter a little too. Reading into it that I'm not good enough.
    It is my passion to write and the support of others like me, that keep me going. (=
    Thanks for the encouragement. You're awesome.

  12. brilliant!! i loved your post!! how very optimisitic..beautiful!

  13. *LOL* Thanks for the words of encouragement! There's a Japanese proverb that says: "Fall down seven times, get up eight!"

  14. Very funny, and so true! Writers have to be a little neurotic to keep going ... but in the best possible way :)

  15. Bah! Roland--I LOVE the computers arguing there at the end... Good stuff. :D

  16. Yeah, Roland! That's the spirit! I love the "pretty in two ways" comment. Win some, lose some, mate. Carry on.

  17. Good post, Roland, one we can all relate to. And you're right, I do hear other stuff behind their words, but I will keep getting up also.

    Video clip was too funny, computer voices added to it.

  18. Great message. I think I was normal before writing. Mostly. Although my first thought in the ER would've been "Find weapon of any kind - NOW!"

  19. Definitely true that writer's minds are wired weirdly. (Although I probably would have freaked out in the ER if someone started going after me.) Funny, but still optimistic, post!

  20. Yes, exactly.

    LOL. This was great Roland.


  21. Very funny! Enjoyed this. Made me laugh. Better, though, to have a writer's brain than the non-writer's.