So you can read my books

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yesterday as we went about our daily lives :

An innocent man was lynched in a country whose name most of us can't spell.

An impressionable baby was born to a hateful mother.

Three young men were killed by sniper fire.

A hungry old woman opened a can of dog food to eat for her one meal of the day.

And we passed a lonely, hopeless soul, looking for one pair of eyes that gave a damn.

There is empty ground in most souls we pass. Sometimes that leeched soil is within our own soul. We cannot save the world. Often it is beyond us to even save ourselves.

That which we can do, we must do, or else we help the darkness grow thicker. Even one feeble candle can show the way for the next step. And what does this have to do with writing you ask.


We cast out our words into the darkness of the cyber-void. We do not know who stops by our blogs, weary of spirit, drained of hope. We do know that tragedy and heartbreak is an everyday event. We know how to write.

Let us build up not tear down. Write to support, to strengthen, to lessen the load of the unknown reader in the shadows. Maybe even to make lips that had forgotten how to smile break into a laugh, weak but the more needed because of that.

There is war. There is pestilence. There is famine. But none of them prepare you for someone moaning over trifles. Yet, on the other hand, no one enjoys having their mountain made into a mole hill by a spectator safe on the sidelines.

What did Mark Twain write? "Nothing that grieves us can be called little. By the eternal law of proportion, a child's loss of a beloved doll and a king's loss of his crown are events of the same size."

Billy Graham once wrote : "Puppy love is real to the puppy."

Compassion. Understanding. Laughter. I try to make them my three writing companions.

And when we write our novels, we need to always keep in mind the living person who will read our words. Is our story one that touches the heart? Is it real? Even in fantasy, our characters can seem real if their pain is common to our own : alienation, loneliness, yearning for love.

And keep in mind to always include laughter.

After seriously commenting on his strict requirements for perspective hosts, Mark Twain added with a twinkle in his writer's eye :

"When I am ill-natured, which is rare for the paragon of virtue that I am, I so enjoy the freedom of a hotel -
where I can ring up a domestic and give him a quarter. And then commense to break furniture over him. Whereupon I go to bed calmed and sleep as peacefully as a child."

And it is comforting that even a genius like Mark Twain was once thrown out of the office of a publisher. "I got into his office by mistake. He thought I wanted to purchase one of his books, not the other way around. His lips contracted so fast his teeth fell out. And he threw me out."

Twenty-five years later that publisher met Twain on the street and profusely apologized : "I stand without competitor as the prize ass of the 19th century."

Mark Twain remembers the event this way : "It was a most handsome apology, and I told him so. I then confided that several times each year since that time I mused over that incident and had in fancy taken his life, always in new and in increasingly cruel, inhuman ways -- but henceforth, I would hold him my true and valued friend -- and I promised never to kill him again -- in fancy or in fact."

Mark Twain had his own take on publishers from his long association with them : "All publishers are Columbuses. The successful author is their America. The truth that they -- like Columbus -- didn't discover what they expected to discover, didn't discover what they set out to discover, doesn't trouble them in the least."
And so I leave you with yet another song by Thea Gilmore, accompanied by Joan Baez :


  1. Very nice post. It truly touched me.

  2. Mizrepresent : Thanks. We are kindred spirits in the cyber-darkness, nodding as we pass in the night. I'm happy that it touched you. Have a great end of week.

  3. Interesting post. I love all of your tidbits about successful author's. Mark Twain was quite the character and you brought him back to life for us once more! As always a pleasure.

    Finished the walls and cut it today. I just have the miles of trim left. My condo was built in the early 1920's so it has all that wonderful plaster and wood details. It don't know which is worse the 10 inch plaster crown molding or the doors, windows, baseboards, or arches. Love the details ... hate the maintenance.

    I admire your detection to your work ... on paper and off.


  4. Michael : Hmmm. You love the details but hate the maintenance -- I think Brad Pitt said the same thing about Angelina.

    Cut yourself some slack and just enjoy the success of your efforts. Have a great end of week.

  5. fresh post! i agree with your "purpose" of writing... a striking post!

  6. Flying High In The Sky : I knew you were a kindred spirit. Yes, when I was a small boy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Homer, and Robert E. Howard spun tales that brightened the darkness of those days. I'd like to do the same for others if I could.

  7. Thanks for the reminder to put more positivity out into the world. There just isn't enough of it.

    Very thoughtful post!

  8. Jennifer : Glad you liked the post. Loved yours as well.

  9. I just read my comment to you. I'm sorry. I must be tired, I meant dedication.

    Have you heard any feedback from the agent?

    Thanks for offering to help on my query. As soon as I put it together I will have you take a look at it. You're the best!


  10. Michael : Hey, it's late, and I've had a 300 mile night myself. Whew!

    I haven't heard from either agent yet. I'm polishing and editing THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH as quickly as I can while working 8 days straight. Another whew!

    I'll help as best I can with that query with a smile. Helping is what friends are for. Roland

  11. Another beautiful post, Roland. Thank you.


  12. Wonderful post, Roland. Compassion, understanding, laughter - I'm with you.

    And I loved that story about Mark Twain and the publisher. Hilarious!


  13. I am only one person. I can't help everyone, but I can help someone.

    Thanks for another beautifully written, illuminating post!!

  14. This moved me to tears. "Let us build up, not tear down," are the wisest words I've heard in a long time. Excellent post as always Roland, but this one was special.

  15. Heather : Your response made me feel as if my efforts weren't in vain. Thanks, Heather.

    Ann : Yes, you're so right. If each of us touches just one heart in a healing way today, the total suffering eased would be amazing.

    Jai : I try to make those 3 companions constant road-buddies. And Mark Twain always seems to find a new way to make you smile, doesn't he?

    February Grace : Thank you for "gracing" my pages with your always kind, insightful comments.

  16. You are right, Roland. We are not always privy to the names or circumstances of those who happen upon our blogs/stories/columns/ etc. I always hope my writing will be for someone a serendipitous find; your advice certainly points the way.

  17. I very much agree with you. We need compassion and understanding but also to help people laugh. Making people laugh is a form of healing.

    Always enjoy your quotations and the stories behind them as well:)

  18. A bit different; more positve yourself.

    For some reason, I'm having trouble expressing myself tonight. I guess I'm just happy my internet/blogger problems seem to be finally cleared up. a great relief.

    It is good advice to be aware that you don't know who may be reading your blog posts. Great advice - for real life as well as online.

    I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for your requests Roland. I know it will happen for you soon.

    I hope you get some sleep.


  19. Hi,

    Heartfelt post, which kind of makes one feel humbled in the face of compassion to all regardless of faith, status and financial wherewithall. Life itself is Hell on Earth, accept that fact and it seems less of a burden overall, for Heaven you make and if possible help others to get a little slice of it if nothing more. ;)


  20. And thus my hiatus. Waiting for the uplifting, inspiring words to return.

    You speak such heart felt truths my friend.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow