So you can read my books

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


On this day in 1300 Dante was made one of the six Priors of Florence,

the top political office in the city-state.

Though only a two-month term — the legal limit,
so suspicious were the citizenry of corruption and power-plays —

Dante's appointment set in motion the series of events that would eventually cause his permanent banishment,

and inspire some of the most memorable lines in the Divine Comedy

Like Dante, have you noticed that life doesn't stand in line?

It demands service ... right now.

The earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.

The health challenges of three of my good friends. My sweltering apartment. The enforced move to another.

The destruction of the only road that leads to my apartment complex.

What has this to do with writing? Everything.

Soon or late, you will hear a pounding on the door. Take in a deep breath. It will be life demanding your attention ... now!

You will have to deal with it, dropping for a moment your writing ...

which will not necessarily be a bad thing.

From Dante to Mark Twain to Ernest Hemingway, authors have found it enriched their writing to put it away for a time, to not even think about it.

The mind is a funny thing :

your unconscious mind will be fiddling with your novel all the while you are dealing with life.

In fact, as a writer you will be listening to the people all about you, noticing every gesture, every interpersonal exchange displayed before you.

When you get back to your novel, you will, of course, want to read all of it until the point you stopped.

And the flaws in the flow of prose, the tension, the pacing ... the humanity portrayed in your novel will stand out as if highlighted.

All because your unconscious mind digested your experiences while dealing with impatient life.


  1. SO what I needed to read right now! With moving, new job, etc., I've had time for nothing else!...can't check blogs like I want, read as much as I want, let alone write every day like I try to do. It's been SO frustrating.

    That being said, the few moments I have been able to look over my ms, it's like you said: someone's got a highlighter over all my characters and its amazing what my mind wants to add! All that research you didn't realize you were doing!

    Thanks for sharing - this totally resonated with me right now.

  2. Barbara :
    I'm so happy my post was of some help. Life challenges us, but in so doing, sows seeds into our unconscious that will provide a good harvest later on. Hang in there! Roland

  3. Well said, Roland.

    God only knows we all have to deal with LIFE. It's our test on this earth.

    I certainly have spent much less time on the old laptop and decided to LIVE. As I have mentioned in several posts we can't give up living for our writing... there has to be some kind of balance. The key is figuring out a schedule that works.

    I hope you are back home soon Roland. This has to be such an inconvenience for you.

  4. Well said Roland. Life does come knocking at unexpected times forcing us stand back and digest. This is the time of the blood moon for many. Hope your situation improves soon.

  5. How strange! I just posted a comment on someone else's blog about this. If it weren't for the challenges in life what would we have to talk/write about? In musical terms, life would sound pretty boring if written only major chords.

  6. I would make a deal with the Devil, but I lost her phone number years ago.

  7. Life does have a way of coloring our writing doesn't it? But then, it wouldn't be much good without it. ;)

  8. Heather :
    You are so right.

    Walther :
    Be careful. She may send it to you!

    Walk2Write :
    Yes, all one note would certainly be boring. But in this heat some cool boredom might be nice!

    Siv :
    It certainly the time of the Blood Moon for me. May it pass you by.

    Michael :
    You're right it is all about balance. Some came my way this morning. Rachel Stout asked for the first 50 pages of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. Cross your fingers for me, guys. Roland

  9. In my experence most good writing is done by the subconcious so that definatley needs to be fed. Unfortunatley that's not always a lot of fun.

  10. Great post. The thing about writing is it's a recreation - a dramatization, an elaboration, and many other words ending in 'ation' - of life. And if we don't live, suffer, breathe, rejoice in life, how can we write about it in books?

  11. Great post. The thing about writing is it's a recreation - a dramatization, an elaboration, and many other words ending in 'ation' - of life. And if we don't live, suffer, breathe, rejoice in life, how can we write about it in books?

  12. ...great post, Roland, and so true. Kind of ties in with the editing process. Re-writes can be tedious, at times downright annoying, but the improvement one can achieve with the gift of patience can be so very rewarding:)

    Loved the title, by the way...caused a snicker;)


  13. Thanks, Elliot :
    Even in blog posts, titles are important. And you are so right! Editing is essential. The Greats weren't writers -- they were re-writers.

    Bethany :
    What did Elmore Leonard say? Great writing is life with the boring stuff taken out!! LOL.

    Taryn :
    I think I have indigestion in my unconscious right now!!