So you can read my books

Saturday, September 3, 2011


As Tropical Storm Lee bears down upon my community, I paused to reflect --

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."

so I leave you with yet another song by Thea Gilmore, accompanied by Joan Baez :


  1. This is such a beautiful post that speaks to everyone. I really appreciate your depth of character and magic with words.

  2. True, every word. And sometimes, in reaching out to try and save another, we manage to save ourselves as well.

    Thank you, by the way, and I'll get to reading this weekend :-)

  3. Beautiful post and so true. If everyone would open their hearts just a little, the world just might be a better place.

  4. It's true. Books take us to other worlds, transport us to other dimensions, but more importantly (the really good ones, anyway), strip the veneer we develop in life to uncover something we need to know about ourselves and the world. Blogs can do that too. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. I'm a new follower via Rachael's campaign. What a beautiful blog you have. I loved the video. I'll have to read some of your books. Wishing you the best.

  6. I'm so glad to stop by a day late for RFW and catch this post too. It really is beautiful. I'm just starting to edit my first draft and I shall bear in mind your words to heed the live human being at the receiving end...
    When I was about 9 years old, someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said I wanted to make one person laugh every single day... the innocence of a child :)
    Thanks for making saturday brighter

  7. Robyn :
    Your make me feel as if I have connected with a kindred spirit. Thanks. Roland

    No, Sarah :
    Thank you for being the kind of person you are and for being my friend, Roland

    Li :
    Teachers find out the wisdom of your words. In teaching others, we teach ourselves even more. I hope you enjoy the read, Roland

    Donna :
    I believe you're right. And in the opposite vein, Martin Luther King wrote : "An eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind." Thanks for being a new visitor. Don't be a stranger, hear?

    Walk2Write :
    In a future post, I have the ghost of William Faulkner write that the only philosophy most people get is from what books they read or TV shows they watch. Think on what are the most popular books and shows are today and cringe just a little. LOL.

    Richard :
    I've already visited your blog and followed, telling you what shows are currently my favorite : HAVEN and FRINGE, two shows that combine the sense of family with the weird elements of life. LOL.

    Thank you for the kind words about my own blog. Wasn't that video evocative? I hope you enjoy one of my books.

    I have a contest where you are entered to win an autograph by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Laurell K. Hamilton --

    if you write a review of one of my books on AMAZON!

    How cool is that?

    Laura :
    Oh, for all of us to retain that innocence and magic of childhood!

    I am so happy that you enjoyed this post. Now, I'm off to run the roads as a rare blood courier! Roland

  8. Hope you get through Lee without incident. We were lucky with Irene last weekend.

  9. Thanks, Alex :
    It really the end of Hurricane Season for us until the first of October. Sigh. Thanks for the well wishes! Roland

  10. Your compassion is a true gift Roland. Thanks for caring, and sharing these insights.


  11. Donna :
    Thanks for thinking compassion a gift. Too many these days think of it as useless baggage to discard to get ahead in life. Have a great Sunday, Roland

  12. This was a brilliant and wonderful post, Roland.

  13. Roland, you are great. I was so excited to see that you are in the same Fantasy group as me for the Campaign, and this post is a perfect example of why. :)

  14. Wendy :
    That means a lot coming from my navigator through these troubled Self-Publishing waters. May your first book signing be wonderful for you! Roland

    Jess :
    Your kind words made this tired blood courier's evening much brighter. Thanks. Look forward to what the campaign brings the two of us! Roland

  15. Hi Roland .. Your words .. "Let us build up not tear down. Write to support, to strengthen, to lessen the load of the unknown reader in the shadows."

    Nnd the story of publisher who rejected Mark Twain .. I often wonder - would Mark Twain have been as good, or as well known ...

    and these words "Compassion. Understanding. Laughter. I try to make them my three writing companions" should be our live's companions too ..

    Cheers and hope you had a Good Labor Day weekend .. and that the storm has gone through. Hilary

  16. Hilary :
    I think you may be right : without the opposition of contrary publishers, Mark Twain might not have been the writer he turned out to be. I was working Labor Day ironically! LOL. Thanks for visiting and writing. Have a great new week, Roland